OPINION: HERE IS WHY THE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE VOTE IS IMPORTANT

I’m not usually one to force my personal views and beliefs down a person’s throat, however when it comes to the conversation of same-sex marriage I am not going to shy away. Recently, conversations regarding the same-sex marriage plebiscite has arose again in the media, and now debate has sparked over making the ‘issue’ a consensus vote instead. I’m at the point of my young adult life where I have disassociated from the continual conversations about LGBT rights, because more than not we, as a community, are being denied these basic human rights. However, I feel now more than ever is a crucial point for the Australian LGBT community, and if the Australia Government again denies a mass of their citizens these rights, the result may be vital.

I was reading through a forum discussion regarding the plebiscite/consensus vote, where citizens were giving their views on what should be done to handle this conversation. Again, usually I steer clear of these forums because some of the comments made are completely hurtful and unjust, but this time I decided to delve in. I’m not going to bore you with all of the comments made, but to highlight just a few for you: one individual compared the importance of same-sex to electricity prices, another accused the LGBT community of being burdens to society and another went so far to say society would function better if LGBT individuals were not a part of it. Thank fuck I am a strong person who knows that I need to disregard these comments, because my worth as a human being is just as important as the people making these idiotic comments. But, for some people in the LGBT community reading these comments, they do not know their worth. They take these comments wholeheartedly and let it dictate their life.

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Globalisation: The Evolution of a Globalised PR Industry

Maybe it is the roaring outbursts of emotion seen everywhere we turn due to the results of the US election, or it may be my ongoing obsession with the latest international trends of Twitter (currently, Leonard Cohen and #AHS6NoFX), or simply because this is my desired profession… But as of late, I have put a lot of thought into the globalisation of the public relations industry. Before delving into this topic, let the key staff of Edelman Public Relations explain how to propel this evolution forward:

The 21st century is characterised by globalisation, which undeniably has personified the need for international public relations. Cross-national communication has become the new means of connecting in a modern society. Whether it is for interacting with publics outside of your country, political coalitions, social networking or even trade purposes, this type of communication is vital for an organisations success – and the sole reason we can do this? The introduction of Web 2.0. The introduction of such a communication tool has allowed for a consistent flow of information to and from citizens all around the globe (Flew, 2011). This alone meant that the world of public relations had an entirely new platform, beholding an abundance of new publics to take into consideration. Two noteworthy public relations practitioners, Creedon and Al-Khaja, voiced their opinions regarding the globalisation of their industry:

‘Globalisation coupled with advanced telecommunications technology has broadened the scope of news thereby increasing the need of viewers to cope with more concepts, issues, names, places and processes well beyond those traditionally presented in the national or local context,’ (Creedon & Al-Khaja, 2005). Continue reading

Participatory Culture: A Culture on the Rise

In 1975 the first wave of personal computers were released, all serving the mere purpose of a one-way communication machine. However, as the growth of technology continued and time moved forward, new digital communication technologies allowed for the worlds population to develop informal collaborations and empower individuals to participate within the public sphere. Today, individuals are now given the opportunity to effectively negotiate texts, create and share content, showcase ideas or even provide lifestyle propositions (Flew, 2011). These possibilities have all resulted due to the emergence of the modern day phenomenon, participatory culture.

As defined by Henry Jenkins, author and scholar, participatory culture allows for individuals to not only consume media, but also work to help produce new media (Jenkins, 2006). Jenkins further explained the culture as one with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, with those associated holding strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations with others. Furthermore, participatory culture allows for members to feel that their contributions have impacted discussion and allows for a feeling of social connection to be established. Simply put, as quoted by Henry Jenkins himself, “Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement” (Jenkins, 2006).

The concept of this culture is further explained in the exert below:

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Convergence Culture: Putting Public Relations at the Digital Forefront

As society moves forward, more and more advances in all aspects of our world continue to develop. Whether this is a cure to a chronic illness, housing for the homeless or simply achieving equal pay rates between genders, it is undeniable that our world is constantly evolving. Irrefutably, one of the most notable evolutions of the modern era is the soaring importance and usage of technology. For example, in 2015 alone nearly half of the global population was using the Internet. Studies conducted by The International Telecommunication Union, a governing body under the United Nations, indicated that 3.2 billion individuals, of the current 7.2 billion-world population, would be online (BBC, 2015). These statistics alone highlight the significant role held by technology in today’s contemporary society, which is a statement further supported by Henry Jenkins, author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide,

“We are entering an era where media will be everywhere, and we will use all kinds of media in relation to one another in our near future” (Jenkins, 2001).

This advancement has not only impacted individual lives, but also has significantly changed the way that the corporate world runs – specifically, within the field of public relations. In simple terms, public relations can be defined as the link found between a company and their target audiences. The profession relies predominantly upon information and feedback from surrounding publics, which is collated and used effectively to develop more thorough campaigns in order to drive clientele satisfaction (Johnson, 2014).

The profession used to rely upon more traditional media outlets, such as press releases, newsletters and heavy attendance at public events. However, due to the ever-growing prominence of technology within society, pubic relations has been able to successfully converge their workings over into the new digital realm. This transition over to a more technology driven career can be regarded as a Convergence Culture, according to Henry Jenkins. Convergence culture can be defined as ‘the flow of content across a variety of platforms, beholding the cooperation of multiple media industries and migratory behaviour of media audiences” (Jenkins, 2006). The concept of Convergence Culture is further illustrated throughout the following video exert:

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Hashtag Love

As of late, companies are starting to jump on the social media bandwagon and implement a number of tactics to increase their brand awareness. Using strategies along the likings of competitor awareness, audience research, prime posting times, but more predominantly hash-tag strategies, these companies are beginning to take the social media platforms by storm. Hash-tags, specifically, are implemented very cunningly to market the brand, and gain promotion across all areas.

