While public relations practitioners have long focused on the relationship between organizations and their stakeholders, there has never been a time when that relationship was so dominated by public participation. The new model of multiple messages originating from multiple publics at varying levels of engagement is widely acknowledged, but not widely explored in scholarly texts. The established model of one-way communication and message control no longer exists. Social media and an increasingly participatory culture means that fans are taking a more active role in the production and co-creation of messages, communication, and meaning. These fans have significant power in the relationship dynamic between the message, the communicator, and the larger audience, yet they have not been defined using current theory and discourse. Our existing conceptions fail to identify these active and engaged publics, let alone understand virtual communities who are highly motivated to communicate with organizations and brands. This innovative and original research collection attempts to address this deficit by exploring these interactive, engaged publics, and open up the complexities of establishing and maintaining relationships in fan-created communities.
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