Blog Archives

The Power of the Hashtag

This may seem like common sense to some, but I recently discovered the power of the hashtag. I used to be somewhat skeptical about the hashtag. To me, it seemed like an unnecessary use of characters. You put # then a word to emphasize or reiterate what you already said in the copy of the post, and that seemed like too much.

After all, we learn in Public Relations, or really in any communication with the public, that we need to be concise and too the point. Only use as many characters as needed to get your message across.

I always got overwhelmed with the bombardment of hashtags some people would put on their posts, so I figured I would save others the onslaught and leave my posts simple and untagged. Well, that is, until recently.

I started a blog about a month ago. It was for personal use and to share with family and friends. My only follower was my mom, so yeah, it was a small blog.

On one of my more recent posts, I realized there was the option to tag your posts with keywords. I thought Why not? and put a few #keywords along with my post.

The next day, I checked my email, and I had a bunch of notifications from the blog site. People had found my post! They were interacting with it! I had likes, comments, and new followers. People searched the hashtags, stumbled upon my post, and actually liked what I was writing!

Since then, I’ve become a bit of a hashtag fanatic. Even tagging your post with one or two words can help increase visibility and make your messages more trackable. Don’t believe me? Try hashtagging one of your posts and see what happens! Or check out Tagboard or Hashtagify and search some hashtags you see trending on twitter.

We live in an age where there are thousands of people sending messages out into the digital world. Why not make yours a little easier to find by adding a few more characters including that little # above the 3 on your keyboard.

Is All Publicity Good Publicity for the NFL?

nflThe NFL may be one of the largest non-profit organizations, but will it be able to survive the negative press that it receives? With recent understanding of the intensity of concussions that players suffer from, the NFL has received a large amount of backlash for its inability to inform the players and the public. While most viewers are likely to continue watching their favorite teams, people are still taking notice of the NFL’s significant blunders. Let’s take a look at some ways the NFL and other sports organizations can handle negative press:

1.    Accept the blame.

In order for the NFL to appear reliable once more, it is important that the it stop ignoring the elephant in the room and acknowledge the issues that are developing each day. Paying attention to concussions, drug abuse and other legal infractions can help restore faith in viewers.

2.    Be transparent.

Open communication is a key element of any successful organization, but in times of crisis it is essential. Creating a clear and honest statement will help emphasize the fundamentals of the affected entity and hopefully prevent future crises. If employees are trained in crisis communication and issues management, then the attitudes of and statements made by officials will benefit the NFL to a greater degree.

3.    Set an example.

In order to become a thought-leader in the industry, the NFL must implement new regulations to help prevent concussions as well as negative behavior from players. This will show the public that a change is occurring. The organization must go beyond making claims. The NFL must take action.

Until the NFL develops a game plan for handling of its current issues, the league will continue to suffer in terms of its reputation and following. By implementing these and other ideas, the organization is likely to recover and regain the trust of both players and fans.

Does Washington D.C. Have a Communication Problem?

US_Capitol_Building_at_night_Jan_2006

Image via Wikipedia

As a student of political communications and someone who hopes to work in Washington D.C. one day, I couldn’t help but pay attention to the recent fight over the Affordable Care Act and the ensuing government shutdown. One thing sprung to mind on Tuesday Oct. 1 when the government had shutdown and thousands were out of their jobs, does Washington have a communication problem?

Many people are responsible for the communication problems in our Nation’s Capital. Is the Obama administration at fault? They surely haven’t done an efficient job of communicating the details of the Affordable Care Act and how positive its effects can be. Jimmy Kimmel recently made a parody of the shutdown, asking people whether they supported the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. Many of the individuals weren’t able to recognize that both are the exact same thing. This is evidence of the President’s loss in the framing war of his most prized piece of legislation. The Republican Party was successfully able to brand the Affordable Care Act as Obamacare and give it a negative connotation in the process.

However, the Obama administration isn’t the only side to blame. By ignoring key factors in the political sphere, some members of the Republican Party are also at fault. Sen. Ted Cruz, and others in the Republican Party, repeatedly supported a budget bill that looked relatively similar to the Democrats’ budget bill, except for the fact that it defunded Obamacare. Despite the fact that the majority of the public supports the Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the act, Republicans repeatedly refuse to see that fact. They believe that they are working on behalf of the American people. Either they are choosing to be misleading in their communication, or they are inept at interpreting communication.

So who is really to blame? Could all of Washington benefit from a little PR help? Of course I’m not claiming to know how to do it better than the pros who are working in Washington, but I believe that some of them may have gotten so focused on being right that they’ve ignored what is right before their ears. When that happens, we all suffer.

This Week’s Internships

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