by Briana Piercey
We live in a world that is totally saturated with social media. Being constantly connected is the new standard. If you don’t post, tweet or “snap” a video of your every move, people may just assume your life is boring. The problem is, this habit can cause people to share too much, which can have much worse consequences. Let’s just say that everything isn’t meant to be posted.
There’s an old saying: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” When it comes to social media, though, it’s not how you post, it’s what you post. Social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are platforms where people brand themselves — whether they intend to or not. Posting without careful thought can create unnecessary risks, and although social media sites are great for sharing and connecting with others, they can also taint your professional image.
Control your content
Some people may think that if their profile pages are set to private instead of public, they’re protecting themselves. Although that’s ideally true, that’s not always the case. Despite the general privacy settings on a person’s page, the content they share is often available to “friends of friends,” which greatly increases the number of people who can see their post. Always check your privacy settings to see who exactly can view your content.
The “non-renewable” post
When on a social site, think of your control of your content as a non-renewable resource; once you’ve used it, it’s gone. When a Facebook or Twitter user hits that post/tweet button, that status leaves their control, never to be returned. Of course, you might have the option to delete specific content, which may provide a sense of authority as a social media user. However, websites often keep caches of everything people post and other users are able to take screenshots of content. By the time you delete something, it may already be too late. Once you post, you can delete but you can’t hide.
Social media safety
Along with potentially damaging your image, being careless on social media can also pose risks to your physical, financial or legal safety. Features such as location tracking or the contact information section of your profile page, for example, can reveal more than you might think. Crimes related to social media have increased at an alarming rate in recent years, so if you want to be cautious, here are a few tips for staying safe on social media:
Don’t announce your every move
“I just brushed my hair in the bathroom on 122 Lane Avenue and I’m headed to the Lennox shopping center all by my lonesome!” Okay, so this is a bit of an exaggeration, but it definitely simulates posts made by our fellow social media addicts. Publicizing your every move keeps family and friends informed of your whereabouts, but it updates potential predators as well. Play it safe and spare us the details. Simplicity is key.
Know who your friends and followers are
Contrary to what they would have you believe, not everyone on social media is your friend, and some may even have ill intentions from the moment they message you. Avoid accepting friend requests from people you don’t know and be aware of who’s following you. It might help you steer clear of hackers or other potential threats.
Avoid using profanity, images with alcohol, or other questionable content
Here’s a good rule of thumb for knowing if something is okay to post: If you’re not sure whether or not you should post it, #DontDoIt.
Are you conscious of your social media content? Do you have any tips to help people stay safe on social media? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
by Maria Schomer
AMBER Alert is not a term most people like to hear, but a term we all know well. The AMBER Alert was created in 1996 when Dallas broadcasters partnered with local police to create a warning system that notified the public about missing children. Since its inception, the system has helped in the recoveries of 728 children, according to the AMBER Alert government page. Since we are in the digital age, it is only fitting for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and Facebook to collaborate and bring AMBER Alerts to mobile Facebook users.
You may already know that AMBER Alerts are sent to your phone automatically through a text message. Using Facebook to send the alerts allows users to see a photo of the child, along with a possible vehicle description and other important information. Facebook users are now able to share the posting with their friends–a better system than text messages, where we receive is only a few words. This gives people the visual aid that could help find more children in the future.
You won’t see the AMBER Alert unless it is in your area; sometimes you might not see one at all. It all depends on the targeted area for the alert.
Facebook versus Twitter
In 2014, an 11-year-old girl was abducted but was fortunately recovered when a motel clerk recognized the girl from a Facebook post seen on the clerk’s timeline. This story led the NCMEC to see more value in Facebook sharing than Twitter retweeting. According to Forbes, Facebook had nearly 1.3 billion active monthly users in 2014, compared to Twitter’s 271 million active monthly users. In general, people tend to use Facebook a lot more than Twitter, however, 86 percent of time is spent on Twitter’s mobile application, whereas 68 percent of time is spent on the Facebook application. Despite these statistics, the NCMEC found it fitting to have the AMBER Alerts on Facebook.
Considering the AMBER Alert system has worked for nearly 20 years, Facebook and the NCMEC have high hopes that this new system will help bring more children home to their families.
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
Have you noticed that it’s less people are seeing posts from your Facebook page? Over time, Facebook has applied algorithmic changes to its news feed, drastically changing the content your fans see. This algorithm was designed to create a news feed specifically targeted to you, making it the perfect “personalized digital newspaper” as Mark Zuckerberg called it. However, it has created another problem. Over the last year many organizations, small businesses and users noticed a decrease in interaction. Users feel like it has converted Facebook from a free platform to a “Pay-and-Play” platform.
