Sunday, 20 March 2011

UCU Action in Stirling


Staff at the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling are facing compulsory redundancy on 21st March. As a part of UCU (University and College Union) protest campaign, we had our Public Relations & Digital Media class at the University night club!

However, most of the students absolutely had no idea what was going on with the Institute of Aquaculture and the teach-in campaign in the University. Obviously, communication is needed amongst UCU, students and teachers. So I started to wonder what efforts has UCU (Stirling branch) been made in terms of online PR. Here are what I've found out:

   1.UCU Official Websites
  • News update on a daily basis

  2. University of Stirling Official Websites
  • No related news in terms of compulsory redundancy and strike

  3. Twitter (@UCUScotland)
  • UCU Stirling Branch doesn't have its twitter account

  4. UCU University of Stirling Homepage
  • No related news in terms of compulsory redundancy and strike

  5. Institute of Aquaculture Homepage
  • No related news in terms of compulsory redundancy and strike 

  6. Facebook page of the Institute of Aquaculture 
  • Frequently update about the campaign

      7. Facebook page of the University of Stirling
    • No information about the strike

      Five out of seven websites I mentioned above didn't even mention the strike or anything related to the UCU actions.The only two website which update often constrain the target audiences to a very limit scale. That could explain why most of the students in the University didn't know the coming strike.

      Therefore, to make sure efficient communication to the key publics and people's participation, digital media must be made full use of as one of the efficient PR tools, and the corresponding websites should be updated on a regular basis, or at least let the key publics know what is going on at the moment and what are UCU further plans.

      Saturday, 12 March 2011

      Fight against the Great Firewall of China

      I excitingly shared my blog on Renren (Chinese Facebook) the other day, hoping to get some feedback from my friends in China, but all the feedback I've got was the same: "I can't open it". Not to my surprise, Blogspot is just another victim of Great Firewall of China.

      Since the great firewall is working so hard in China, Facebook & Twitter were both undoubtedly blocked. As the most popular social websites in the world, both Facebook and Twitter are so widely used by all kinds of organizations as cost-effective PR tools throughout the world. Some people may wonder how Chinese organizations carry out online PR campaigns without those social websites such as Facebook. Well, we've got website clones - not only the functions but also the layouts are 95% the same as the original ones, such as Renren (Facebook), Fanfou (Twitter), ect. Although there's nothing to be proud of to have those website clones, they run amazingly well in China. Take Renren as an example, there are about 160 million registered users and more than thirty thousand public pages, which create by organizations and celebrities. What is more, QQ, which originally called OICQ (ICQ)  is the largest instant messaging service in China with 632 million registered users. Organizations set up QQ blogs correspondingly in order to attract Chinese netizens' attentions from the largest online community in China. 

      When dealing with international publics, the Chinese social websites I mentioned above are not of any use. So what can those organizations do? Do they have to say goodbye to one of the greatest online PR tools? From what I've observed, most of the China-based organizations or Chinese media, which I followed on twitter or liked on Facebook, update at least once a day. It's not some magic spells. It is just a well-known secret for most of the people in China to climb over the Great Firewall. In this case, it makes little difference whether those websites were blocked in China or not (although sometimes it is not quite stable for people to get onto those blocked sites). Organizations in China are still able to access the blocked websites.

      I don't know how long people in China have to fight against the Great Firewall. Not too long, I hope!

      Sources are from:

      Sunday, 6 March 2011

      Share Happiness with Coca-Cola

      In 2010, the world's largest beverage company had a successful PR campaign called Expedition 206, which was considered as the largest social media project that Coca Cola ever launched. Three "happiness ambassadors" were chosen through social websites and their mission was to travel 206 countries where Coca Cola is sold, and to report and document what makes people happy around the world via YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Typepad and other social websites.

      The whole PR campaign sounds a little familiar to everybody. Firstly, the process of choosing "happiness ambassadors" reminds me of some similar campaign such as choosing the suitable island caretaker for Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Although the purposes of those two campaigns were totally different, the overall ideas are similar - publicise product and place by choosing suitable candidates through traditional and digital media. Secondly, traveling 206 countries reminds me of "The Ford Fiesta Movement". Both of the two campaigns shared a lot of similarities: a.The world travellers were all chosen from internet users; b. The traveling routes were the places where their products were sold; c. The purpose of traveling was to spread a certain concept.

      However, the most distinguish feature of Expedition 206 was the widely use of social media - almost all of the mainstream social websites were used by this campaign. Different social websites have different ways communicating to various groups of internet users. The full use of various social websites enables a broader group of people from all over the world taking part in this campaign.

      Take China as an example,Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were all baned in China, Coca Cola turned its focus on the most popular instant messaging provider in China - QQ. During the World Expo 2010, by uploading smiling faces, Chinese internet users could vote for the best one to become "Chinese Happiness Ambassador",who could have the chance to meet three "World Happiness Ambassadors" in "Shanghai World Expo 2010 Coca Cola Day". QQ also opened a blog for these world happiness ambassadors in order to share their experience to Chinese people. As a result, there were more than 1 million of Chinese people have taken part in this campaign;One hundred and eighty thousand people have visited the campaign blog. According to Anne Carelli, Senior Manager Digital Communication,"We have been extremely pleased with the success it's had in the different markets.The program created more visibility for the brand in key markets like China".

      As far as I am concerned, the idea of Coca Cola's Expidition 206 campaign was not that creative and novel, however, Coca Cola made it at its best.

      Sources were taken from: