Chevron being blamed for dumping waste water, McDonald’s response to Super Size Me and Vodafone’s trouble with a Sydney employee who touted customers as idiots on Facebook and Twitter for their lack of technical knowledge (Courtenay, 2013). These are the problems that many public relations practitioners would deem crises. Yet, in comparison to the true disasters the world is enduring at this very moment, like political turmoil in Egypt and Gaza and an etho-geographical dispute in Eastern Europe, the fact that Vodafone’s Arthur Kotsopoulos said some customers needed a “pimp slap backhand” (Courtenay, 2013) seems like more of a drop in the ocean.
Although it is feared in many public relations circles for the speed at which sensationalist reports can spread, in essence social media can be a force for good in the crisis communications sphere (Schwartzman, 2013). The reach and speed of social media makes it an ideal platform on which to communicate with the masses in times of trouble. Journalists and PR practitioners are fast learning how to maximise the effectiveness of such means to disseminate information with modern police reporting – where journalists are required to live tweet and post details as a story progresses proving popular with audiences.
Courtenay, A. (2013). Australia’s biggest PR disasters. Retrieved from http://www.theage.com.au/small-business/finance/australias-biggest-pr-disasters-20130926-2ugli.html
Schwartzman, E. (2013). Crisis Communications in the Network Age. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/crisis-communications-network-age
AS the mix between advertising and editorial content is ever blurred there remains the constant threat the audiences will be alienated if they sense an agenda in their entertainment. This same disparity threatens to take a toll on the effectiveness of social media in business as new figures show editorial is more important than ever in cracking the ever elusive market of prolific social media users.
Facebook banner advertising is redundant and statistically is ever more useless, the younger the customer in question may be (Temin & Anderson, 2013). Thus, advertorials are now more important than they ever have been particularly in the digital realm and advertisers and PR practitioners alike are finding new ways of sponsoring or masking content to trick social media users (Himler, 2013).
However, with the prevalence of the advertorial phenomenon comes new risks and pitfalls. Namely, the propensity for media organisations to go overboard with such campaigns, thus alienating an audience who smell a brand sponsored rat (Pownall, 2009). A major concern is that audiences too often become disenchanted with brands and business because they are overselling in their campaigns with figures showing in some instances almost three quarters of potential customers indicate they tend to believe objective information (Speers, 2014). As a result, it is important for social media to be used in the way it was intended – it is an interactive medium that works best when businesses engage with their audiences – something many consumers believe is not happening in the market as it currently stands (Speers, 2014).
Himler, P. (2013). Content Is King, Distribution is Queen. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterhimler/2013/07/09/content-is-king-distribution-is-queen/?&_suid=1405329966623014413950173184276
Pownall, C. (2009). Advertorial 2.0: Handle with care. Retrieved from http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/22814.imc
Speers, J. (2014). How to Avoid Alienating Your Audience. Retrieved from http://www.business2community.com/communications/avoid-alienating-audience-0932214#!be3nBO
Temin, D. & Anderson, I. (2013). Don’t Waste Money – Make Your Social Media Advertising Smarter, More Original, More effective. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/daviatemin/2013/12/03/dont-waste-money-make-your-social-media-advertising-smarter-more-original-more-effective/?&_suid=14053294496480899832661729306
For months I have been in the throes of an ethical dilemma on LinkedIn as one of my best mates repeatedly endorses me for skills I would never dare put on my own resume – “Press releases, word processing, PowerPoint.” Problem being, I am reluctant to endorse him in return for the fact that he is a dubiously underqualified personal trainer, sporting a suspicious-looking beer gut. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great bloke and a killer opening batsman but I just don’t feel comfortable endorsing him for skills I’m not sure he possesses. Nevertheless, as he digs me in the ribs, jokingly chastising me about never endorsing him in return my only response is “Oh that old thing, nobody uses LinkedIn anymore”, when I know for a fact that is blatantly untrue.
Such is my problem with LinkedIn – it is so easy to lie and users in certain circumstances even feel obligated to to lie out of loyalty to their friends. These untruths are becoming more prevalent and are in fact inhibiting the success and integrity of the platform in the business world (Hanson, 2014). It is through this practice that LinkedIn is being devalued as a platform – so much so as to raise the question of whether ethical guidelines are being broken in the process of frivolously endorsing people for skills they don’t have (Ambrogi, 2014). I have decided to monitor my LinkedIn less often now so I have an excuse for my mate when next he asks me why I am not reciprocating his endorsements – in essence a lose – lose situation when it comes to networking on the platform that hit 200 million users early last year (Pozin, 2013).
Ambrogi, R. (2014). Do LinkedIn’ Endorsements Violate Legal Ethics? Retrieved from http://www.lawsitesblog.com/2013/05/do-linkedin-endorsements-violate-legal-ethics.html
Hanson, A. (2014). The lie of the LinkedIn endorsement and recommendation. Retrieved fromhttp://www.arikhanson.com/2013/07/17/the-lie-of-the-linkedin-endorsement-and-recommendation/
Pozin, I. (2013). 200 Million Users? LinkedIn is Just Getting Started. Retrieved fromhttp://www.forbes.com/sites/ilyapozin/2013/04/18/200-million-users-linkedin-is-just-getting-started/?&_suid=140478288972607242027928587049