Friday, 17 July 2015

Is Instagram throwing their weight around by banning Hashtag #Curvy?

What do the following adjectives have in common? Ample, voluptuous, chubby, full-figured, shapely, robust.  They are all synonyms for the term “Curvy” and they are NOT YET banned on Instagram like the hashtag #curvy that is now officially unsearchable.  Social Media platform Instagram has blocked users from searching for pictures tagged as 'curvy' in order to restrict the amount of inappropriate content uploaded to their channel.  If you click on a photo that was hashtagged #curvy, you’ll now get a massage that says “No Posts Yet.”  

This news was met with outrage as many social media users and media outlets are criticising Instagram for the damage they are doing to women’s body image by banning the term “curvy” but allowing hashtags like “skinny” and “thin”. Plus-size women who want to make a positive statement of self-esteem are now forced by Instagram to use alternative hashtags like #curvyfit.

Doing a quick search on Instagram it’s not difficult to see that there are plenty of much more sexually explicit words than "curvy" allowed on the platform and users are calling them out for unfairly policing content. Instagram users are also finding a way around this ban by using the hashtag “curvee” or positing a photo with the word ‘Curvy’ embedded in it.

Instagram user Brittonyaaa shared her frustration by posting the word “Curvy” as a picture with the following caption: “Because #curvy is too obscure for instagram, while every inappropriate hashtags are still allowed. God forbid someone may be curvy and proud! #imnoangel!”.

Twitter users also made their view known on this subject by using the curvy hashtag.  @MeaghanDowling tweeted: “Can someone explain to me why @instragram banned #curvy, but not #skinny? What the hell.”
User @emiliahedvig concurred with this tweet: “#instagram banned the hashtag #curvy – tags like #fitgirl #skinnygirl #skinny #sknnyisperfect #smallwaist #smallboobs #tinygirl are allowed.” 

An Instagram representative says that the ban has nothing to do with the word "curvy" itself. Instead, they block certain hashtags, making them unsearchable, when many users share inappropriate content that goes against community guidelines. In this case, the hashtag #curvy was used to violate their nudity policy.  

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Losing wool - dealing with a PR crisis on Social Media

What happens in Vegas, used to stay in Vegas. Not anymore as it now lives on forever thanks to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope. 

Dealing with a PR crisis on social media (i.e. KFC South Africa twice in May) can go one of two ways - you can either tame the beast, turn it into your new fluffy pet, or you can feed the beast and make matters worse by ignoring it. In this post we take a closer look at the do's and don'ts of dealing with the crises. 

There are two rookie mistakes any company can make. The first is to not address the PR disaster and hope it will go away on its own. Just because you are not talking about it, or addressing it in a Press release instead of on Social Media doesn't mean it won't go viral.  The Facebook post by Mfumo Bamuza posted on 7 May 2015, was shared 3, 383 times to date and the second video from 22 May 2015 have been viewed 485, 480 times to date.

The second mistake is reacting without having the adequate facts at your disposal.  You don't want to end up being the primary victim if this was a hoax. Right out of the gate you need to assess the crisis situation so that there is no room for speculation.

You want to avoid apologizing or taking the blame for something that had nothing to do with you.
  KFC South Africa did a fantastic job of first investigating the allegations that were posted on Facebook and then they responded on social media.  

Ask yourself - What type of Crisis is this?

Establish if this is an operational crises regarding a service you provide, a crises relating directly to one of your products, stores, franchises, employees, stakeholders or sponsorship. It could also be a confrontation crises that attacked the integrity of your Brand with accusations of racism, sexism, deformation, criticising your integrity or HR practice. Once you've established how your brand is involved you can come up with an action plan and then communicate this to both the media and the public. 

How and where to Communicate? 

Good Communication is Vital during a Social Media PR Crises. You need to communicate with both the media and consumers in order to prevent it from influencing your daily operations and other vital communication activities. The online space where you respond is also important. You cannot respond to a viral YouTube video with a Press Release. If Facebook is where the action is, then it makes sense to address the crises on Facebook.

Follow these steps:

1)  Respond on the arena where the crises was created. I.E. respond with a film if the crises was a YouTube video. 

2) Create a dedicated online space to deal with the crises. You want to avoid the risk of negative comments flooding your Facebook page or Twitter feed that is dedicated for other purposes like customer support. 
3) Make it easy to find i.e. "Brand X responds" and highlight it to the top of your platform.

4) Your message: If you were in the wrong - apologize. Describe the steps that have already been taken to address this and what you will do to prevent this from reoccurring. Keep your message simple and to the point.

The angry mob will soon find something else to be angry about and you'll notice that the negative comments are starting to fall away after a few days. 

Preparing for Murphy's Law

Friday, 10 July 2015

Sheepish Humour - when the joke is on you.

It’s a comedian’s job to be funny and edgy and talk about difficult subjects that’s prevailing in society but like Trevor Noah, Jerry Seinfeld, Daniel Tosh, Chris Pratt and now Amy Schumer discovered - there is a line and if you cross it  - the Twitterverse will explode.  
How you handle this critique is what separates the sheep from the goats.  In this post we’ll tell you how to avoid the title of "virtual village idiot".

Amy Schumer is known and often praised for her controversial jokes about sensitive subjects like race, gender and religion. But like many of her co-workers her work was recently called ‘racially insensitive’ in an editorial and it was Schumer’s reaction that made the headlines as she got very defensive when she should have just laughed it off. She tweeted: "I ask you to resit the urge to pick me apart. Trust me. I am not racist. I am a devout feminist and lover of all people".

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Love is not just Black or White

Social Media have been abuzz with vibrant rainbow colours and the #tag - "#Lovewins" the past two weeks as Digital Citizens all over the world celebrate the US Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage.