Poison

It was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made – to let him go. He used to be my ray of sunshine, my light at the end of a tunnel; he saved me from being someone I was not. I was on the verge of being a cold-hearted being, at a very young age. I had a lot to lose, and he saved me. He made me fall in love with him. That was either a blessing, or a curse, or both.

Because once I’ve started loving, I can’t stop. Not until that person gives me a reason to not love him anymore. And that was what he did.

2 years and 3 months. That was how long it took for me to realize he was a poison. That was how long it took for me to see how much he had blinded me – how much my love for him had blinded me.

I saw him as the one thing in life that I could control, that I could fix. He was a broken toy, and I loved him. He was a constant in my life, and I loved that even more.

I tried. For months, I had tried to get him back on track, I tried to put a saddle on him and get him to be something that he was not – responsible. Then, it caught up to me.

He can never be the man I wanted him to be. He can never be good for me, only bad. He can never be supportive of what I want to do, especially if the things I wanted to do are out of my league. He can never bring me the life I wanted, and dreamed of.

I was tied to him in a monkey’s fist knot, and he was tied to me. Whatever we did, it affected the both of us.

I had him throwing punches at the wall, at his family, at people. He had me crying for him, begging for him, screaming and yelling for him. I thought that I’d gain control over him again. Little did I know, he was emotionally controlling me too.

He was selfless, dangerous, wild. But also single-minded, aggressive and obnoxious. He was the stallion, and I was the hunter. I wanted to control him again, to have him do whatever pleases me, but he wouldn’t have it.

He had to do things his way. He wanted me to do whatever pleases him, instead.

Despite my love for him, I clung on to whatever dignity and self-respect I still had – and I let him go.

Later that year, I was bound for Australia for a family trip; a vacation. And boy, that little holiday we had overseas, was one of the most precious moments I could ever recall in my entire life where I felt so free, and at peace.

It was one of the times where bliss recognized me, and found me. Where happiness was limitless, where peace was a buffet and I could eat for hours on end.

Letting such poison go was easy for me that year, and I shall never forget it.

All For A Spell: A Short

Here, flowers don’t bloom because of the stench of evil rotting from the witch’s cottage. The strong, damp smell that goes across the barren field, towards the village.

It’s no wonder they built a high brick wall to keep it out.

Here, birds don’t land because of the witch’s carnivorous plants that guard her home. Those filthy teeth-bearing magical plants can stretch their long stems towards the nearest victim, be it on the ground or in the sky.

They say the witch controls the plants.

Here, nothing good ever comes out alive.

There, do you hear her? The deep, throaty laugh of hers when she’s brewing a new spell. She is always looking for new ways to lure people to come see her – a love spell, a wealth spell, a luck spell, anything a person would want. Villagers would only dare see her when they are in desperate need.

Like the newly-wed couple from the Prairie Hut. They’ve always wanted a baby, and Mrs. Button couldn’t have any. They tried and tried, until one night, Mr Button wouldn’t stand it any longer. He put on his coat, and trudged through the rainy night to see the witch. The next day, a baby Button was born.

I’ve seen the baby once. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen the family, too. I wonder where they have gone?

There, do you see the cottage? Notice the broken tiles of the roof. To think the witch knows a good many spells, she could’ve conjured up one to fix it. And there, can you spot the door? No one can, not until you’ve gone closer to the cottage. Don’t worry, the creeper plants coiling on the walls won’t eat you – only those potted flowers.

Oh, they’re only flowers now because the witch knows you’re here. Go on, open the door.

But there is no doorknob. They say, she has placed a spell on the door. It will only open when she is expecting a visitor, and that that visitor has arrived. Also, this way she won’t lose any of her precious spells – no thieves or good-for-nothings could come through.

There, do you smell that? It’s mostly coming from the damp and rotting wood of the floorboards. But the strong musty smell – that’s her. They say it only smells stronger when she’s near. How strong is it now?

Oh. There she is. Looking at you.

Our World: A Short

After an hour I couldn’t take it anymore, I had to get away from that horrid place.

The place where grass did not grow.

Where metal beasts are allowed to run in the open, back and forth.

Where little children are being kept in cages, and left alone.

Where people like me would walk around and talk to themselves, as though somebody was there with them.

I had to get away from there.

I ran across the great muddy fields, climbed high over the fences that separated our world and theirs, and never looked back until I had reached the comfort of my own home.

When I finally stopped and felt the familiar ground, scattered with hard pebbles and pinecones, I looked around at my homely surroundings and took a deep breath.

Ahh, pure and natural air.

