December 12, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

PETA PR Absurdity Strikes Again

PETA PR Absurdity Strikes Again

It’s amazing how quickly a month goes by–it feels like I filed my last edition of “Seriously?” last week, when in reality it was well over a month ago. It’s been so long, in fact, that this edition is well over a week late. Well, all the better to collect interesting topics to mercilessly skewer, right? There’s certainly been plenty going on in the world of social media lately, with Facebook memes making the mainstream press, new pages launching, and Congressmen and celebrities using joining Twitter by the dozens.

When I first came up with the idea for the theme of this column, I was actually a little worried that there wouldn’t be enough wacky, odd, or otherwise interesting items upon which to turn my ever-critical eye each month. I had no idea how wrong I was–turns out that marketers, communicators, journalists, PR pros and social media enthusiasts can always find ways to leave me scratching my head, heaving a sigh, and saying, “…seriously?”

First up this month, measuring your cursing on Twitter. Cursebird measures, in its own words, “what the *#$@ everyone is swearing about” On Twitter. The page is a real-time feed of people cursing on Twitter (content, of course, NSFW, so be warned). Why is this necessary? Like many things in social media, it’s not. I admit to chuckling and immediately entering my username to get my Cursebird ranking–I swear like a construction worker!? I have apparently only cursed on Twitter twice, a construction worker that does not make! But really, what’s the point? Perhaps to run an occasional check on your personal brand? I’m thinking if you have to run a search on yourself to see how much you’re dropping f-bombs on Twitter, your brand is already in a little trouble. And so, as fun as the page might be, I have to say…seriously?

Next up, Facebook changed its Terms of Service this week. And people lost their minds about it! Since when do these things get such attention? Surely, I cannot be the only one who has never actually read a single set of Terms of Service before signing up for a service. Seriously, I think I could very likely owe Twitter my first born child right now, and I’d have no idea whatsoever. Sorry, future Sarah Junior, but looks like your new mommy will be a cartoon bird (I hear you get used to that whole “pre-digested food” thing). Regardless, the Internet is lighting up about a particular change, one which stipulates that if you upload content to Facebook, it stays on there forever even if you delete your account. I understand the outrage, but also tend to agree with the Peter Smith’s argument that if you’re putting something online and you don’t already understand that the Internet footprint lasts forever…well you’re kind of making your own bed. And of course, the privacy settings you indicate are still intact. So I am not sure I understand the issue here. Seriously, guys, what’s the problem?

And finally, my favorite target! Oh, PETA. I think the worst part about the ineptitude of the global animal rights group is that there’s something so deliberate about it. Whether it’s exploiting a violent tragedy for its own purposes or foolishly trying to get fish rebranded as “sea kittens,” they just can’t seem to shine a spotlight on their issues without being totally offensive. The latest? Protesting the Westminster Kennel Club show by donning Ku Klux Klan costumes. Comparing the American Kennel Club’s breeding practices by comparing them to a racist hate group (that is, claiming the AKC supports white supremacist principles by wanting to form a “master race”…of dogs). Seriously, PETA? I continue to be amazed by PR myopia exhibited by this group…or is it actually genius? I keep writing about them, don’t I? Maybe I ought to turn on myself. “Writing about PETA again, Wurrey?…Seriously?”

Sarah Wurrey is a public affairs professional in Washington, DC. She is the former managing editor of Media Bullseye and a co-blogger at Blogstring.com, where she co-hosts the sporadic Blogstring podcast. She can also be found at her personal blog and on Twitter at twitter.com/sarahwurrey.

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