Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Forgetting What You Preach: PR Firm Dives Into Scalding Hot Water

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Global public relations giant Edelman got caught with its pants down twice recently, exhibiting the same kind of PR blunders it warns its clients about.

First, its president was found to have written a dismissive email about an inquiry into the firm’s practice of representing climate change deniers. Then an Edelman blog post suggesting that Robin Williams’ suicide represented an “opportunity” for a national conversation about depression was seen as insensitive and exploitative.


More flubs followed, as Edelman officials tried to distance themselves from the individuals who committed the initial errors in judgment then handle the fallout when they were called to task.

Management has finaStress conceptlly managed to pull its pants back up to its waist, but the fingers buckling the belt are still trembling. Edelman officials say they’ll treat themselves as if the company was a client.

That’s a positive…

Such gaffs are not the exclusive province of the unschooled, obviously, but it’s troubling when such a well-known firm so ineptly manages its own reputation.


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Corporations “Late” to the #Party: Overuse of the Infamous Hashtag

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Hashtags seem to be taking over all forms of social media.  Considering Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have almost 2 billion users collectively, it would be a crime for corporations not to take advantage of this free marketing opportunity.  But many wonder, have corporations taken the hashtag too far?  With recent evidence, it would seem so.


Hashtags are words or phrases preceded by a hash sign, which become hyperlinked on social media, grouping posts with the same words or “messages” together.  Common examples are #throwbackthursday accompanying a picture from the past or #sorrynotsorry used to sarcastically apologize for a guilty act one is actually proud of.  Newly developed hashtags are now popping up in ad campaigns, storefronts, billboards and even printed on consumer product packaging.  By using consistent hashtags as part of an advertising campaign, it can extend the conversation about a product or service and reach a broader audience.  Once a hashtag is launched, corporations monitor its use and those who are using it.  They can also interact with those using the hashtag and engage users with large followings on Twitter to encourage their promotion.

Overall the use of a simple word or short phrase has become more powerful than ever, but corporations have recently failed to launch hashtags worthy of attention.  According to the Wall Street Journal, corporations like Neutrogena and Equinox gyms have recently promoted hashtags, #unseenacne and #preapologize, respectively.  Unfortunately both of these hashtags gained negative feedback for what I think are obvious reasons.  First of all, who wants to tweet about unseen ACNE?  Although the majority of social media users are young and probably victims of acne, NO ONE likes to start a conversation about acne.  Neutrogena obviously failed to consult adolescents on this one or even their own common sense.  If no one likes to talk about acne, what makes you think they will tweet about it for the whole world to see?


Now for Equinox, I will applaud them on one thing- their originality.  I have certainly never heard of the word “preapologize” and it is certainly not in Webster’s dictionary.  Unfortunately, creating a new word can lead to many confused users, as Equinox has received many direct questions about the meaning of preapologize.  It turns out that #preapologize was meant to be a copy of a previously popularized hashtag, #sorrynotsorry, but if your users do not know the meaning of your hashtag, it is very difficult for them to use, defeating the purpose of the hashtag.

Before a corporation exposes a new hashtag to the world, it would be wise for them to ask themselves this question: Would I use my corporation’s hashtag?  If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board.  As corporations seem out of touch, it may be a good idea to consult the corporation where it all began.  Twitter, Inc. has a team that helps companies integrate hashtags into their marketing campaigns and tend to advise them to “tap into organic trending topics.”  By entering a conversation organically, it may seem less like marketing and more personal.  Do you appreciate corporation’s efforts in attempting to enter the hashtag revolution?  Or do you prefer they stay out of your social network?  Perhaps it’s better for some corporations to stay away from the “difficult-to-master” hashtag and focus their attention elsewhere.

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Father Knows Best

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Rachel Canning, Lincoln Park teenager whose suit against her parents went viral this past year, has filed a temporary restraining order on her boyfriend Lucas Kitzmiller.

Canning has accused Kitzmiller of choking her with his hands during a dispute late Saturday evening that took place on the streets of Mine Hill. Immediately after, she fled to her car and drove to the Denville Police station to file a domestic violence complaint. According to the Daily Record, Kitzmiller has since filed a cross-complaint and has received a temporary restraining order against Canning as well.restraining order documents. illustration design

Canning and Kitzmiller’s relationship was one of the reasons for the disagreement between Canning and her parents this October, prior to moving out. They encouraged her to end the relationship, claiming that Kitzmiller was a bad influence that encouraged her lifestyle of missing curfew, drinking and showing her parents no respect, according to the Daily News. In addition to arguing over her relationship with Kitzmiller, Canning claimed that her parents failed to support her “both financially and emotionally,” and sued her parents for child support and both private school and college tuition. As the case gained international attention, Canning dropped the suit and has since moved back in with her parents, who agreed to not criticize her relationship with Kitzmiller as they dated on and off for the year.