I crawled into the safety of my cave, and kneeled across my brother who, like me, was dressed in a burlap sack and was busy picking his nose, indicating, “What have you found?”

I scraped my fingers across the floor, and tapped my foot 3 times. “They have flat and cold floors!”

My brother gasped. “No grass or trees?”

“Barely!”

He urged me to fill him in with more details of the horrible world I had just returned from. “Well c’mon then! What else?” He clapped his hands.

“They have big tall trees with people living in them!

“Oh dear!”

“They have colored caves with holes where you can see people eating in them!”

“How intrusive!”

“They have beasts that are shiny and could move without legs!”

“The monstrosity!”

He backed away further into the cave, his eyes bigger than the leaf saucers we use for our daily morning dew. He had his hands to his ears, unwilling to hear anymore of my stories.

I approached him apprehensively, holding out my hand to reach for him in an attempt to calm him.

“Relax, brother. They will not find us,” I comforted him. As soon as my hand touched his arm, his eyes softened. My brother was always the scaredy-cat among us, but he was brave, too. In a way.

“We have to… We have to warn the others! The others!” He exclaimed, pushing me against the wall and running out into the night.

I sighed, picked up his burlap sack that he left behind and went after him.

Aggression: Types & Causes

Aggression happening in the world are on the rise, and they can be divvied up to different kinds of aggression. Many factors can cause a particular aggression, such as social, biological, psychological and even environmental factors. This essay will discuss the definition of aggression, the causes of aggression, the types of aggression, a case study analysis of one type of aggression, and a conclusion.

Aggression is defined as a “hostile act or feeling” (Fowler, Fowler & Sykes, 1978). It is a strong emotion that can be triggered through internal or external factors, such as physical or environmental factors. An act is only considered as ‘aggression’ when the pre-conditions are met: physical or psychological pain is intended and causing another person harm.

Dollard, Doob, Miller, Mower, and Sears (1939), when proposing the Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis, defined aggression as “the state that emerges when circumstances interfere with a goal response” (Beck, 2005).

Aggression can also be defined as an act aimed to harm or injure another person, who is inclined to avoid such treatment (Baron, 1977). In his book, Baron (1977) also provided some examples of acts of aggression, such as physical violence occurring in families and marriages – marriage abuse, parental abuse, family and sibling abuse – as well as murders or homicides. It was also mentioned in his book that the most common sources of aggression are physical and psychological pain.

Acts of aggression can range from anger to murder, and sometimes it is a natural response to conflicts, confusion and anger. It can stem from anger or frustration from internal or external conditions. Receiving disapproval regarding social, political or religious beliefs, social inequalities and competition over material resources are examples that can cause an aggressive response (Fuentes, 2012).

It is also be triggered by a particular reason – when a change is brought about – or for a cause – to bring about a change. In The Journal of Psychology, Holm (1983) proposed the definition of aggression as having a similar concept – “with intent to harm”. This intent subsequently leads to specific purposes or goals one hopes to achieve when carrying out an act of aggression. The term “cause” in this case is limited to mean an intended action. Two conditions are to be met for an action to be deemed as aggressive: the acknowledgement to the actor of an intent to harm, and invalid reasons provided by the actor to justify his actions. The term “actor” is referred to as someone who had performed or carried out an act of aggression (Holm, 1983).

Other factors that can cause the probability of aggression are alcohol consumption, pain and discomfort, direct provocation, imitation, environmental stress, high expectations, size, strength and distance and reciprocal aggressiveness.

A hypothesis explaining the relationship between aggression and frustration, “The Frustration-Aggression Theory” by Dollard, Doob, Miller, Mower, and Sears (1939), suggested that the more frustrated a person is, the higher the probability of showing aggression. Frustration occurs when one is held back from achieving his goals. The closer he is to his goal, the more frustrated he will be when being held back from it (Holm, 1983).

Beyer (2014) also mentioned “The Frustration-Aggression Theory” and explained that frustrations are linked to negative stimuli, where a desired result is expected but one is prevented from achieving it. This deprivation of the expected reward motivates oneself to perform acts of aggression in hopes of achieving that reward. The definition of frustration here is given as the “interference with the occurrence of an instigated goal-response”.

Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can make a person highly irritable and easily provoked. It leads to certain actions that are unacceptable in the social norms. The aggressive acts could be because of competition for attractive partners, over-crowding and other irritations like cigarette smoke, which can affect the irritability of others.

Pain and discomfort are sources of aggression as they can make one highly irritable and easily agitated. When coming across an irritant causing pain or discomfort, one attacks the nearest available object, carrying out an act of aggression in an attempt to reduce the pain or discomfort. Such irritants can be a rise in temperature, where the weather becomes too humid and one tries to escape the heat by pushing through a crowd of people.

