The Paedophile Hunter


You may have caught a story on 60 Minutes last week surrounding Stinson Hunter, a British man who in the last two years has helped convict 18 men of paedophilia.

The story made gripping television. It outlined how Stinson lures paedophile’s online and then films them coming to the real world meeting. All video footage is then passed on to the police and posted on the internet.

When asked why he does it, Stinson replies, “I want to know why he (the paedophile) is doing it and I want to put it on the internet.”

In my previous posts on this blog I have explored how PR has been changed by the advent of social media and this story got me thinking about the Police and how social media has been a complete game changer for them.

On the program Stinson makes contact with a suspect posing as an underage girl and after the suspect realises he’s been caught, he agrees to meet Stinson and defend himself. It’s extremely real and thankfully as close of many of us will ever get to meeting a paedophile.

The producers of 60 Minutes have painted him as a vigilante style super hero, someone who has overcome a rough past to protect our kids.

Seeking justice outside of the courts has many dangers, the most obvious being the falsely accusing someone and the irreparable damage that is done to their lives. At the end of the program you are left wondering if the end justifies the means.

The story is wrapped up with the mention of laws being changed in Britain to stop people like Stinson creating his own form of justice. Facebook lit up after the program aired with comments like “Why don’t the police hire him?!” and “Good on him, exposing the vermin of society”.

This post is not about Social Media and how paedophiles are manipulating it but instead I wanted to look at it from a different perspective and see how people’s perceptions of the police are rocked by their inability to accept help from social media do-gooders.

So, what has social media changed for the police? It allows popular opinion to be spread easily, it allows conversations to happen and agenda’s to be set without their input.

My previous post about Local Government adapting to the use of social media has some commonalities with this one. Organisations are now more accountable than ever for their productivity, the police are no different. Their future direction will be driven by social media, by creating good news stories that tell the story of how successful they as an organisation are and keeping public opinion in their favour.

Like it or lump it the PR machine at Police HQ will need to kick into a higher gear or they will face the tide turning on popular opinion.

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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

To Tweet or not to Tweet: The evolution of Web 2.0

Are bloggers THE bridge to POSITIVE brand reputation?

Jason Howie. Instagram and other social media apps [image]. Retrieved from: www.flickr.com

Jason Howie. Instagram and other social media apps [image]. Retrieved from: http://www.flickr.com

In order to build an online brand reputation, an effective strategy can be to engage with influential bloggers and personalities within the social media landscape.

CosMediTour is an Australian business providing a service to arrange overseas aesthetic procedures (surgical and non surgical)  in tropical Thailand, where the price is right and the sun is bright.

CosMediTour recently engaged popular hairdresser, model and blogger Rhiannon Langley to share her experience with rhinoplasty surgery through CosMediTour on her blog and Instagram, which has 191k followers.

‘The higher the social presence, the larger the social influence that the communication partners have on each other’s behaviour,’ explain Kaplan & Haenlein (2010, p. 61).

Previously, there has been substantial controversy surrounding CosMediTour and whether it is promoting unsafe surgical procedures.

An example is Australian Society Plastic Surgeons president Dr Tony Kayne, who said, ‘We’re concerned about whether these people are getting safe surgery we are seeing more and more unhappy customers coming back from overseas.’

Rhiannon featured photos and posts of her experience on Instagram, which attracted large-scale media attention from outlets such as The Daily Mail AustraliaCosmopolitan and Huffington Post, as well as a social media frenzy – Rhiannon’s first post-op post gained 1,628 likes and 516 comments. That’s a whole lot of exposure!

She tagged her photos with the catchy hash tag #rhiannongetsrhino, where her followers and interested groups can easily track her progress on Instagram.

Rhiannon’s posts featured her surgery aftermath, spliced between her and her partner sunning themselves up in their luxury tropical resort. Suddenly, surgery has become a holiday, and bruises in a bikini are the latest trend.

By engaging with Rhiannon and her strong social media presence, CosMediTour have gained access to her network, and the potential to influence publics and their perception toward the CosMediTour brand.

‘Closely related to the idea of social presence is the concept of media richness… the assumption that the goal of any communication is the resolution of ambiguity and the reduction of uncertainty,’ (Kaplan & Haenlein. 2010, p. 61).

This online campaign has the potential to transform the idea behind their brand from something scary and unknown, to an exotic and relaxing ‘journey’ in Thailand.

By engaging in ambient publicity and opening communication in a highly social platform such as Instagram, CosMediTour is creating a passage for discourse and influence – especially considering the younger demographic of Rhiannon’s followers.

CosMediTour has featured promotional posts on their own blog with links to Rhiannon’s social media profiles, as well as featured news articles.

Its first post was on April 17, 2015 where they announced their latest client, Rhiannon. There have been five posts on Rhiannon’s social media journey within the last month on the CosMediTour blog.

Rhiannon’s vlogs are featured on the CosMediTour YouTube account.

References:

Kaplan. A. M. & Haenlein. M. (2010). “Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media.” Business Horizons (53). 59-68

The Rise of Mobile 2.0: Keep it Snappy on Social Media

Image source: Flikr Creative Commons

Image source: Flikr Creative Commons

The 5pm peak hour trains departing from Flinders Street Station all have something in common. Can you guess what? Passengers are consumed with their mobile phones. The window scenery blurs as fingers skilfully scroll through the daily news feed of social media platforms. 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 commons.org.au

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

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).

You Can Make A Mark On The World

Social media has risen as a dominant tool PR practitioners use to help build and maintain relationships with the public and stakeholders. This was explored in my first blog post (click here if you missed it!). Social media however, is very fragile and hard to master…this was explored in my latest blog post (click me!) which guides you through 8 smart tips to help you master the use of social media. My previous posts have focused on social media use by companies, and major figures, but reality is any individual can have an influence through social media. This blog post explores how you can make a difference; how you can inspire!keep-calm-and-inspire-someone-2

Image Reference

Social media has become a medium for us to express ourselves, whether its through blogs, vlogs, status updates, posts, comments or likes we are able to share our views, feelings, or just express your love for cat videos!

The growing trend for everyday individuals to gain fame through social media has become almost a daily norm. You will check your social media each day to find a new viral personality or hit video. Recently, a son posted a video on YouTube profiling his mum in hopes of finding the love of her life. The success of this video, is an example of how you can influence people, and make a mark on the world. It’s almost crazy that you can get this much exposure from posting a video purely to find your mother the ‘right guy’.

See the video for yourself!

The point is, like PR practitioners, we as individuals have also been given a tool to success. Social media has allowed us to feel like we are apart of something, it can turn us into someone we want to be. You could become the most popular ‘YouTuber’ by recording yourself playing videos games, this has been inspired by ‘YouTubers’ like PewDiePie or by making makeup tutorials and ‘vlogging’ like JennaMarbles. These normal people, by doing what they love have become an inspiration to many, and they didn’t start off already popular, like many companies and celebrities who have used social media to enhance its relations and capability to express themselves to their existing fan base.

I find it very interesting how people are more inclined to be proactive on social media. We may walk past someone lying on the floor on the street who may need help, but will post a video on social media pouring a bucket of water over on your head to spread awareness for the disease ALS. For whatever reason, the fact remains that we are expressing ourselves on social media and in turn are being influential, regardless of whether it’s just a video shared with your friends on Facebook, or a post millions of people will see.