These hash-tags can be separated into three categories: brand, campaign and content. Brand hash-tags are more like a tagline that individuals will know, and associate with your company. It should be very unique to your company, while being short and sweet, and easy to spell. An example of this was used by the worldwide company KitKat – using the #HaveABreak. This was a slogan plastered across all of their official sites, which consequently led to their consumers knowing this as their brand slogan.

Campaign, on the opposite hand, implements the title of your current marketing campaign. This type of hashtag should again be a word or phrase that is extremely unique to the short-term promotion or contest. This tactic promotes the campaign hashtag as a method for customers to engage with you, your brand/company and a variety of fellow customers throughout the duration of the promotional offer. Exposure on this tactic can be maximised by ensuring that the hashtag is required on all entries into a competition being held, therefore having it become seen across all social media platforms.

Finally brands can apply a content hashtag to branch out exposure also. This kind of hashtag is one a company would use in their own post to maximise visibility of the post. They are not branded, or necessarily trending in popularity, they are simply hashtags relating to the content of the post. These tags improve the SEO of your posts and allow updates to be seen more frequently. For example, if working in a coffee shop and posting a picture of one of your products, you would #latte onto the picture in attempts to bring in more exposure to your post.

If used properly, and on a regular basis, these hashtags have the capability of branding your business and marketing campaigns, while expanding the overall reach of the content updates being made by the business. Personally, if I could, this is a bandwagon I would definitely be jumping on.

Energising Your Celebrity Social Media Strategy

As a brand, it may become a little overwhelming managing a variety of social media channels, users and varying audiences. A challenging task to say the least if you have tens of thousands of followers on each individual network. However, what about those who cater to millions of followers across their platforms? We would be lying if we said we each did not follow at least one celebrity on a social platform. Due to this, celebrity social media management becomes a much larger importance.

Just like brands, celebrities have a reputation and online presence to uphold in attempts to increase and maximise their audiences. Once these individuals reach a certain audience size, the mammoth following becomes a prime location to market new movies, music or personal agendas. In order to do this, these celebrities must behold a powerful social voice in order to keep followers coming back for more content. As smart phone users are estimated to check their devices roughly 150 times a day, fresh and exiting posts are crucial. Whether it is reading through Britney’s tweets, looking through Justin Bieber’s attempted skateboarding on Instagram or Kylie Jenner’s snapchats, these celebrities have an eye when it comes to content.

Celebrity social media is so popular due to the engagement exchanged with fans. Audiences come to these pages to obtain a sneak peak into these lives, but also for a chance to communicate – this means it is vital to engage with fans on occasion. Taylor Swift is a prime example of this, responding to her fans, friends and fellow musicians across all social platforms. Swift has gained fan accounts dedicated to regramming conversations the songstress has had with her fans over Twitter direct message.

In order to market new products and/or projects, these celebrities must determine which platform will work best in their favour. For example, the largest followings for each network are:

  • Twitter: Katy Perry with more than 85 million followers
  • Instagram: Selena Gomez with more than 92 million followers
  • Snapchat: Kylie Jenner with more than 30 million followers

As there is a different celebrity ruling each platform, it shows that celebrities must consider social media demographics when building out to audiences. In saying this, these individuals must not use these platforms solely for advertisement, but need to let their fans into their lives. Whether it be sending positive messages, personal photos or glimpse into your own life – this is how audiences are kept coming back for more.

As much as we doubt it, celebrity social media management beholds a lot more consideration and thought then we consider.

Watch Selena delve into the meaning behind her highly followed Instagram profile and pictures!

Has Our Internet Obsession Destroyed Our Sense Of Privacy?

Privacy: the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves, or information about themselves, and thereby express themselves selectively. Once a definition that held so much meaning, but now in a prominent contemporary society, has lost all that it once encompassed

In our current reality, every time we log into Facebook there is the ability to see exactly where a person is posting. We are forced into reading all the intimate details of a romantic break up, because people see these social platforms as a form of therapy rather than a communication form. Swap; log onto Instagram, what do you come across? Pictures of what your friends are having for lunch. Individuals are beginning to lose sight of what the purposes of these platforms are, and in turn slowly corrupt any sense of privacy left within our world. That being said, is just a personal look upon the issue, think of the corporate damage that this lack of privacy could inflict onto the business/professional world.

Recent studies show that 60% of current employers use social media platforms to screen potential job candidates. More than half of the companies in the world will take the time to scroll through an individual’s social page before even considering offering them an interview. Why do professionals go to such extensive lengths you may wonder? To find out whom you truly are as a person, outside of the workplace. Hiring managers will very quickly determine your online footprint, and begin to make assumptions about you based upon what they find on your Facebook page, Instagram profile or simply by googling your name.

The main traits, or content that turns employees off, are as followed:

  • Provocative/inappropriate photographs, videos or information
  • Information about candidate drinking or using illegal substances
  • Discrimitory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc.
  • Bad-mouthing previous employers or fellow employees
  • Poor communication skills

Although at the time reposting that Facebook post that made you laugh, or uploading that picture from your night out over the weekend may seem harmless, the consequences are undetermined. The need for individuals within society to comprehend that everything they publicly share upon social media has the capability of impacting their professional standing within the corporate world, and could in fact jeopardise their entire career ambitions.

If I could offer any advice to help with the situation: think before you post. Don’t throw away your career for a few Facebook likes.