Need for Ethics in Advertising

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“Julia Roberts is beautiful, her skin looks so perfect, and oh she’s wearing Lancôme Teint Miracle in this ad? I HAVE to try it.” That sums up the typical thought process that goes through my head when I look at new cosmetic product ads. It’s sad to say that after doing research and listening to class discussions on unethical advertising that I no longer think that way. My thought process now sounds more like, “I wonder how much they Photoshopped her face in this ad, is she even wearing Lancôme Teint Miracle? I wonder how many other products her stylists put on her face for this picture.” This ad among a few others sparked the United States and International Advertising Regulators to move towards banning photoshop in ads that can mislead a consumer. You would think advertising professionals were ethical enough not to do something like this but lately ethics have been sacrificed for financial gains in the advertising world.

It’s upsetting that consumers can’t rely on ads to be a trustworthy source of information when deciding to buy a product. Shouldn’t that be the purpose of advertising? Indecisive consumers everywhere would be thrilled if advertising professionals decided to abide by the Kantian ethical theory in their everyday work. In this day and age this concept is almost impossible to instil into the heads of creative professionals but what if? What if advertising professionals had ideas for ads that were sprung from nothing else but good will? Meaning their primary goal would be to tell the truth about a product to consumers, giving them all information necessary to make an educated and wise buying decision without somehow enhancing a product to seem more than it really is? That would make our lives as the consumer so much easier when we are deciding which products to buy.

The concept of being an ethical advertising professional by telling the truth about a product and not exaggerating its features in ads seems like it would be easy, but what if you have a client pressuring you to do so? Clients rely on their advertising team to increase product awareness/ desire therefore producing sales that ultimately the fate of that company seems to be put in their creative little hands.  This is where the choice to be ethical is decided, do you choose to be ethical and tell the full about the product in your ad or do you choose to deceive the public while making your client happy?  Typically, the answer is deceiving the public by creating an amazing ad that makes your client happy, you happy and your boss happy. Not to mention that if you piss off your client, your firm can get fired and if that happens then potentially you can get fired if your superior sees it as a huge loss to the company.

Not to sound dramatic but if advertising doesn’t start acting in a more ethical manner, the profession will take a turn for the worst and shrink drastically in a few years. In my opinion, why does it seem like a good business decision to pay an extraordinary amount of money for an ad that people interpret as lies when you can encourage personal recommendations from loyal customers? According to Forrester Research, 70% of consumers trust brand/product recommendations from friends/family while only 10% trust advertising. That can’t be something an advertising professional likes to hear and it’s certainly not something consumers like to see either. An infographic made from Forrester’s study by analyst Tracy Stokes shows that consumers trust reviews by literally anyone before any kind of advertising.

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If advertising acted in a more ethical matter with regards to the content of their ads, the profession would thrive. Photoshop has just got to go in general, yeah it’s a fun tool to use but enhancing a photograph or a person or a product to be something it’s not in order for it to be appealing to consumers makes no sense. If a cosmetic model needs Photoshop to look good while wearing your makeup you might want to rethink your makeup and if a car needs enhancements to seem cooler then maybe you should go back to the drawing board. Ethical advertising should be something that isn’t even discussed; the fact that untrue messages are disseminated to so many people on a daily basis is awful.

Being ethical in advertising should be a number 1 priority to all professionals in the field. The focus now should be to increase the number of people that trust advertising and the only way to do that is through clean, honest communication. It’s going to take work and time but it all starts with the generation of students now who are learning about how the lying, enhancing and manipulating can actually hurt the overall profession. Changing how the public feels about advertising is essential and it all boils down to working in an ethical fashion.

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Gone Forever

I remember my first beer, only because I took 100 pictures of my friends and I that night at a party. Those pictures eventually made their way to Myspace but don’t worry my profile was private so only my friends and I had access to those pictures. Oh and no one could ever find these pictures now because I deleted them a few years after, meaning they are gone forever. WRONG. At a young age we are taught that deleting something makes it go away, never to be seen again. Don’t we all wish this was true?

