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We have all seen them, and I would be a liar to say I haven’t joined one or used one…. what am I talking about? Someone’s sick page, or used a stay strong hashtag. I’m not talking about people with the common cold or #staystrongjustin when the Beibs broke up with his girlfriend, I’m talking about people who are truly sick reaching out to family members via social networking and it turning into a movement, a phenomenon, something that is truly bigger then just one person.

Most of the time we talk about social media bringing the world together and how it benefits a business, well people have also started using social media to bring their family and friends together to make them aware of their sickness, which most of the time are fatal. There is even a social media site for people wishing to share their stories called The Caring Bridge. 

Through the help of sites such as The Caring Bridge, Facebook, and Twitter, families have been able to lean on others for help and support in this time of need as well as being able to share updates with a mass audience. According to some it’s even just a way to express your feelings so you know your not alone with your feelings. In addition to being a place for sharing and support it has become a place for people to come together and post photos and happy memories about that person.

I remember long before he was sick we made the page “I’ve Met Byrum” for my dad, just because he was a character. He was one of those people who even if you met him one time you had a hilarious story to tell. Even before he got sick the page had more than 100 “likes” and during his battle with cancer and after he died many more people joined and shared pictures and stories that I had never even shared before.

Sometimes I feel like we think about social media as something scary that big business is trying to control, and it’s stories like these that remind me what social media was intended for. To bring people together in times of happiness, sadness and everyday life. It’s for sharing your life with people you want to keep in touch with even if you don’t talk to them all the time. It’s so random people don’t show up to your house nine months after your Dad died asking for him because somehow someone forgot to tell them. It’s so incase something happens maybe you can just post one thing instead of calling a bunch of people.

Social media isn’t just for viral videos and so you can post funny pictures of your cat, sometimes it’s more.


As Sandy came and went you could see the storm even if you weren’t on the east coast. Through social media people around the world where able to see, in real-time, the effects Sandy had on the country. Throughout the crisis people used social media to donate money to relief efforts, as well as get help if they where truly in trouble. People tweeted their location and where able to be rescued, people tweeted pictures of supplies they needed and people where able to bring it to them. So this poses the question what about people who tweets are not accurate?

In the time of a crisis it is one of the most important times to be tweeting correct information. Brian Solis has said time and time again the way to gain a following is to make sure your follows trust you. If you claim to be an authority then you better be correct all the time. During Sandy there where a people who used Twitter to spread rumors about what was going on, leading people to believe the wrong thing. For example @comfortablysmug tweeted about the trading floor being under three feet of water. This was far from true however people believed it and it spread like wildfire.

This leads to the moral of the story, people who are tweeting need to be telling the truth. If you are an authority or representing someone who is you can’t just tweet whatever you think will make people talk. Which goes back to things going viral, you can’t force something to go viral it will happen, and you can’t use tragedy to boost your popularity because I find that a little shady. In the end social media is like life, just tell the truth and everything will be okay.

From class I learned that Brian Solis is second only to God himself, well when it comes to creating an effective social media campaign. Now besides writing Engage, Solis also does seminars across the country telling the PR and marketing world how to make their mark in social media. Solis did a seminar called “The End of Business as Usual” and it had some really good points, which just nails in down that he knows whats up.

During the seminar I think the most interesting thing Solis said was, “We are competing for the moment. We are competing for the future. We are competing for relevance.” Which is true, in social media it isn’t about the past it’s about what you are doing now and where your going in the future, if you dwell in the past it’s not doing your company any good. But I think it’s important to realize that you can’t run from your past, you need to embrace it and let that be your driving force into the future.

There are plenty of companies out there who bring their past into social media and make it their future. Take for instance Hendricks Gin, which prides itself on being rare and historic, has a social media presence. This is exactly what companies need to realize, that people love new and exciting but they also love old and concrete. There is a trust in being old and established; even the most early of early adopters waits for at least one press statement on a product before jumping on the band wagon.

So when it’s all said and done we know two things are for certain, 1. Solis knows his social media, and 2. embrace the old and the new because together they will make you better.

I actually find crisis in social media highly entertaining so I’m surprised that this is the first time I’ve mentioned it but I guess better late then never. For starters I think it can be very easy to mix up what account your on and what your doing… especially since we often don’t wait before posting something. As professionals we are eventually going to be posting essentially as someone else so I think we need to be aware of what can happen if things go wrong, and we also need to leave our personnel lives at the door when we go to work.

