Social Media and Public Relations

Social media is the heart of this generation. Apps and websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more have become outlets for people to speak on current topics and ultimately say what is on their mind. Now what comes out of the mouths of people is always a topic of discussion. Some take their right of freedom of speech to the highest possible level and some completely cross the level of what is appropriate and what is not. Controversial topics are always trending and open for discussion, but some know how to do and some could learn a few things.

The ever growing popularity of social media has been picked up by celebrities so they can connect to their fans and speak on current topics on a pedestal because of their large followings. With celebrities having access to say what they feel without consenting their publicists before submission, this leads to a lot of “foot in mouth” situations. It is so much worse to have a slip up of your words on social media because it will never die. People will save, screenshot and send until the whole world sees what you did. With being a celebrity, you are your own brand and when you taint the name of your brand, you need the help of Public Relations professionals to clear your name.

There have been a few situations that have stuck out over the course of this social media fad that have been bigger than needing a simple “sorry” to clear their name after something they said or did. An incident back in 2010 from celebrity heiress Paris Hilton made people think twice about her shenanigans. The celebrity was caught with cocaine in her Chanel bag and when she was confronted about the drugs, she denied the claim and said that the purse belonged to a friend. Contrary to her explanation, she tweeted earlier in the day about her new purse and she was later convicted. (Books, 2015). A prime example of thinking before you tweet.

Another example of a celebrity behaving badly on a social media engine would be almost every celebrity now. If you have a twitter and you follow any kind of celebrity, you see some kind of mishap almost daily. Thinking before you act needs to be the most general precaution when it comes to social media. Being careful is way easier and cost effective than screwing up and needing to hire a public relations professional to clean up yet another mess. Your reputation is at stake and your fans view of you is as well. Free speech is the motive when it comes to social media, but is it being taken too far? Are people too sensitive? Should we care? All of this is up for debate, but my advice would simply be, think before you post; for your sake and for others’.

Books, S. (2015, January 17). 10 Celebrities Who Made Unforgettable Mistakes on Social Media. In The Richest. Retrieved from

Celebrity activity on social media illustrates transformation in PR. (2013). PR News, 69(14) Retrieved from

Gastaldo, E. (2014, May 18). 9 Celebrities Behaving Badly on Social Media. In Newser. Retrieved from


Chipotle’s E. Coli Outbreak

The public relations world has been getting a lot of work opportunities in the past month or so. Incidents involving different industries that need to help of public relations professionals have been in high demand. Incidents involving health and food related situations tend to be taken the most seriously because they affect you directly. When food chains especially have health related incidents that make a customer sick or ultimately die is among some of the worst scenarios because a chain means there are more restaurants that are probably experiencing the same problem. That means more people affected and more trust lost. Today’s big incident that has been infiltrating our news and airwaves would have to be the popular food chain Chipotle and e coli being found in their beef.

So far, thirty-seven people have experienced illness from exposure to E.coli that has been traced back to Chipotle restaurants (Associated Press, NBC. 2015). Although this number might not seem significant compared to the amount of people that consume food from this restaurant, a bad word can go very far and efforts have to be implemented immediately. The popular chain sells Mexican food and is known for their fresh burritos, tacos and salads. Even though no deaths have been reported yet, aggressive efforts are being implemented to clear the name of the restaurant chain.

The company is doing a great job, or as good of a job as they can right now, to stop this outbreak and clear the name before a wildfire occurs. The company has closed 43 of their restaurants in the states of Oregon and Washington in efforts to contain the outbreak (Bradley, 2015). Closing the doors of these restaurants have shown how serious they are about conserving the health of their customers and putting their health above their possible profit. This is a good start for the company so that the general public can understand the severity of the situation and know that their values are intact. The reputation of this restaurant has been tampered with and this is where public relations professionals will come in and save the day, yet again.

In this particular case, a public relations firm has probably already been contacted to clean this mess of a situation and plans have probably already been set to be put in motion. The reputation of this brand needs redemption by first, gaining the trust of their customers and accessing their team to make sure that nothing like this happens again. Getting to the affected customers and making sure they are being treated properly would be a great effort, since they are the ones who were directly affected by the E. coli. After they gain the trust by those who became sick, addressing the general public and letting them know what will be implemented to move forward in what has already occurred. Chipotle has a long way to go, but they are off to a good start in making the best of this horrible situation.

