by Jordan Rafferty
Facebook and Apple are two leading competitors in their industries, always staying one step ahead of the game. Apple recently released a new iPhone and iPad, while Facebook has surpassed 1.35 billion active users. Both share a competitive nature, so it’s no surprise when they both make the same announcement, creating quite a stir.
Both companies announced a new employee “benefit” for women. They offer female employees $20,000 to cover the cost of two rounds of freezing their eggs. Apple released a statement saying, “We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families.”
My first reaction to these announcements was a positive one. I commend them for being ahead of the game (or so I initially thought. A few other companies offer similar benefits). Women are now having children much later in life because they want to focus on their careers or finding the right partner. Facebook and Apple noticed this trend. Yet, 43 percent of women leave their careers because they have children (according to theatlantic.com). By offering to pay for the delay of children in a female employees life, they are able to keep their staff longer, and it’s enabling women to rise up to higher positions because they stay with the company for longer periods of time.
Social media reaction
So, I am really excited about this announcement, and then I get on Twitter, Facebook and Google News. Some people do not like this one bit. There has been far more backlash than either company anticipated. Here are a couple tweets I saw on my feed:
People are concerned that Apple and Facebook have the ulterior motive of forcing women to put the company first and a family last. This is a concern that could address by communicating to their publics on the issue. Some are also concerned with the health risks of the procedure itself.
I went from excited to sad for Apple and Facebook in a matter of minutes. In my heart I believe the companies are trying to do the right thing, but I can’t help but think that they should have done the research to anticipate the negative reaction. Remember the first step of the RACE model? Research, Research, Research. You never know what you will come across. The smallest detail could make or break you.
I read a number of the articles on Google News and,according to alternet.org, hyperstimulation of the ovaries (the freezing process) uses what some see as an aggressive and potentially dangerous hormone therapy that uses non-FDA regulated drugs. Those opposed believe a number of things can go wrong with this process, like punctured ovaries or organs, abdominal bleeding and other complications. Bloggers and Twitter users alike are concerned with the risks to the procedure and are questioning why Facebook and Apple even agreed to offer such a thing to their employees. Some feel that by offering to pay for this the companies are basically saying that families are not important.
Communicate with your publics
I searched to see if Apple or Facebook ever responded to the negative reactions, but so far I haven’t found a thing. The fact that I haven’t seen a response concerns me. Sure, there are other things going on with the companies, but they should be communicating with their audiences. As a PR specialist I would suggest responding early. Tweet back to those concerned and reassure their audiences that they do, in fact, care about families. They are just offering to pay for the procedure, and not every female employee has to do. Like Apple said in their statement when they made the announcement, they are empowering women. There are women who want to hold off on having children, and Apple and Facebook are making that possible.
by Ana Guzman
Finding ways to reach a target audience can get a little difficult at times. There are so many factors that need to be kept in mind, such as age, location, gender, religion, sexual orientation and much more. A message can work perfectly for one group but might be offensive or not politically correct to another. For example, the “Help me, I’m poor” meme from Bridesmaids that FAFSA tweeted on June 24.
That wasn’t funny FAFSA
The response was not what FAFSA expected. While it was intended to be humorous, some were completely offended by the tweet. Some said that it was a little insensitive but they understood that it is a popular meme that many students are familiar with. FAFSA later removed the tweet and sent out an apology tweet, stating, “We apologize for the insensitivity of our previous tweet. Our goal is to make college a reality for all. We’re all very sorry.”
The responses to the apology was met with mixed replies. Some were still angry while others supported the meme saying, “You’re marketing to young people using memes, which are popular among young people, I think you have little to nothing to apologize for.”
This wasn’t the first time FAFSA used a meme to reach its audience. On March 4, 2014, FAFSA tweeted a picture of a kitten with the caption “You haven’t filled out your FAFSA yet? Are you kitten me?” I think it is surprisingly out of the norm for a government office to use memes, but according to finaid.org, most FAFSA recipients are between the ages of 15 – 23, so I can see why they would think to use memes to get the audience’s attention.
It’s only okay when students do it
Liz Gross, a social media strategist for a student loan servicer explained in her blog that the hashtag #HelpMeImPoor is commonly used by students when referring to their financial struggles during college. It’s like when a person says something mean about a family member. It’s okay when they utter it about someone in their family, but it’s insensitive if someone outside of the family says it.
Overall, I think FAFSA should not be condemned over one tweet. I also don’t think they should have deleted it. Deleting tweets is not a way of solving a problem since the tweet was already seen by many. FAFSA’s Twitter is full of helpful tweets and answers any questions students might have through its website and its monthly Twitter chats.
The lesson here is always, emphasizing always, think before you tweet. Make sure tweets are not offensive to others because once it is public, there is no way to make it disappear.