 Posting something on the internet should come with a contract saying in big uppercase, bold letters “THIS IS HERE FOREVER, POST AT YOUR OWN RISK”. Everything you post, no matter if it was 10 years ago, 10 months ago or 10 minutes ago is still accessible to someone somewhere even if you delete it. In this day and age screen shots can either be your lifesaver or your worst enemy.

There have been so many instances where someone in a position of power has posted something offensive, hateful or on accident that caused a stir. Naturally your initial reaction is to pretend it never happened and delete whatever it was that pissed people off right? WRONG. This is how numerous public relation disasters have been created for companies, networks and people across the nation. The correct action plan would be to take responsibility and apologize for your actions instead of simply trying to pretend it never happened. Someone somewhere will call you out on it, they aren’t shy.

 The examples of this are numerous; Justine Sacco a PR professional who posted a racist tweet resorted to deleting her entire account to hide the offensive post.

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 E! Online quietly deleting a critical fashion story about Ellen Page after negative comments were made about it.

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 And Steve Elkington deleted all of his offensive posts regarding gay athlete Michael Sam.

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A statement wasn’t made on behalf of any of these people until a statement was pretty much forced out of them, not helping their reputations much. Yet all of these tweets, posts and stories live on, you can see pictures or read any of them just by searching them on Google. Goes to show you, nothing is gone forever.

In many instances however, it is completely necessary to remove or delete an online post from an account. In those cases there needs to be acknowledgement on behalf of the person that posted the negative material that it was wrong and has been taken down.  The main point I’m trying to make here isn’t that you shouldn’t delete things, it’s that if you decide to delete something because it is offensive and gaining negative attention don’t try to pretend it never happened just take responsibility for it.   A great example being Ashley Bensons recent stir, minutes after she posted a picture that looked as if she was mocking Amanda Bynes, she took the picture down and apologized via twitter to all of their fans.

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In the world of PR I think it’s important to realize that our profession is based off of how the public views our clients. We have to make sure our clients own up to mistakes made online by taking responsibility and apologizing for inappropriate posts, not by trying to take the easy way out and deleting/hiding things.  Keeping clients in the good graces of the general population is something we should all strive to achieve and you can’t do that by being shady. Also as PR students and professionals, we must all be extremely careful what we are posting online because you never know when it can come back around and bite you.

As for those 10th grade party pics, let’s hope those stay away.

Cokes Solution to Social Media Addictions

It’s funny to think that social media can actually be an addiction to people now days, when its existence is still so new. Some argue that people spend so much time on social media that it actually impacts their social skills in real life. That is a little scary to think that some people spend so much time communicating virtually that in real life they can’t function as well.

coke-collar-hed-2014Photo from ADWEEK

If you believe you fall into the category of being a social media addict, never fear Coke-A-Cola is here to save the day. Earlier this week, Coke-A-Cola released a video mocking the amount of time people spend on social media by introducing a fake product called the “social media guard”. Which essentially is a cone shaped dog collar that is Coke red and blocks you from checking your phone every few seconds.  It’s a silly little video that just highlights the fact that people need to put the phone back and see what’s going on in the real world, there might actually be something there worth seeing.

Since the Coke brand has such a “Real-world appeal”, they wanted to create something that could remind people that the real world is just as exciting as a virtual one (if you’re drinking a coke of course).  Some parts of the video actually made me a little more aware of how much people use their phones in social settings. There was a scene of a little girl watching videos of a cat on her phone while her actual cat is sitting in front of her, and another of a dad on his phone at the dinner table with his family. I’m not downplaying the importance of social media in society today; I’m becoming more aware at how much it can become a part of every activity you partake in and that is actually kind of sad.

I think Coke did a good job in really giving its viewers a little reality check of how much time they are spending on social media instead of real life. Everyone should probably become more aware of how much they are using social media and their phones in general so you don’t turn into one of the social media addicts that lack social skills. Put the phone down and enjoy a Coke with some friends, doesn’t that sound fun? Oh and don’t Instagram it, just for Cokes sake.