Environmental stress also suggests a similar outcome – when one experiences a subtle change in the environment which is perceived as unpleasant, such as high temperatures or overcrowding, this will make him feel agitated and highly irritable, thus leading him to lash out at other people in an attempt to reduce this unpleasant change.

Direct provocation suggests that tension and provocation can result in aggressive behavior as well. This is similar to reciprocal aggressiveness, which suggests that when one finds himself in a situation where he is being treated aggressively, he will respond in a similar manner. Aggressive treatment in this case are such as inappropriate teasing or harsh criticism.

Children learn to perform acts of aggression from their parents or violent scenes on the television through observational learning. Bandura (1971) explained in his Social Learning Theory where the constant association with a certain person demarcates the kind of behavior one will grow to imitate. Parents in a household showing acts of aggression observed by their children indirectly teach their children that these acts are socially acceptable to achieve their goals. Youngsters will take these acts of aggression as a way to resolve conflicts, and when they are older, repeat the cycle as a way to socialize their own children. Similarly, when children are exposed to violent scenes on the television or other medias, they will take it as a socially acceptable way to achieve their goals.

The size, strength and distance of the source of frustration, however, can also determine the degree of aggressive response – it is more unlikely to carry out an act of aggression when the person who made one frustrated is bigger in size and is in one’s personal space. Also, the possibility of an aggressive response shown out of frustration during a phone call is higher, as the source of frustration is indefinite.

There are numerous acts of aggression shown in the world, and each of these acts can be categorized into three different kinds of aggression – each depending on the degree of hurt intended, the goal one wants to achieve and whether or not it is a valid reason to justify one’s action. These types of aggression are: hostile aggression or violence, emotional aggression and instrumental aggression.

Hostile aggression or better known as “violence”, is a type of aggression where its source is from the feeling of anger. When one feels angry at a person and has an intention to harm and inflict pain on the person, this act of aggression is labelled as “violence”. The term “violence” as defined by the World Health Organization (n.d.) is an act with “”the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, [or] maldevelopment”.

Emotional aggression is a type of aggression with the intent to hurt a victim psychologically, or rather sometimes physically. This aggression type is mostly associated with bar fights and arguments in a relationship.

Instrumental aggression, on the other hand, occurs with an aim to achieve something that is of value to a person or even to be in control of specific resources. Things that can be of value are such as inheritance. This type of aggression can also occur when one’s aim is to gain compliments and approval from peers for acting in a tough manner.

Case Analysis of a Type of Aggression: Aggressive Communication in Relationship

This case study focuses on a type of psychological abuse in relationships – aggressive communication. It includes the definition of relationship abuse, how one shows psychologically-aggressive behavior in a relationship, the psychological effects of verbally-abusive relationships and proposed solutions to these key problems.

When the term “relationship abuse” is used, it usually refers to the physical or psychological aggression in a relationship, in most cases, involves a male and a female. A relationship is the bond two people have that connects them on an intimate or romantic level. An abuse is an act of aggression, usually with an aim to hurt a person, be it physically or psychologically (Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus, 2016).

Relationship abuse is a pattern of abusive and coercive behaviors used to maintain power and control over a former or current intimate partner. Abuse can be emotional, financial, sexual or physical and can include threats, isolation, and intimidation. Abuse tends to escalate over time. When someone uses abuse and violence against a partner, it is always part of a larger pattern of control (Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness, 2015).

A romantic and passionate relationship between two people can change for the worst when a partner demands more control or power in the relationship. An outburst of violence in a relationship forces the other partner into vulnerability and give in to these demands. It is an act of aggression to claim superiority and to put oneself in a position to be the one who gets to make the decisions.

Psychological abuse in a relationship include making demands, threaten to hurt or leave the relationship, showing superiority, and criticizing the partner (Chang, 1996). In her book, Chang also provided a thorough definition of psychological abuse in relationships, which is a relationship that involves aggressive communication such as “verbal attacks, threats, accusation, verbal hostility, unrealistic expectations, domination, and/or name calling”.

The outcome of aggressive communication varies in different relationships, but usually a partner has an aim to agitate the other or to hurt the other psychologically and receive satisfaction (Rancer, 2009). In his chapter, one trait of aggression is assertiveness, defined as “the ability to stand up for one’s or another person’s rights” (Skills You Need, n.d.). In association with this trait is argumentativeness, which is given the definition: “a trait that predisposes individuals involved in a conflict to defend positions on controversial issues and to verbally attack the positions of others”. Another trait of aggressive communication is hostility, which involves the use of verbal communication to “express irritability, negativity, resentment and suspicion”.

