I’ve been blessed to have many talents. I’m reasonably intelligent, athletic, musical and occasionally I can crack a good joke. I claim its because of the mutant half-breed genes. One thing I’m not good at is boys. A lot of women (and men) claim that they suck at relationships. Why is this? Why do signals get misinterpreted? Why do moments of opportunity get surpassed? Why am I not where I want to be?
Now that I almost have two degrees, my college education causes me to relate everything in my life to what I have studied in school. Economics is a fancy way of saying “the study of choice,” while my PR degree included nothing but communication courses! So I should be great at making choices and communicating my wants and needs right? Wrong. But when you think about it, everyone is a PR professional in a way. Public Relations is “the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.” While this definition states that the image being maintained is an organization or famous person, we are all maintaining our own image to the public every day. Social media, in-person interaction, texting, calling, its exhausting. The funny thing is, the same stuff that can get a Fortune 500 company in trouble with the public, is the same stuff that can get an individual in trouble with the public.
Using incorrect grammar or spelling in any social media post is my nightmare. What’s worse is that one little mistake can make you appear to be a total dummy to whoever you are crushing on. It seems like no matter how many times I check my post or tweet or comment before I hit send, errors occasionally slip through. Some people are such nazis about this, that a misspelled word could mean intellectual suicide! Oh, you used the wrong “your?” You’re (your?) now an idiot in the eyes of your followers. The same goes for major organizations. Even more terrifying is the thought that someone might hack your account and write something embarrassing. Oh, your friend posted “I love pooping more than anything” on your Facebook page. Yeah right, you’re now a freak in the eyes of your followers. Telecommunications company Vodafone had a PR headache when a homophobic tweet was sent from their account by a supposed hacker. These sort of public relations nightmares can ruin any chance at a relationship with one special individual, or thousands of individuals.
CEOs, celebrities and politicians have all gotten into trouble over saying stupid stuff. CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, Mike Jeffries was nailed to the wall when he said, “Abercrombie is only interested in people with washboard stomachs who look like they’re about to jump on a surfboard.” Mel Gibson lost his A-list status when it was discovered that he said, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” And politicians seem to have the worst PR mangers in the world because they are constantly making ridiculous statements, such as Bill Clinton‘s infamous, “It all depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” When I am around someone I like, I get nervous, I say the stupidest things. This usually involves me letting too much of my weird show, too early. For instance, admitting that I am obsessed with unicorns on the first date, or mentioning that chicken gizzards are one of my favorite snacks. I get nervous, it slips! The same probably happens for people constantly speaking in the spotlight though that’s still no excuse.
Sometimes I wonder how I can expect to manage the reputation of an organization when I can’t even manage my own reputation. I’ve been referred to as “the quiet one,” “the crazy one,” “the serious one,” and recently my fellow employees told me that I would do well in prison. I didn’t know whether to be honored or to be insulted. I’m not quite sure what I want to portray myself as to the public but perhaps some corporate PR strategies would work well in my personal life.