Here’s the video in case you missed it.

Making PR Classes Count

There are so many different ways to think about college. Meaning college for one person could be them preparing for the professional world ahead, to another it’s just a continuation of school their parents forced them into and to others they just want to party and know college is one of the best places to do it. To me personally, college wasn’t an option, I knew I had to go and I wanted to go but I never really saw it as a place where the class work actually mattered.

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Photo from Chimes

Your first two years at school you take all the basic core classes, the ones the university makes you take in order to ensure you become a “well rounded student” but what about the rest of them? Your upper level classes are all classes you chose to take depending on the career path that you have chosen for yourself, mine for instance is Public Relations.

When-are-we-going-to-use-thisPhoto from Teach

Everyone at some point in their college life has asked themselves in their head, “Why are we learning this?”, “This is just busy work” or “This assignment is annoying”, and to be honest I have thought all these things at one point. What no one actually thinks about is how these assignments will prepare you for your career ahead, especially in PR classes when you are assigned various writing assignments.

The classes you take in college that allow or force you to work with a real world client are the best classes. Instead of seeing it as something that will be hard or “more work”, think of how it’s going to benefit you and the client in the long run. This is real life experience that you are gaining from just another college class. I have had two PR classes where we have had to reach out and work with local clients to base our work off of and I thought it was fantastic. It helped you see that what you are doing in class really does apply to the professional world.

When I got my first internship, there was a day when my supervisor asked me to write a pitch letter to send to a media outlet. Boy did I wish I had listened and took that class lecture more seriously. At that point I logged onto Blackboard and pulled up my teachers PowerPoint to help me do my assignment, at my internship! That’s when I really realized I needed to pay more close attention to detail during my class lectures.

These professors aren’t just teaching us things for the sake of teaching us something on a particular subject. All of this stuff actually has professional application, At least all of my upper public relations classes do.

Public relations is a field where you need to be an excellent communicator, meaning you should know how to write things in the correct format and with the right appeal for whoever you are writing to. Employers expect you to already know how to write these things and do you know where you learn how to write them? CLASS.

This applies to many majors besides my own, there are so many students that make it through college by just cramming before a test or writing a paper at the last minute but what are you learning? College classes aren’t just a bunch of teachers assigning “busy work” they are standing up there literally teaching you what it takes to be successful in your field. The assignments are more like practice for the professional world ahead which is what a lot of people don’t see.

One more example just to tie it all together, in a recent interview at a PR firm the interviewer was telling me all of the things that interns usually work on day to day. Press releases, pitch letters, feature stories, media lists, fact sheets and newsletters for all of their clients. While listening to her list off everything, all I could think about was about how I had lectures and assignments on all of these things in class within the past year.

Every lecture I sit through now you bet I am taking notes and internalizing things more than I ever had before. This is all stuff I’m going to be doing for the rest of my professional life so why would I miss the opportunity to become as strong in these skills as I can be? Think of these classes as your practice run, get as good as you can and write to the best of your ability so you can use your assignments as writing samples for a future employer!

Top Tips for PR Success

The Huffington post published a very interesting article online that I really found useful to read and understand. The article was titled “Ron Torossian’s 35 Public Relations Tips for Success”. In this article there were 35 points that Torossian found useful for professionals in the public relations industry as well as anyone in the business industry as well. While all of them are very important to anyone’s success there were a few that I believed were some of the most important tips for PR success.

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Photo from Pinterest

 The first tip that I believe is incredibly important to anyone’s success in the PR world is that “PR has been and will always be about building relationships”. This tip is followed by a few lines about how in the old days you only needed to worry about a few beat reporters, columnists, hosts or other key people but today it is all about knowing pretty much everyone. You need to have relationships, connections and hooks in almost every industry, news source or online source that you can in order to be as connected as possible. If you aren’t good at throwing yourself out there and meeting new people while building long lasting relationships with them then this field might not be for you. Another tip Torossian talks about is the importance of networking which is essentially is the same thing, being able to build relationships and being able to connect and communicate effectively with different kinds of people in order to build your network of professionals who could one day be able to help you out.

