To Tweet or not to Tweet?

Twitter

When I was first told in my PR Writing Class that I would have a Twitter assignment, I was not the most excited person in the world. Twitter is something that I never really understood in terms of social media. It even became an ongoing theme with most of my friends that we would use ridiculous hashtags in our conversations, #clever right?

As the semester went on, however, I started to see all of the benefits that came with using Twitter. My professor, Dr. Gee Ekachai, would always bring in different professionals to come speak to my #PURE3600 class. Each lecture was fascinating, and I always felt like I had more questions for the guest speakers. Fortunately, Twitter gave me the opportunity to ask these questions to these speakers.

I became more knowledgable about all of the different functions that Twitter offers. As I made more connections with the guest speakers, I would find out about more professionals in the same area. This idea intrigued me, because I love the idea of being able to reach out to new people and make professional connections. In the world of PR, this is vital in order to find a career. That is why Twitter and LinkedIn have become the essentials for any professional trying to find a position at an agency or business.

Not only was I making more connections, but I was starting to notice that my tweets were getting more favorites and re-tweets. This just goes to show that practice makes perfect in the Twitter universe. Although I was very hesitant at first about having a Twitter assignment in my PR writing class, I ultimately learned so much about the social network and all of the benefits that it had to offer. As a result, I am happy to tweet one more last time with the hashtag, #PURE3600. Thanks for a great semester, Gee.

The Social Media Guidelines for the Associated Press

social-media-policies

The rise of social media over the past decade is becoming more evident as more corporations utilize it as a tool for their business. Although it is clearly a benefit that social media enhances the communicative skills of a business, one must be knowledgable of the different legal policies that can come with social media. With all of the different lawsuits that arise within in the realm of media law, it is important to comprehend the different legal guidelines.

In order to get a glimpse of what a legal policy might be like for a company, I browsed the social media guidelines for the Associated Press, or is it AP? I hope that is in the right format. All AP format jokes aside, the guidelines effectively elucidates the different social media policies that the AP instills in order to stay clear from any legal trouble.

One of the most essential parts of social media is establishing an account. For the AP, writers are encouraged to make their own account, however, they have to state that they work for the AP, but are not required to make the AP logo their profile picture. Writers are also not allowed to state their own political affiliation on their social media account, which makes sense for a news organization who is trying to maintain neutrality.

As I read more about the social media guidelines, I found that the section regarding retweeting to be especially interesting. The AP already stresses to their writers and employees that they do not want them to express their opinions on social media that could potentially spark controversy. In that same fashion, the AP does not want their writers to retweet anything that could potentially imply an opinion.

Like any other company, the AP also encourages transparency as well as interaction with followers. Reading the AP’s guidelines for social media was an enlightening read for anyone aspiring to conduct social media for a company. It is essential to know and understand how the media of a company legally operates. As the media for a company, you are the voice to the public. You are the one informing them about what is happening within the company. Without sound like too much of a comic book nerd, Spiderman’s Uncle Ben famously said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

For more interesting reads on legal policies, check out these articles:

http://samples.sainsburysebooks.co.uk/9781134635436_sample_480143.pdf

http://blog.hirerabbit.com/5-terrific-examples-of-company-social-media-policies/

Social Media and the Boston Marathon Bombing

Boston-PD-Tweet

The Boston Marathon Bombing was a horrific tragedy that affected many people’s lives. When confronted with such a terrible incident, it can be normal to get overwhelmed and become polarized by stress. This is a common issue that public relations practitioners face in crisis communications. For the Boston Police Department, however, this was not a problem.

In the 2014 Arthur W. Page Society Case Study Competition, Lexie Broytman from Quinnipiac University won the competition with her case study, #Social Strong: The Effect of Social Media on the Boston Marathon Bombings. In this case study, Broytman elucidates how Cheryl Fiandaca, the Bureau Chief of public information for the Boston Police Department, handled the situation very well on social media.

In her case study, Broytman discusses how the Boston Police Department was one of the first major police departments to establish their presence on social media. This twitter account became the major news source for civilians throughout the search for the perpetrators of the bombings. The account became an effective news source, because it was a quick, reliable way for the department disseminate information.

The account not only informed people about the manhunt, but also counteracted any fake information being spread throughout the city. Crowdsourcing ultimately became the result of the different Boston P.D. social media accounts working together. Because of this, the city of Boston came together through a traumatic experience.

