Tag Archives: Social Media

Facebook Turns Ten

If you’re a Facebook user, you are aware that the website celebrated its 10th birthday earlier this week. In honor of this milestone, Facebook allowed its users to create “A Look Back” videos, which showcased their time on the website. From most liked posts to photos shared, users were able to travel back in time to see their Facebook milestones. Cue the nostalgia!

facebook-10th-birthdayMy newsfeed has been flooded with these videos over the last couple of days and I’ve loved it. From reliving my college days to seeing family members grow up, the videos certainly shared a wealth of memories with the Facebook community. It took me a while to jump on the bandwagon as I wasn’t too fond of my initial video. But last night, the editing feature was enabled so I got to choose the pictures I wanted to include. It’s a nice feature to have and gives people a little more control over their video. Overall, the “A Look Back” videos seem to be a huge success for Facebook. It has caught on like wildfire and makes users feel like they are a part of Facebook’s 10th anniversary. Well done!

For a while now, it seems like Facebook users and the social media community have been contemplated the website’s future. You always hear about privacy issues, spam and new features (like hashtags) that everyone isn’t too fond of. While Facebook isn’t my favorite social media site (sorry!), I do see its purpose for both personal and professional reasons. This blog gets posted to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and sometimes Pinterest. Over the last two years, the most clicks, likes, comments and shares have come from Facebook. Why? Because that is where I connect with my audience best.

My group of friends is larger on Facebook than other social media websites. Additionally, the people I am friends with on Facebook know me, know that I blog and enjoy reading. I’ve created a loyal group of people who consistently check my posts out. This is possible on any social media site but I’ve found it’s easier on Facebook. For one, more people, especially older generations, are on Facebook. It has been around longer and is easier to navigate. You can go over 140 characters and don’t have to choose a filter. Even my co-workers find my blog on Facebook rather than LinkedIn. I think they are just more comfortable on Facebook and know how to use it. Regardless of what social media outlet you use for yourself or for clients, having a loyal, committed audience will absolutely help your cause.

The “A Look Back” video campaign on Facebook definitely took off and spread throughout the website. I wonder if people creating the videos remember that they started because of Facebook’s 10th anniversary. I would have added something at the end of all videos connecting it to the anniversary, like animations instead of the hashtag. However, I still think Facebook did a good job with this video campaign and believe the website has a long future ahead.

Check out my Look Back video below and share your thoughts about Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/lookback/

Foodie Loving on Catalina Island

All of the yummy foods featured on our tour.

All of the yummy foods featured on our tour.

Long time, no write! But I promise I was off doing something phenomenal that I am dying to share with you. Last week, after working an event in California, I spent the weekend relaxing and touring Catalina Island. When we ventured to the island early Saturday morning, we had no idea what was in store for us until we stumbled upon the Catalina Food Tours. I am so grateful we did!

Catalina Food Tours runs all over the island for three hours while participants sample different dishes from six local restaurants. The food was amazing but the atmosphere was even better. For a smaller tourist destination with a limited target audience, Catalina Food Tours knows how to serve its population and build its brand. I believe their keys to success included the following:

  • They instantly built credibility by having a local run the tour. Our knowledgeable and hysterical guide Jordan has lived on the island for some time and has eaten at all of the restaurants on the tour. He was passionate about sharing his wisdom on Catalina and its culture. Because of that, you knew he was giving you the best.
  • Every stop on the tour was intentional and had meaning. While we did stop at each restaurant, we also stopped at different spots on the island that had historical significance. We didn’t just walk around but rather learned about Catalina’s rich history. The conscious decision to plan out each step of the tour made it easy to follow and allowed us to learn so much more than the best places to eat on the island. By learning more, it made me personally want to return to Catalina and explore the island further.
  • For a small island with limited access to technology, the tour’s use of social media was great.
    Beautiful Catalina

    Beautiful Catalina

    They gave participants a brochure with foodie fun facts as well as all their social media information. Jordan also was actively posting while on the tour. They update regularly and happily repost or retweet their followers. The beauty of Catalina coupled with its rich history makes it easy to want to follow and learn more.

While each of these ideas is simple, I found them to be executed flawlessly by Catalina Food Tours. For a small island off the coast of California, they really know how to build their reputation and attract people to their tours. I had an amazing time on the tour and hope to return one day soon!

Shock Value of a Selfie

If you were in 10 feet of a television or computer yesterday, you heard about or even saw Rolling Stone Magazine’s controversial cover for their August 3rd publication. The cover features surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhohkar Tsarnaev with the headline “The Bomber.” The tagline underneath reads “How a popular, promising student, failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.” The picture, taken by Tsarnev himself, has also been featured on the front page of the New York Times. The magazine hasn’t even hit newsstands yet but already stirred up the emotions of many. 

When the cover appeared all over the Internet yesterday, people were outraged. On my own timeline, I saw several people who said they would be boycotting Rolling Stone magazine because of it. A Facebook page dedicated to a said boycott already has 26,000 likes and #BoycottRollingStone was a trending topic on Twitter yesterday. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino sent a letter to Wenner Media, who publishes the magazine, saying the cover was a disgrace and should have been about the first responders. Stores including CVS and Walgreens refused to distribute the magazine as well. After all this, Rolling Stone stands by their cover, releasing this statement yesterday:

“The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens.” 