Suppressing organic posts
In an article last year on Forbes.com, columnist Nick Bilton, explained how he noticed decreases in likes, shares and comments in his posts, so he decided to experiment with the system. Bilton paid $7 to promote his column and within a few hours noticed the huge difference in shares and likes. He publicized his reaction, a belief that Facebook could possibly be suppressing other posts in order to boost others.
The algorithm as Facebook sees it
Facebook immediately replied, “There have been recent claims suggesting that our news feed algorithm suppresses organic distribution of posts in favor of paid posts in order to increase our revenue. This is not true.” The company explained that engagement has gone up 34 percent for those who have activated the Follow Feature and have followers. They also explain that people cannot compare engagement rates in posts from a year ago to today. Facebook says it is as if comparing apples to oranges. The comparison in engagement is irrelevant because the posts are not the same. Facebook also stated that decrease in interaction could merely be due to the content or type of post.
There’s more to Social Media than just Facebook
Users with little to no budget to promote posts have been bothered with the changes, and some even see it as an ultimatum. They can either find the means to boost their posts or leave the platform. However, Facebook’s algorithm does not mean users have to pay to maintain social media engagement across all networks. We as marketers can blame the algorithm for some of our troubles, but we’ll always be able to get creative with other social media outlets. A picture is worth a thousand words so capture an amazing one and tweet it, post it on Instagram or Pinterest and compare the engagement. And who knows? We may just have to strengthen our content on Facebook to make it more appealing to our audiences.
by Amanda Plachte
Although rumor has it that Facebook has seen a decline in user activity, the social network is doing just fine. In fact, according to Statistic Brain, the company has more than 1.3 billion monthly active users; it’s a pretty big sea and it is plentiful with fish.
Once upon a time, just like anything new and misunderstood, online dating had a stigma of being a risky and subpar way of meeting people. Now, 20 percent of adults age 25-34 have at least tried it, according to
Pew Research, and it is more accepted than ever. Recently, author Samantha Murphy Kelly shared in this Mashable article that Facebook is finally catching on. Now users have the option to leave their relationship status blank and the new “ask” feature allows people to inquire.
Here is how it works
When the “ask” button is clicked, the person inquiring is required to send a message related to the relationship status such as, “Hey, if you are single, would you like to go out sometime?” That seems simple enough, right?
Here is the dilemma
In order to use the “ask” feature, the users must already be friends. With that being said, would the person inquiring NOT already know if the other person is in a relationship? In the Mashable article, Murphy Kelly states that she wonders why Facebook did not do this sooner.
My question is, simply, “Why?”
Agreeing with the viewpoint and explanation found in this blog by Rich Santos, Ten Ways Guys Use Facebook for Their Dating Lives, I fail to see the purpose in this too-little-too-late Facebook feature. It is not difficult to learn the desired information; therefore, I definitely would not consider this an asset to the social network.
Although it might not be the most innovative tool for the modern profile stalker, it could, quite possibly, be a genius disguise for social media marketers to access your personal information.
Here is how
Once a user requests the status of another user’s relationship, it will remain private to the public, but the information is still released to Facebook administrators. BINGO!
Image via Mashable.
by Katie Johnson
Who would you challenge to jump into a freezing body of water in order to donate money to help a child with a rare form of cancer? Not many people find this a challenging question due to the alarming amount of videos posted on Facebook. The campaign “Plunge for Landon” is spreading like wildfire in the U.S., Spain, South Korea, Ireland and Afghanistan with more than 11,000 videos uploaded to the Facebook page and more than $30,000 raised in one week according to Mail Online.
Landon Shaw, from Tarkio, Missouri, was taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City in late February where he was eventually diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that has spread from his kidneys to his brain. In the weeks that followed, the 5-month-old had four surgeries, and according to his mother, always had a smile on his face. After residents in the Tarkio area heard about Landon’s condition they began to help raise money any way they could, but it was still not the desired amount. Eventually “Plunge for Landon” was set into action, and it has raised more awareness and participation than imaginable.
Alyssa Shaw, Landon’s mother, initially saw a “Plunge” video on Facebook with one of her friends jumping into a freezing lake in honor of her son. She brushed it off as something silly until she saw many more videos with others challenging friends to take the plunge. This fundraiser encourages people to nominate at least three people to jump into a pond or lake and film themselves doing so, eventually posting the video Facebook using the hashtag #plundgeforLandon. Once the nominees have completed the challenge within 24 hours, the nominator will donate a specified amount to the fund, and the trend continues.