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 The second major tip that Torossian offers is that “everyone loves a great storyteller-become one”. At the heart of everything a PR person does is being able to write and communicate effectively, in other words telling a story to your audience that will persuade them of something or touch their hearts thus creating the attention and word of mouth you need. He goes on to say that when a good story is written it can motivate a person or group of people to go from being passive about a subject or cause to being a participant or to participate. In other words, being a good writer is something that is a necessity if you want to succeed and do well in this field. Another tip that piggy backs off of this idea is that “News is entertainment”. When you are writing your stories be interesting, entertaining, relevant and exciting in your writing to keep your readers engaged. We are all guilty of reading something until it starts getting boring then moving on to something else so don’t let this be one of your pieces that turns out to be a dud! Use visuals and media to break up long areas of text to keep your readers engaged, people are reported to spend more time looking at something if there is some kind of visual, audio or other media that is there to support what the article is talking about. Don’t be boring in your writing!

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The third tip that I hope everyone already knows is to always “Tell the truth, and do so with clarity, sincerity, and passion”. Telling a little white lie can sometimes turn into something awful when you are least expecting it so always just be honest in your writing or communicating, even if it is boring. You would rather keep your credibility and be a little dull at times rather than tell a lie and get so much media attention on it that at one point someone figures it out that you lied. Therefore making the credibility of you and overall the profession seem slim.

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The last tip that I found extremely important to anyone in the PR or any business field for that matter is not to expect privacy. Privacy really doesn’t exist anymore in our openly social world, so make sure whatever you post is something that you wouldn’t be embarrassed for people to see. No matter if you delete or hide something from your profile, someone can see it, it’s there forever so make sure what you post is worth it. Scary concept isn’t it? No more privacy.

 

Look Around

Public relations is more than just knowing how to write, network and manage social media. It’s also about knowing your market and being aware of things that are going on around you. I always wondered why my teachers insisted on giving us current event quizzes in my PR classes and now I understand the importance behind those.

To be a great public relations practitioner you have to be aware of everything that is going on around you to come across PR opportunities. Whether this is through social media, print media or blogs there are always things people want to know more about or read up on after a big event/movie/game or show.

As we are all aware, social media is taking over the PR world making it easier and easier for a brand or company to get free publicity and become more relevant. This is displayed so much during the Grammys and the Super bowl. During the Grammys there was a tweet from Arby’s that commented on Pharell’s hat that went viral in a matter of minutes. Who even thinks about Arby’s anymore? Are they even still open? These questions were quickly answered by the seizing of a PR opportunity that presented itself during the Grammys.

More recently there were other great opportunities that were taken advantage of from many different companies. One being JC Penny, who tweeted with mittens on during the Super Bowl making everyone think they were drunk with their misspelled and confusing tweets. These tweets however became famous in a matter of minutes, gaining thousands of favorites, retweets and mentions nationwide. JC Penny planned ahead for this PR move but many companies took advantage of JC Penny’s stunt and made it their own like Kia Motors, and Kohls. Kia Motors cleverly responded back to JC Penny asking if they needed a designated driver while Kohls responded back to a tweet with a link to “Texting gloves” that they currently sell in stores.  Both of these companies saw a PR opportunity and took it with no hesitation and that is what is so important about knowing what is going on around you.

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Photo taken from PR Newser

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Photo taken from AdWeek

When thinking of the Super Bowl there are so many brands, companies and products that don’t come to mind and social media gives everyone and everything an equal opportunity to put themselves out there and be recognized. If the PR and social media moderator for JC Penny, Kohls, Arbys or Kia didn’t know the Super Bowl was on that day, or wasn’t aware the Grammys was being aired a few weeks ago they wouldn’t have gotten the amazing publicity they have been receiving lately. Even Doritos, a major Super Bowl sponsor didn’t miss their time to shine and popped in with another clever tweet, “Slow down JC Penny, have some Doritos.”

