Social Media: Friend or Foe?

We always hear great things in terms of social media—if it wasn’t so great, I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg would be the billionaire that he is today.  However, could social media be bad? Mark Ragan, Shel Holtz and a team of well-educated professionals in the business discuss this.

Shel Holtz, an avid blogger and principal of Holtz Communication and Technology, obviously loves the idea and concept of blogging. At the beginning of this discussion, he is trying to implement blogging as apart of Mark Ragan’s company, Ragan Communications.

In Holtz attempt to convince Ragan to implement blogging, he states that blogging helps the company/customer relationship because they can communicate and be informed of one another. So many times are there misconceptions or misunderstandings and blogging can clear that up. Holtz also says customers are going to talk about the company and product regardless, so it might as well be on the company blog so that the company can be aware of what is being said about their business and/or product.

Ragan doesn’t like the obligation to keep up with a blog as well as the rest of his busy schedule, but a suggestion is raised at the employees keeping the customers in the loop via a blog. All that the customers want to know from the CEO is the general company upkeep; the other employees can inform the customers on anything that they wish.

Blogging is also beneficial as it deals with market research. The company can post a blog about potential products or advertising and get customer feedback before they put it on the market. This way, the company will be able to tell if that product or advertisement will be valuable and worth their time and money.

A frequent question for companies when a new system is being introduced is: What is going to be my ROI? Terry McKenzie of Sun Microsystems answers, “Customer feedback is priceless!” Having your customers be informed, encourage communication, allowing them to feel listened to and appreciated, will only reap benefits for your company and provide loyal customers.

Holtz encourages companies to be transparent with their customers and in turn they will have happy campers: both customers and employees.


My Favorite Super Bowl Ad

There were Super Bowl ads that warmed the hearts of some, struck the funny bone of many, and, as always, left a number offended after watching on February 6th, 2011. However, my fancy swung toward one in particular: Bud Light Hack Job.

It always seems that the beer companies have the best and the funniest commercials–Miller Lite in 2010, Heineken in 2010, and again Bud Light in 2009. Bud Light seemed to have a stellar creative team behind this years commercials (Bud Light Dog Sitter was averaged in the top five of favorite Super Bowl commercials this year). Obviously targeted toward middle-aged alcohol drinkers, Bud Light always seems to come up with creative, and funny, messages to their viewers.

In this commercial, as is most beer commercials, the primary target is the late-20s to early-40s male. The wife is not so thrilled about her new kitchen “renovation”, but once she sees her husband enjoying it, and also sees the crowd coming to partake in the enjoyment, she is convinced that the renovation was a good one and enjoys the party as well.

For the Super Bowl, we, as viewers, watch the commercials expecting them to make us laugh. When a commercial airs that is less than hilarious, we are almost disappointed. It takes a special team of creative geniuses to compile a message for a commercial that will not only relay their meaning but do so in a funny and unique manner. I think Bud Light accomplished this in the year 2011 for the Super Bowl.

Adam Vincenzini’s Q & A

Adam Vincenzini asked on Twitter and on his blog for people to share what they thought social media meant in 140 characters, or less. He was provided with a list of definitions by his followers. All of them were great definitions, but there were a few that stood out to me the most:

@trevoryoung Social media is a catalyst for change – change in the way we connect with each other, change in the way businesses communicate with the world*

@BarbaraNixon Social Media provides a new way for us to listen to, learn from, laugh with, and (lol) even loathe each other.

@GemmaCocker Joe Bloggs, please let me introduce you to Limitless Opportunity. Oh, hello, The Man, I’d love for you to meet, Bare All.

The first definition, provided by @trevoryoung, was, to me, a great, yet typical definition of social media. Social media is definitely a catalyst, as he put it, and it will change as the years, and even months, go by. Also, as this definition suggests, social media links customers to businesses, celebrities to networks, and friends to friends. Who ever thinks of picking up the phone anymore–to call that is? Rather, people are using their phones and other devices for networking to its max!