Verbal aggressiveness such as the ones explained above can also be in the form of attacks on the characteristics of a person, competence attacks, use of vulgarities and profanities, and attacks on one’s background and physical appearance (Rancer, 2009).

Aggressive communication can also be in the form of complaints, where one expresses his dissatisfaction and disdain towards the other. Complaints and criticism may have a good influential purpose, but in others, they damage the self-perception of a person, and makes one feel worthless (Trees, 2009).

The psychological effects of aggressive communication in relationships include the emotional effects, the impact on one’s well-being and the relational quality of the relationship.

When one finds himself or herself in the receiving end of a verbally-abusive relationship, he or she will usually feel hurt, disgraced, worthless and miserable. One might even feel angry and frustrated at the aggressor in the relationship for deliberately putting him down and belittling him. The aggressor, on the other hand, may feel a little remorseful and regret his verbal actions.

These emotional drives lead to the damaging of the individual’s well-being. Partners may feel pressured, tense and stressed. The psychological distress may lead to depression, which can in turn, lead to impaired mental health.

The relational quality of the relationship can be corroded by aggressive actions, be it verbal or physical. Verbal abuse, in a way, can be damaging in the relationship as it ruins the intimacy and passion (Trees, 2009). It is where one basically states his or her dissatisfaction and expectations outright, in a harsh manner. If taken seriously, one can find him or herself in the negatively-emotional state as mentioned above.

There is no one solution to this key problem in a psychologically-abusive relationship, which is communication. The relationship lacks understanding in both parties and couples must be able to understand each other in order to keep the relationship stable and comfortable. A frequent visit to a marriage counselor or a therapist can help both parties keep tabs on each other, and also understand each other a little more deeply. Having a third-person point of view of the relationship can also be helpful, unless it is biased and one-sided. It helps one see the big picture of the problems faced in the relationship, and upon seeing the bigger picture, one can subsequently identify the issues that caused the miscommunication in the relationship, and decide whether or not to make an effort to repair that relationship.

Because verbal aggressiveness in a relationship basically means one demands either attention or power through communication, the best way to solve certain issues identified is through talking it out. One cannot expect the other to simply know what he or she wants in a relationship if one does not communicate. Also, the way one communicates and the timing of the discussion must be taken into consideration for this method of repairing the relationship to be effective.

From this essay, aggression is explained as a form of attack that can be damaging to the physical, psychological, emotional and mental well-being of an individual. Not only is it a demand for power over valuable resources, it can also be an expression of dissatisfaction or anger. There are many types of aggression and they can be found in various situations, also depending on factors such as the goal of the act of aggression, and the source of aggression.

Aggressiveness can be triggered or caused by one or many sources, such as anger or frustration, receiving disapproval, excessive alcohol consumption, pain and discomfort, direct provocation, imitation, environmental stress, reciprocal aggression and size, strength and distance of the source of aggression.
Based on the case study analysis above, “Aggressive Communication in Relationships”, it is also explained how aggressiveness can be carried out in relationships and why individuals resort to using verbal abuse. It is easier to understand that there are reasons pertaining to acts of aggression in the world, and that the issues that caused this aggression can be identified using theories such as the Frustration-Aggression Theory. One can learn to communicate with others better lest an aggressive response is triggered.

References

Textbooks

  1. Aggression. (n.d.). Reading. In Social Behavioral Studies. (pp. 7-1-7-19). (2012). MDIS.

Books and Websites

  1. Beyer, C. (2014). Human Nature and the Essence of Aggression. Inequality and Violence: A Re-appraisal of Man, the State and War (pp. 39-50). Ashgate Publishing Group.
  2. Fowler, F. G., Fowler, H. W., & Sykes, J. B. (1978). The Pocket Oxford Dictionary of Current English (6th ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  3. Fuentes, A. (2012). The Roots of Human Aggression: Many Forms of Violence Require Extensive Cooperation. Retrieved from http://www.beinghuman.org/article/roots-human-aggression
  4. Holm, O. (1983). Four Factors Affecting Perceived Aggressiveness. The Journal of Psychology, 114(2).
  5. Beck, H. P. (2005). Social Psychology: The Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis. Retrieved from http://www1.appstate.edu/~beckhp/aggfrustrationagg.htm
  6. Baron, R. (1977). Human Aggression. New York: Plenum.
  7. Bandura, A. (1971). Social Learning Theory. New York: General Learning Press.
  8. Definition and typology of violence. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/violenceprevention/approach/definition/en/#
  9. Relationship. (2016). In Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus. Cambridge University Press.
  10. What is Relationship Abuse? (2015). Retrieved from http://stoprelationshipabuse.org/educated/what-is-relationship-abuse/
  11. Chang, V. N. (1996). I Just Lost Myself: Psychological Abuse of Women in Marriage. Praeger.
  12. Rancer, A. S. (2009). Aggressive Communication. In H. T. Reis & S. Sprecher (Authors), Encyclopedia of Human Relationships (pp. 65-68). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  13. Assertiveness – An Introduction. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/assertiveness.html
  14. Trees, A. R. (2009). Criticism in Relationships. In H. T. Reis & S. Sprecher (Authors), Encyclopedia of Human Relationships (pp. 365-368). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Social Media & Public Relations

Public relations (PR) specialists have all sorts of means to get their message across to the desired target audience. The objective of this essay is to discuss the relationship between the social media and public relations. This essay will include the following: the definition of public relations, the roles of public relations, the definition of social media, the types of social media, the rise of social media, the reasons why the public relations industry use the social media, how the social media can influence public relations, and 2 case studies.

Since the beginning, many public relations professionals have offered definitions of the term “public relations” in hopes that one of which will eventually succumb to being the standard meaning. On one such occasion, Dr. Harlow (1976) mentioned that the longest definition of public relations consists of 88 words. A more precise definition of the term is  “the strategic communication that different types of organizations use for establishing and maintaining symbiotic relationships with relevant publics many of whom are increasingly becoming culturally diverse” (Sriramesh, 2009). In general, the numerous definitions that can be found of the term “public relations” have a similar concept – the practice of public relations focus on the communication between the organization and the public.

The public relations profession has a great many roles, some of which include the detecting of a crisis, responding to public critiques pertaining to the organization’s products or services, building and maintaining the good reputation and credibility of the organization, and efficiently communicating with the publics through mass media (Bussey, 2010).Subsequently, this communication not only limits to the media and the public, but also to various potential stakeholders, which may result in the expansion of their organization. The communication between these parties seek to establish a mutually beneficial relationship and to sustain it for a long- or short-term cause. Governments all over the globe, big and small companies, non-profit organizations, and the like are able to achieve their respective goals by employing experts in the public relations field, thus making the profession essential to organizations in order for them to stand out against other competing corporations.

Social media, or social network sites, are web-based services which allow us to “construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.” (Boyd and Ellison, 2007). The social media are online websites that allow individuals to socialize and communicate with people worldwide, for business or leisure. Especially with the ever-changing needs and wants of the audience, new software and smartphones are being developed to make it easier to access these online networks.

There are many types of social media, and each can be classified into different categories: personal networks, interest-based networks, e-commerce, media-sharing networks, discussion forums, bookmarking sites, social publishing and online reviews.

Interest-based networks involve an online community where users can find other users with common interests. These social network sites include Last.fm for music lovers, Wattpad for writers and book lovers, and Pinterest for those with various hobbies. (Sorokina, 2015).

Media-sharing social networks have the main purpose of uploading media – such as photos and videos – and sharing them with the online community. Photo-sharing social sites include Instagram and Flickr, where one can portray his photography or videography skills. The largest video-sharing social network is Youtube, where users watch over “4 billion hours worth of video each month, and uploading 72 hours worth of video every minute” (Dickey, 2013).

Sites such as Facebook and Twitter, even online blogs such as Tumblr, are also classified as media-sharing and social publishing networks, as users can upload and share photos, videos and long or short texts online as well as interact with other users through the comment sections. These sites are also used for social activities, such as chatting up friends and colleagues, meeting up with business partners, and at the same time, they are most common for spreading messages around the World Wide Web. For example, you enter a term or a business corporation into a search engine, and the results will show excerpts found on some of the social network sites mentioned above where people are or have been actively discussing the issue or talking about the organization.

Online review services include Tripadvisor, Yelp, Airbnb and Uber, where users can find others’ reviews for suggestions on the best airlines, great dining, good accommodation and transport services.

Discussion forums are one of the many oldest types of online social networks. Users seek help from the online forums available on these sites for comments, ideas and suggestions.

E-commerce social sites include Polyvore and Etsy, and are even found on social network sites such as Facebook. Users can browse through an online catalogue of apparels, housing furniture, kitchenware, gym equipment, even handicrafts (Sorokina, 2015).

One of the main reasons why there is a hiking popularity in social media usage in the world is because of the assertion that most social media sites are where users share information or data, such as expressing one’s opinions or sharing ideas and interests, for free. These social networking sites enable their users to interact with other users in the same community, post comments and updates on their social profile or mend ties with old friends and colleagues. Besides this general use, the social medias are very popular in breaking news updates and holds information of the latest happening in the world (ITU News, 2010).

