Living in the city limits I have seen a lot of Pit Bulls. One trip downtown and you will quickly realize that Pit Bulls are the preferred dog of the urban United States. Tied up, caged in and paraded around like weapons.
I’m sure you have heard gruesome news stories and read articles about Pitt Bulls attacking owners, neighbors and children. Unfortunately in the eyes of media, public relations and most likely yours, Pitt Bulls look something like this:
But why should we care as PR professionals? Well at one point, Pit Bulls were considered the “American dog” or sometimes even the “nanny dog” because they were so good with children. In fact, Petey from The Little Rascals was a Pit Bull. Some other popular Pitt Bull owners are President Theodore Roosevelt, President Woodrow Wilson, Rachel Ray, Helen Keller, Steve Irwin (the crocodile hunter) and many more.
These intelligent, athletic and eager to please dogs soon began to be taken advantage of. In true human fashion, people saw them as a way to make money and they went with it.
Pitt Bulls were put head to head defending their owners to the death. These once sweet and fun loving dogs were now being bred to kill. These dogs began to be selected for their fighting spirit and winning potential. If the dog didn’t have what it took they were slaughtered, used as bate dogs or left to roam the streets.
Although I am a media loving communications major, I cannot help but partly blame our industry for what has happened to these dogs.
As the number of news stories started to increase, so too, did the number of Pitt Bull fighting operations. The media created a negative image based off of a small percentage of people abusing these dogs. Soon bans of Pitt Bulls were being put up in every city you could imagine, making Pitt Bulls climb the list of “bad” dogs to own. The buzz around these dogs made it cool for the baddest of the bad to own these dogs.
If you search online for Pit Bulls, thousands of websites have come up trashing these dogs. What is interesting to me is if you research the people writing these stories, many times they do not even own a dog or have never had real contact with a Pitt.
I have owned a Pitt Bull and I will never stop loving this breed. What the media and pop culture has done with this breed makes me sick to my stomach.
When my Pit Bull was a puppy, people would be petting her and ask why kind of dog she was…I would respond with “oh she is a Pitt Bull” and they most likely would stop petting her and walk away. This is the dog people were afraid of…
This breed of dog needs a high level of socialization compared to most other breed out there and the media discourages people from going near them. This cycle will never end as long as media highlights the worst and never covers the positives.
With that being said, Pit Bulls are not for everyone. Like any dog, they are not to be left alone with your small children or taken for granted. They are a highly intelligent breed that needs a lot of exercise and attention. You also have to know that this breed can be very dangerous and aggressive if neglected. Many of them have a fighting past and chances are your dog will have some dog-fighting lineage. Know whom you are getting your dog from and get to know them.
The point is that what you say and how you say it has an effect on a lot of people. Do your research and find out things first hand before you become passionate on something that you know little about. I am in no way saying that if the media had not covered Pitt Bulls that they would not be a dangerous breed. What I am saying is that the media made it popular for bad people to want these dogs.
It has happened to Rottweilers, Dobermans and now Pit Bulls. I just hope that news media can find a way to turn around this very negative stereotype and bring this breed back to the status of “Americas dog.”
If you heard Alan VanderMolen talk you probably wouldn’t guess that he was a key member of the world’s largest public relations firm. He seemed like a pretty normal guy, as he chatted about his friends from Ohio State, politics and even more after making reference to beer for the 20th time.
I had the chance to see VanderMolen, the president and CEO of global practices, speak at Ohio State as part of an event hosted by The PRactice. Edelman for those who may not know has more than 66 offices and more than 4,500 employees worldwide.
I also participated in my second out of class live-tweet of an event. For those of you who may have read my blog post DC’s Social Media Opera-tunity, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who have not, I would encourage you to check it out.
This live-tweet of an event was a lot more popular as far as Twitter goes. Although I will not go over VanderMolen’s whole talk, I do want to go over why I find live-tweeting at an event difficult.