The second definition, provided by @BarbaraNixon, was made complete with accuracy, alliteration, and even comic relief. Information is provided through social media that allows us to do everything that she listed–especially the latter.

The last definition, provided by @GemmaCocker, was probably my favorite of all, as was Mr. Vincenzini’s. This was so creatively stated, yet so perfect regarding social media that I had to include it in my highlight’s, along with some emphasis. Social media is, in fact, and opportunity that is limitless to all. It allows us to be introduced to the world by way of our own “nakedness”. With involvement of social media comes vulnerability, which will be displayed for everyone to read, see, and judge.

My own developed 140-character social media definition? @lindsayyshort my thoughts, words, pictures, and emotions for your intrigue, amusement, judgement, and obsession.

Super Bowl Ad Gone Wrong

In my previous post, I concluded by stating that people will quickly forget the current mishap and move on to the next. Well mark my words because just three tiny days later anger was transported from the Kenneth Cole tweet mistake onto the Super Bowl Ad fail.

As we all know, the Super Bowl is known for more than just great football. The roughly five hour prime-time television is home to some of the greatest–and most expensive–commercials of the year. Every year nearly one billion viewers turn their televisions and cue their critical caps toward the best, and worst, commercials. Fan favorites has always been Doritos and Bud Light; however, people not only look for the funny commercials, but also the distasteful ones.

Among this year’s winner of most controversial commercial is Groupon. The New York Times article, Did Groupon Cross the Line in Super Bowl Ad Debut?, discusses the Groupon commercials and how they all collectively remained offensive: “There is Cuba Gooding Jr. lamenting the fate of whales, while touting a 43 percent discount on a whale-watching boat ride. And there is Elizabeth Hurley, intoning about the rapid deforestation of the Brazilian rain forest…followed by a not that ‘not all deforestation is bad,’ like a 50 percent discount on a Brazilian wax in New York City.” To viewers, although discounts to high-priced services would be a good thing, the delivery seemed insensitive to the real-life issues.

During their Super Bowl commercials, Groupon seemed unaware of viewers upheaval as their Twitter revealed. But again, just as people squatted on the Kenneth Cole issue, these Groupon squatters will soon squat somewhere else in PR chaos.



Kenneth Cole Tweet: A PR Horror or Horray?

Some may have heard about the recent uproar over fashion designer, Kenneth Cole, and his “apathetic” tweet about the upset in Egypt. Well, if you haven’t heard of the tweet, I’m sure you have heard of the protests is the land of the pyramids–unless a hole has been your bed for the past few weeks.

In Ragan\’s PR Daily, many public relations issues are discussed as news topics and suggestive ideas. The Kenneth Cole Tweet was the big article on February 4th, and some of the article’s ideas rang surprising and yet true when I read them.

Cole’s tweet on February 3rd, shown left, was perceived as insensitive and apathetic toward the real Cairo uproar. Upon hearing of the enraged followers, it took his company two hours to take down the tweet with the link to his website. Although Ragan agrees that it was a bad move for the company to take so long to undo (or at least make better) the bad situation, he states by having the tweet along with the site available for viewers to access may have increased his online traffic and quite possibly have boosted his shopping cart.

First of all, I would like to disagree with all of the social media followers who were offended by his tweet. I, personally, thought that it was a cute twist and ploy to advertise for his spring collection and its availability online. In an advertising perspective, I thought it was good to simultaneously link worldwide current news to your brands current news–people are more apt to see the advertisement. And in this case, people definitely saw it.

At the conclusion of this article, Ragan states that it was unlikely that Cole attempted to calculate the “offensive” tweet for the sole purpose of “whipping up traffic to its shopping cart”. Also, just as quickly as followers were up in arms against the designer, they will quickly forget the twitter fumble and move on to the next trending topic.

My Blog Comments

Social Media Participation by: MikeFromVA

That’s great the you got started on Twitter and blogging through WordPress (even if it’s only blogging for class). I’m a PR major also, and I think it’s great to at least have a knowledge about different social networks, if not participate in them. Although I agree with your statement about Facebook being an abused site, especially in our generation, I also think it’s a great way to network yourself and to stay connected–not only with friends and family, but with businesses and musicians. To use your own words, people can be creative through these forms of communication; however, like you also said, we do have to be careful–especially in casual sites like Facebook and Twitter–with what we post if we are truly trying to promote and network ourselves. Good insight, though!

