But first, let me take a #Selfie…is this the ultimate in Vanity PR?

But first, let me take a #Selfie…is this the ultimate in Vanity PR?

At the moment you cannot avoid it. There is even a song about it. From no make up versions to power pouts, it’s a trend you can’t seem to escape and it looks like it’s going to be around for a while.

But first, let me take a… The Chainsmokers and the infamous #selfie song!
But first, let me take a… The Chainsmokers infamous song!

Love them or hate them, you have to question what kind of culture they are fostering online? And is it restricted to gender? Tragically a man recently became a selfie recluse and tried to kill himself when he couldn’t obtain what he deemed to be the perfect picture. It’s an extreme example, but an example none the less. This sounds like it has taken the form of addiction but in the case of Eat Pray Love star, James Franco, he know’s exactly what he’s doing. An article in Marie Claire has researched that he is full aware that in the age of hyper-connectivity and online noise, attention is power. Cornelissen, author of Corporate Communciations: a guide to theory and practice, identifies a power, urgency and legitimacy model when it comes to stakeholder salience. People taking selfies can become powerful stakeholders if they gain adequate enough attention. Last night James Franco posted an almost nude and very odd selfie and removed it an hour later (Marie Claire have captured it though, take a look). What did it create? Attention, everyone’s currently talking about…James Franco. Everyone will be paying attention to his twitter account for a little while, so whatever he says is going to have an enhanced focus and a larger reach and therefore when you are trying to be heard amongst the crowd this can be a powerful tool. Large companies are starting to recognise that they could potentially be a profitable trend too. Samsung have identified that selfies are powerful and have decided to capitalise upon it releasing a selfie-specific camera. To be fair, the camera is actually very cool, with some super features, but it does lead to asking the question what or where next for the selfie?

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Space selfies already exist – what next?!

There is also the element of people who are fishing for compliments. Cancer Research UK not only identified this trend but also harnessed it as a PR campaign, which ultimately used vanity PR and converted it into direct donations, the charities main aim. It played upon women empowerment, image and personal identity. By women posting not only were they saying they were confident enough to show the world their face make up free, warts and all but they could also align themselves with being a better person, it just screamed ‘Look everyone, not only am I confident, but I’m generous!’ Through the nominations aspect, other women questioned their peers, willing them to participate, but are they really asking ‘Are you a confident and generous person too?’ No one wants to be seen as insecure or a scrooge! Ultimately it generated a lot of money for charity, which can only be a good thing, I’m just not sure I fully agree with the method, but no one can deny it was a clever PR campaign.

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‘THAT’ Oscars selfie!
Do you pout?
Do you pout?
Or do you look longingly?
Or do you look longingly?

Having not grown up in the age of the selfie I can’t help but think of the impression it may have had on me. Teen Vogue take a psychological stance and address the issue of low self esteem recommending a shift in perspective if all you are looking for are comments. The advice they give is healthy, they don’t say selfies are bad but to make sure they are fun and avoid excessive use. I think it’s important that influencers like Teen Vogue do put out positive messages like this so there is some guidance for people growing up in an ever-image obsessed world. The ‘What I see’ project discusses both sides of the selfie but within a feminist context with a dose of philosophical musings and makes for a very interesting contribution to the debate.

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Would Marilyn Monroe have taken a selfie?
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Will selfies become modern art?

Grace Dent who writes for The Independent also makes the argument that selfies are about self-branding, celebrity-alignment, social climbing and proof of happiness. The more I read the more negative it gets. Are there positive aspects to the selfie? Perhaps I don’t understand the selfie. Do we need to prove to other people that we are happy? What constitutes happiness? Do people want to see others pouting in front of the camera?

What do you think?

Share your comments below, or if you find any good articles or points of view please post them too!

#Ebookinaday goes live!

#Ebookinaday goes live!

 

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Holy Smokes! #ebookinaday is here, completed and ready to rock your socks off!

I still can’t believe that all the content was created by Southampton Solent University Public Relations Students in ONE manic, epic day.

To download your copy for free…oh yes, FREE, your pennies are not welcome here, head to…

http://solentpr.wordpress.com/ebookinaday/

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The book covers the cutting edge tools for communication in the peer to peer PR world, perfect for practitioners, academics, marketers, business owners or those of you just wanting to find out how to be a better communicator.

It has 9 chapters for you to dive into and explore, and what’s great about it is that it’s still growing and evolving. Whether it is taking a selfie to post, leaving a comment or offering your expertise there is still a chance to be involved. Want to know how? Well then take a peek at the #ebookinaday project blog post and click on one of the chapters to find out more.

High-five’s and thanks go out to:
  • All my wonderful peers who gave a lot of blood, sweat, tears and ideas
  • Tom Fowler, the Solent Creative developer and technical genius
  • Stephen Waddington for giving us valuable advice and well-timed pep talks
  • But the ultimate, golden high-five, goes to Catherine Sweet for accepting Stephen Waddington’s challenge, all her hard work and for getting me involved in such an awesome project! Who else can say they are an author when they haven’t even finished their Masters yet? Not many!
Read it, download it, print it, share it or get involved…it’s yours, for free, forever! 
What a wonderful thought 🙂

EBook in a Day – A project brought to you by Southampton Solent University’s PR Students

EBook in a Day – A project brought to you by Southampton Solent University’s PR Students

I’ve owned this blog for 3 years and never posted anything. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip. The other day I was reminded of this fact by a Word Press email wishing me a happy anniversary. Oh dear. How could I not have written anything in 3 whole years? No posts. No writing confidence. No engagement. And I want to be a PR practitioner? Gee Whizz.

What changed?

On the 26th March 2014, I helped to create an ebook in a day. There are 8 chapters and all the PR Masters students had to pitch to win their chapter from the client and then pitch to gain undergraduates on to their team. This was tough. I had never pitched before. I created something silly; thinking that even if it didn’t work at least the person reading and watching the pitches would have a giggle. But, much to my disbelief, it did work and it engaged. I got the chapter I wanted to work on: Co-creation and attracted 7 students in to the team. Phew!

team co-creation
Team Co-creation

45 people squished in to Solent Creatives to start what we thought was an ebook but turned out to be a PR movement. It taught me so much and sharing is caring after all, so here are the things I learnt from the ebook in a day…

  1. Be Organised

Sounds simple, but without having organised my chapter it would have been a disaster. There was so much to think about. It was about half way through the day that I was thankful my lecturer had insisted on a Gantt chart as it had got the old grey matter in to gear in advance of the event. I was prepared and it took the stress out of an overwhelming workload.

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The invite for the chapter demonstration
  1. Start Early

Being mean is not my style, but I insisted my team came a whole hour early as our demonstration I had arranged depended on invitations and engagement. We needed a good solid start. Thankfully the team showed up and it made a world of difference, especially when other barriers came in to play.

  1. Don’t Trust Technology

This is one of those pesky barriers I’ve been talking about. 45 students in a small space tested the University WIFI to destruction. It failed four times over the course of the day and this seriously would have hampered our progress had my fantastic team not turned up early.

  1. Imagination and Innovation is Powerful

The other students, staff, lecturers and industry practitioners were incredibly inspiring and creative. The ideas and advice they offered on the day blew me away. Working in an environment like that made me better. In sport they always say that if you train with people who are better then you raise your game to their level and in this case it was most definitely true.

  1. Social Media, is Social, so Get Involved!

I had never seen a multi-platform event from the ‘other side’ before and it was amazing to see every team obtaining high levels of engagement from only one days worth of effort. Sometimes I get fed up with the endless streams of content being chucked my way from social media, but when it’s focused with a proper stakeholder salience strategy applied it can be highly effective and engaging. It can start a conversation, a project or even a movement!

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  1. Be adaptable: from MA to Manager!

Personal challenges can come in any form. I have managed teams before, but it had been a while. So off came my student hat and on went my manager hat. How do you engage a student team who are not being assessed on a project? Food. It’s always a winner. The key here, know your audience! I even had some really lovely thank you’s…

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Twitter Thank You’s!

However despite all of these lessons it was the final parting comments of Stephen Waddington, president of the CIPR, that inspired me to finally break my silence and post this, my very first blog post.

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Stephen Waddington addressing #ebookinaday

He offered 3 tips for ‘making it’ in PR:

  1. Get on Twitter and build relationships
  2. Network and build your profile on LinkedIn
  3. Blog, this is important, it showcases your skills

Stephen made it sound so simple and through the experience of the PR masters I think I finally have the confidence to write. So here I am.

 

Here’s my pick of other blogs about #ebookinaday:

  • Stephen Waddington – Early lessons from the #ebookinaday project at Southampton Solent University
  • Lisa Duygu – Ebook in a day, a project, an event, a challenge, a success!
  • Livi Wilkes – Ebook in a day, the day so far
  • Bethany Ansell – The best of the week 28 March
  • Nikita Gagnon – Putting the public back into public relations