Twitter Assignment- Closing Thoughts

Over the course of the semester, I have been required to maintain a professional Twitter account. I have made an effort to tweet consistently each week, primarily focusing on PR trends, in-class visitors, and my general experience at Marquette. Although I have had a small amount of exposure to Twitter in the past, I feel that this experience has given me a better understanding of what this social media platform is all about, and what it is capable of.

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I’m still learning how to use Twitter, but I’m very impressed with the flexibility of its uses so far. Of course it can be used to express mundane goings on, but II have also noticed that just about every student organization, successful company, and celebrity has a Twitter account. All of a sudden, anyone can talk to anyone.

I’m also amazed at how integrated it has become with traditional media as well. There are tons of TV and radio shows on today that encourage conversation between viewers and entertainers via Twitter. Because Twitter allows for instant, seamless, communication, it’s easy for users to reach out to just about anybody.

This also means that customers can communicate with companies, allowing organizations to be better connected to their consumer base. However, Twitter is a double-edged sword for corporations, as it allows for both conversation, as well as criticism if they are not performing adequately. There is more pressure on producers than ever to provide quality service and maintain a professional image. One small slip-up can be broadcasted globally, and cause incalculable damage to an otherwise outstanding company’s organization.

I’ll definitely make an effort to keep up my Twitter activity. I’ve enjoyed this experience, and I’m looking forward to seeing how social media platforms will continue to change. I expect that in the coming years, social media will only become a more integral part of our lives in ways we cannot foresee.

Social Media Usage at Work

I know from experience that it can be very tempting to check social media while working. Sometimes it can be refreshing to take a glimpse at your Twitter feed before getting back on task. But other times, social media access can be downright distracting, and hinder productivity. At what point should businesses intervene, and restrict social media usage in the workplace?

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Having read through the Social Media Governance website’s policies on social media in the workplace, I find many of their concerns to be valid. It’s understandable to have reservations about employees being on facebook or Twitter during work hours. This is a time for productivity, after all. And why would a company pay you to browse facebook?

This gets even more complicated when employees are responsible for handling sensitive company information. Although most employees probably have the common sense not to share private company info online, it might make employers uneasy to see a tab detailing confidential information right next to another tab on facebook.

All of this said, I think regulations should be enforced at the discretion of employers. I’m sure there are plenty of jobs out there that can be done better while occasionally checking Twitter- especially if you work in the media. Or perhaps some employees use facebook as a primary means of checking up on their children during the day. There are so many possible cases that I think it would be irresponsible to put a blanket policy over all social media usage.

Generally speaking, as long as common sense is present in both the employers and the employers, I don’t see why some social media use should be tolerated at work.

Social Media Usage Journal: 4/2/15

After recording my daily activities yesterday, I found that I spend a significant amount of time plugged in to one social media or another.

My day began when I woke up at 10:30 AM.  I immediately checked Facebook on my phone for about 5 minutes, and then browsed Reddit’s phone app for another 25 minutes or so. Finally, at 11 AM, I got out of bed.

I spent 15 minutes preparing breakfast, and watched a handful of YouTube videos at my desk as I ate. After I ate, it was about 11:30, and I began listening to Spotify radio while getting dressed for class. I left for class at 11:45, and spent about 10 minutes walking to Johnston hall while listening to Spotify on my phone.

From noon to 1:15, I was in my Public Relations Writing lecture, and didn’t consume any social media content. After class I spent another 10 minutes walking back to my apartment, once again listening to Spotify. I got back at around 1:25, and listened to Spotify on my computer for about 10 minutes while getting changed to go to the gym. I spent 5 minutes walking to the Ardmore hair salon,  listening to Spotify on my phone the whole time. I waited for my haircut appointment to start for about 5 minutes, and passed the time browsing Reddit on my phone. I was finished with my haircut at 1:45 or so, and began walking to the rec center while (big surprise) listening to Spotify mobile.

I began my workout at about 2, listening to Spotify the entire time, and finished at around 3:10. I left for my apartment at 3:15 or so, and got back at 3:20. I heated up some leftovers as soon as I walked in, and enjoyed some YouTube videos as I ate until about 3:45. Then I hopped into the shower.

