Online, anyone can pretend to be anything they like. Social lives get ‘larged’ on social networks, suitors misrepresent on dating websites, resumes get burnished on Linkedin. Some even claim to have self-cured from cancer, blogged on the topic and profited hugely from a book and wellness App based on a BFL (big fat lie). So, is it just PR spin, web entrepreneurialism, shysterism or even a case of a psychological malaise – as is subtly questioned in this useful News Ltd piece...
As ever was, PR reparations start with “Sorry”, and proceed to responsible, remedial action.
As we assess the data for 2014’s Australian PR Disasters Awards, two heavyweight teams are emerging as the main column centimetre negativity contenders; a) Tony Abbott’s coalition government and b) the NRL’s most wayward rugby stars. While political players such as George Brandis and Scott Morrison did their best to stain and murder their personal and party reputations by seeking to punish whistleblowers and asylum seekers respectively, several rugger buggers created a trickle of bad press over their oral (Todd Carney) and public (Greg Bird) urination episodes that, in turn, created a stream/torrent of social and MSM media criticism. Some surprise contenders such as Zoos SA’s attempt to marginalise a local ice cream supplier in favour of a palm-oil favouring globalcorp raised hackles in Adelaide, while coffee and coffee magnate Phillip De Bella’s expletive-infused Facebook rants had Brizzie caffeine lovers in a froth. And while Rupert Murdoch made a late charge with his emotionally-vapid, corporation-aggrandising Tweet over the #sydneysiege, it’s increasingly looking like PM Abbott will snatch the Award with his globe-spanning “shirtfront” proclamation – we will announce the winners very soon.
CRISIS CRITIQUES BEREFT OF UNDERSTANDING AND EMPATHY In modern crisis or emergency events, it’s clear that Public Relations pundits and the public display little patience with, or respect for, any organisation’s efforts to respond to their incident. Diligence in fact finding and verification goes against the knee-jerk criticism… Continue reading →
A tale of how a press ‘guru’ and a citizen journo conspired to set up fictitious online info to smear and sully the name of the political enemies of their paymasters…ethical behaviour, Bueller, Bueller…?
In the UK, Prime Ministerial adviser Damian McBride has resigned/dressed down by PR Gordy Broon, after (as Wikipedia reports) “…McBride had sent a series of emails to former Labour Party official Derek Draper discussing plans to set up a blog which would be used to post false rumours about the private lives of senior members of the Conservative Party and their spouses. These smears would have included sexual and personal fabrications against certain Tory politicians and their spouses…The emails, which had been sent from the Downing Street Press Office, found their way to Paul Staines, author of the Guido Fawkes blog who brought them to the attention of the media. Mr McBride resigned later the same day, and 10 Downing Street issued an apology for the “juvenile and inappropriate” emails.
I’m fatigued having to write this one up, suffice to say these practices lie somewhere between ‘any publicity is good publicity’, ‘controversy management’ and ‘unethical citizen journalism relations’. To the corps involved…YOU’RE LAZY for not building cit-journo relations yourselves, to the Web2.0-spruikers – compromising your professionalism is probably a myopic game.
I just got, well, spammed; a press release about a hairdresser-turned-software developer plopped in my email box with this simple intro…Hope this story might be a good fit for your blog. Regular PR Disaster readers might know I’m not big on covering hairdresser/software tales, unless their PRs are lazily spamming me. Cet slice de petit carne-dans-un-tincan came from a contractor working for an Aussie publicity outfit whose web proclaims they’re “…not just at the cutting-edge of public relations practices, but also insists they’re “…laser-focused on helping entrepreneurs build their companies through public relations and publicity…LISTEN UP…SPAMMING CITIZEN JOURNOS WILL GET YOU NOTHING BUT NEGATIVE COMMENTARY FOR YOUR CLIENTS (who I will refuse to name in this instance). You need to understand topics bloggers are passionately interested in, and approach them in ways that don’t waste their time. I phoned the PR spammer for an explanation; seems she simply got/bought a list of 50 top Aussie ‘business bloggers’ from an outfit called O-Desk (??), and she (obviously) sprayed the stuff out hoping for some pickup. She seemed not to sense this wasnt quite kosher. But feeling my ire she said sorry. Word to the wise, guys, your online PR “laser’ needs a cleaning cloth. And as an Aussie blog pioneer…surely your team should desist from sending citizen journos like me completely irrelevant media releases? Online or off, that’s PR 101.
From PR disaster management 101, effectively responding to an incident isn’t just about being swift, it’s about being as accurate as poss in your response. Especially in cases involving suspicious practices, to erroneously address the incident can just look like a further cover up. And that don’t help ‘restore the trust’ President Reynoso. That’s exactly what’s not happending in this not-so-isolated incident it seems.
I was interviewed by radio station 2UE’s Bill Woods and Deb Knight on their Sunday weekend show. We discussed the potential threats of social networking sites. Identity theft, career and employment impact plus permanent personal reputation damage were a few of the themes looked at. I asserted that the term ‘social media’ was somewhat of a misnomer, as it skated over how these tools can be effectively used for business and commercial purposes. I reminded Bill and Deb how online commentary or uploads can stick to you like a permanent e-tattoo. We touched on how privacy setting can be quite easily compromised and how there’s a real appetite for gossip and hearsay online. We mentioned the superficiality of some online ‘relationships’ or connections, and how you need to be cautious about who you trust in this area. Fairly surface content touched on, much like many social media sites themselves.