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Photo Taken from AdWeek

                I won’t be as annoyed when I am presented with a pop current events quiz in class anymore because I have realized how important it is to be up to date on what is going on around me. Not just locally either, it’s important to read up on the news and know what is going on everywhere. There may be things you have never even heard of before that may be interesting or things that could bring about an amazing PR opportunity for you or your company. You just never know.

PR Lessons from the Grammys

After the Grammys ended I quickly searched the internet for articles analyzing the nights many big moments. I came across an article titled “7 PR Lessons from a Grammy Awards Insider” and was immediately interested since I have a huge interest in the music industry.

This article took you through seven major lessons the Grammy Awards showcased that helped capture the attention of people everywhere. I wanted to just pick a few that were the most useful but it turns out all of them are extremely important to know and understand if you want to succeed in the public relations industry.

The first lesson was titled “Step up your social game”. This referred to the Grammys Awards publicizing their hashtag throughout the entire show, as well as hosting a “Twitter cam” that took pictures of celebrities live tweeting selfies from the event. The practice of creating a hashtag for a show and showing it on the screen for viewers to use isn’t a new concept but it was the first time the Grammys did it. The Twitter cam in my opinion, was such an amazing idea, with the camera you can see all of the action around the celebrities and is another way to get the public to follow the Grammy account and hashtag. From a public relations perspective, being proactive on social media was a great move for the show making more people aware that it was on and it was interesting. There were many viewers that only tuned into the Grammys because of things they were reading on Twitter, which shows how influential social media can be on people.

beyPhoto taken from Time Entertainment

The opening number by Jay Z and Beyonce was a performance that won’t be forgotten for a long time, which proves the second PR Lesson “Sex Sells” true.  Many people argued it was risqué and too sexual, but from a PR standpoint it did what it set out to do which was capturing the attention of viewers, bloggers, reporters, talk show hosts and of course social media. People are still talking about it, almost a week after it happened and that’s exactly what the producers and public relations department wanted in an opening act. While using a sexual context isn’t always appropriate for public relations work, when you have an awards show of this magnitude you want to command attention from anyone willing to give it, and tweet about it.

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What do many people think of when they hear the name Robin Thicke? Most likely it was his last national performance where he had Miley Cyrus “twerking” on him which wearing a raunchy outfit. The Grammys did wonders for Thicke’s image showing that “There’s always a second chance” which is the third PR lesson. The Grammys seemed to erase the memory of Cyrus grinding all over him (at least for now) by replacing it with an amazing collaboration between Thicke and classic rock band Chicago. It was such a great performance that amazed and entertained millions of viewers, in a way completely opposite of Thicke and Cyrus’ collaboration.

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“Keep em’ guessing” is the fourth PR lesson that the Grammys taught us. Daft Punk not only stole two of the most coveted awards from the show but were also one of the most talked about and googled performers of the night. Everyone watching obviously wanted to see who the masked men were that received such big awards so they turned to social media and the internet in general. This PR move is so brilliant because it requires people to search Daft Punk in which they see results for their music, pictures, videos, concerts, news stories, websites, blogs and everything they want people to see and share.

arbysPhoto taken from Clickz

One of my favorite PR lessons from this article was the fifth one titled “Seize the moment”. Memorably displayed by the Oreo Cookie tweet that read “Power out? No Problem. You can still dunk in the dark” when the power went out at the Super Bowl in 2013. This year the best one we have seen so far is a tweet by Arby’s during the Grammys that saw a chance for publicity and took it. Arby’s tweeted “Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back? #GRAMMYs” which in my opinion is pretty clever and witty on the PR and social media team at Arby’s. The tweet to date has 87,700 retweets and 48,800 favorites. This shows you that as a PR professional you should always be aware of current events and what is going on around you in case there is ever a great publicity opportunity.