Within the first week this was all over the nation and had spread to other countries, helping offset the cost to cover Landon’s extensive medical care. If you would like to donate, or after completing the plunge yourself, you can mail checks to the Flower Mill, 606 main St., Tarkio, MO 64491.
Take the plunge!
It is time for others to participate in the “Plunge For Landon.” He can use all the help possible. With this being said, Jonathan Haile, Jessica Smith, and Elissa Huck, I challenge you, my IPR team, to take the “Plunge for Landon.” Who will you challenge next?
By Elissa Huck
The problem: Social media addiction
In our technology-driven world, we are connected through Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and more on a daily basis. Sharing photos and updates with people at the touch of a button seems convenient, but what happens when we’re more engaged with our cyber connections than our real relationships? Have you ever been caught trying to subtly Snapchat a selfie in public? Are you a chronic “subtweeter?” Do you find yourself obsessing over the best filter for your Instagram post? All evidence considered, you are more than likely addicted to social media.
The solution: The “social media guard”
Fortunately, Coca-Cola has the solution to breaking our social media addiction. It’s a Coke-themed cone that fits around your head and intervenes your 24-hour connection with all social media. The company unveiled its spoof product (ironically) through a YouTube video that went viral. An E Online article summarizes how the short video “mocks people who Instagram photos of their meals instead of talking to their friends over dinner, dads who ignore their kids because they’re on their phone and children who are too busy looking at cat videos to notice their actual pet cat.” The social media guard is applied in each scenario, and the people can miraculously enjoy spending quality time with their friends and family. The faux product promises, “It takes the social out of media and puts it back into your life.”
Enjoy a real moment…and a Coke
In the past week, the video has reached nearly 4 million views. Coca-Cola commented, “We have just started a conversation on a light-hearted look at how social media can dominate our daily lives and how it has changed the way that we ‘share’ moments with each other. This is not to downplay the value that technology brings to our lives, rather an invitation to enjoy every day’s uplifting moments as they happen.” Coke’s witty video encourages us to put down our phones, tablets and laptops in order to fully acknowledge the world around us. Instead of “liking” a post, compliment people for their achievements. Rather than “sharing” a video, get together and have a conversation with friends. It’s important to get back to basics and foster real, meaningful relationships because sometimes being social doesn’t require any media at all.
Photo courtesy of: adweek
by Jonathan HaileHave you ever heard of the mobile messaging service WhatsApp? I hadn’t until last week. The app, which sounds like a Budweiser commercial from 1999, made headlines when Facebook purchased it for $19 billion.
I’m no corporate appraiser, but that seems like a lot of money to spend, considering Facebook also purchased Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 and offered the Snapchat guys $3 billion (which they turned down). I had to do a little digging to find out what’s up with WhatsApp.
As it turns out, WhatsApp is a low-cost alternative to high-priced mobile services, at least if you are texting. It has more than 450 million active users. The first year of service is free. After that, it costs only 99 cents a year. It connects people by using 3G and wifi–a huge plus when traveling overseas. Although he is insists WhatApps will maintain its own brand, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes purchasing the service coincides with his company’s vision.
“WhatsApp is on a path to connecting a billion people,” Zuckerberg said at the Mobile World Congress. “There are very few services in the world that can reach that level and they’re all incredibly valuable.”
He also feels good about the price tag, claiming the company is worth more than $19 billion. It’s nice that Zuckerberg was able to go bargain shopping, but the question is, “Why did Facebook make this purchase?”
Is it Facebook’s dwindling reputation?
Facebook is going through a bit of an awkward phase. Its Home App for Android was a large failure. The site is bombarded with advertisements and content that seems to be shared over and over again. This isn’t the worst thing, but I still have a terrible taste in my mouth from the nonsensical “Facebook Chair” commercial. Zuckerberg is trying too hard, it seems, and in the process, his company is losing credibility. Many people are abandoning the social network, especially teens, who are leaving by the millions.
To be fair, most things that have been around 10 years tend to lose appeal, but Facebook is so integrated into our society that its disappearance is almost unfathomable. Perhaps the company wants to keep its demise from happening by eating up smaller apps. Instagram, for example, seemed overpriced when it was acquired, but now it’s beating Facebook in the social marketing arena.
Perhaps WhatsApp’s acquisition could be seen as a move to stay relevant. Spending $19 billion will certainly make large waves in the news, but perhaps there are other reasons.
Maybe Facebook is trying to control a piece of web communication that it hasn’t been able to in the past. Or maybe the Facebook research and development department is expecting rapid growth from WhatsApp, not evident to anyone else.
