On Friday, I attended the first in a series of CIPR guest lectures by Dan Gamble and Stuart Wragg from Hotwire PR. The lecture was named ‘PR goes social’.
The lecture outlined Hotwire’s campaigns, the importance of social media and its advantages and disadvantages. It is amazing how social media gives bloggers, twitter and Facebook users around the globe the power to hold the future of an organisation in the palm of their hand. This has just been demonstrated by Dave Carroll, a folk singer who was flying to Nebraska with United Airlines. United Airlines broke his guitar and after a year of trying to contact the company and not getting very far, Dave decided to write a song about this little incident and post it on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo). The video has already been viewed over 9m times and was featured on the BBC news website this week.
United Airlines now has a huge PR crisis on their hands as not only has the video outlined the incompetency of the company but others have now come forward to vent their own frustrations about the company. It just goes to show that one blog, one tweet, one YouTube video from a normally non-influential person can bring such a huge company crashing down. The lines between news and social media are most definitely becoming blurred.
Of course – it is not all doom and gloom. Social media is an extremely powerful tool and it is extremely important for all organisations to invest time into their social media but to be aware of how to manage it properly and the dangers that they face. Social media makes it a lot easier for organisations to monitor the external environment and monitor what people are saying about them – what people like, what they don’t like and what they need. This way companies can change what their doing to suit the needs and wants of their target audience.