The Social Media Iceberg

Social Media is a huge part of public relations, and it’s becoming more relevant as technology interweaves itself into everybody’s day to day lives. Nicole Matejic compares social media to an iceberg (2015). The comparison between the two seemingly unrelated things, is that there is a small amount of them available for viewing to the public. An iceberg is significantly larger underwater than it is above. This is true for social media in regard to public relations as well.

Above water, or what’s easily accessible to the public, is the organizational social media channels. This includes all public social media, your Facebook, your Twitter, etc. All of the magic behind crisis communications, along with analytics, which are infinitely important, is what lies below the surface (Matejic, 2015). An analogy made in the book, says “Much like those onboard the Titanic that fateful night in 1912, crisis communicators looking at the social media landscape without the information that lies beneath the surface of all social networks — their data — are steaming toward disaster” (Matejic, 2015, pg. 6).

The data that they’re referring to includes, “the geographical locations of your audience, peak post-engagement times, age and gender aggregated data, externally referring sites (such as your blog or website), how many clicks per URL in a post (further broken down into geographical regions), your audience’s aggregated interests (both professional and personal), and which type of post they are more likely to interact with (picture, video, text and so on)” (Matejic, 2015, pg. 6). Without this very important data, a company would have no clue which types of content are succeeding, and which are sinking (pardon my pun), both during a crisis, and day to day.

This type of data didn’t always exist though, in fact, the channels that we receive this data from is fairly new as well. In the past, someone in public relations would spend more of their time writing press releases, to give on air, release in print or publish online (Boitnott, 2017). Nowadays, social media is the primary channel for a company to release official information, but this isn’t the only thing it’s used for.

Public Relations specialists also use social media to find influencers, to identify brand threads, to influence journalists stories, to swiftly react to negative press, and to make announcements (Boitnott, 2017). With a world as digital as ours is today, it’s hard to imagine how a company ever interacted with their customers as much as they can today, considering all they have to do now to show they’re seeing what someone is saying is ‘like’ their tweet.

In addition to all of the ways that PR can use social media, it’s important to realize that the goal of the two are nearly identical: to create a two-way conversation between an organization and the people it wants to influence. When a company uses social media, it becomes a lot easier for them to interact with their audience, and also to tell their story. Posting on facebook is free, whereas a commercial can cost thousands of dollars, but the one thing to remember is that “Storytelling is a constant effort. Be strategic and plan your stories and the mediums you will use to tell them” (Pollard, 2016, para 9).

As a person working in public relations, it is essential to remember the iceberg analogy. Some things are going to work better than others, and it’s all going to depend on what you’re promoting, and who you’re promoting it to. In order to figure out what is going to work the best for your specific situation, it’s necessary to be checking the analytics of your social media, and adjusting your plans accordingly.

Boitnott, J. (2017). 5 Ways You Should Be Using Social Media as Your Top PR Platform. Inc., Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/john-boitnott/bhow-social-media-is-now-your-primary-public-rel.html

Pollard, C. (2016). Why You Should Combine Your PR And Social Media. Huffpost. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/catriona-pollard/why-pr-and-social-media-i_b_12568802.html

Matejic, N. (2015). Social media rules of engagement: Why your online narrative is the best weapon during a crisis. Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Sons Australia.

Advertisements

Generation Like

“When I was a kid, we were outside from when the sun went up until the sun went down” and “Why don’t you kids ever put those electric boxes down and go out and make some friends” are two phrases I heard from my grandparents weekly while I was growing up. And they make some good points. WHY does this generation insist on being glued to their phones 24/7? As silly as it sounds, there are entire worlds on their phones.

When my parents and my grandparents were young they would come up with imaginary worlds, or pretend games to play, but this generation doesn’t have to. Everything they could ever imagine is already on their phone. And before anyone gets mad at me for this – I’m not saying kids shouldn’t go outside, and I’m not saying they should be glued to their phones 24/7, I’m just saying it the way this generation sees it.

Growing up with the internet as such a massive part of day to day life has definitely made my life great at times, but it has also made it terrible. Being a part of a tech-savvy generation I can’t imagine trying to drive more than 30 minutes out of my town without the GPS on my phone. Along with the technology that is useful in our day to day life, it’s incredible how quickly the whole world can know about something seconds after it happens. There are some perks to this, but there are definitely some losses. It’s great to be able to keep up with friends and family you haven’t seen in years, or celebs that you’ll never meet, but there were definitely some days in high school where I wished I couldn’t see all of the parties I didn’t get invited to broadcasted live on everyones snapchat stories.