I don’t think the move has anything to do with self-preservation, at least in the long term. I acknowledge that we’re in an age where social media conglomerates can become as big as well-known media conglomerates. Facebook is trying to duke it out with Google and any other takers who want web supremacy. Controlling an app that enables more than 450 million people to communicate is just another piece in the puzzle.
What do you think? Did we just witness a calculated move in the battle to control web communication, or is this an expensive attempt at staying relevant? Comment below. After that, be sure to “like” Innovative PR on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.
by Jackie Meade
Have you ever noticed the ‘Other’ folder on your Facebook message page? If you are like me, you are probably thinking what ‘Other’ folder? What happened to just my regular Inbox?
The ‘Other’ Folder
I did some research and found that when someone sends you a private message it is sent to one of two places: your Inbox folder or your Other folder. The Inbox folder is reserved for messages sent by friends you are connected to, while your Other folder is where spam and messages from those you are not friends with are routed. The Other folder is ignored by some users and its existence is completely unknown to others.
Facebook released an update in 2012 to its messaging system (that I feel was largely unnoticed by the majority of its users) that allows people outside of your network to send a message directly to your Inbox for a small fee. For twice the price of a postage stamp, users are charged $1 for every message they want to send to non-friends hoping it will get noticed. Although the Other folder has been in existence for some time, it cannot be accessed on your mobile app, which is why most of us have never heard of it. While this opens up another avenue for Facebook to make an extra buck, it also opens up the doors for stranger danger.
Beware of Creepers
Although this update was put into action a couple years ago, there are still many ‘creepers’ out there using this system to their advantage today. Check your Other folder if you want a good laugh because you never know what you might find in there. Some of it may just be spam or legitimate messages from co-workers or long-lost friends, but chances are you will find some awkwardly written love notes from a secret admirer. Here are some real messages I found online that Facebook users have received:
So what does this all mean for you?
Facebook hopes the $1 charge will discourage spammers and therefore, decrease the amount of ‘junk’ mail that is sent to you. It will also allow you to send a message to someone you, for example, saw speak at a conference you attended or a potential employer about a job opportunity. You can connect with those who may have been out of your reach, so to speak. Also, it may give long-lost friends or relatives a way of getting a message to you that was previously blocked to them. If nothing else, it may finally give you the opportunity you have been waiting for to ask out that cute girl or guy in your class you have been pining over all semester.
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By Raysha Sally
As communication styles change and social media becomes more and more an everyday part of life, society has adapted. Public relations professionals often see social media as a tool for reaching our publics, and though we all know there are negatives to social media can, I believe most professionals would agree it’s a positive thing. However, that isn’t always the case.
For many years graffiti was used as an outlet for gangs to mark their territory, but now they have moved to the Internet. Today, gangs use social media as a way to communicate with one another and plan organized crimes. In a study of five large cities, researchers found that social media is used by 80 percent of gang members (according to Solutions for State and Local Government Technologies).
Not only can gangs send messages via social media, they can also post videos of their crimes, recruit others, and of course threaten other gangs. Today a gang can simply post what they want the public to know to social media. With the vast majority of cellphones having cameras, anyone can be a videographer, and in just a few clicks that video of a crime can be shared with the world.
In addition, gangs use the Internet and social media to monitor where police officers are; they warn each other as well and give each other the all-clear. Another trend gangs use on the West Coast is referred to as “flocking.” This is where a mass text is sent to gang members, telling them to show up at a specific place and conduct an organized crime, according to Government Technologies.
Gangs also send slanderous messages to other gangs via rap song through sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Last fall, videos posted to the web were what led to 18-year-old rapper Lil JoJo’s murder in Chicago, according to Government Technologies.
Public relations professionals usually see social media as a cost effective way to send out a message, and now gangs view it in the same regard. By one person, simply, sharing a status, video or image, it can quickly be seen by thousands.
According to a Daytona Beach Journal, gangs utilizing social media was seen just last week when five boys beat up a 14-year-old, filming the crime and posting it to Facebook. Luckily there was a light at the end of the tunnel for police. The video was used as police evidence and the four boys were arrested.
Though social media has become a tool for gang members, police believe it can help them execute their jobs properly as well. If officers know the ins and outs of how to utilize social media as a tool to catch gang members and criminals, more justice can be served. Unfortunately, officers fear they might not be able to prevent the crimes. For example, in the Florida case, officers were able to find those guilty of the crime because of the video, but they were unable to prevent the crime, itself. The hope is with the proper training, social media will become a more valuable tool for law enforcement than it is for gang members and criminals.
Many times in public relations we are faced with the question: Is this situation a problem or an opportunity? Therefore I will ask you, is the rise of social media use among gangs a problem for police or an opportunity?