Rolling Stone CoverTo me, the question Rolling Stone needs to ask is was the shock value of this cover worth this fire storm of outrage from the public? It appears their intentions are good and that they are trying to shed light onto a situation many cannot understand. However, we will not know if this is true until we read the article. It is true that people who normally wouldn’t care about Rolling Stone are now talking about it and generating online conversation about the magazine. But, if this is all negative conversation that leads to boycotting, is it worth it. Shouldn’t a magazine’s bottom line be about sales not about trending on Twitter?

Rolling Stone has published highly controversial covers before. They’ve featured John Lennon holding a nude Yoko Ono as well as a nude Janet Jackson. Possibly their most arguable cover to date featured Charles Manson; the article attached to this cover subsequently won the magazine an award. They’ve been known to push the envelope and write pieces that could be considered over the edge. 

 I can understand both sides of the issue in this situation. Rolling Stone is committed to reporting every aspect of the Boston Marathon Bombing, including information about Tsarnaev. As a writer, I admire this and applaud them for broaching such a topic. However, the events that occurred that day were tragic and the general public is not ready to see this terrorist on a cover of a national magazine. While those affected will never be the same, more time might have prevented such backlash. 

What do you think about the Rolling Stone cover? Would you read the article?

Battle Instagram vs Vine

Over the weekend, as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, the pictures started moving. Then I realized they weren’t pictures, they were videos. Now, both Instagram and Vine are applications where users can upload videos and share them easily on their other social media sites. So, which one would you chose?

instagram vineAfter playing with both applications, here’s the conclusions I’ve drawn:

  • Both applications allow for videos to be about the same length: approximately 10 seconds. This length is a reasonable amount of time for videos and helps to eliminate unwanted content.
  • Videos on Instagram can be shot the same way in Vine. You have to shoot your video in segments so varying frames are shown. This works for most types of content but could be a hassle for others, like a dance recital. It is pretty neat that Instagram lets you add a filter to your video.
  • Videos on Instagram play immediately or as you scroll over them. Vine also works the same way. However, on Vine, you expect the video, will wait for it to load and know it will stop once you scroll down to the next post. On Instagram, you have no way of knowing if a post is a video or a picture, especially since there is a delay in playing the videos.

In my opinion, I like having two separate applications: one for pictures and one for videos. It is easier to find specific posts since you’ll know which type to look for. For organizations or companies that use these sites, having an account on each might be beneficial. Users will know where to look for new video teasers or photo contest entries. Videos also appear to be running smoother and without pauses on Vine. However, that could change once Instagram becomes used to video posts.

Do you use Instagram to post your videos? Would it be beneficial to have two separate accounts? Please share your thoughts!

College Sports in the Hot Seat

RUIf you’ve turned on the news or scrolled through your Twitter feed within the last week, you’ve heard about the Rutgers University Men’s Basketball coach who was fired because of his behavior during a video-taped practice. Coach Mike Rice was released from his duties as head basketball coach on April 3rd after being caught using abrasive language and physically abusing his players. Since then, Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti was also released from Rutgers. It has been said that Pernetti knew of Rice’s inappropriate behavior.

Also making the headlines this week was the Auburn University football program, who committed several NCAA recruiting violations, paid their players and had players’ grades changed. A full report was completed by reporter Selena Roberts who detailed all of the infractions on her website.

It seems a day doesn’t pass where some college isn’t in the hot seat for a sports scandal. You can’t forget the fake girlfriend mess of Manti Te’o from Notre Dame or the booster club nightmare at the University of Miami. Of course, the most infamous of them all was the Penn State child abuse scandal involving Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno. The real question is why so many college sports scandals?

The possible answers are endless. People are more connected to the media. Athletes are treated more elite and therefore feel entitled and untouchable. Competition among teams has increased and translates into real dollars for both the players and the university. None of these are acceptable answers for the behavior we’ve seen from college athletes and administrators just within the last year.

Since it seems almost inevitable that some issue will arise within a college’s athletic program, everyonesocial media world involved has to be prepared for the worst. I am certainly no expert, but after watching these tragedies unfold, here are my tips for preparing for a college sports crisis:

1. Be Proactive: Communicate with your athletes the social media policies that are in place for your team and for the university. Don’t have a social media policy? I suggest you create one for your team because most of them are active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Even show them examples of what is appropriate versus what is not.

2. Discuss Hypotheticals: Take ten minutes of a team meeting each month to talk about the ‘what if’ situations that could happen to these athletes. Use case studies that have actually occurred. Make team members respond and evaluate what they say. This way, if a scandal does occur, the athletes will have a better idea of what to say and how to react.

3. Raise the Bar: While student athletes are an important part of a university, they are still students and human beings. Don’t make exceptions or excuses for them just because they need to play. It sets a bad example and makes the athletes think they can do what they want. By setting a higher standard for student athletes, they can become role models for the university.

