How awareness groups use social media to influence society, and what PR students can learn from it

People have gathered and rallied around thousands of issues since the beginning of modern time. There is something in human nature that drives us to connect with others who have the same values as we do and convince society to think the same. We can see this happen all across our country today with issues ranging from racial equality to political movements.

Just like everything else, social media is changing that.

In the 1930’s, we were moved by FDR’s fireside chats. We gathered in our living rooms and listened to him speak about the changes in our government and what the future held.

In the 1950’s and 60’s we were stirred by Martin Luther King Jr’s call to action. We gathered by the thousands to watch him motivate us with his dream of equality for all americans.

And today, in the 2010’s, we interact with these movements on our computers via social media. Now more than ever, we can spread the word of our efforts and reach far more people. We can recruit others, share information and bring people into the struggle.

For class, I researched a PR campaign that was about spreading awareness of HIV/AIDS. They have an incredible Youtube presence where they share videos of people affected by the disease and other general information. Through their presence, they are able to bring viewers into the life and struggles that these people have to deal with every day. Just by watching a few of them, I felt moved to help, and I clearly understood the message they were trying to get across.

This is a perfect example of how tim

es have changed. Imagine what Martin Luther King Jr’s Youtube or Twitter page would look like if he was alive today. I can imagine that it would do nothing but help him.

From a PR standpoint, we can learn a lot from this. Groups like these have become experts at selling an idea, which is exactly what we will be hired to do someday. They develop a clear, concise message, gather listeners and attempt to sway them in one

direction or another. I would recommend studying some of their tactics and see how you can use them in your internships or jobs.

What groups/ movements have you interacted with via social media? My bet is that everyone reading this has joined or liked at least something. Do you think any of their tactics apply to your job?


Birthday Freeloading

Let me just start off by saying that March is truly a great month. It is the month of my birth, spring break, day light savings time, St. Patrick’s day and (sometimes) Easter. That’s pretty neat!

As I’m sure you can imagine, my birthday is what I am most excited about. And here’s something that I never noticed in high school (probably because I wasn’t broke): There are SO MANY free things you can get during the month of your birthday! It’s ridiculous actually. I mean, how did I not know about this.

So, I came across this phenomenon (we’ll call it “birthday freeloading”) when I was sent a $5 gift card in the mail from Famous Footwear today. I’m pretty sure that I signed up with them to have one of those rewards cards or something about 4 years ago when I needed new boots.

Well, that all paid off today because… check it out:

5 free dollas.

I’m the curious type so, of course, I then had to go online and see what else I could get for free! Who doesn’t like free things? Is this morally unjust? I don’t think so! Obviously, stores send out these coupons so that you stop in and, hopefully, spend more than the coupon is worth. Well, let me tell you I am a smart person.

I will be spending the smallest amount necessary and thank you Famous Footwear! 🙂

Below is a list of other freebies that you can get during the month of your birthday from stores and restarants that I love!

Aveda: Oh, how I love Aveda products. They are the best thing that has ever happened to my hair… and the worst thing that has ever happened to my bank account. Luckily, if you were born sometime you can sign up to receive emails and they will send you their signature perfume for free on your birthday. I’ll take that!

Cold Stone Creamery: Sign up for their birthday club via their web site and get a coupon for a free ice cream good for a week before and after your birthday.

Olive Garden: Free desert and an italian-sounding birthday rendition on your special day.

American Eagle: If you are a member that has a rewards card, they will send you a coupon during the month of your birthday that is good on pretty much anything in the store.

Moe’s Southwest Grill: Give them your email address and they will give you a giant, tasty burrito during the week of your birthday. This is one of my favorite restaurants. If you love mexican food, go here!

Others include: The Melting Pot, Ulta, World Market, Texas Roadhouse, Starbucks, Sephora, Red Lobster, Old Navy, Krispy Kreme and Disney (and I am not linking all of those!). So basically, if you are in the mood to eat a ton, buy makeup or get new shoes on your birthday, you are in luck!

Who knew being born had so many advantages?