Social Narcissism: Can it drive positive change?

Is there such thing as selfless good deed? The age old debate concerning altruism lives on. Joey and Phoebe of Friends argued the point of contention. They concluded that selfless deeds do not exist.

Yet, one thing we can be certain of. Selfish good deeds do exist. Even narcissistic individuals can be driven to do good. The clincher? Social media may rev up the process. Continue reading


But… “Who wears the pants?”

Relationship Status Series

As we know, the relationship between the entity (or business) and its consumers has progressed from one-way to two-way communication as a result of the internet and social media use in particular. You could say that when entities and consumers were in their one-way communication relationship that the entity ‘wore the pants’. So this raises an important point, with social media becoming the new intermediary in the relationship… Who wears the pants now?   Continue reading

The only people who talk about politics are politicians, right?

We’ve talked about Coke’s online achievements and Google’s print media successes so what else is there to discuss? – aah politics! They’re old, they’re grey-haired and generally not as tech savvy as the younger audience they lead, so how are politics relevant to PR? Two words: Barack Obama.

Barack Obama, President of the United States of America. Source: creative

Barack Obama, President of the United States of America. Source:

In the lead up to the 2008 American presidential election, Barack Obama launched a campaign like no other. Recognising that around 16% of registered voters follow candidates for office on social networking sites, Mr Obama saw an opportunity to differentiate himself from the competition – a decision that would later see the election labeled as the “Facebook election”.

With a focus on digital and social media, Mr Obama amplified his online campaign activity through podcasting, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Becoming the most active election candidate on Twitter and befriending an additional 20 million Facebook supporters during the campaign period, Obama “rocked the youth vote” by targeting the 81% of young American people who use social media (Barnes, 2006).

But it wasn’t Obama’s dominant online approach that stood out most, it was his ability to use social media as a way to connect with the public. In other words, Mr Obama had adopted the practice of PR 2.0 in order to create a relationship with the American people. After all, in a recent Pew Research Center survey, 35% of registered voters who use social media to follow a political candidate said a major reason they do so is because it makes them feel as though they are personally connected to a politician.

And, it was that personal connection between Barack Obama and the American people that slingshotted his campaign to success. Barack Obama’s triumph marked the first US presidential election that was won on the internet and saw him become the first African-American president of the United States, being re-elected to office in 2012.

So what can we learn from this? That Barack Obama has paved the way for political campaigns around the world? That all future elections must be fought online? That politics can actually be cool and relevant to public relations?

Whatever it is, a discussion of politics shouldn’t be left for politicians, it’s a discussion we PR enthusiasts need to enter into. They may be old and relatively slow to the social media mark, but the combination of politicians and PR 2.0 is a dynamic force and one that is raising the bar on political campaigns everywhere.

So if you’re reading this Ms Clinton in the lead up to the 2016 US election, take note, because it’s time to start Tweeting!

Here’s part 1 of a four-part YouTube series on Obama’s social media success – strongly encourage you guys to watch the rest of the series!

Barnes, S. B. (2006). A privacy paradox: Social networking in the United States. First Monday, 11(9).

Who’s Hungry?


Image courtesy of Daniel Go

Food porn in social media has skyrocketed in recent years with the growing popularity of Instagram; it seems that every second post is a photo of someone’s meal! <!–more–>

Because of the development of apps such as UrbanSpoon, Yelp and Menulog, restaurants, cafés and food trucks have come under more public attention and scrutiny than ever before. Increasingly more power has been given to consumers, which means that anyone with a phone or a computer with access to the Internet has the ability to contribute a review or a rating. Inbuilt cameras on phones make food photography simple and reasonably discreet, and sharing those photos with friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have never been easier.

But what does this mean for the food industry?
(A: Free publicity!)
And how does one take advantage of the public’s obsession with food?
(A: With effective use of public relations of course!)

Here’s a video on a discussion of the effects of social media on the food industry. Skip to 3:10 to find out what owner of, Dan Cluderay believes is the most effective social media platform for food:

It’s true that we trust our friends’ and loved ones’ suggestions over a targeted advertisement or campaign, therefore personal recommendations are extremely valuable and hold the most persuasion power (Regan, A., Rutsaert, P. et al., 2012). So how would an upcoming food business be able to actively utilise and take advantage of this in a public relations campaign? One example comes from a Melbourne ramen restaurant, Fukuryu Ramen. Fukuryu Ramen runs regular competitions for free meals and giveaways under their public relations campaign, “How Do You Fukuryu?”. The way the campaign works is that customers take selfies with their food at Fukuryu and must upload it to Facebook and tag the restaurant

Guy eating ramen

Image courtesy of Premshree Pillai

in the picture. Once a month, the best selfies are displayed on Fukuryu Ramen’s main Facebook page and the user is awarded with a free meal. It’s successful in that there is an incentive for taking the photos, and once they are uploaded, are visible to the individual user’s friends (usually in the hundreds). This means that even if they don’t win the competition and have their selfie displayed on the official page of the restaurant, there’s a good chance that their Facebook friends will see it. The lure of a free meal may not work across all customer demographics, but Fukuryu Ramen’s target consumers are students and with that in mind, this campaign works extremely well.

Now that’s some food for thought!


Fukuryu Ramen’s Facebook Page (last accessed: April 13, 2015)

Regan, A., Rutsaert, P. et al. (2012) Trends in Food Science & Technology: The use of social media in food risk and benefit communication, vol.30:1, Focus Business Communications, Southampton, UK, pp.84-91