As a balance between being informative and being rude tugs at me, I cannot help but think that live-tweeting events is strange. For some reason, when someone is giving a talk, I cannot help but feel weird having my phone out. It may be my schooling up to this point or it may be my parents forcing me to pay attention and be respectful of whoever is giving a talk. I am not sure what it is about the experience that makes me feel like I am missing something.
I have realized that this perfection of the art of live-tweets may come with time, but for now I am waiting on a gem from the speaker. As I try to type as fast as I can, the speaker is already on to the next point. If I had chosen to do a live-tweet of an athletic event or something more casual…I think I would have felt different.
All in all, the experience of live-tweeting a speaker at a Public Relations event is accepted…while I am not sure if other types of serious presentations are so quick to adapt. Older speakers who are not into the world of social media may find this extremely rude as well.
All in all I find it situational. For some occasions I think that live tweeting can be useful whereas others it may not be as acceptable.
What do you think? Do you feel rude when using your phone while seeing a live speaker? Do you think that it is becoming more accepted to be using your phone during an event?
As the age of traditional communication turns digital, so too does the work of professional communicators. Whether it is new forms of media, or adaptations of past practices, we have no choice but to change.
Since the rise in social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twittter, we have seen them jump into the spotlight of employers looking to be “cool” and “hip.” Unfortunately the traditional press release sometimes gets overlooked.
One exciting thing for those trying to stay up with the latest in technology in PR but also are not ready to give up traditional PR tactics is a hybrid press release.
An interesting blend of old school press releases and web based links, sometimes embedded like a blog post, blended up and put out as these hybrid press releases.
So why should you care?
For internships and jobs in the future if you are able to create a digital press release you will most definitely have a leg up on others. Why is that?
1. It is more interactive: The ones who will be getting the press release will now be able to dive further into your content and explore beyond just your words. This includes the addition of links to websites, pictures, videos and more.
2. It is more user friendly: With more and more content being only on the internet, many employers are finding it easier to interact on the web because they are already online. If the press releases are similar to the way they navigate pages on the Internet it is an easy transition.
3. It is eye catching: The number of press releases that are sent out is incredible…so make yours memorable. Everyone wants their press release to be seen but only a select few stand out.
4. It is the future: Growing up in the digital age, our generation and the one that came after ours is so connected to this type of content. The future editors and media experts we will be sending our press releases to will have grown up this way.
All in all, as we move farther and farther away from traditional print formatting, adjustments have to be made to keep current with the times. Public relations professionals have already had to adapt with the emergence of social media and now they are having to adapt to a wider variety of technological advances.
Do you think this is just the popular thing to do as far as media technology or do you think this is something that public relations professionals will have to continue to adapt to in the future?
As I sit on the floor of my grandparent’s house, I can’t help but stare. The cabley goodness is oozing out of the TV screen. I am 8 years old again and I cannot get enough.
Yes, I was of my I was one of those deprived kids who didn’t have cable. As sad as it was, it was an excuse to go over and see my grandparent’s. I loved going over to their house and plopping myself down for some good ol’ fashion Nickelodeon.
Besides my grandma’s cooking and my grandpa hitting golf balls with me, I cannot help but remember the glory of Doug, Johnny Bravo, Hey Arnold, Ren & Stimpy Show, and All That.
One of the weirdest parts of cable news had to be the commercials. The most interesting part was that the shows I was watching advertised exclusively to kids. The one thing that I will never get out of my memory?
I think that advertising children is always a touchy subject but one thing cannot be debated, after watching Nickelodeon, Gak looked so cool!
Ad after ad of that teacher saying how gross it was and how it made “Gak” noises only made me want to buy it more. So I found my parents and ordered Gak right away. My brain was awfully malleable and I had no idea what marketing even was. I had no idea that the people in the commercials were really just trying to sell me a product and like most things that are in commercials…it just wasn’t the same.
I also don’t think that this Gak campaign was anything more than your typical fun toy for kids. I do not think it had the same powerful messaging as a GI JOE or Batman toy. I think that when it comes down to it, the messaging behind Gak was just like the toy — fun without substance.
