Musings of a PR Professional

Chapter 1: Introducing Networked Nonprofits

The Internet, and in particular social media, has really changed how nonprofits must function in society in order to create social change. Namely, they must be transparent.

Nonprofit organizations must realize that they are no longer able to close up their walls, not let anyone in, and just pump out information about their cause hoping that people with donate their time and money. That’s just not how it works anymore. Nonprofits today need to loosen the reins on their messages, and trust that free agents will do more good for them than harm (a topic that I will discuss further in the following post).

A recent chapter that I read in my mass communication class talked about social change campaigns and what is and is not usually effective. One main point made was that social change does not happen because a television commercial tells someone they should do something, it happens when people and communities come together and start to influence one another’s behaviors and actions. For example, you wouldn’t stop littering just because of a sign on the side of a highway, but you would if your parents began to scold you for doing so, and if friends began to stop themselves.

The power of social media for nonprofits comes in at this point. They need to engage people on a social and communal level in order to create change, and the Internet is a great place to foster those relationships.

“One constant in life is that human beings want and need to connect with one another in meaningful ways. These connections are made through social networks that are the conduits for the conversations that power social change. The job of nonprofit organizations is to catalyse and manage those conversations.”

-Kanter & Fine, The Networked Nonprofit

Cluetrain Manifesto

Internet Apocalypso

  • Communication on the Internet is inherently different- People are having genuine and uninhibited conversations worth listening to and participating in.
  • The Internet connects people and therefore has given them power.
  • It is necessary now for companies to bring their workforce and market together. Companies must tear down the firewalls between the Internet and intranet and let their employees and markets communicate however and about whatever they want. By allowing this they can find out what the market really wants, what the next big thing may be.


Side note: The whole thing sounded a little Fight Club-esque… just maybe a touch more tame.

BB Reading Assignment 1

Babblesoft Mad Blogger

In today’s day and age it doesn’t matter how big, small, public or private a person’s voice may be, someone, somewhere will hear it. I think it is important for each and every one of us to realize that because of the Internet, things such as blogs, email and Instant Messenger carry an enormous weight. If i have learned anything from this PR example, it is that one should never be too quick to judge. I thought that Gunasegaram handled the situation wonderfully by not immediately attacking Laycock and overreacting. She is certainly a very good example of someone who took the time to follow the procedure for “engaging with blogger critics” and had it pay off.

Red Cross Social Media

First and foremost I think it is absolutely amazing that the American Red Cross utilizes technology so well. It seems that PR and technology are a match made in heaven. I don’t know why I am so surprised at this fact, it seems the Internet would be an obvious choice to disseminate information quickly since today virtually everyone is “plugged in.” Also, I love the term “citizen journalist.” It is becoming harder and harder to deny the fact that anyone with technology at their disposal can be a reporter.

BestBuy + Sex and the City Movie

The pitch was pretty funny. Knowing that Sex and the City would not only be affecting the lives of women all over the country this summer, the Geek Squad was brilliant to include the men in a different, yet just as engaging way. By plastering Geek Squad on their pamphlet, Best Buy was able to get their name out to thousands of men. Just a (not so) subtle attempt at creating an association between relief and salvation and Best Buy.

Mars Explorer on Twitter

This is a wonderful idea. Though I’m definitely not the fist person to be keeping up with space travel or exploration, I can name at least five people who are. The simple update is a wonderful way to keep the public in touch with exactly what is going on with the MarsPheonix. The blog is very convenient and a really great and easy way to gain publicity.

City of Greenville Parking Bunny

My first impression was that a parking bunny was completely unnecessary and really, a little stupid. The cutesy rhyme? I don’t know about you but when parking enforcement officers are trying to give me a ticket or telling me to move my car, something “funny” and “adorable” is not what I want to deal with. But the fact that the Parking Bunny issues warnings is very intriguing. One must understand where the officers are coming from, I think the Bunny is an attempt to facilitate this understanding for the public.

Clinton’s Spelling

How does this happen? Who are her representatives?! Time to do some damage control. I know people make mistakes sometimes, but someone who is running for presidential candidacy really shouldn’t make such glaring errors. Does she want people to question her competency?

GM Fastlane Blog

I love this blog. And not because I’m a car fanatic or because I’m in the market for a new one, but I love this blog because big names in the company are contributing to it. “Bob Boniface Director of Design for Chevrolet Volt, GM” and “Bob Lutz GM Vice Chairman,” for example all take time out of their day to sit down at the computer and let the public know what is going on. The way that this personalizes exchanges between the lage motorvehicle company and the every-day buyer is extremely beneficial. Through blogging, it makes GM seem as if they are an honest, intimate company working for the buyer.

JetBlue Video- Post Crisis Communication

David Neelman was in a very tough position being CEO of JetBlue airlines and I think hehandled it very well. Not only did he appear on several new shows to explain the cirsis and why it happened, but he also issued this announcement to the public in an attempt to begin to make ammends and show the customers what JetBlue is doing for them. As I mentioned in the paragraph abover concerning the GM Fastlane Blog, I think the most personal communication is, the more effective it is. It was a great PR call, in my opinion to have Neelman be the one to offer his condolances and reassurance. I think it seemed much more sincere than if someone lower in the company or some representative had been the one to speak out.

Clemson #22

This video and email really resonates with me, and I’m sure everyone else associated with Clemson University in some way. I think it was very wise of President Barker to take a humble approach to his announcement by thanking everyone. It is an honor to be ranked twenty-second but it is even better when we are referred to as a family. “Family” has a very meaningful and positive connotation that everyone can appreciate and by including this concept into his announcement. It’s really a huge honor, and great PR for the school to be ranked so high.