Reflecting on this process reminds me of all the potential that social media has on society. Although social media typically has a bad connotation for potentially harming the social skills of our generation, or even being the main source of cyber bullying, this incident reminds the world that social media can effectively bring people together in a beautiful way. Even when the situation is as horrific as the Boston Marathon Bombing, there is a glimmer of hope through unification of people via social media.

“Pitiful” Behavior From Keith Olbermann

Keith

It is not a good day to be Keith Olbermann. For people who are not familiar with him, Olbermann is a sportscaster for ESPN who is known for often expressing his courageous opinion. In this incident, however, not many people agreed with him.

When several Penn State students tweeted at Olbermann about their fundraising event, Dance Marathon, and about how it raised $13 million last year, Olbermann responded to them on Twitter with the word “pitiful” Naturally, most people comprehended the statement as him calling the fundraiser pitiful. Olbermann, on the other hand, afterwards tried to claim that he was not calling the fundraiser pitiful, but just Penn State students in general. ESPN responded immediately by suspending Olbermann.

I am no public relations professional, even though I hope one day to be, but I would say that this was an incredibly unprofessional move on Olbermann’s part. Not only could the subjectivity of his tweet come off as offensive to the idea of fundraising for pediatric cancer, but when he clarified his tweet, he offended an entire university body of students. Bad move Keith.

Olbermann has been known for being critical of Penn State University (PSU) after the sexual assault incidents that occurred with former coach, Jerry Sandusky. This was then followed by higher authorities in the university covering up the scandal. Despite the fact that what happened at PSU was a tragedy, this does not justify Olbermann throwing a blanket statement about the students.

In my opinion, Olbermann did not think before he spoke, which can be catastrophic for someone in his position. He was overcome by his emotions regarding a terrible incident at the university, and he said something that he shouldn’t have. Although he later apologized by saying that it was, “childish and stupid,” he still has a lot of ground to make up.

The best way that Olbermann can avoid something like this from happening again is by simply thinking about what to say before tweeting it to the entire world. Yes, what happened at Penn State University was disgusting, but that does not make it okay to call their students, “pitiful.” I hope Penn State’s Dance Marathon raises even more money this year.

This Blog is Brought to You by…

Have you ever read an article online and felt like it was just one big advertisement for some brand or company? Although that might sound a little cynical, there is a good chance that your inclinations are true. This is because sponsored content is becoming more of an active tool for many companies via online publishers.

You might be wondering to yourself, “what the heck is sponsored content, and why am I craving Chipotle as I read this BuzzFeed article about ‘Ten Signs that You Might be a Guacamole Addict?'” Okay, so you might not be thinking the second thing, but for a lot of people sponsored content is a foreign term.

In his article, “Time to Define Native Advertising,” Joel Sternberg defines sponsored content as, “when a brand pays a publisher to have its name and/or message associated with a particular story.” (Sternberg 1). With that being said, we may not be strangers to sponsored content after all…

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 4.49.21 PMNetflix

We see sponsored content all the time on websites like BuzzFeed. When people are interested in reading fun, little lists about something topical, it gives brands and companies the perfect opportunity to advertise. BuzzFeed is not alone, however. The New York Times and The Atlantic are also guilty of engaging in the sponsored content scene.

As sponsored content becomes more popular with companies, the more it is questioned in regards to its ethicality. Is it right that these companies are cunningly associating their brand with a certain article? A lot of people might say no. However, the the truth of the matter is that many publishers need a way to make money. Now that people can easily access the news online, there really is no need to purchase an actual newspaper. With that being said, many publishers may have no choice but to have sponsored content in their articles, so they can continue to get by as a business.

I personally find it a little shady that sponsored content is becoming a popular tool for companies, but as long as audiences are both knowledgeable and aware of this media trend, both advertising and news can hopefully coexist.

For more information about sponsored content, watch this episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

1. Sternberg, Josh. “Time to Define Native Advertising.” Digiday (April 18, 2013)Print.

Writing is…

Writing is a tool that allows humans to elucidate their thoughts, feelings and desires.

Writing can bring people together, but also push them apart.

Writing has let people share their own personal stories with the world.

Writing will hopefully let unheard voices come to light.