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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Cut to the Chase – Gaining Word of Mouth Referrals in an Overcrowded Social Media Space

We all know that word of mouth is the most effective medium for gaining new customers and generating leads. But as more businesses compete on social media for attention, gaining the trust and support of new customers becomes increasingly difficult and time consuming. Thankfully, brand new Australian social media site Recomazing may hold the solution:

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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).

Lest we forget

Image: Flikr.com

Image: Flikr.com

It’s a conversation we’ve all been a part of and something I’m sure most of us are sick of talking about; the moment when Internet entered the world of PR. Sure, it was a huge deal but are we still really talking about it? Dwelling on the topic, we seem to have forgotten the ‘good ol days’ when people didn’t check Facebook first thing like it was the morning paper. Those days when practitioners didn’t know what a tweet was and would instead rely on traditional communication means like print media.

But despite my cynicism, it is important to realise that we now live in a world where technology is advancing faster than we can keep up with it. Although this means huge things for the industry, it’s important not to forget traditional methods used before the existence of the World Wide Web, and pair this with the demands of today’s consumer.

I’ve already spoken about PR 2.0 and just to refresh, I defined it as the way practitioners personalise stories for the people they want to reach. But alongside relationship building, PR 2.0 is about adaptation and the way practitioners alter past approaches to suit the needs of a modern audience. It’s blending the use of traditional media with social media to gain greater reach and form those key relationships between brand and consumer.

Recognising this concept and its potential for greater reach, search engine giant, Google, released Think Quarterly – a print magazine for the company’s UK business partners. Designed by creative agency, The Church of London (TCOL), Google decided to launch the print medium as a way to offer readers “a breathing space in a busy world”.

As Google moved into new territory, TCOL founder, Danny Miller said, “magazines are simply very effective ways of engaging with people. To the greatest extent, it just seems like common sense to us that any company would want to communicate with people through print.”

Since it’s launch in 2011, Think Quarterly has been a powerful communication tool for Google and an example of how traditional media such as print can still be an effective source of communication and a means to build those important consumer relationships.

As the conversation over the impact of the Internet still drags on, we can’t forget about old school communication in PR. It’s time to begin a new conversation and one that resurrects the use of traditional media, suited for the needs of a modern consumer.

Reference: Breakenridge, D. K. (2008). PR 2.0: New media, new tools, new audiences. FT Press.

We Eat With Our Eyes: How To Feed Your Publics Visual Appetite

Let’s face it, our publics have become skilled at scrolling the mouse even faster down a webpage and unrelentingly pressing the lock screen on their iPhones when they grow bored. If you haven’t read my last blog, we all nodded our heads toward social media’s video centric focus. Be alert though, because this only means that there’s even more content out there in the social media wilderness to compete with.

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It’s All About the Connection

You’ve probably seen your share of Dove ‘Real Beauty’ campaigns that tug at the strings of your heart to last you a lifetime. But trust me when I say you probably haven’t seen one as good as this!

Launched on April 7, 2015 in 70 countries, Dove has been able to add an additional beauty campaign to their Real Beauty brand mantra. Dove has been exceptionally successful in building a strong online community and presence through their online (and offline) campaigns to really engage and connect with their publics. Continue reading