Kate Marez wrote a blog outlining a problem American Girl has found themselves in. They are choosing to discontinued four dolls, two of which were of different ethnicity other than Caucasian . Marez highlights how across Twitter and Facebook people erupted with conflict.
I agree with Marez that the incident was a bit over blown. Two of the dolls that were discontinued were Caucasian as well. The incident demonstrates a growing ease for people to complain about whatever they want and even companies that are on the far end of the controversy are not shielded from the growing anger monster known as social media. What’s worse, is that prior to social media giving a voice to everyone, companies had relative ease dealing with conflict that arose unless it was big. Nowadays they must be prepared to deal with the worst of it from small mistakes or even small choices.
This American Girl Doll incident showcases just how rampant and problematic this is becoming. As we continue into the future and this problem grows, companies will need to be diligent and intelligent with what they share.
In class this last week, we took a brief look at a case study revolving around an incident involving the usage of Spy Cams through publicly issued school computers.
The situation was found that a school had put computers on loan to students. These computers were equipped with technology that allowed the school to turn on cameras while the children were in their homes. Besides the obvious breach of privacy the school denied that it had used the computers in such a way. Eventually the school approached a student having seen him take pills while in his own bedroom and subsequently ended up getting sued. The school board made a small settlement with the student and ended the situation without making national news.
The school made a variety of mistakes when dealing with this conflict, but it draws into question much of our current practices and grey areas of life. At what point do we sacrifice privacy for safety? At what point do we trust those trained on working with students over our own presumptions of what is right and wrong.
The case study doesn’t just raise problems with how the school handled the situation, although their consequences were much less than it could have been, but of how we operate in general. When we encounter controversy, it’s important to not only look at the problems at hand, but why they are problems.
My friend and I were sitting watching his new born one and a half year old son watch the Seahawks game this last Autumn. We watch as the Seahawks score a touchdown (again) and his son throws his arms in the air and yells “touchdown”. Luckily he caught the picture on camera and threw it on Facebook exclaiming, “this is going to be Facebook famous!” His definition of Facebook famous was 20 likes. He got 82. That’s like 1/5 of his total friends!
Now it may be easier to notice when your friends start talking about a picture or comment you made on a social media device but there is a huge disconnect between what people talk about and what they find amusing on the internet. Often times it can become difficult to judge the impact of “likes” “favorites” or similar aspects of social media. It’s challenging to determine the value of those aspects of social media.
There is something to them. Popular brands and PR campaigns get likes and spoken about. So while they might not be an accurate measurement of what people are talking about or sharing, they do provide some insight. If you don’t have any likes that is a clear indicator that your campaign isn’t being talked about. While assessing some aspects of campaign success or impact, be aware of the impact of these stats and what they could mean.
Here’s a link to a great article highlighting some of these details!
A recent article in PR News covered the changing lives of women. In it, it highlights the shifting cultural consciousness on women. The article states that 47% of Women that are in the child bearing age do not have children. So the article gives a lot of practical advice on viewing what is now half of all women in that age range. This could radically shift how we approach marketing and PR management for some companies.
However, While it’s still good to know demographics, it is important for all viewers to understand these statistics and the actual weight they carry.
- Taking a blanket statement statistic that covers the entire U.S. may not reflect those stats in your area.
- Marketing or PR campaigns range of influence is rarely limited to specific areas such as all women in a child bearing age range. Ads can have residual effects for women who are older or younger as well.
- Of those 47%, it is unclear how many of them have aspirations of having families. Simply because they don’t have kids doesn’t mean they don’t want them.
It is easy to see a glaring statistic and think “I must do something about this!” However, the reality of the matter is that the question is much more dynamic than a single number. As you continue in the PR world, think actively and thoroughly about your audience and don’t believe all stats your hear.
Here is a link to the original article highlighting a perhaps growing area of women: