Saturday, October 10, 2009

Social Media and Corporate Image

Let’s talk about social media damaging a corporation’s image. This past week I heard a shocking story about a Jetstar employee requesting a young passenger on a plane. Check out the article in the Sydney Morning Herald, . Last week my blog focused on social media and the impact it can have on an individual’s career, now I am focusing my attention on the impact an individual employees social networking can have on a company. Obviously the employee should not have went out of his way to look up a passengers information and contact them outside of the airport, what makes matters even worse is the age of the young passenger. What could Jetstar have done to prevent this behavior of one employee from impacting their reputation? I think that companies are going to need to have a social media/privacy clause in their employee contracts now that social media is here to stay.

This is an interesting and relevant article on who owns a company’s social media
, it raises all sorts of questions, when a social media strategist is hired at a company do they own the fans/followers or does the CEO. Often a social media consultant will be hired due to their popularity and following on their own personal sites/blogs/twitter. Who should decide what goes onto companies social media sites? It makes sense for public relations people to be in charge of social media because it functions as a microphone for a company, it is equally and sometimes more important than “traditional” media when it comes to reputation because it is so easy for anyone to instantly update or tweet and damage a reputation.
In the end reputation can be enhanced or ruined though social media.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Your Fired! Thanks Facebook

This past week I learned a lot about Marshall McLuhan. He is best known for the “medium is the message” quotation, however I found this one interesting and relevant to the ongoing discussion on social media, “Publication is a self-invasion of privacy.” Marshall McLuhan. It seems that he was predicting today’s society and the merging of the public and private sphere. I am an active user of Facebook, I don’t give away any personal details I wouldn’t share in my “real” life. However there have been many cases where people have been fired over something they said (posted) online.

This is a video about Dan Leone who said he was fired from Lincoln Financial Field after expressing his opinion on Facebook about being upset a free-agent was not chosen (his own preference, which he thought was private from his employer).

We do have a choice about what we post on Facebook, and should realize our profile can impact our career in a negative way (especially in public relations, which is focused on reputation). The once private is now very public.

Thinking about this another way, all of the personal details we choose to share on Facebook and other social networking sites are a online marketers dream! There is often no need to conduct market research when your target public are already willingly pre-established into distinct groups.

Facebook is being open and honest saying they are allowing advertising, however there is not much information about peronalization of ads yet.

I have noticed lately that my Facebook ads seem to be very targeted specifically to me. For example, I Googled shoes in Sydney and the same day was bombarded with ads for shoes in Sydney on Facebook… coincidence?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Continuing with the theme that social media has changed the way we receive our news, I want to highlight the MTV Video Music Awards (VMA's) that took place this past week. I am living in Australia, and with only 5 cable channels (I opted out of getting Foxtell) I spend lots time watching neighbours reruns, or more commonly going to my computer to look up news and entertainment headlines. I mentioned before I have certain cites I like to frequent, however after the VMA's one of those sites failed to update me in a timely manner!

I am talking about the Kayne West Taylor Swift onstage incident, for anyone who does not know, Kayne stole the mic from miss Swift as the as she was in the process of doing her acceptance speech to slur that Beyonce deserved to win the award. Taylor looked like she was going to cry then her sound was cut off and she was ushered off stage.

Beyonce later gave Taylor her speech time to make an acceptance speech, but moving on, lets talk about how this news broke!

I logged onto Facebook and saw my friends updates about "Kanye is a jackass" (something President Obama later reinforced), "Beyonce is a class act" and "poor Taylor". I immediately knew something had happened at the MTV awards and wanted to know more. I turned to (the self proclaimed Queen of Gossip) however there was nothing posted on the story yet! I checked back for a few minutes and eventually turned to Twitter for instant updates and reactions from people around the world.

I later learned that it was a journalist who first broke the news on Twitter as his update. Check out this MSNBC article the Twitter age of journalism

This leads me into thinking about Habermas public sphere versus the private sphere, if the journalist was trying to update his friends "off the record" it sure didn't work out that way. Whatever we post on social media sites is public information, and never off the record. Our private identities are now rather public.

It is interesting that social media, which seems to erase all time and space divides still has different functions, some that make receiving news much quicker than others. It would have taken a few hours for this story to make it onto the evening news, it would likely have been on the same news stations website within the matter of hours. It could take 5 minutes for Perez Hilton to post a link on his blog, or I can receive live by the second updates on Twitter and Facebook.

If this is how people are receiving their news these days, in quick real time, public relations practitioners and journalists alike should be more focused on social media and understand it is here to stay! In the past when music videos first aired they threaten taking over radio, today both co-exist. Do you think social media and online is taking over traditional news forms, or will both continue to co-exist.

I pose the question, can mediums co-exist peacefully, of will one inevitably take over another? How do you get your news?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pitching to Social Media

There are numerous press agencies that operate online.
For example,
24-7 Press Release
Xinhua News Agency.

Have you ever wondered where press releases came from? Here is an informational video from PRWeb about the shift from traditional press release to online PR releases:

These agencies are often an untapped resource for the media relations practitioner. Press releases can often be submitted for free. Electronic distribution is a great way to increase readership and reach the target public.
International online press agencies should be taken advantage of by the general public as well as anyone interested in pursuing a career in public relations. These sites offer up to date headlines from a variety of perspectives. Most current news stories are covered on international online agencies. Whether this is due to the economy and cost factors, or simply a shift in the way we receive our information, online news agencies and social media pitching is being practiced in public relations.
So we know news is going digital. How are social media press releases and pitches difference from traditional media press releases? For one they are much more interactive! Adding links and background information via website links is very easy to do. It is important to make your release stand out, but make sure the key information is there as well! I think it is still best to stick with the traditional format of putting a lead sentence at the top and the background information closer to the bottom.

Here is what some other experts think:
PR Week has an article about whether or not to pitch to social media

Here is another video from the UK about the social media news release:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

How do we get our "news"

The other day I logged onto FB (Facebook), and saw an update from my friend saying, "RIP AM". I scrolled down and came across more messages of condolence. I then began researching. I logged onto then checked out I then checked out the DJ's last post on Twitter. Sure enough, I learned that DJ AM had passed away, the report was confirmed by the NY Police. The DJ was famous for his music as well as his love life (dating Nicole Ritchie and Mandy Moore). I had seen him play a couple of sets in Toronto and Las Vegas. The news was even more tragic since just last year DJ AM aka Adam Goldstein had survived a terrible plane crash.

It is interesting that because I wanted information so quickly I turned to the Internet to do research. Entertainment television shows would not air for hours, and blogs were appearing immediately. There are problems with social media and authenticity, in the case of DJ AM there have been numerous rumors surrounding his death popping up everywhere. Who can we trust on the Internet, and can we really trust traditional media more? Are we better off with alternative new media as opposed to traditional corporate run media? What do you think.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Obama Mania and Social Media

As the buzz from the U.S. Presidential election settles and the hard work begins, I have to ask did social media help get Obama elected? Check out this interview on the impact social media had in the election.

You can follow Obama on Twitter and usually he will follow back, well his people will at least.

This presidential campaign seemed to be so successful because Obama captivated the people through media they actually use. The youth turnout was exceptionally high this year, Obama became a brand in the fashion industry, celebrities endorsed Obama publically through traditional media and also on blogs and Twitter accounts. The inauguration speech was streamed live all over the world, and clips were uploaded onto YouTube for further viewing.

The world went Obama crazy through the use of social media!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Social Media Gone Wrong

This week I take a look as social media gone wrong. Last year in Toronto, Canada a social media campaign for a horror movie had to be taken off the Internet after it resulted in numerous phone calls to the police. The promotion was for the movie The Saw 5 and was run by LionsGate. People could go onto the movies website and download the recording of a fake phone call, which they then used to prank call friends and even random strangers. The whole problem with the campaign was the user could actually type in a persons name and state they were holding a loved one (whose name they could type in and the voice would generate).

The script went like this, "Hello, [ Your Friends name ] . Do you want to play a game? You think it's over but the games have just begun. I'm here with your friend [ Your Friends Name ]. My work will continue in a way you never saw coming. You won't believe how it ends.”

The people at Saw probably thought that the phone call would be interactive and promote the movie, however this is once social media campaign that backfired and did more damage than good. There are tales of once lady having a stroke after picking up the phone call There were numerous articles in the paper and on the news warning people these calls were not real via a public service announcement. The police ultimately ended up shutting down the campaign.

Why did this campaign go wrong? Not everyone knew about it so they were tricked and worried by it, it verged on illegal activity (threats), the people behind it did not anticipate the results of the campaign. Did Lionsgate really think people were not going to call the police after receiving such disturbing messages? Or maybe they wanted the police to get involved, to generate buzz in the media? This tactic wasted police time that could have been better spent dealing with real crisis. When launching a social media campaign it is very important to look into your audience and consider legal and ethical implications.