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Occupy These

One of the most annoying and heinous results of social media is bandwagon- activism and conflation of issues. This issue isn’t social media itself , but the way some people use social media.  One of the most recent and infamous examples of this is the Trayvon Martin incident. As stated in a previous blog , speaking out about it became more of a “trendy” thing to do than actual activism and it felt like it was the flavor of the week issue rather than a legitimate call for action. This was much like the occupy movement , which in my opinion was a bunch of spoiled brats attempting to ride yet another trend and sound important, while simultaneously drowning out the serious concerns of those who are oppressed and mistreated in this society and around the globe.

As much as I personally support social media as a source of sharing and gaining information  , I do believe that there can be at times major disconnect between the digital community’s opinions, and the opinions and actions of those in physical reality . In many instances , social media creates its own secular communities which can sometimes be isolated or withdrawn from individuals who are not frequent users of social media. This can often times cause many people who are not active tweeters or facebook users to not take the opinions and concerns of the social media community very seriously, and to social media activism as another trendy to be cool. In my opinion , such suspicion and/or dismissal  of the concerns of the social media community may be warranted.  It’s very easy to sit behind a screen and claim to be serious about change, justice, or correctness and have a feeling of self satisfaction and being involved and trendy.

The sad part is that many people would not be involved with or interested in such things if they didn’t hear about it through social media, when some issues and concerns are centuries old.  This is not to say that social media isn’t a powerful tool for exchanging information about important causes that will eventually lead to action. I am just suggesting that the focus should always primarily be on the issues at hand , and not just trying to be remotely involved in something because everyone else is.

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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Coaching the Coach

In my exercise for my PR Theory  class I had the opportunity to play both a media coach as well as the client. On the client side of things I role played the captain of the Carnival cruise ship crisis. My media coach was tasked with insuring that my responses and tone with the press shed a sympathetic light on the deaths of the respective passengers. I found that as a person the receiving end of the coaching it is very difficult to accept people telling you what to say , especially when you believe that your actions were correct.

It is frustrating and even startling to hear another person  critique how you are coming off to the general public. I played the role of being indignant and not wanting to take responsibility and accountability for the deaths of the passengers and I was in the mind frame of attempting to protect myself and to be myself , rather than to admit any wrongdoing , or to have to be tactful .

On the side of being a media coach , I had the monumental task  of being the public relations coach for Jerry Sandusk , played by my Professor. I found that it was imperative to be as specific as possible when speaking to a client. Inflection , demeanor , word choice , and body language all have to be taken into consideration. I had to mentally take myself out of the role as a public spectator, and I really had to be very objective and honest with Mr. Sandusky. The importance of using words in the most precise manner became very evident , very quickly.

Words like attached, love, boys , like, mine , and feel all became hot-button words that we needed to be mindful of. I also found that it could be frustrating for some media coaches to engage clients , as some may be too stuck in their way of thinking to actually take heed to professional advice. Ultimately I enjoy the exercise from both sides and really was able to get a taste of real life scenarios.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Pun Intended

As of late , there have been several instances in which prominent journalists have gotten severely reprimanded for allegedly misspeaking and subsequently offending a specific interest group.  Last week’s blog entry was in regards to the highly debated decision to suspend CNN Journalist Roland Martin for so-called homophobic Tweets. This past weekend , ESPN editor Anthony Federico  was promptly fired from ESPN for using “ chink in the armor” in the headline of an article about the current phenomenon of Knick’s star Jeremy Lin. There was an immediate and widespread outcry after the headline from sports fanatics and media outlets alike, and Federico was quickly canned for the supposed offensive slur.

In a seemingly desperate attempt to save face, and to perhaps have some sort of damage control , Federico took to his Twitter page and issued an apology and an explanation. Here is an excerpt:

“They would see that on the day of the incident I got a call from a friend – who happens to be homeless – and rushed to his aid. He was collapsed on the side of the road due to exposure and hunger. They would see how I picked him up and got him a hotel room and fed him. They would see I used my vacation time last year to volunteer in the orphanages of Haiti. They would see how I ‘adopted’ an elderly Alzheimer’s patient and visited him every week for a year. They would see that every winter I organize a coat drive for those less fortunate in New Haven. They would see how I raised $10,000 for a friend in need when his kids were born four months premature. “ – Anthony Federico, Twitter

Photo courtesy of the New York Post

I find a few things interesting about this incident and how it has played out. I find it interesting in comparison to the Roland Martin incident, there was little ambiguity or argument over the fact that Federico was being intentionally offensive, except from Federico himself of course. I do believe that this infraction might be a bit more blatant that the Roland Martin incident as well. I also believe that it was an interesting move on the part of Federico to use Twitter as an outlet to explain, at length, how he did not mean to offend anyone, and that it was an “honest mistake”. Giving a laundry list of good deeds ranging from organizing a coat drive for “those less fortunate” to “ volunteering in orphanages of Haiti”  seems a bit disingenuous to me and is the equivalent of a blatant bigot saying “ I’m not racist , one my best friends is ( blank).” It just doesn’t cut it and is a very specious defense.

When I first became aware of the incident, my initial reaction was “ wow, it’s about time”, as I always felt uneasy hearing the phrase used professionally , or otherwise, without a second thought. I always wondered how people were getting away with it in the first place. In a society where words are ultimately power, I believe this incident exposes how deeply offensive a lot of colloquial phrases and idioms have offensive connotations – whether directly or indirectly. At the very least it took jump on the bandwagon athlete of the week sensation to actually make the public think about it.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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