Monday, January 28, 2013

"Graph Search": Transforming Facebook into a moneymaker & dating site

If there is one thing in our lives that we expect to drastically change on a daily basis, it is Facebook. From layouts to innovative additions like the "like" button; it is a social media site which is constantly adding new features with the intention of awing us. Many times, I would have to say, that these changes are unwelcome and ultimately, confusing.

However, Facebook's newest invention, Graph Search, will dramatically change the company in two different ways. The first is that it will undoubtedly increase sales by offering advertisers a precise microtargeting. The second and less expected change is that Facebook will become somewhat of a dating service. Before you laugh out loud at both of these implications, read on.

According to a Bloomberg Businessweek article, Facebook's Graph Search's main intention is to allow users to see their friends' preferences regarding aspects like restaurants, vacations, career choices, and stores.  Users can type a specific phrase, such as "sushi restaurants my friends in Poughkeepsie like", and receive customized results. This is where Facebook plans to gain revenue in sales. In a way, Facebook will triumph over sites like Google and LinkedIn by allowing users to do a search and acquire only the most accurate result they are looking for. Facebook users will know that their good friend enjoyed the local burger joint and that is why they "liked" the page or "checked in" there. It makes a lot of sense and I think Facebook will see great success with it. 

In a world of "passive consumers", meaning those who wait for information like "rewarding careers", this is a great innovation. Facebook has trained their users to be dependent on the news feed and this is just another way that Zuckerberg is planning to make Facebook the social media phenomena that it is.

The second aspect, turning Facebook into somewhat of a dating website, is what interests me the most. As a person who is absurdly single and addicted to Facebook, I wholeheartedly welcome this innovation and acknowledge its genius. According to a Mashable article, Facebook's newest Graph Search will allow it to compete with the most popular online dating sites such as

People will now be able to search phrases such as "friends of my friends who are single and living in Poughkeepsie". With this, Facebook is allowing users to find others outside of their immediate social circle. According to a study conducted by Stanford University, already 10% of couples who met online previously knew each other and had re-connected on a social media site like Facebook. 

This new tool will allow users to search for other singles who share their things like interests, location, age, hometown, or current city. Personally, I feel Facebook has a huge advantage because they are allowing singles who share mutual friends to meet, which is more socially acceptable to many who do not understand online dating.

Here is an example of the absurdity we can expect to see when people begin using the Graph Search tool posted by the Huffington Post:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Manti Te'o and Catfish

Picture via USA TODAY

This past week we have seen countless coverage on two unfolding PR scandals. First, there was the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and his uncomfortable interview with Oprah. Next, and what is in my opinion the most bizarre one, is the Manti Te'o nonexistent, fabricated girlfriend story. Armstrong's debacle is somewhat standard and his PR people are doing their best to use other previous cases as a guidance to clean up his reputation. However, Manti Te'o's situation is one I am confident has not been seen much before this age of technology and his PR people may just have their work cut out for them. 

One article I found on Mashable regarding the Te'o incident decided that due to what had happened, it could be concluded that "we are all Catfish". This immediately caught my eye because I am absolutely infatuated by that bizarre show (and Buckwild but that is a discussion for another day) as well.

This PR scandal included one particular college football player, Manti Te'o, a Heisman runner-up and potential pro-football player. According to news reports, Manti Te'o's grandmother and girlfriend died within a 24 hour span. He was then able to push through the adversity and lead his Notre Dame team to triumph against Michigan state with 12 tackles. It was heartbreaking, it was inspiring, and it was exactly what people wanted to see. Te'o instantly won every Americans' heart.

It came to light via a Deadspin article that Te'o's girlfriend's death was a hoax and that the woman had actually never existed. This lead Mashable to come to the conclusion that Te'o was just another person on Catfish, tricked into a weird, false-identlty online story which was not even remotely legitimate. Te'o's PR people are attempting to say that he was in fact duped into this and that he is sincerely apologetic. It will, however, be interesting to see how the public will handle this scandal and whether or not his reputation will ever be fully restored. 

Ultimately, Catfish and Manti Te'o's situation should make people a little more weary about who they are meeting online and their viability. They could, after all, just be fooling you or trying to trick you into some form of action. It is a scary thought, but it is happening more and more every day and seems to be an unavoidable aspect of 21st century communication.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Axe plans to send 22 people into space

Picture via Sourcefeed

Around this time of year, many companies are busy concocting the most interesting and unique advertising campaigns in preparation for their big February debut. Of course, all of this is in preparation for one event and one event only - The Super Bowl.

One campaign that has particularly caught my eye (and not in a good way), is Axe's latest stunt to send 22 people (originally just teenage boys) into outer space. The finished product is set to premiere as a Super Bowl ad, which the company paid $4 million for. 

According to a Mashable article, Axe has teamed up with Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk to the moon, in order to execute their plan. The Axe Apollo Space Program will send these people into space aboard a Lynx space plane built by a U.S company. XCOR Aerospace. This particular plane was chosen because, in some places around the world, Axe products are known as Lynx. Finally, each winner will fly alone in the aircraft, essentially allowing them to go on a $95,000 trip for free. 

What is interesting about this campaign in the grand scheme of things, however, is the fact that the promo concept came before the product. Essentially, Axe had decided that astronauts were heroes before they had even created the new line of products. Moreover, the company came out with this commercial recently and I can't quite figure out what justifies the focus of this ad- that astronauts are more desirable than firefighters:

No matter what Axe set out to create with this campaign, one thing is for certain. The company will receive much press and publicity surrounding the campaign and stunt. People are talking about this already and it will most definitely bring the company recognition. Whether or not Axe will actually sell significant amounts of the product remains wary, however. On the bright side, the company does sell to hormonal teenagers who most likely would be intrigued at the opportunity to fly into space so there may just be hope for them. 