I started getting dressed at about 4 PM, and was listening to Spotify the whole time. Once dressed, I browsed Reddit from 4:20 to 4:50 or so, and watched a couple of youtube videos with my roommates until leaving for the library at 5:20. Of course, I listened to Spotify for the whole walk to the library, before meeting with a class project group. I worked diligently with my group until 8 PM, only checking Twitter two or three times.

I began my spotify-fueled walk home at 8:05, and began cooking dinner once I arrived at 8:10. At 8:30, I enjoyed my meal while watching some YouTube videos at my desk. And from 9:00 to 10:15, I listened to Spotify while working at some homework. Once I was done at 10:15, I browsed Reddit for 45 minutes or so. I then noticed my roommates were watching Netflix in the living room, so I joined them until 12:15 or so. From there I crawled into bed, checked Facebook on my phone one more time, and went to sleep.

I did not expect to find myself using so much social media over the course of a single day. I’m especially amazed at how frequently I use Spotify! That said, I’m sure there are plenty of people within my demographic who consume social media content even more frequently than I do.

PR Case Study: Is Your Relationship a Digital Disaster?

Grace Smith House is a nonprofit in New York dedicated to helping women and children who suffer from domestic violence. This past fall, the organization wanted to establish a social campaign in order to raise awareness among local teens about abuse that can take place in digital relationships.

Co-communications, a PR and marketing firm stationed in Connecticut, rose to the task. Armed with a budget of about $23,000, the agency created an online quiz-based campaign called “Is Your Relationship a Digital Disaster.” The campaign was launched on November 2nd.

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Co-Communication created a mobile-friendly webpage for the quiz, which features a series of 10 questions related to online relationships. The webpage also houses a series of violence prevention messages meant to help women who may be caught in abusive situations.

Upon completing the quiz, users are met with one of three responses based on their answers: “Looks OK,” “Some Warning Signs,” or “Get Help.” This page also reiterates a series of domestic abuse warning signs, contact information for Grace Smith’s House, and a call to action to help friends and family.

Advertising on Facebook was used to generate awareness of the campaign. In addition, Co-Communication generated traffic for the quiz by distributing custom sticky notes to a series of schools. Each note had a QR code printed on it, leading users to the domestic abuse quiz. Co-Communication also organized a press release in mid-November, detailing the credibility of Grace Smith’s House for local media outlets.

Another release was issued this past February, detailing the high-level impact of the campaign. Based on Facebook and Google Analytics, more than 37,000 teens in the Dutchess County area were exposed to campaign messages. Between November 2, 2014 and February 2, 2015, more than 2,300 quizzes were completed. This nearly doubled the “How Messed Up is Your Relationship” quiz- a similar campaign launched in 2013.

Based on this metric, it would seem that the campaign was a huge success! It’s hard to know the exact positive impact of the campaign, but it will have hopefully given thousands of teens insight on what to look for in a positive relationship, and how to avoid an abusive one. What’s more, this campaign also helped to inform the Grace Smith House about the levels of abuse in the demographic, and better equip them to help prevent abuse in the future.

You can find more information on this campaign here, and more about the Grace Smith House here.

And of course, if you think you or someone you know might be suffering from an abusive relationship, do not be afraid to seek help. You can follow this link, or call 1−800−799−7233 to reach The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Thanks for reading!

Infographic: Super Bowl Social Media Interaction

As part of a midterm project, my classmates, Ayah Sarsour, Marikate Finnegan and I made an infographic detailing the social media integration of the 2015 Super Bowl! We were required to pick a topic related to social media, and felt that the Super Bowl would be a great current event to report on.

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Our graphic highlights significant figures relating to the most socially integrated super bowl to date! Data points include the total number of facebook and twitter posts related to the game, which advertisers were most active, which parts of the event received the most online attention, and more!

Making infographics is entirely new to me, but I’m very proud of how ours turned out. Please check out the link above and let me know what you think!