In the documentary, Generation Like (2014) they interviewed various celebrities, and talked about how the internet has impacted where they are today. One of the people they talked to was YouTuber Tyler Oakley. I have been following Tyler for probably 5 years now. He was born and raised in Michigan, he went to Michigan State University, and we have a lot of the same interests – the most major one being Pop Culture.

Tyler Oakley got famous on accident. He went off to college and was no longer with his family and his high school best friends everyday. To make this a little easier for him and for them he started making random, low quality videos about anything and everything. As he continued to make these videos he started getting a following, and today he has over 8 million subscribers on YouTube.

Tyler is one of many internet stars, and one of few who are using their power and their voice for good. From reminding all of his followers to vote, to advocating for the LGBTQ+ community, it is incredibly important for people with a following as massive as his, to use their voice for good. What is the point of having 8 million followers if all you’re going to talk about is Justin Bieber and Grey’s Anatomy?

Social media has become a crucial part of day to day life, especially right now. With the election just a few weeks away, I feel like every time I log onto anything all I see is Donald Trump this, or Hillary Clinton that, and I’m still not sure if this is good or bad. Although I do believe that everyone has a right to share their opinion, are some of the opinions being shared taking it too far? I have many friends who will try and talk politics to me and all they can talk about is some article they saw on FaceBook that said this or that about one candidate so now they’re voting for the other.

Although it’s hard to be bombarded with so much information every time you log on, something my parents always taught me, and something that I think everyone should do, is take EVERYTHING you read with a grain of salt. Just because your second grade teacher shared an article on FaceBook does NOT mean that it’s true. Overall I think that the presence of social media in everyones lives, although it does have its consequences, is for the better. It’s a quick, easy way to share a photo with your grandma, or connect with your best friend from 4th grade. Maybe we should all just humor the grandparents who tell us to go outside, and bring our laptops outside from time to time, and surf the internet from there.

Koughan, F., and Rushkoff, D. Generation Like. (2014). United States: Public Broadcasting Station.

Internet Privacy: How it’s Decreasing Through the Years

The internet is a very big place filled with a lot of different stuff. You can find everything from recipes, to profiles of your classmates from high school, to random videos of who knows what. Because there is so much you can do on the internet, it is important that you monitor what you’re doing, and how you’re doing it.

So many websites or apps that you can use require you to create an account, where you then have to give away chunks of your privacy. When you’re making your account you’re thinking, “what are they really going to do with my name and my email?” but there’s a lot that they can use that information for.

If you “connect” to an app through Facebook, you could be potentially giving away a lot of information about you, and all of your friends, with just the click of a button. I know when I’m signing up for things I just want to expedite the process as much as possible, so I click everything they ask me to without doing much reading as to what I’m really agreeing to. This is scary because they can put the most random stuff in these agreements.

A news study used a fake app to prove this. They created an app called “NameDrop” and in this app they had hidden clauses that everyone was agreeing to without actually reading, one of them stating that they had to give this company their first born child, and if they didn’t have any yet, the clause was enforceable until 2050 (Dyches). They also talked about how of the people that signed up, 74% of the people skipped reading the policy altogether, and the ones who did read only read for about 73 seconds, which as they say isn’t long enough to read a policy that should take 30 minutes to comprehend.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. Dyches talks about how in 2014, UK customers unknowingly signed away their first born for a free WiFi hotspot, in another study customer’s were signing away their immortal souls. Although this could be avoided if everyone just read what they were agreeing to, it’s still an invasion of privacy.

This isn’t this only way that people’s online privacy gets violated on a daily basis. As the internet and social media become more prominent in day to day life, and in the work force, employers are becoming more concerned with what their employees are posting, and how they’re using their accounts in general. Because of this, “A growing number of employers and schools are demanding that job applicants, employees, and students hand over the passwords to their private social networking accounts” (Social Networking Privacy).

This is wrong on so many levels to me. It’s one thing for your employers to be able to see what you post and share on your social media, but a completely different thing for them to require your passwords. Employers would never be able to open your person mail, or read your diary, so why should they be able to read your personal social media accounts. Overall, I am nervous for the future of the internet. If you have no privacy, that’s really going to prohibit what people post, and may end up ruining social media, and the internet for some people.

 

Dyches, Christopher. “Study: 98 Percent of People Agreed to Give Away First Born in Fake App.” WNCN. CBS, 16 July 2016. Web. 11 Sept. 2016

“Social Networking Privacy.” American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.