While I am not a belieber, I am a big fan of communications and public relations. That’s why I found this blogpost reviewing Justin Bieber’s mishap at Anne Frank House so spot-on excellent.
The author advises how Bieber could actually turn around the negative publicity into something positive and use his fame to eventually become a spokesperson for tolerance and against bullying among today’s youth.
Well, he could start with an op-ed in the kinds of magazines his fans read or on the websites they frequent. I won’t write the whole thing for him, but something like this:
Words fail after coming out of the Anne Frank House and learning about her story. They certainly failed me. But thinking about it more, here’s what the visit meant to me, and some lessons we can all learn…
…On Anne’s bedroom wall she had pictures torn from entertainment magazines of her day. They featured Greta Garbo, Ginger Rogers and others. Her room, hidden behind a secret door, so the Nazis wouldn’t find her and kill her, was a room that looked like that of any other girl her age. Anne wasn’t all that different from you, or from me…
…Would Anne have been a Belieber? Who knows. I know this though. I am now, and always will be, a fan of hers. And in her memory, we must all do more to stop senseless hate. That is the final lesson of Anne Frank. The way Miep Gies and others helped them hide and kept them alive. The stories of Danish Jewry being smuggled to safety under cover of night is another. Good people can fight evil; they can, and they did. They are an inspiration, and a challenge for us going forward.
Because there is still hate in the world. What are we doing about it?
Later, Bieber could talk about this, in interviews, or when he meets with young fans. He cold even take to Capitol Hill, or state legislatures, to testify about hate or bullying.
Sometime ago I was approached on LinkedIn by a stranger. We have never met in real life or interacted online - the only connection he had to me was a LinkedIn group we shared together (though I do not recall any conversation we shared in that group). The message I received was brief and odd:
“Curious to know you more…I am new in finland.
nice to make some new contacts :)
“Weird”, thought I but decided to look closer. The person’s LinkedIn account claimed he was a manager at a big Finnish company (a position he’s held for the last 10 months, so he was not a complete newbie to Finland). Previous experiences also included prestigious positions in global corporations, he had recommendations - everything looked legitimate.
Though I found his message odd, I decided to give him the benefit of doubt and inquire what information he was looking for - perhaps he was just a bit socially inept but was genuinly looking for some insights. So I responded briefly asking if he could specify what kind of information he was looking for. To which I got:
”Thanks for your message. well anything to everything what you would like to share :)
no worries about inbox! or if you are based in helsinki a coffee as well :) cheers”
Now I was definitely feeling uncomfortable. Messages from an unknown male twice my age with lots of smileys and no specific purpose are creepy and sound like a poor attempt at picking someone up.
While I trust most people to know better, this exchange made me note two things:
1) Know the platform you are communicating on.
LinkedIn is not a place to hit on someone. In fact, most social media aren’t. If you feel an urge to look for a soul-mate or even for a new friend there are dedicated platforms for that.
2) Don’t be creepy.
If you are genuinely looking for information from a person you don’t know, explain to them briefly what it is you’re looking for and why. If the LinkedIn penpal described here was actually not creepy at all and genuinely looking for some info, he did a terrible job communicating that. Even if your inquiry is general, try to describe it as concretely as possible. Unless your inquiry involves asking someone out - in which case, refer to point 1 above.
This week Twitter launched their business pages: an awesome resource for companies who are just starting out or considering to use Twitter. Turns out, an average user follows around 6 brands and large percentages of users look for specific content from the brands they follow like freebies or exclusives. I wouldn’t recommend using Twitter to continuously sell your stuff but these numbers serve as a good argument in favor of Twitter presence for businesses.