The sixth lesson was titled “Don’t screw up the speech” talking about the critical time you have to speak to your fans and supporters. This was displayed by Lorde during her awkward but humbling speech she gave after winning her awards. As a PR professional, anytime you have the opportunity to speak in front of such a massive amount of people, you have to know what you are going to say and how to say it the most effective way.

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Finally, one of the most important lessons you could learn is how to “Start a conversation” or engage your audience. During Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s performance of the song ‘Same Love,’ 34 gay and straight couples were married by Queen Latifa. This sparked a controversy but also a worldwide conversation by everyone that heard about or saw the marriage ceremony take place. This was a powerful statement that the Grammys as well as the performers made, but also from a PR standpoint started a conversation that I believe will never end. It was beautiful to see how many people were engaged in this spectacle but even more beautiful, especially to the PR professional behind it, to see all the thousands of conversations, tweets, blog posts, articles, websites and other social media posts it sparked all over the internet.

All of these lessons that I read about from this article I probably would not have recognized on my own. This article inspired me to start looking at everything around me more closely and from a PR perspective. So many things are pre planned for reasons explained in the previous paragraphs and that is so amazing. Just goes to show you how public relations is everywhere and how big of an impact is has.

Social Media Revolution

Thinking about how people lived without social media is mind boggling to the millions of people who use some type of social media daily. Have you ever stopped to think how and when social media even came to be what it is today?

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Photo taken from PR in Your Pajamas Article

Social media surprisingly has a very long history, the early beginnings of social media started in 1966 with the creation of Email and 1971 when the first email was actually delivered. Email gave us a way to communicate almost instantly without having to wait for a letter to be sent in the mail, taking days or maybe weeks depending on where you are sending it. Email started the trend of electronic communication between people all over the globe and was greeted with skepticism at first but was quickly adopted by many with computer access after.

The second social media creation most internet savvy people are very familiar with is Ebay which is an electronic marketplace for new/used merchandise at somewhat discounted prices. From Ebay’s creation in 1995 starts the long evolution of social media as we know it. AIM Instant Messenger, Blogger, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, Foursquare, Pinterest, Google+ and most recent fad Snapchat.

The revolution of social media took over an entire generation, generation Y, as we have grown up with all of these websites and applications since a very young age. I remember having my first Aim Instant Messenger screen name when I was 10 years old! Looking back on that time, I’m not sure what 10 year olds were talking about online but I knew I had to have one so I could keep up with all of my friends beyond school hours. We have been exposed to social media almost our entire lives and in schools are instructed to build a strong online presence.

From being 10 with AIM to now being 21 with Snapchat I guess you could say I am very reliant on social media in my everyday life. I honestly don’t know what I would do without it and I think that goes for many students my age. Social media has grown to be one of our standard channels for communication and entertainment all at the same time. Many people can’t watch TV without tweeting comments about whatever they are watching and other people can’t eat a decent looking meal without taking a picture. It seems as if it’s just second nature for us to do those things.

The reliance and obsession with social media has become so prominent in the lives of so many people that it was an extremely popular choice when it came to New Year resolutions. Giving up social media for a year? I don’t know one person, not even my mother, or grandmother for that matter, that could probably keep that resolution.

On the other hand, giving up social media now a days could not only be seen as “social suicide” but a bad career move. Many employers and recruiters look for applicants that have a strong positive online presence on social media. In that context however, social media can make or break you. Posting content that is relevant to your career path, engaging, interesting and timely on your blog or Twitter/Facebook accounts can really help you stand out from others.

The revolution of social media started with a simple email to get/receive important messages quickly to sending funny selfies of yourself to your best friends. It’s a revolution that I am proud to be a part of and happy to be participating in. Social media is a major networking tool whether to meet people you don’t know or just keep up with your friends or family around the globe! It really is crazy to think of a life without it.