By Katie Johnson
It’s spring break! We’ve reached the half-way point and can evaluate our progress, but when I think back on the semester, the thing that really comes to mind is The Bachelor, Juan Pablo. It was sure to be an unforgettable eighteenth season. When it started, the media was referring to January as “Juanuary.” All 1.4 million viewers who tuned in for the season finale they can attest to this.
Even though Juan Pablo’s season may have ended, commotion in the tabloids has just begun. Since ABC has been airing The Bachelor, there has not been an ending quite like this one. At the Final Rose Ceremony Juan Pablo chose Nikki Ferrell and sent Clare Crawley packing. Not only did he not chose the woman who was predicted to receive the final rose, the season didn’t end in a proposal which has only happened once.
I’m in “like” with you.
Does the idea of proposing to someone you have only known for two months sound crazy? If you answered “yes” you are probably among many who agree. However, when it comes to The Bachelor, this is expected. Therefore, when Juan Pablo did not propose or say “I love you” it was a shocking turn of events. Rather, he said, “I’m not 100 percent sure I want to propose to you. But at the same time I’m 100 percent sure that I don’t want to let you go. I like you a lot. A lot.”
This ending stirred up quite a bit (okay… a lot) of negative feedback from viewers. Not only was the audience upset with the way the show ended, but the derogatory comments about Juan Pablo’s character began to flood social media. During the finale #Bachelor and #JuanPablo were the top trending hash tags on twitter. Unfortunately, the comments may surprise some who have not kept up with the season because of his “fan favorite” reputation while a contestant on ABC’s The Bachelorette. He did not speak often when he was on Desiree’s season, and left the show very early, so many did not get to know him very well.
Twitter backlash and viral videos
Some may say that his true colors have shown through this season. It has been reported that three of the final six women now hate him because of his behavior. With making degrading remarks and rude comments to the women off camera, but keeping a good face while filming (for the most part) it is obvious many viewers will not refer to him as the “fan favorite” again. Due to the backlash that Juan Pablo has received on social media he made a “lovey dovey” video to show his “Like” for her. This video has been leaked and stirred up even more reactions.
This video was released three days ago and has already received over 890,000 views. Only time will tell to see if this video can restore Juan Pablo’s trashed reputation. It hurts that Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelor, said that he was even uneasy about the choice from the beginning. Meanwhile, as mentioned above, Twitter erupted with negativity toward Juan Pablo. One user tweeted at Nikki, the winner, and said, “It’s ok to be embarrassed, you’re ‘dating’ and idiot, and it has nothing to do with a language barrier,” (20 retweets and 59 favorites).
The Bachelor is about falling happily in love with a perfect stranger in a short amount of time which is a concept not many can digest. However, finding your life-partner is a concept most understand. As time progresses there will many more Bachelor’s with many more breakup and marriages, but Season 18 is one that will go down in the books, and social media will always help us remember.
by Amanda Moore
Every time the Super Bowl comes around I begin to mentally prepare myself for the commercials. I love watching them and deciding with my friends and family who had the funniest, most creative and inspiring. My personal favorites are usually the Doritos commercials, with their fan-made ads, but this year another company caught my attention. Coca-Cola’s ad was different than anything I had seen before.
Coca-Cola aired their new ad, “It’s Beautiful”. The 90-second ad featured a diverse group of people and families enjoying themselves while “America the Beautiful” was sung in the background in nine different languages: English, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Keres, Mandarin, Sengaslese-French, Spanish and Tagalog. What seemed to be a heartfelt ad about America’s citizens was interpreted in many different ways. Watching the ad, I knew that there was a potential for backlash, so I immediately went on Twitter to see what the overall reaction was. I was shocked to say the least. Thousands of people were attacking Coca-Cola via Twitter. Many of the tweets were about how if you live in America you should speak English. Some went as far as saying that “America the Beautiful” was sung in “terrorist languages.” Here are a few examples of the tweets that were sent to Coca-Cola’s twitter.
What I was most surprised with was Coca-Cola’s response, or lack thereof. With many negative tweets, Facebook posts and threats to not buy their products, Coca-Cola has not responded to any of it. They have continued to promote their #AmericaIsBeautiful tag and have posted more tweets and Facebook articles featuring behind-the-scenes videos of the ad. I was wondering to myself, “Why are they not responding to all of these negative things?”
That’s when it hit me. Coca-Cola is promoting love in their ad; love for our country and for one another. It wouldn’t make sense for them to put out an ad filled with love and pride for our country and its citizens to then respond to the negativity. It says a lot to me about Coca-Cola as a company to promote such a positive message and to ignore the hate they arereceiving. It takes a lot to stand by something when so many people disagree with it, but to me it shows that Coca-Cola really means what they say.
Photo credit: Coca-Cola Twitter