Because of the numerous reasons to use the social media, there have been improvements made on software and applications so they could be easily accessed on the smartphones and tab devices where one can access these social sites on the go. These combined with the developments of new social media applications, the rise in the number of users in the social media world is inevitable. (ITU News, 2010).

With the rising number of consumers in the cyber world, PR specialists have taken to using the social network sites to effectively communicate with the public. In the world of PR, where the practice is defined as “the communication and relationship between the organization and public”, the social media is a strong channel which has the capability of breaking the news before the actual publication or broadcast in the media. Within minutes, users all over the world will have read the “Tweet” or post on Facebook and shared it with the rest of the social network community. In addition, the social media can “influence the way people think…the way they shop and purchase, and can be used to call like-minded people to action in ways that are extremely efficient…” (Bussey, 2011). This is a strong reason as to why public relations find the social media extremely useful pertaining to relaying messages to the public about their client, casting a good light on the organization to better their image, and also responding to the crisis and managing it through these online networks. Basically, through the online social networks, public relations specialists can find it easier to communicate with the public consumers due to its unfaltering popularity with the consumers and potential consumers alike. Cathy Bussey explains the use of a blog, a type of social network, in the PR industry:

Blogs can be a very useful way of sharing opinions and views, generating comments, input and opinions from the people [the public relations specialists] are trying to reach – [their] customers or the customers of [their] client – and building an online community (Bussy, 2011).

A blog is a type of social media, and because the social media is easily accessible and reaches mass audience, PR practitioners use the art of blogging to spread the good word about their clients. Blogs and custom-made websites are useful in gathering information about an organization, hence many PR specialists have taken to using these available services to start a blog or website for the company to create a positive image in the eyes of their consumers. The use of blogs are extensive. As mentioned by Gordon (2010), PR specialists are able to send information to the media, and are also able to talk directly to the public, view the public’s responses, and act accordingly. Also, in a study conducted by Wright and Hinson (2009), it states that the PR specialists would set up an approach in the social media, which involved interviewing the bloggers, to find out what was being said about the organization, and that if any false information were found on postings, to make a point to respond on these social networks and provide the correct information.

The PR practitioners can make or break the organization’s relationship with the public, depending on the communication between the PR and the public. These days, it is considered a norm in the social media when there are some in the public who will respond aggressively or criticize the organization. When handling these matters on social media, it is important that the PR specialists know that they are “not simply talking to [their] customers and potential customers who passively digest [their] messages”. These customers, the target audience, “are talking back” (Bussey, 2011). This is one of the most crucial factors as one of the PR’s roles is to create and sustain a favorable image, hence, when the public talks back, sometimes it can be difficult to put out the fire. Online social sites are powerful and can change the public’s perceptions on particular controversial issues and if not handled well, can result in poor PR management.

On the other hand, based on a study, researchers Wright and Hinson (2009) found that many organizations mention the effects social media has on the “influentials or opinion leaders and the impact on attitudes, opinions or behaviors of current and potential customers.” (Gordon, 2010). The social medias have also contributed to the changes and adaptations that companies and PR specialists have made in order to effectively communicate with the consumers in the new trends of the social network.

Case Study #1: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The non-profit organization for the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) -diseased turned out to be making huge profits as a result of the viral campaign on popular social media, the ‘ice bucket challenge’. The campaign aims to spread the message in donating to the ALS funds for research to find a cure (ALS Association, n.d.) for those with this fatal neurological disease (NINDS, 2013). The challenge itself comprises of four easy steps – accepting the challenge, dumping a bucket of iced-water onto himself while calling out the names of the people he chooses to do the challenge and having the entire process recorded in a video, which is then uploaded into any social media, usually accompanied with the hashtag “IceBucketChallenge” (ALS Association, n.d.). The most popular social medias where these recorded challenges can be found are Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. This well-known cause has been going all over the Internet, receiving attention from more than 2 million people on Facebook alone and was a monumental success as the association made $220 million from their campaign (Chowdhry, 2015). With the use of social media as a medium in promoting this cause, the ALS Association was able to fund their research. What boosted the exposure of this cause was the participation of numerous notable individuals and celebrities in the ice bucket challenge (Firozi, 2014). This was a great strategy into getting the public involved in contributing to the cause as well. This case study is a great example of how the social media is powerful for the public relations and their clients.

prince

(Prince, 2014).

firozi

(Firozi, 2014).

