Don’t give in to the Dark Side
Do we really know the power of the dark side?
Next week’s class is about the challenges, failures and public relations nightmares that come with being online. Some organizations are duly chastised, and turn their procedures and direction around, as we heard from the Red Cross earlier in the semester.
Some situations, like the Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood conflict earlier this year, show organizations that are not prepared for a public backlash. They literally pull a play from the ostrich playbook, hoping by hiding their own heads in the sand, no one will look at them.
And yet, sometimes, the folks that are “looking good” in the public eye have a karmic boomerang. Witness this morning’s article stating that Planned Parenthood refused a $500,000 donation from humorist Tucker Max, since they were afraid it would turn off other donors. Max is famous for writing about his conquests of women, once saying - “Due to the potent combination of my sexual recklessness and the slutty nature of some of the girls I have slept with, I have accumulated enough stories and anecdotes about abortion that they could name a Planned Parenthood clinic after me.” Humor or disgusting person- you decide based on your own sensitivities. In fact, last year, a major conservative campaign was started around this specific quote. See the Live Action blog or google “Tucker Max Planned Parenthood”. So the fact that Planned Parenthood hasn’t taken his money for just such a donation is potentially an interesting challenge.
Having been involved with a non-profit that didn’t take money from a controversial figure, I’m aware these kinds of events can come under scrutiny from the government as well as supporter or detractors.
Coming up in our class next week, we’ll not only discuss the dark side of public relations, but also the Filter Bubble, with the author of that book, Eli Pariser. The basic premise of the Filter Bubble is that the net “hides” things from us. The more we get news from friends via social networks, and the more search engines give us things based on our preferences, the less we see about opposing points of view or other possible outcomes or scenarios, and the more we talk to our own echo chamber.
On the positive side this morning, we find that Online Gifts have grown 16% this year. The article notes”…some cause related, social media savvy non-profits are now raking in as much as 25% of their small donations on line.” So, keep working on those plans!