Musings of a PR Professional


PROpenMic

This semester on PROpenMic, my personal goal was to get my feet wet and understand basically how the networking site works. In that respect, I think I accomplished my goal and did well to interact with others on the site. Mostly, I explored and listened to determine the appropriate topics to be addressed and way of expressing myself on the site. Also, listening ended up helping me determine what PROpenMic can actually do for me.

Overall, I like the site a lot because it is geared very much toward students. The atmosphere of the site is relaxed in that I feel that fellow students are the most common people with accounts on the site. Also, it feels as though I can ask questions to whomever, and not have to worry about being judged in some way but also get an answer that is valuable. For instance, I think my biggest contribution this semester on PROpenMic is also the most helpful thing I have gained from it. About two months ago at the end of February, I started a discussion by asking the question: What do you think makes a good blog comment? I got a lot of great feedback from all different types of people. All of it was very nice and reassuring, one woman even provided a helpful link. I think the most helpful response however, was from a man named Phil Gomes who said that a good comment should always add to the conversation.

Additionally, I absolutely love the fact that Robert French, the creator of PROpenMic, is extremely active with the site. On my discussion post alone, he commented twice, one of which was a response to a student who had replied. His involvement  makes me believe that PROpenMic has the potential to be a a great place where PR professionals, students, and professors can all come together and engage in an open and informative conversation. I know that already I have learned a lot from the site, just reading and following different groups’ discourse and different discussions I find interesting.

In the coming months, I hope to continue to cross-post from my main blog. Although I have been doing that this semester, continuing to do so would definitely help me get my ideas out there and also learn from people’s responses to the  posts. I would also like to continue to expand my presence on PROpenMic. I would like to become friends and network with more people on the site. I believe I can learn from the professionals and professors and I believe I can find a great support group in the students on the site who share my perspective on PR.


Comments on Blogs

I commented on Chris Brogan’s blog post in which he discusses what it really means to create a social media presence online, specifically in regards to Ford’s Fiesta Movement project. Check out his post, and I’d also recommend looking at what Ford’s doing with this  new project, I’d love to hear what you think about what they’re doing and whether or not you’ll think it will sell more cars.

I also commented on Todd Defren’s blog post in which he talks about the Twitterati backlash that occurred as a result of Oprah joining the site.


Domino’s PR Crisis

It really shocks me how much damage two employees and a 2 minute and 27 second video can do. But, I guess that’s the nature of the game now that the Internet is so integrated into our lives.

Yesterday, Brian Solis added the post The Domino’s Effectthat tracked the way Domino’s has been handling an extremely inappropriate and down right disgusting viral video. The video was made by two employees and it shows them tampering with customers’ food. In the post he includes emails from the president of Domino’s as well as their official response to the issue. Solis gives his opinion on the subject, and believes that so far, Domino’s has been handling the situation in the most appropriate way. I have to concur, they responded immediatelywith a statement (from the president no less) and by removing the videos off the web. This way, Domino’s’ publics are reassured that important people in the Domino’s corporation are not only aware of it, but that they are sorry. Also, by taking the original videos down, they will receive less exposure and hopefully allow the crisis to blow over quickly.

Go check out the post (and honestly, I wouldn’t watch the video if you have a weak stomach) for the rest of his advice on how Domino’s should handle the crisis.


Colbert Interview with Twitter Co-Founder

Via the High Tech PR Blog’s post No Twit Here: Twitter Co-Founder vs Colbert a Win for Biz Stone, I was pointed in the direction of the interview that occurred last Thursday, April 2nd on the Colbert report between Stephen Colbert and Biz Stone (the Twitter co-founder). Before reading Lois Paul’s reflection on the interview, I clicked the link to watch a video of it myself.

Facts I found interesting:

  • Twitter was a side project they worked on while working for another company.
  • Began with the idea that Twitter would be connected to mobile messaging (wasn’t just an application after-thought)
  • The reason they picked 140 characters (rather than the 160 character limit of text messaging) was to leave room for a username.
  • Twitter will eventually generate revenue.

Quotes I found informative/interesting:

  • “Messaging service we didn’t know we needed until we had it.”
  • “We’ve got to keep pushing.” Stone brings the audience’s attention to the fact that methods of communication are constantly evolving and with the birth of technology and the Internet, that growth is occurring at exponential rates. It is his belief that we shouldn’t just rely on our current methods of communication, but we need to keep discovering and trying new things that improve the communication effectiveness and the connections effective communication can foster.
  • “140 characters is actually a lot more than you think it is and creativity is definitely inspired by that constraint.” Twitter isn’t just another communication medium. It challenges people to actually think about and craft what they want to say to an audience. It encourages new ways of talking (and thinking) about things.

Overall, I think Stone does a great job of getting his points across. Obviously when dealing with an interviewer such as Stephen Colbert, making good points you want to be taken seriously can be hard with a comedian constantly making jabs at them. However, Stone does a great job by laughing along with the jokes. Also, he kept the number of his points to a minimum and they were concise enough so that he could state his claim before the next question or joke was fired at him.

Additionally, I think it was a good choice for Stone to do the interview. By speaking with Colbert, he acquainted the viewers of the Colbert Report, who many of which may not be aware of what Twitter is or may have even never heard of it before, with Twitter. It gave him a chance to his piece on something that is new and unfamiliar to a lot of people to increase exposure and ultimately communicators on Twitter.

What do you think?


Bad PR Example: Killer Coke

On Google.com, a search for the term “coke” brings up about 38,400,000 results. However, sixth from the top, the site Killer Coke sits glaringly as one of the first search results reflecting the Coca-Cola company. Proceeding to click on Killer Coke brings you to a black and red sitewhere the first thing one sees is a picture of a corpse with the words “MURDER… IT’S THE REAL THING.” superimposed over the image. It is the site’s goal to stop the violence that is going on against union leaders who work at bottling plants in Colombia, South America.

The site is doing everything in its power to make people aware of the violent labor practices going on in Colombia. It offers everything from merchandise such as T-shirts with the slogans “Unthinkable! Undrinkable! Ban Killer Coke” to and archived news stories that reflect Coca-Cola in a negative way. Also on the site is a collection of the petitions againstthe Coca-Cola company as well as a list of international drinking alternatives to Coca-Cola.

This site is very bad PR for the Coca-Cola company for two main reasons.

First, being the sixth search result on Google, this site gets a lot of exposure. Coca-Cola is certainly not the word most people use today when they’re talking about this soft-drink, it is “coke.” As a result, it is most likely this is the word that is used by consumers of Coca-Cola to find things on the Internet about the company. Being the sixth search result down then makes Killer Coke very visible to consumers of Coca-Cola. The violent, in-your-face titled draws attention to itself and warrants a click. Because this site is so easy to find on the Internet, many people have probably visited it and at the very least been exposed to the negative things it has to say about the Coca-Cola company.

Second, the content on the website is extremely damaging. The first image the visitor sees is fear-inducing and draws one in making them want to know more about why Coca-Cola is connected to murder. Since the mission statement of the site is directly beneath that first image, the visitor is immediately exposed to the violent labor practices Coca-Cola is engaging in in Colombia. As the person scrolls down the content continues to become more and more supportive of a negative portrayal of the company. The archive of “Breaking News” is well over 100 stoires long, and almost all, if not all are from credible sources detailing inappropriate practices and the troubles of Coca-Cola. Finally, the list of petitions against varying practices of the Coca-Cola company adds people power to the negative PR surrounding the Coca-Cola company. The sheer fact that many people have actively rallied against this company makes this bad, violent image more relevant.