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Welcome to my blog. I hope you find it entertaining and informative. This medium will serve as my blog space for courses while I attend California Baptist University. All views and opinions expressed on this blog are my own and do not represent the views of California Baptist University, City of Banning or City of Riverside.
Blog - Week 8 | 4/30/2017
Using social media to become famous
Expansion of Blog Week 4
For some of us, there is a need to be well liked by our peers. We are generally social and like the companionship of others. Social media has presented itself as a platform to be “liked” and “followed.” Even if these likes are from people whom we will never meet or know, it works on our ego. Those that are well liked are now being leveraged and compensated by organizations to market their own products or their favorite products. Amazon has launched an “influencer” program to a select few individuals to be part of this new endeavor. It really does pay to be well liked online.
According to rantic.com, there are some steps to take to become famous on YouTube (because it is so easy right?). First you must create your brand. If you like to sing, show your raw videos and your journey. We must build our community by commenting and liking other videos and collaborating with other popular users. The website goes on to recommend adding unique and personal touches to the videos in order to gain popularity and to be consistent in publishing content to live in your YouTube Channel. Other steps include creating a video in response to a popular video and posting reviews on movies or the latest Hollywood gossip.
We must create a brand, work towards it, monitor and protect it. “Social media finds its value in supporting, enhancing, or amplifying business functions focused on achieving specific business objectives” (Blanchard, 2011). Social media is a tool that can enhance a physical brand or industry and achieve their strategic messages and goals. Even if a person does not have a physical brand or a brick and mortar location, social media can be the medium to achieve international stardom and get paid, evidently, by Amazon with its social influencer program.
Blog - Week 7 | 4/23/2017
It’s one thing to have a communications plan that gets adopted which calls for and budgets for a PIO position but then in the same breadth provides no budget for staff and the tools the department needs to get total buy in. From government agencies, non-profits to private enterprises and school districts; all directors, management, staff and elected bodies need to release the parking brake on the communications department so that total buy-in to the adopted and approved plan can take place. Departments and elected bodies are unable to see the full potential of a communications plan if they are limiting the amount of which the department can do through influencing internal staff, stakeholders and other outside entities.
Breakenridge explains how we can become a true change agent and provides a checklist with some suggestions. If there is not buy in from electives or directors, then it will be more challenging to “cultivate and consistently demonstrate trust, in-depth knowledge, industry expertise, intense motivation, pure passion, a winning attitude, and a giving spirit” (Breakenridge, 2012). Every organization is susceptible to internal and outside influences that can affect the way information is disseminated. Follow the adopted communications plan and budget for the department. Hiring a PIO will not suddenly reach a goal. It takes time, staff and funds.
Blog - Week 6 | 4/14/2017
What others think...
A positive public perception, online or in person, is an objective every successful public relations professional should strive for. On Saturday, April 8th 2017 I was working on assignment for the City of Rosemead taking still photos with my drone of various sights and businesses. I made sure as many people as possible were notified of my whereabouts. I requested every business owner, property owner, chief of police (Sheriff), city officials and the FAA know exactly what I was doing. I notified the El Monte Air Traffic Control Tower (ATC) on the time of flights and maximum altitude I was going to be at. My wife was serving as my spotter for me and would intercept any people curious about what I was doing. I take flying seriously especially when close to businesses and people. There were gusts of wind at times between 15 and 20 MPH which always make me concentrate more.
Everything went very smooth until I took out the drone at the Montebello Shopping Mall. Immediately there were two private security vehicles that pulled up telling me I could not fly here. I was on the edge of their property to shoot the hotel across the street. I immediately thanked them for responding so quickly, introduced myself and proceeded to tell them my assignment. As they were communicating back to their supervisor I showed them emails from city officials, FAA and all property owners (including the mall) granting me permission. It was obvious that some of the security personnel were not notified. I told them the chief of police is also aware of my whereabouts. It was then that the attitude changed and they said I was ok to fly. I invited all of them, including the Segway that joined the scene, to get out and watch my screen and check out how cool it is. They got out and it was all smiles, Ooos and Awwees. The young security guards were saying that they all want drones now!
As a licensed drone pilot, contractor for Rosemead and representative for my own business, public perception in this new and somewhat controversial business is at stake. I wanted to leave them knowing that I am a professional who is courteous and will follow all the rules by not putting safety to the test and respecting others. Hopefully their perception of drone pilots will be positive based on my interaction with them and they will continue to do their job of enforcing the rules in a positive way as well.
Public perception nightmare this week:
Blog - Week 5 | 4/8/2017
What’s Happening in Your Neck of the Woods -
On the Social Web
It is a clear and beautiful day outside; kids are playing in the park, perfect weather, snow capped mountain views and people just strolling outside enjoying their neighborhood. Real life is nice.