Social Media Trends: The Dress

Over the course of the past few days, the wide web has become infatuated with a certain photo of a certain dress. The photo was originally posted to tumblr on February 25th, accompanied with the caption, “guys please help me – is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the fuck out.”

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The photo doesn’t seem like much at first glance- the quality isn’t even particularly high. But apparently, the fact that it looks like a different colors to different people was enough to send this piece of clothing into the social media spotlight almost over night. The photo sparked discussions on platforms like twitter, facebook, reddit and more, garnering a ridiculous amount of attention worldwide. The world become obsessed with the dress, and desperate to understand this strange anomaly.

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Countless blog and news sites took notice of the trend, and posted several articles sharing their ideas. Sites like buzzfeed began offering scientific explanations as to why the color of the dress seemed inconsistent.

In addition to general debate, an insane amount of original content was generated around this issue. The web was quickly overrun with cartoons, Photoshops, and even a tattoo dedicated to #TheDress. Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 6.36.12 PM

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Even companies like Fiat and Oreo took notice, and seized the opportunity to use the dress as a marketing gimmick.

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It is absolutely mind-boggling to me how something so simple can earn such a ridiculous amount of attention from the world. In just 3 days, the dress has apparently over-taken the entire web. Even more amazingly, the world seems to already be getting sick of this type of content.

Just as quickly as the web became infatuated with the dress, the web is now ready for it to go away. I think this really speaks to the fast-paced nature of social media. International web access makes it extremely easy to share interesting content on a viral level, but even that isn’t enough. There is a constant thirst for fresh content, and many of us feel that we are entitled to new entertainment as soon as we get bored. By today’s social media standards, anyone who is interested in something for more then a day or two is clearly an idiot behind the times.

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I think we can expect many more fads like this in the future. It’s impossible to say what kind of meme will seize our attention next, but I’m sure we will all lose interest in it shortly after it saturates our twitter feeds. In any case, I’ll address that issue when it arises.

US Airways: a PR Trainwreck

April 14, 2014 will forever live in US Airways infamy. It was on this day that a very dissatisfied US Airways customer, @ElleRafter, was berating the company on Twitter for what she felt was sub-par service.

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The interaction was nothing out of the ordinary. In this day and age, it’s commonplace for consumers to have high service standards, and to criticize producers for their shortcomings on social media. US Airways apologized for the inconvenience of the delayed flight, and expressed disappointment in the delay, themselves. A pretty standard response from a company in this situation.

But that just didn’t cut it for @Ellerafter. Still unsatisfied, the customer continued to berate the airline.

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Again, this is nothing really out of the ordinary. In fact, you would think that because airports are relatively high-stress  environments, airlines would be accustomed to these sorts of interactions, and would know how to handle them professionally.

If you think about it,this seems like a great opportunity for @USAirways to demonstrate great customer service despite being in a difficult situation. Why not offer to upgrade this customer on their next flight? Or supply them with some of those curvy neck pillow things for everyone in their party free of charge? Or a lifetime supply of tiny peanut baggies? The whole world is watching, so why not try to turn this negative scenario into a some good free publicity?

But, instead of doing any of those things, US Airways did just about the worst thing you could imagine.Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 12.56.37 PM

@USAirways responded to poor Elle with a completely unprofessional reply, and an extremely NSFW photo. I do not know who thought this was a good idea, but I would not be surprised if they were fired immediately. For nearly a full hour, the abomination was visible for the world to see, and the damage was catastrophic.

Countless news outlets picked up on the event, and thousands of Twitter users spread the news of the photo worldwide, berating @USAirways with extreme prejudice. The damage done to the US Airways brand is unquantifiable, though I know that my respect and trust for this airline has been obliterated. After removing the image, @USAirways apologized for the tweet, and claimed to be “investigating” the event.

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I don’t think I will even understand how someone thought this was appropriate, but I’m sure it will continue to serve as a prime example of PR bad for years to come. It just goes to show what horrific damage a company can do to itself when high tension situations get out of hand. Common sense may not actually be as common as we thought.