After reading countless articles about social media blunders I discovered that people can forget they are in the public eye, which I think is probably a pretty easy thing to do if you live there all the time. But this is where PR professionals come into play, we are the middleman between people basking in the limelight and “common folk.” But through some extensive reading i’ve narrowed it down to about five things that i think lead to social media scandal…


1. If your overly emotional do not post anything

People are advised not to drive if they are to emotional for everyones safety, social media is the same as driving, refrain if your feeling overly expressive that day.

2. If you wouldn’t say it to your grandmother, don’t put it on social media

Social media makes things forever, and if you don’t want to make the commitment don’t put it out there.

3. Remember where you are, and where your supposed to be

Are you at work? Are you home? Are you on vacation? Did you ditch work to go to Vegas? If where you are does not match up with where your supposed to be, please refrain from posting.

4. Don’t lie

Don’t lie on social media, especially when your a company, and please people stop making up these people are dead rumors

5. Read it again

We learned this all through school, make sure you read things again before sending them out into the real world, for spelling errors, so they make sense, so you can just not send them at all

September 15, 2012 was a dark day, well at least for me it was, for those of you who don’t know that was the day the NHL announced the NHL season would not start on time and hockey fans everywhere would be waiting. For those of you who don’t know me well I love hockey, I love the smell of the rink, I love the camaraderie of the fans and players, I love how a hockey player is unlike any other guy I’ve ever talked to, and I love how people who also love hockey always seem to find each other. I’m the girl who at age seven pronounced her love for Nick Lidstrom and was depressed for a week when he announced his retirement. I’m the girl who cried when Sergei Federov left the Wings to play for Russia, I’m also the girl who is convinced every single relationship I’ve had has not worked because I am meant to marry Kenny Ryan. There is a reason “Go to a Stanley Cup play-off game” is on my bucket list, and there is also a reason I intern for the Plymouth Whalers, because I simply love hockey.

So what does all this have to do with social media? Well when the lockout was announced NHL commissioner Gary  Bettman has been quoted many of times saying, “The fans will come back, just like the last time.” This has led to a social media uproar, Twitter is a buzz comparing him to Marie Antoinette, Facebook has many angry posts directed at him, and if there’s one thing I know it’s that hockey fans are not shy about throwing punches, electronically or otherwise.

Before the lockout even happened a fan named  Janne Makkonen made a video on YouTube that has gotten almost 100,000 views, this video is plea to not have a lockout. I have watched it and I have to say it is one of the most moving things I have ever seen, and it makes me miss hockey, even if I’m standing in a rink every saturday watching it. Apart from the video there where multiple efforts of fan opposition of the lockout, which makes me wonder…. Gary if you really think you have such awesome fans, why don’t you just listen to them?

Social Media has given the fans a voice and now its a little hard to shut them up, not that hockey fans even know what it’s like to be quiet. So now we wait, for hockey to come back, and in the mean time we will come together via social media to express ourselves and watch our closet OHL or AHL team…but come on it’s never the same.

I think a lot of the time I post something to social media sites I forget it’s going to be there forever. I often forget that my sappy song lyrics from when a boy stood me up will forever be there for all 700 of my friends to see, not to mention my followers, which can in turn be shared…. wow maybe I should stop being depressing via social media. However this leads us to a point, should we be able to bear our souls on social networks? Should our world know we are over the moon happy, or seriously sad? According to Brian Solis we should… which I think might be a good thing. 

A world without feelings would be a boring world, so does that mean a social media without feelings would not be social? I think yes, I feel like one of the best parts of Facebook is scrolling through your news-feed to see who has gotten awesome news and who has received not so awesome news, it’s why we connect with people so we can keep track of what they are doing. So we should be able to show our emotions over social media, thats like saying we shouldn’t be able to show emotion is our everyday lives. Life is a emotional place and so is social media. 

As I’ve gotten older, or more mature, because we all know they don’t always coordinate, I’ve noticed that people are just “putting it all out there” on social networks. There has been multiple occasions where I have run into Facebook friends in real life and mentioned something somewhat personnel only to be greeted by odd glances, only for my own reaction of, “Wait…. was that to personnel because I saw it on your Facebook two weeks ago….” It’s almost annoying how much private information people are willing to put on social media, and I understand that it’s a great way to share information with people you love but what about your other 700 so-called friends.

Brian Solis talked in chapter 12 about how people should make an effort to make a professional social media, because essentially you are your brand. Which I agree with, I hear almost on a regular basis from professionals that a bad Facebook or Twitter could lead to you not getting your dream job… no matter how qualified you are.

According to a Forbes article employers are no saying they can judge your future work ethic and performance by your Facebook page. They also state that checking you out on social media can essentially tell them more than a short interview.

Long story short, don’t put anything on the internet you wouldn’t want the world to know… then again we should have known this already right?