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Photo taken from The Cord

Angry Collegians Resort to Twitter

Snow and ice are two things that southerners, especially Texans, don’t know how to deal with. During the Fall 2014 semester the University of North Texas was shut down for about 3 days due to the ice around the area. North Texas students were amazed by the freezing temperatures of 20-30 degrees and were joyous when classes were cancelled. If the students at the University of Illinois heard this story they would either laugh at us or get even angrier at their Chancellor that refused to cancel classes for below zero temperatures.

UIPhoto taken from PR Daily Article

As you would imagine, below zero temperatures aren’t safe or bearable for anyone so you can probably guess how upset the student body was. After the mass statement was released to the student body by Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise the students went crazy.

Students took to social media as fast as the email was being sent out, posting horrible and nasty tweets about the university and especially at Wise. The tweets turned racist and sexist after just a few hours with comparisons like “Phyllis Wise is the Kim Jong Un of chancellors” and “Asians and women aren’t responsible for their actions”.

Multiple hash tags were created in this fury of students and one particularly profane one caught the eye of Buzzfeed writers who wrote an entire article on the event.

It’s absolutely absurd that people feel no remorse in posting things of this nature on social media for anyone to see. You never know who is reading your tweets or who will go back through them later. Maybe your future employer? New love interest? Your parents? I know none of these people would appreciate seeing nasty remarks with a hashtag containing profanity on their feeds.

Twitter is a place for opinions and being able to share emotions about whatever it is you are feeling emotional about but there is a line you should draw. Profanity, racism and sexism is never something that people want to read. Maybe it is if you are in a certain social circle but for the majority of the population nobody wants to interact with a person that posts things of that nature.

I agree with the students of Illinois in that school should have been cancelled with weather like that, but those tweets are doing nothing but projecting negative images of yourself to others.

Moral of the story, while I will be the first one to turn to Twitter to share my opinions, I know there are boundaries regarding what I post online. I hope people realize that what you post online is permanent, and you never know when it can creep back up on you. Even if you delete it.

Share your opinions and engage with others that think different than you but keep it classy, people are reading and following.

 enhanced-buzz-11101-1390802647-7Image taken from Buzzfeed Article

Social Media Monitoring

Tallulah Wilson, who killed herself in 2012, aged 15

I have been following a developing story in the news about a 15-year-old girl named Tallulah Wilson who recently committed suicide by throwing herself in front of a train. Sounds harsh but supposedly, this incident all started from online cyber bullying on social media. Apparently Wilson had many followers in which she shared self-harm photographs, I’m not quite sure what these pictures consisted of but one was described in the article that I had read. A photo of a noose with a message that said “here is your new necklace, try it on”. Cyber bullying is a big deal now a days, with social media getting most of the blame.

There is a woman who works for the government as the Culture Secretary named Maria Miller who is challenging social media companies to monitor their sites by removing offensive and potentially dangerous posts immediately. What I’m wondering here is when does this start infringing on free speech. I know she means well and the kind of offensive material she is referring to are things like the noose picture, but people have different views on what is offensive. If we had people monitoring social media, deleting offensive posts there would be no purpose of social media to begin with. It is a place where you can proclaim your opinion and get feedback from it not a place where your post will get deleted if it isn’t aligned with the social media polices values.

I’m not writing this post to discredit the actions of Miller trying to get justice for Wilson, I’m writing as a concerned social media visitor. Cyber bullying on social media is something that kids need to be educated about more heavily in schools and at home. Parents should be monitoring their kids online making sure they know what is going on and making sure their kids aren’t being subjected to things like this. There are so many options out there as far as privacy and security in which you can block, delete or hide people that are being rude or outright mean that in my opinion you don’t need someone being your social media mommy and deleting posts that aren’t nice.

I write this with a heavy heart for all of the victims of cyber bullying but there are ways to deal with it they just didn’t have the opportunity. There is so much stuff that is out there on the internet that is horrible to see, hear and read but we must take a stand against it and delete, block, report or ignore it.

In my opinion it’s like this, cars don’t crash themselves people crash cars and social media doesn’t cause incidents like this, people cause things like this.