#MUBrewCrew: A Success Story

Over the course of the past few weeks, the Milwaukee Brewers have engaged in the #SeeYouApril6 Campaign. This campaign involves tweeting fan-generated content to count down the days until the Brewers opening day- April 6th. Each submission features a unique portrayal of the number of days until the Brewers season starts, and each post has been more creative than the last. As of yet, the campaign has been a wild success! There are still more than 40 days left until opening day, and the campaign already boasts hundreds of photo submissions.

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In an attempt to get in on the action, several of my classmates and I started the #MUBrewCrew twitter campaign! We encouraged our friends and followers to share their Brewers-themed pictures, using the #MUBrewCrew  and #SeeYouApril6 hashtags. Once we had enough pictures our plan was to make a large collage of the content we received, and use it to submit our own number- 44!

Although we fell short of our original goal of gathering 100 pictures, the campaign still received a lot of attention! 50 photos were used in the collage, and #MUBrewCrew was used 142 times- 42 more than we wanted! But the biggest indecator of success, in my opinion, was that the collage we submitted was retweeted by the @Brewers twitter account!

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As exciting as this was, I think our campaign could have been even more successful with a bit more direction. In the huge flood of tweets that our followers receive daily, it would be easily for our requests to tweet photos to go overlooked. I think that if we had a more thorough strategy (and perhaps a little more tie to plan it out) to get people’s attention, this success could have been even greater!

#Superbowl Social Media Trends

This year’s Superbowl received the most prominent social media integration yet! Just about every commercial had its own hashtag, and there were nearly 25 million tweets about game as well as its commercials. But what were people’s reactions to the ads themselves?

In my mind, the most powerful ad this year was the #likeagirl commercial. Growing up is hard enough without harmful phrases belittling young girls, and I feel that this ad really got people thinking.

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The #likeagirl hashtag got an enormous amount of positive attention, but I was astounded to see the negative responses it also got. Self-proclaimed “meninists” of the internet voiced their frustrations about how the ad didn’t mention how young boys also deal with negative experiences during puberty. Thus the #likeaboy hashtag was born.

I could write a whole post solely about how dumb this is, but I’ll just let you read more here instead, if you’re interested. The “Like a girl” ad just goes to show that you can be successful, but still can’t please everyone.

Nationwide also received a lot of attention during the Superbowl. The Mindy Kaling ad was well enough received, but the ad with the boy who “couldn’t grow up” got a lot of negative reactions. Despite its good intentions to #makesafehappen, thousands of people were turned off and even outraged by this ad. Spreading awareness about childhood safety is a noble venture, but I do have to agree that the Superbowl is probably not the right time to be talking about dead children. In response to the push-back, Nationwide has stood its ground. They seem to be holding fast to their position that the ad started a necessary conversation about child safety.

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Nationwide is catching a lot of flack right now, but it will be interesting to see how things play out with this campaign in the long run.

PR Trends: Concerns with Security

In this day and age, we have accounts for just about everything you can imagine. From email addresses to social media outlets to online banking… We are constantly feeding our information into one medium or another with relatively few reservations. Up until fairly recently, a username, password, and maybe a security question or two seemed like enough to keep all of these accounts safe. But in recent years it’s become clear that our information is more vulnerable than we thought.

2014 was a year of severe damage to several companies that fell prey to hackers. Sony, Snapchat, and the iCloud, for example, all had valuable private user data stolen from them. This data included user photos, email addresses, and even credit card information.

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In response to these events, companies have taken steps to actively articulate the strong security of their services. I believe that this is the right move, and it could be good PR for companies who have not been hacked to take advantage of their perceived relative safety. That said, I strongly feel that when one company gets hacked, it means bad news for the rest of the companies in that category in the long run.

These hacks don’t just make a company look incompetent, but imply that giving out online information is an unsafe practice in general. I think it’s safe to say that security concerns will continue to be a trend in the coming years, but I have my doubts about its effectiveness. I don’t expect these types of hacks to stop any time soon, but rather predict an increase in skepticism from users.

If companies hope to maintain consistent levels of trust from users, they will need to up their security game. Otherwise, I suspect their customer base as a whole to lose faith in these companies.