So many social networks, so little time. by: TaraSchwartz

Sounds like your social networking use is pretty normal (mine is too). That’s good that you are broadening your horizons and wanting to use LinkdIn. I feel your pain with the constant changing in technology. Even with the possibility of starting an account through LinkIn is intimidating; not only is it having to keep up with yet another network, but simply the learning about and maintenance of the network is a lot to handle. However, Friendfeed seems to placate my mind…at least for a moment. Good luck to you and all of your future social networking endeavors!

Comment on My Blog. Please? by: Whitness07

It’s slightly ironic that I’m commenting on a post about blog comments, but nevertheless I      completely agree with your statements. It’s always great to receive comments on our thoughts and  feelings (even if we are required to comment for our grade).  Commenting is also a good way to  connect with people, like you said. Although it’s not as productive, if you will, as compared to  Facebook as it pertains to connecting through comments, it does provide other insight and    perspective than just your own. So here is a question for you: If someone’s comment persuaded you  into a different form of thinking, would you then be affected and, therefore, change your perspective?

Obama\’s administration fraught with \”distractions\” by: LLCobb

I’m not really one to comment on this topic because I’m a bad citizen and don’t really stay up with the current news (that’s what Facebook and Twitter are for); however, I thought your stand-point on this ever-so-trending topic was interesting. Although I have to give kudos to our President for canceling an undoubtedly much-needed family vacation to help with the oil spill, it is interesting of all the little things that he is doing in hopes of, like you said, “to win back the heart of America.” Things such as having a Facebook and Twitter account, and being the first and only in-office president to go on a late night talk show sure seem like he’s doing more to save his career than to save his people.


Are you ready for some great commercials? by: GilBoy629

First of all: Go Packers! Thank you for being sick of the Steelers, because they seem about the equivalent of the Lakers. (Sorry if you like the Lakers.) But I am also excited about the commercials. I’m assuming you are among the group that you professed to be “massively obsessed with public relations and media”. If so, you should have included your predictions of who will have the best commercials this Super Bowl season. Also, if I may make another suggestion, it would have been nice to have had a link to the Snickers commercial with Betty White from last year. Although I have already seen it, and agree that it was well-deserved to be a fan favorite, some people reading this blog may have not seen it.

Is Social Media Monitoring Ethical?

Personally, I think social monitoring is ethical. People should be free to post online whatever they think and/or feel; however, with the action of posting online, people should always be aware that they are, in fact, posting to the public. Because of that small fact, I think it is perfectly OK to monitor networks and websites.

Businesses and famed people all over have been protecting their images since day one. It’s common PR 101 right here, folks. If someone says something negative about a business or person, the come back is always either respond positively or dispose of the evidence. If one chooses the latter, it is not unethical since the comment is meant for the public.

There are actually companies who help other companies learn how to monitor their website interaction. One company, called Jive, has a positive take on social media monitoring. Promising to “help you listen, measure, and engage” with customers seems like a constructive means of social monitoring, but is monitoring nonetheless.

Another company, called Trackur, uses “sophisticated social media monitoring and filtering technology. It scans the web for any mention of your name, brands, and products—so you don’t have to.” Trackur simply brings to attention anything that is mentioned about specific name, brands, or products; then it’s at the discretion of the user to do with the mention how they please.

There are many more websites that can assist in social monitoring, and even some websites that tell you of other websites—such as Ben Barren.

Yet another website, Mashable, provides ten helpful steps to successful social monitoring. The first of which is to define the objective: ask yourself why you are monitoring and make sure that you have a clear goal in mind.

I think the key thing to remember, as users of the internet, is that we are using a public site and, therefore, everything will be public. If there is something that we would like to post about a person, brand, and/or product that would be offensive, then watch out for it to be plucked from space.