Meanwhile, on the social web, parents are outraged because a salesperson knocked on their door and smiled at their child, an M-80 fire cracker went off and police were called for shots fired, a picture of a Crane Fly is posted with a caption that “this town is infested with huge mosquitoes,” complaints about how horrible and expensive Frontier Cable/internet is, missing pets, horrible school teachers/district, stolen vehicles, homeless encounters, stranger danger, complaints about how rude women are, and zombie attacks.
I am not a mosquito!!
Ok, other than the zombies, these are actual posts from a Facebook group for the city I live in. Forget it. I am moving. If I don’t die just by walking outside, a Crane Fly will somehow bite me and give me a disease and I won’t be able to post it on Facebook because my internet is not working.
There is an inherent need for validation. But it has gone too far. People are wronged by a business or person and they find a need to rant and rave about how awful they are and they should be run out of town. When posting how wonderful your Starbucks experience was, there are 11,000 members ready to say how they will never support that organization again. Positive status updates are nice especially when they are accompanied by a nice photo like a peace officer helping someone or children supporting a good cause. There are those that are conducting research or need recommendations for a dentist or auto repair facility. I never recommend my dentist, doctor or mechanic because everyone else’s far more superior to mine. There are those that are watch-dogs for the community, making observations that are of legitimate concern. Sometimes, observations can get out of control, but otherwise, knowing that there are a pack of coyotes on the prowl through the neighborhood is actually a good thing. Requests for assistance posts are found on organization sites more so than community sites. City hall and police department social media pages are often referenced when a citizen is seeking answers to customer service directed questions. Window breakers can appear anywhere on the social web and on every category. There are simply those, especially in community Facebook pages, that will talk negatively about anything and everything. Sometimes positive messages can be posted online but there will still be something negative to mention by the same people over and over again. Window breakers are unavoidable, but they are ignorable.
Blog - Week 4 | 4/1/2017
Work hard, have fun, make history
I just know that Amazon is slowly taking over the world with companies and mergers owned or partially owned by the online giant such as IMDB, Alexa Internet, Pets.com and Zappos to name a few well-known names. Regular bloggers and companies alike can even earn money on their own website by becoming an affiliate of Amazon. A website can have a link to a product that Amazon sells; if the product is purchased while on that session, a commission is granted to the affiliate. This is a great strategy to infiltrate the online sales market.
But there is something more.
As of March 31, 2017, Amazon launched a beta program; a social media influence program targeted to those who have a well-established following. This program is not offered to the general public but rather to “influencers.” Take for example, Justin Timberlake, who has 39 million likes on his Facebook page and the 21 year old Canadian woman, Rhaea Estelle, who loves to put on makeup, give product reviews and share her makeup routine 11 million times and to her 832 thousand Youtube subscribers. Estelle lists her favorite brushes and talks about what she is applying to her face. So now, through the Amazon Influencer model, a viewer can click on a link that takes you to a customized shopping experience on Amazon with products that the influencer recommends and receives a commission on each sale. Amazon may not get the award for being the largest social media platform owner but they seem determined to leverage what is already out there. Psy’s Gangnam Style is on track to hit 3 billion views. Who would like an easy way to find Psy’s sunglasses or dress like him? Now, if he influencers like him take advantage of the program, viewers can be directed to his recommended products. With nearly half the Earth’s population viewing the video, Amazon might have to build more distribution facilities.
The door opens up with this new opportunity for bloggers, vloggers, A-listers and B-listers to earn a little extra side cash. Perhaps a few more jobs would be created to work with their brand manager, digital manager and PR director to keep their shopping page current. The possibilities are virtually endless for those that are influencing.
Blog - Week 3 | 3/25/2017
Social Media Got Em’ In Trouble
It happened in my work town and home town this week. Three fifteen year old boys from Banning Unified and Chino Valley Unified were arrested for alleged unrelated criminal threats to commit mass shootings at school. According to the mother of the teen arrested from the Banning H.S. her son received text messages about how he was going to be the next one to shoot up a school because he was being bullied so much. The two students were joking around but another student overheard these statements according to the interview from FOX 11. A former student from Chino High School tweeted that he was going to recreate Columbine and “Chino needs a good shooting.”
Big Brother Is Watching Us.
The threats against Chino H.S. were discovered and monitored by a Washington D.C. agency called “The Tactical Institute” who alerts local law enforcement of online criminal threats.
Joking or not, making threats to people, schools or public places area dealt with seriously in the wake of terrorist attacks in our local communities, across the nation and the world. These are obvious cases of malevolence that will get you in trouble with the law and potentially expelled from the school in attendance with these particular incidences. The Chino H.S. teen was previously expelled.