Case Study #2: J.P. Morgan’s Poor PR Approach
This case study, however, looks into the poor strategy attained by the bank, J.P. Morgan. The company was looking to reach out to the public and its consumers directly, as a way to improve their social business culture (Borges, 2013). While this certainly seemed like a great way to engage with their consumers and potential consumers, announcing that they would be having a questions-and-answers (Q&As) session with the public on Twitter backfired on them as it came after the scandal where the aforementioned bank was fined 9 billion U.S. dollars to keep their former deal manager from whistle-blowing about the bank’s financial cover-up (Taibbi, 2014). The questions that came up were mostly regarding the bank’s scandalous issue and humiliation from their actions in attempting to keep their secrets safe. Not only did the Twitter Q&As increased the negative views of the bank, it also goes to show how unprepared the company was regarding the timely session and the moods of their consumers upon receiving the news about the huge fine. The PR specialists of the said bank took matters in their hands when they retracted their announcement for the Q&As on Twitter and publicly commented that it was “a bad idea” (Borges, 2013). This case study is an example of how the social media, although powerful, could leave a bad stain on an organization, and how the PR managed the crisis that follows.

borges (Borges, 2013).

As public relations involve communication and interaction with the public regarding an organization, the mutually beneficial relationship between public relations and the social media is highly important. It is crucial to keep a close tab on the consumers through the social media and detect any unforeseen circumstances or crisis which could give the company a bad name, hence, the roles of a PR practitioner is quite extensive. The social media is an asset to the practice of public relations, as they are most commonly used to harvest new information and data about the consumers and potential consumers, even the most likely of stakeholders. These web-based services enable PR specialists to spread the (good) message about their clients, and because communication via social media is a two-way street, the responses from the consumers will prove to be helpful in the improvement of the organization. Aside from providing the organization an access to the public’s thoughts and comments regarding their products and services, the social media is also increasingly popular and this made it convenient for the practice of public relations to reach out to the mass. Social media has indeed changed the way the PR and public communicates, but they have proven to be of good use to many businesses worldwide.

References

Books & Journals

  1. Harlow, R. F. (1976). Building a public relations definition. Public Relations Review, 2(4).
  2. Sriramesh, K., & Verčič, D. (Eds.). (2009). The Global Public Relations Handbook: Theory, Research, and Practice (2nd ed.). New York, US: Routledge.
  3. Boyd, D., & Ellison, N. (2007). Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. 13(1). 210-230. doi:10.1111/(issn)1083-6101
  4. Bussey, C. (2011). Brilliant PR: Create a PR sensation, whatever your budget, whatever your business. Harlow, England: Prentice Hall/Pearson.
  5. Gordon, J. (2010). Use, Value and Impact of Social Media on Public Relations Practitioners in the Fox Cities (Unpublished master’s thesis, 2010). University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
  6. Wright, D. K., & Hinson, M. D. (2009). Examining how public relations practitioners actually are using social media. Public Relations Journal, 3(3).
  7. Borges, B. (2013). 5 Big Social Media Fails of 2013 (and What We Learned). Hubspot.
  8. Taibbi, M. (2014). The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase’s Worst Nightmare. Rolling Stone, (1222).
  9. How To Take the Ice Bucket Challenge. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ibc-instructions.html
  10. Chowdhry, A. (2015). Remember The Ice Bucket Challenge? Donations From The $220 Million Campaign Enhanced ALS Research. Forbes’ The Little Black Book Of Billionaire Secrets.
  11. Prince, S. J. (2014). The 10 Best Celebrity ALS Ice Bucket Challenge GIFs. Retrieved from http://heavy.com/social/2014/08/best-funny-celebrity-ice-bucket-challenge-lou-gehrigs-disease-pictures-videos/
  12. Firozi, P. (2014). Watch: 20 great celebrity ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/08/18/ice-bucket-challenge-celebrities/14224359/
  13. The rise of social networking: Changing the web as we know it. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.itu.int/net/itunews/issues/2010/06/35.aspx
  14. Sorokina, O. (2015). 8 Types of Social Media and How Each Can Benefit Your Business. Retrieved from https://blog.hootsuite.com/types-of-social-media/
  15. Dickey, M. R. (2013). The 22 Key Turning Points In The History Of YouTube. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/key-turning-points-history-of-youtube-2013-2?IR=T&op=1?r=US&IR=T

Problems: A Short

Something was wrong with the things she had in mind. At first to her, they seem menial, and were of no importance. As the days go by, she became more aware of her ever-present thoughts bombarding her mind like a plague. She had to do something to get her mind off of them.Then, she started writing again.

There was the financial problem where she could find no balance in her savings and expenses. This was strange, given her horoscope, she is a Libran, a sign symbolized by the scale depicting a balance in one’s life. She found it odd that she couldn’t keep track of what she spent on, and what she had saved. Little by little, all her savings disappeared by the end of the month. This could be because of her smoking habit, she realized as she lit up yet another cigarette to ease her raging thoughts.

Also, she had an addiction with beauty products and retail therapy. They always seem to calm her, make her feel beautiful and good on the inside. She loved the feeling of new clothes, the material and texture of the tops in the stores. She loved the smell of new clothes, one which inspired her to come up with many outfits she could use the cute blue pants with. She especially loved window shopping online, on her iPhone, scrolling through pictures and pictures of beautiful models wearing pretty heels, and she longed to own them.

Money has always been a problem for her.

Then, there was the issue with her relationship. Truthfully, she had always felt as though she would be happier with another. Despite that thought, she knew that her beloved would not approve of her delinquent ways, leading her guy friends on and making moves on new hot guys she met in a mall. She wanted the attention, to bask in it, to soak herself in it. But her beloved seemed to think that her needs weren’t important.

She admired that he puts his family first. She had always thought highly of him, and that he would grow to be a respectful man one day. But what she couldn’t tolerate was him cancelling their plans at the last minute, making her weekends so wide open she felt as though her life had no adventure. She needed his commitment, but none was to be found. She only held on in hopes that he would change one day, maybe through the sacred ties of marriage. Once they are wed, perhaps, he would be more committed and pay attention to her. One can only hope.

Pounding at the back of her head, were the darkest thoughts of all – her insecurities. She had always felt that her body wasn’t thin enough, curvy enough, sexy enough. She had always wanted less around the waists, arms, thighs and calves. But alas, she wouldn’t go for any fitness therapies or diets even; she couldn’t control her hunger. She found no discipline in herself to be making strides in her physical aspects, hence, her only decision was to reduce her appetite and attempt to not surrender to her hunger.

Acne problems are the worst. Despite her regular facewash routine, she still couldn’t, for the life of her, figure out why acne appeared on the darndest of places – her nose, cheeks, chin. They were ugly, and made her feel less beautiful on the outside. Now, she knew it was because acne problems can be hereditary, as well as it being a result of her smoking habits. But she couldn’t resist the temptation to smoke, to puff on a stick and watch her problems temporarily fade away like the smoke she exhales into the cool night air.

Leaning on the wall behind her as she sat outside her haven, she placed her iPhone on her lap, and lit up another as she sighed.

What Goes On At Night: A Short Story

It’s dark. I wake, stretching my body as I make my way to the table. The leftover food from last night lay untouched in the bowl. Hmm, I think to myself. I’ll check for fresh food later.

My stomach is growling, but I am overwhelmed by the sudden urge to scratch. There is a big tree standing right next to the table, and I happily claw at the tree until my arms ache. Then I sit still, listening to the sounds in the dark.

Seconds passed, turning into minutes. Where is everybody?

Yawning, I make my way through the dark hallway, avoiding the scattered toys lying on the floor. Ooh, I think. This looked like fun! I drag the long white thing across the floor into the bedroom where my best friend is lying on her bed, and I sit myself down next to her, chewing on the long white thing.

She makes a sudden move – I guess she is asleep. My stomach rumbles again, and then I remember. Food.

Cautiously, I step over her leg, then her arm, and sniff at her face. Yep, this is my best friend in the whole world. I lick her face, and gently touch her cheek. She feels warm to the touch. I snuggle under her chin, rubbing my head against her chest.

I call to her. Hey, wake up. I’m hungry. She does not budge. I try again, scratching lightly on her nose this time.

Best friend? Wake up.

Her eyelids flutter. She squints at me, and rubs her eyes. “Indie? What do you want?”

Food. The food on the table isn’t fresh. I don’t like it.

She rubs my head, her fingers running down my back, and then behind my ear. It feels nice. “Aww, is someone hungry?” I purr in response.

“Okay, come with me to the kitchen.” I jump down from her bed and follow her every footstep, curling around her legs.

She picks up the bowls from the table, and brings them with her into the big room where they make the food. I follow closely behind, and jump on the lid of the trashcan, and then onto the counter where I can see her cleaning my bowls. I like my bowls clean.

I watch as she pours milk into one of the bowls, and then picks one of the many packets of food in the cupboard. She rips it open, and I can smell salmon. Mmm, salmon.

“There you go, Indie.” She says to me, and places the bowls on the table. I lick the milk, and then nibble furiously on the salmon. I love salmon.

I look at my best friend as she stands there, watching me eat. Thank you, I say. She just smiles and pets my head before kissing me goodnight and going back to her bedroom.