In light of recent events, maybe parents do know best. Their initial instincts of Kitzmiller are seemingly correct, that is if Canning’s claim of violence is true. Regardless of whether or not the court finds enough evidence to support a permanent restraining order, it seems that it would be best if Canning takes the advice of her parents and keeps her distance from Kitzmiller.

However, the best advice to take from this entire situation was that given by Judge James DeMarzo who suggested that both parties keep quiet about the case, especially on social media. As seen with last year’s court case, news like this can easily go viral and if Canning hopes to go off to Western New England University in the fall clear of a reputation, she should keep things quiet and try to move on from her past.

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‘Til Death Do Us Part: Your Digital Presence After Death

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Have you ever wondered what will happen to your email and social media accounts once you die?  Nope, neither have I… but Yahoo certainly has.  While most people who are aging write their wills, decide their final arrangements, and organize their finances, Yahoo seems to take care of the rest.  A new service, Yahoo Ending, has been launched by Yahoo Japan to help their large elderly population manage their digital presence after death.  The service costs about $1.77/ month.

Prior to death it helps users with funeral arrangements by estimating costs and searching for cemeteries. After death it can stop automatic bill payments through the Yahoo Japan wallet service and loved ones can visit a special bulletin-board page for the deceased and post memorial messages.  Yahoo Ending not only conveniently erases all data in email accounts, but also sends a final message to up to 200 people when your death is confirmed.  It all may sound a bit morbid but in actuality- quite convenient.

In an interview with The Japan Times, Yahoo Japan spokesperson Megumi Nakashima mentioned possible greater development in Yahoo Ending’s services, allowing the deceased to manage their post-life affairs on non-Yahoo Japan services.

“For example, we are thinking of partnering with credit-card companies,” Nakashima said, “so that the user can configure Yahoo Ending to tell such companies to close out the user’s account.”

With the advancement of technology in our generation such services may become necessary to all those digitally involved.  By taking responsibility of our online accounts before death we can assure our loved ones will not have to “care“ for our digital needs.  It may seem to be a premature measure just for an email account but it could prevent harmful phishing and identity theft.  Would you invest in this service for less than $24/year?  Or could you care less about your digital reputation post-mortem?  Given this opportunity, it may be beneficial to invest in deleting your online past… before it’s too late.

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Man v. Food v. World

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Adam Richman, former host of Man v. Food, went on a vulgar rant on Instagram, going as far as to encourage a woman to commit suicide.

Richman has lost 70 pounds since his years hosting Man v. Food. He showed off his weight loss in an Instagram that included #thinspiration in the caption. One user noticed this hashtag, which is often used to promote a variety of eating disorders, and decided to enlighten Richman by commenting, “#Thinspiration is actually seen as a harmful phrase.” Richman responded harshly, inciting a response from many other users. His comments quickly spiraled out of control and became more and more aggressive, posting “…grab a razor blade and draw a bath. I doubt anyone will miss you.” Friend of the user who initially responded to Richman, Amber Sarah, has documented the entire feud in her blog.

In response, the Travel Channel told The Washington Post that they have decided to postpone the July 2nd premiere of his new show “Man Finds Food.” Richman initially tweeted an apology, which has since been deleted. He later issued a statement to ABC News apologizing for his “inexcusable remarks” and added “I’ve long struggled with my body image and have worked hard to achieve a healthy weight…I’m incredibly sorry to everyone I’ve hurt.”

USA - "A Million Ways To Die In The West" World Premiere - Los Angeles

The Travel Channel’s response to this incident, although drastic and likely costly, is a necessary one. If they had chosen to support Richman, despite his indiscretions, they would have sent the wrong message to all of the fans that he has upset. And while Richman has taken the right first step in apologizing, he must prove his sincerity to his fans in order to maintain his viewership and to be seen as a reputable and profitable influencer in the food industry.

The full conversation can be seen in this article by Buzzfeed. (Warning: graphic language!)

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