What if your place of employment does not have any set policies or guidelines in place in respect to social media? Are the floodgates open to say whatever you want or complain about your company and the perceived treatment of fellow employees? It is important to have policies and guidelines in place that protect the employee and employer from defamation, libel, slander, bullying.
“First Thought Wrong”
Whatever your first thought is to post on social media….it’s wrong. Think about it and the potential negative consequences - like being arrested - could follow. Ask ourselves “what are we trying to accomplish with our social media voice?”
Blog - Week 2 | 3/19/2017
To Centralize or Decentralize?
Before social media, centralize and decentralize models were solely associated with things like purchasing, information technology, warehousing and even radical military outfits, who all have a decision to make; do we receive orders and brand communications from one central source or each go out on our own in an autonomous fashion while remaining connected to the central message?
The important thing to remember at all times, whether centralized or decentralized, is to keep common the central message. For local governments, making purchases must have a central common theme or policy which protects the city and the tax payer’s money. As long as the policies are followed, a small city can utilize a decentralized purchasing plan which enables individual departments to make purchases and issue RFP’s. Centralizing purchasing to a limited number of staff or just one person can slow down the process and disconnect the individual departments to the goods and services they want to purchase. The flip side to that is a uniform purchasing department that will be held accountable to follow State and local policies.
With this referenced model, social media can experience some of the same advantages and challenges as other departments in regards to centralizing or decentralizing its efforts. The city of Riverside appears to have five official Facebook presences; the Riverside City Government and Parks & Recreation department have Facebook pages with a combined total of nearly 30,000 likes. The Riverside City Fire Department has a page with nearly 13,000 likes and the Public Utilities Department has about 10,000 likes. The utilities department page took a little longer to find because it does not begin with “city of,” instead it is simply RiversidePublicUtilities. A city with over 300,000 residents can certainly benefit from having public relations or media managers “de-centralized” from city hall in departments that have major communication and impact with the public. The Riverside Police Department has the most likes with over 30,000 which is about 10% of the population.
Small cities with 30,000 residents or so can still benefit from having multiple social media presences, but it comes down to staffing levels and how much the city wants to dedicate to a communications plan and a team with eyes in the field rather than a single person mostly stuck in the office trying to manage it all. The city of Banning has two official Facebook pages, one for city hall and one for the police department. The city hall Facebook page centralizes its outreach efforts for the utilities, public works, community services and all other happenings in the city. With only one person running the social media efforts, communication to the public can be overwhelming and time consuming while combining the other major tasks at hand. Even small cities that are “full service” can benefit from a decentralized social media model as long as an autonomous structure continues to communicate with a common goal set by policies and strategic plans of the city. Decentralization encourages competency in the field when other employees in charge of outreach for their department are able to stay connected and communicate to the public on the specific happenings.
Blog - Week 1 | 3/12/2017
Lateral and Vertical Engagement
It was 30 years ago when “Baby Jessica” fell into a well in Texas when she was 18 months old. I recall seeing the newscasts and the live television rescue back in 1987. Imagine that story today and how quickly it would spread to the entire world. For 58 hours people were glued to their televisions and radios. This was a one-directional method of information sharing. Other than writing a letter (two-directional vertical engagement) to the editor or the news station in response to something broadcasted, it was basically word of mouth; people talked to each other about what was going on. Vertical engagement was taking place through one-directional methods. The organization (news outlet) communicated to the consumers (viewers) what was transpiring.
Fast forward 30 years to 2017. A motorcycle rider jumps over the 60 Freeway at the edge of Moreno Valley in the Badlands. Word-of-mouth, through social media, is multiplied by its velocity and reach. The video is viewed thousands of times before any newscast that evening it had the chance to report on it. The engagement is now lateral among the viewers before it reaches vertical engagement with a news outlet.
So how does all this fit together? Lateral engagement now travels in less time with no geographic boundaries. Good or bad news, customers are engaging with social media with the product or story they are interested in. Businesses can become aware of a crisis much quicker than before. Baby Jessica, 60 frwy motorcycle jumper, exploding Samsung phones or the contortionist Apple iPhone are all events where lateral engagement could reach thousands or more before the organizations or news outlets become aware. How did the spoken word get around 2000 plus years ago? By foot (and boat) of course.
How long did it take the message of Christ’s death to reach Africa, Asia or Europe? What about the Bible? How does that tie in? The Holy Spirit was the inspiration to the many authors of the Bible and you can pretty much bet that there was some two-directional vertical engagement going on as the pen hit the paper.