In the commercial I was never told to not throw the Gak. Because of this, it ended up stuck to my parents ceiling in their house where it will forever be a reminder of how powerful even “fun” ads can be.
The other night I was able to take part in my first ever Tweet Chat. My venture into the world Twitter Chatting may not have been the best, but I did learn a lot.
I was eager to find out what this chatting was all about and I chatted using the Tuesday night 8 p.m. #pr20chat. This chat was an open forum, free-for-all experience.
As I began trying to chat, get the right links, and spell check my tweets, I was figuring out this was more challenging than my in class experience. It seemed as if one person was talking about one thing and another about another thing. I needed to slow down.
Anything from what we would improve in our PR skill set to the Felix Baumgartner and Red Bull Stratos jump were popping up on the screen. People were having side conversations and talking about different things all at once and I was finding it really easy to be overwhelmed.
This was a different from the very organized Tweet Chat that I had done in the classroom. At least in that class everyone was chatting about the same things.
This experience led me to four things you should know if you want to start Twitter Chatting:
- Slow down: It’s not a race. The chat is probably around an hour long or maybe more — you have time to get your thoughts in. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at first. Don’t.
- Come prepared: If you know what the chat is going to be about…do some research. If you don’t know what it’s about, stay current with what is happening in the PR world and be ready to use links, handles and hash tags.
- They won’t bite: PR professionals are eager to hear what you say. It is part of their job to listen to what people are thinking and hear what the industry is talking about and they also are very willing to share their experience with you.
- Be flexible: Sometimes the information you want to share may not get brought up right away. The conversation might change and to stay in it you may have to adapt.
For those who have participated in a Twitter Chat before what other tips would you add for someone just starting out?
Last night I had the chance to attend M&M’s Opera in the Outfield at Nationals Park in Washington DC. The Washington National Opera has put on a live opera broadcast for the past five years for free at the stadium. We were able to walk right in to the stadium and get a wonderful seat in left field. I was with my girlfriend and her family, who are all originally from the Virginia area. Her family has always tried to take advantage of what DC has to offer but had never been to this specific event.
Even though there were a lot of potential talking points concerning public relations, marketing, sports and technology, I wanted to look at the use of Twitter at the event.
Because this event was targeted towards an older and more family oriented crowd, I was not expecting anything relating to social media. I was, however, ready to see more in terms of the M&M brand.
When we first arrived, the Mars candy and M&M presence was felt. They had M&M characters running around and free prizes and giveaways for both adults and kids. This was not the most interesting thing about this event. What struck me was how the opera tried to push social media.
At the beginning of the show we were told about the #simulcast hash tag and connecting up and using the handle @dcopera. After learning about some of the professional uses of Twitter in class, I was excited to see how it went and ready to join in!
The night started off with a Tweet sent out by the opera company saying how excited they were to have all of us at the event. Using some of the tactics taught in class I jumped in on the conversation. For a few minutes people were posting tweets and pictures from the event until suddenly…nothing.
Over the four-hour period we were there, only about 50 tweets total were sent out total about the event using the hash tag #simulcast. I was not only disappointed because I didn’t get to use my new skills, but more confused as to why more people we not joining in.
This was my first true lesson in target audiences as I realized that most of the people at the show were not of the prime Twitter age. This attempt to use social media didn’t quite work.
Unfortunately for this missed audience, according to a new study about adults using the Internet, adults over 50 are 1/3 less likely to be depressed if they use social media.
I guess for the newer generations, social media can make us feel more connected to our peers and maybe even make us less depressed? As this becomes more socially acceptable and our generation becomes adults, maybe we will see more of us tweeting at events like the opera.
Regardless of how social media was used, it was a wonderful experience and a great opportunity to open up to new ideas.
What are your thoughts on older audiences using Twitter? Also do you think that live tweeting of events takes away from the experience (missing parts while typing) or enhances it?