Bradley, D. (2015, November 4). Chipotle outlines 7 ways it’s ‘aggressively’ addressing E. coli outbreak. In PR Week. Retrieved from

Jargon, J. (2015, Nov 03). E. coli strain in outbreak linked to chipotle not most severe, authorities say; number of people sickened in oregon, washington rises, as officials work to determine exact source of contamination. Wall Street Journal (Online) Retrieved from

What’s Being Done to Stop the Chipotle E. coli Outbreak? (2015, November 4). In NBC News. Retrieved from

Crisis Blog

Jordan Harps

Crisis Blog

Grand Valley State University

The public relations world is full of mending reputations after crisis and incidents. Being that no one or no company is perfect, things are said, tweeted and done that need some cleaning up, and that is what us, PR professionals are here for. In the past year, there have been numerous run-ins with the police forces here in the United States that have left a bad taste in our citizen’s mouths. Since there were so many different police departments involved in these tragedies, a general clean-up of the nation’s police departments will be taking place.

In the first situation of police brutality that sparked up controversy was the incident that led up to the riots in Ferguson, Missouri. The death and treatment of teenager, Michael Brown was the tragedy that led to the uprising of riots that made the nation stand still. The reason on why he was killed can be debated all day, but the unarmed teenager’s body after it had been gunned down stood lying in the street for hours after he had passed (Broidy, Kalleberg, Santoro). The treatment of his body as if he were an animal is enough to anger anyone who has a heart, criminal or not. The police force had their reasons for everything they did, but the way it was done did not please the general public which led to riots in Ferguson to show their anger towards the police force that lasted for a surmountable amount of time.

The second situation that I would like to capitalize on isn’t exactly one situation, but police brutality that got noticed a bit more after the Mike Brown incident and riots that followed. Situations like the death of Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and Freddie Gray have shined a very unpleasant light on police and the way they handle things. It seems as if each situation as it happens would prevent the next one because of the backlash these officers and the force as a whole are receiving, but they seem to get worse and merciless as time goes on. This is where I come in.

The Police force in the United States as a whole needs a bit of a facelift. Although it isn’t too much you can do to make a branch of the government look better, it is definitely worth a shot at this point. A campaign to make police appear in ways to be more approachable and even less racist would be extremely profitable. These incidents that have occurred have changed the way people look at cops. They are perceived as monsters rather than the people here to protect us. Events incorporating the communities, especially in the inner-city would be extremely successful. Un-staged photos with police officers and children sharing priceless moments together definitely tug at your heart and make you sympathize instead of seeing them as the “Opposition”. A campaign to put these efforts in place could change the hearts of a lot of United States citizens and the way they feel about our police force.


Daniels, J. (n.d.). Police-Involved Killings Continue With No End In Sight. In Racism Review. Retrieved from

Kalleberg, A. L., Broidy, L., & Santoro, W. (2014, October 26). Race relations in America and the case of Ferguson. In OUP Blog. Retrieved from

Reisig, M. D., & Correia, M. E. (1997). Public evaluations of police performance: An analysis across three levels of policing. Policing, 20(2), 311. Retrieved from

Pre PR Reflections

Pre PR Reflections

Prior to this class as a whole, being a Public Relations major, you would think I would know the proper definition to define it properly. I defined public relations as the relationship between a company and the public; it connects the world to a brand and how it is perceived. I still think this can be a good starter for a more detailed definition. The definition provided by me, even without further knowledge, is only scratching the surface of the true definition. Being in the Public Relations and Advertising field, the two fields often times get intertwined and smushed together. Even when people ask what public relations is, I feel like there is no concise way to tell them. It usually starts with a blank stare, then an “umm…”, and a homemade definition that usually ends up being a definition for advertising instead of Public Relations. Being a beginner I the field, I of course will not know everything that I need to or I am supposed to, but that is all a part of the process.

Getting more in depth with prior knowledge, public relations people are the fire fighters. They put out “fires” in the industry before situations become catastrophes. When things go wrong, bad things are said and some idiot needs a good bailing out, the people in the PR world are the first ones to be called. Contrary to advertising, it is done after more so than before. Public relations would be a ton more effective if it were utilized beforehand rather than when damage is already done. “Too little too late” seems to be the theme in the PR world, but we are still called upon to do or jib in every imaginable field to put out some kind if theoretical fire. No industry could stay afloat without the help of people in the Public Relations field and I wish more people would realize that so we could be appreciated sooner than later.