Like I have stated earlier, I am not quite sure where all of this ties into the Axe Brand, but I sure am excited to see the final product air during the Super Bowl. Finally, I do applaud the company in expanding their boundaries (literally). 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Being a PR executive is stressful... So what?

I am sure many of you have read the Forbes article regarding the list of the "most stressful jobs of 2013". Undoubtedly, some of you were probably surprised to see Public Relations Executive as number 5 on the list. I know I was when I first saw Marist PRSSA's tweet with link. Others professions which made the cut were military professionals, police officers, firefighters, and taxi drivers.

In order to calculate the list, Careercast compiled a list of the 200 professions in its database and honed in on eleven different job demands which are often culprits for causing stress. These demands included travel, competitiveness, working in the public eye, deadlines, and physical demands. 

The article claims itself that PR executive may come as a surprise to some, but has evidence to back up why it made the cut. Forbes brings up the common misconception people have that PR professionals all live glamorous lives and attend lots of parties. Although this may be true in some cases, this merely scratches the surface.  Forbes then goes on to say that PR professionals deal with animosity and rejection on a daily basis, making it a very stressful job.

Ultimately, I found the article extremely enlightening and well composed. It had to be difficult to compile the list due to the sheer multitude of professions, but I feel that both Careercast and Forbes did a great job in providing evidence to demonstrate how and why they came to certain conclusions. 

The only thing I did not like about the article, however, was the last paragraph. This, to me,  suggested that perhaps young people should look for a different career if they could not handle high levels of stress:

I feel that ultimately, no matter what the career, a person has aspirations and a compiled list of the most stressful jobs should not adhere anyone from accomplishing their lifelong dream. The road may not be easy, but if you love what you do, that does not necessarily matter.

Additionally, this article lead me to reflect on my academic experience at Marist thus far.I work with and take classes alongside all of you PR majors and I know just how motivated and organized we all are. Although we may get made fun of from time to time for being "com majors", we all know how hard everyone works and how we all push each other to be better. 

It has been made rather clear that our future careers will be both difficult and rewarding. It will not be easy, but I am ready to rise to the occasion and work hard to make a difference in the PR world. I am also confident many of you feel the same way and that is a significant and beautiful realization for us all to reflect on.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ragan's top predictions for 2013

Happy New Year, everybody! I hope everyone had an amazing and safe New Years Eve! I personally cannot believe that another year has gone by. As we all get closer and closer to receiving our degrees, I thought it would be beneficial to explore Ragan's predictions for social media and PR in the upcoming year. A lot of the predictions cover various topics I have blogged about this year and many seem extremely plausible. Here is a look at the top six:

  • Facebook will take a backseat to LinkedIn
    • LinkedIn has been carefully expanding its capabilities this past year. It has accomplished many beneficial innovations and companies are noticing this. It is somewhat of a more professional network than Facebook and according to, many companies will use it to encourage conversation and connections with influencers. One of the newest features is an "endorse" option, somewhat similar to that of a like button on Facebook. However, this option allows a person to endorse another's particular skill set rather than something like a status or picture. It makes sense that LinkedIn will be utilized by B2B companies as well as others for new marketing strategies. 
  • Unexpected entities will go social
    • Due to the success of this year's election coverage on social media, it comes as no surprise that other topics of the government world will begin to be something a person can check while browsing their Twitter feed. People are expecting increased amounts of transparency and it seems as though the government will deliver by allowing their citizens to keep up to date on political conversations in 2013. 
  • Reporting standards will rise
    • A lot of talk this year has been about how everyone can now be a journalist. Whether stories begin on Twitter or from a personal blog, news stories occur in all shapes and forms. However, due to inadequacies in details, PR Daily is confident that the general public will now require more adequate coverage. Although speed is important, accuracy most definitely trumps that and reputable journalists will be in high demand this upcoming year.
  • PR will win the social media battle
    • Many different corporate disciplines execute and use social media in their every day endeavors. However, 2013 will be the year that public relations officially takes the cake for being the leader of social media. Companies use social media for various things, such as customer service, marketing, and branding. It has now become obvious how integral a part social media is and the effect it can have on a brand. Having said this, many companies are realizing that they need support in adequately executing it and are looking to PR professionals for support.
  • Visuals will be the new go-to for content
    • The market which will exist in 2013 will be a crowded one. Therefore, PR pros will need to jump on the bandwagon and give the public what they desire, and that is visuals. Whether it be the rise of infographics or the increased popularity of photo-sharing and Instagram, it is evident that people are drawn to pictures rather than lengthy paragraphs. Our world has always been a fast-paced one and 2013 will only keep on with that trend.
  • PR will be highly dependent on the mobile world
    • I am sure that you have heard this past year that press releases are becoming replaced with 140 character tweets. Can a company give a full lowdown on a situation through a Tweet? No. But it sure can alert the public as to what is going on, and for some that tweet just may be the right amount of information. Smartphones are quickly becoming the most popular way both professionals and ordinary people receive their news and the technologically savvy PR pros have already caught on to this. According to Ragan, "delivery is key but brevity is still queen". This ultimately means that the message will be delivered to the right audience in a succinct and requisite way.
In closing, I wanted to include an infographic depicting "what peaked in 2012" or the most popular searches done on the web. Here is what the public was most curious about this past year:

Picture via PR Daily