Posted by Rachel Esterline on Feb 6, 2009 in Crisis Communication
This is a post from my crisis communication blog.
Crisis in the News
Facebook status gets public school employee fired
What’s in the news
What you say isn’t as private as it used to be, especially with the use of social media.
In December, Morgan Wyhowski updated her Facebook status to say: “Morgan wants to kill her ninth grade flute player who stole the school’s $900 dollar piccolo, and is denying it.”
Wyhowski, the band director for grades six through 12, resigned from Bangor Public Schools after being placed on administrative leave. Criminal charges are not being pursued.
The police chief said it was not an actual threat.
See the entire story here: Bangor band director resigns after posting message on Facebook page she wanted to ‘kill’ student
Crisis communication perspective
Wyhowski, who is 23 according to Wood TV 8, resigned from Bangor Public Schools. This was probably best route for both her and the schools because:
- It stopped the situation from becoming a crisis
- It avoided them having to terminate a teacher
- She will likely be able to find another job
- The crisis will likely evaporate because parents won’t be arguing that the teacher should leave
Millenials, like Wyhowski, use social media to communicate with friends. I’m sure Wyhowski did not expect that anyone, other than friends, would see her post. For this generation, posting a Facebook status in an everyday activity.
Unfortunately, school employees getting fired due to their Facebook postings isn’t unusual. One teacher faced termination after posting “teaching in the most ghetto school in Charlotte.” The Washington Post reported on several teachers who had derogatory and inappropriate things posted on the MySpace, Facebook and YouTube accounts.
The best route for schools and other employers to go in the future is the provide warnings to all employees about what is and isn’t appropriate. It might also be suggested that employees place all of their social networks to a private setting if they might post something inappropriate.
Perhaps there should be a “social media” section in the employee handbook. Some argue that workplace life and social life are two separate places, but even outside of work an employee is a representative of their employer.
Posted by Rachel Esterline on Jan 20, 2009 in Blogging
, Public Relations
A year ago before I started blogging, I had never heard of personal branding. I didn’t fully understand the concept until I had read several blogs about it.
Last February, when I started “A Step Ahead,” I leaped into social media and personal branding. Social media is a great tool for creating and communicating your personal brand.
My blog has been my top tool for building my personal brand. My original intention when starting blogging wasn’t to build a brand. I wanted to write about my personal experiences as a public relations student. My blog has not only improved my skills as a writer, but I also have built a brand. People, like Dave Baker, have recognized who I was because they have read my blog. Professors, classmates and friends have asked me to explain blogging. My brand includes social media knowledge, public relations experience and writing skills due to this blog. Commenting on other blogs helps your brand as well.
My dad always said, “Birds of a feather fly together.” Basically, you are who you associate with. On Twitter, I am able to associate with and talk to PR professionals and students from around the world. Twitter also is one of the top referrers to my blog. A few months ago, I thought Twitter was one of the most ridiculous tools I had ever heard of. But, as I have used it and seen its effectiveness, I believe Twitter is a great tool for networking, brand building and public relations
I recently launched Learn it, Live it, Love it, a public relations book group open to all PR students and professionals. After starting a Facebook Group, I invited probably close to 100 people from the PR field. Many of them accepted the invitation. Through Facebook, I was able to reach many people and spread the word about a group I started. This has helped strengthen my brand (because I am the founder of Learn it, Live it, Love it) and also the new brand of the book group. I also posted information about the book group in various PR-related Facebook groups I am a part of.
I love how LinkedIn works as a virtual resume. When people “connect” with me, they are able to view my experiences and other professional details. This helps build my brand as a knowledgeable, ambitious PR student.
How have you built your brand? What has worked best for you? How has branding affected your career?