Most schools have a crisis communication plan but coaches should talk to their teams about these issues as they happen in real-time. It might prevent further problems in the future. Why do you think there are so many scandals within college sports? Do you agree with my pieces of advice? Please share your thoughts.

Guest Post: Three Pinteresting Tips

I am very excited to have my first guest blog post from Kaitlin Walukonis,

an Assistant Account Coordinator at Van Eperen & Company

Posting, liking, tweeting – and now – pinning! If your organization isn’t pinning and repinning, it may be time to get with it and join Pinterest.

The Public Relations Society of America National Capital Chapter recently hosted an event focusing onpinterest social media trends for 2013. Denise Graveline, a consultant at Don’t Get Caught and Anthony Shop, managing director of Social Driver, shared their opinions and knowledge of these trends to public relations professionals at the U.S. Navy Memorial & Heritage Center. Both experts stressed the importance of visuals and the social media platform Pinterest, which can help attract your audiences and direct them to your website blog and other social media pages.

Pinterest – previously explained by Laura Van Eperen in our Spring 2012 Newsletter – is a social media platform that allows users to create pinboards, a web-version of a bulletin board and pin or repin photos and videos of anything that interests them (hence the name Pinterest). Pinterest is the third largest social media platform, trailing only Facebook and Twitter and is the fastest growing social media network. According to this Mashable article, Pinterest is now almost as popular as Twitter. Based on Graveline and Shop’s discussion, here are three great tips for using Pinterest within an organization.

1. Pin visuals from your blog.
People don’t want to read a block of boring black and white text – they want visuals. Incorporating visuals into your blog posts will not only attract more readers but it will also allow you to pin these visuals to a pinboard. Pinterest users can then repin your visuals, passing along your organization’s news. Graveline gained a lot of traffic to her blog because of her Pinterest account. This brings us to the next tip.

2. Don’t be a one-way pinner.
You have to show loVE to get loVE (VE & Co.-style love). Follow other bloggers and pinners, interact with them and share their information on your pinboards. This will make them much more likely to reciprocate. As Shop puts it: “Social media is like a cocktail party,” meaning you have to mingle with other professionals on social media networks for your information to be seen and shared.

3. Incorporate your organization’s personality.
Social media platforms can be fun! While it’s important to share your organization’s news, be sure to incorporate some personality while doing so. Van Eperen and Company’s Pinterest account shares news and blog posts, but it also includes a pinboard on business casual attire.

Now, go pin and repin. Be sure to think about what unique pinboards your organization can create to demonstrate its personality.

 

kaitlin

 

About Kaitlin: Kaitlin, a dance fanatic and undercover-balloon-animal-maker, provides strategic communications, media relations and event coordination support for corporate, non-profit, government and entrepreneurial clients as an Assistant Account Coordinator with Van Eperen & Company. Kaitlin earned her B.A. in Communication, Public Relations from the University of Maryland, College Park in May 2012

The Dangers of Social Media

Social media can be an effective tool for most people. In the field of public relations, social media has become wildly popular with full job positions dedicated to planning and executing a social media strategy. While most of the known world has jumped on the social media bandwagon, if not used properly, it can ruin a person or brand.

Depending on the level of fame, celebrities can run their own Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. accounts. On one hand, it makes their communications more personal; people feel connected with the individual, not just their Twitter feed. Cory Booker runs a successful, personal Twitter account and really converses with people. To find out more about how he does this, check out my post here.

social_media_collage_3

In some situations, celebrities running their own social media accounts becomes a PR nightmare. By the way, I define celebrity on Twitter by having the blue check mark next to your name. Take Manti Te’o for example. Here is a young man with a world of possibilities ahead of him. Yet, because of an alleged phantom girlfriend and her fake presence on Twitter, his reputation is tarnished. His assumed girlfriend’s Twitter name changed several times and it appeared that most of their communications were through social media. What a very public forum for a very private part of someone’s life. It’s true, all parties involved should have known better than to publicize personal details on social media. But, if everyone wasn’t so obsessed with this medium, would any of this have happened? It is almost required for college and professional athletes to have a Twitter or Facebook account. That pressure from fans could cloud someone’s judgement.

ob twitter feedTwitter blew up yesterday during the inauguration. There were specific accounts filled with inauguration information and live feeds of coverage. One account even tweeted the majority of President Obama’s speech in case someone missed it. Yet, with all of the positive information streaming live yesterday, a reporter made a comment that President Obama was tweeting during church. A tweet was sent from his personal account @BarackObama while the first family was attending church. Now this is where people need to use some common sense. Do we all really think the President runs his own account?! I’m sure he approves the content and might send a tweet or two. But in reality, he’s paying some lucky individual to manage his account. So his Blackberry was absolutely not out during church yesterday. Michelle would have known of that.

Social media comes with a certain level of gray area. No one can be 100 percent certain where tweets are coming from or who is actually tweeting. For PR professionals, it is essential that client social media accounts be monitored diligently. Regardless of who is managing the account, the PR team or the person, everyone should proceed with caution. One wrong tweet, post or picture could damage a reputation forever.

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