“Creation Myths Need a Devil”

500 million members. 207 countries. 25 billion dollar company. One name that connects us all. Facebook. This truly innovative and genius idea is accompanied by a heartbreaking and dramatic tale of it’s uprising. So dramatic, in fact, that various books  have been written about the creation of Facebook. Most recently, and most notarized, this account was explored in the movie The Social Network. Directed by David Fincher, written by the brilliant Aaron Sorkin, this film is one that Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine calls, “better than the movie of the year, it also brilliantly defines the decade. It’s one of those rare movies that sums up the spirit of a generation and an era.” The Social Network was an outstanding piece of work that did extremely well at the box office as well as greatly reviewed by the critics. Unfortunately there were a few people who weren’t too fond of the film, to put it delicately. Namely, Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook. Many believed that the film painted him in a bad light and exploited mistakes he made when he was only 19 years of age (but really, were they mistakes?). Also people believed Aaron Sorkin, 2010 Oscar winner for Best Screenplay, took a few too many liberties. I have to disagree with all of these accusations. Because The Social Network is my favorite movie, I have seen it countless times and each time I watch it, I see how each person’s actions are completely justified; especially Mark’s. Sorkin conducted multiple interviews, including Harvard grad Natalie Portman, who had experienced the beginings of the facebook phenomenon first hand, since she was living on campus at the time. He also got a hold of the various transcripts from two lawsuits, one with Eduardo Saverin and the other with the Winklevoss twins. Through countless press interviews the actors made sure to differentiate between the character Mark Zuckerberg and the actual Mark Zuckerberg.

When the movie came out, Mark Zuckerberg was careful not to publicly slam the film. I’m sure he knew that any controversy he began would just fuel the media and possibly promote the film further. Instead of hiring a crisis PR team, Zuckerberg turned to his company’s internal corporate communications group. As per adweek.com the first way they went about this was use one of Facebook’s co-founder Chris Hughes to speak what he felt was the truth about Mark Zuckerberg to New York Times.  Then the communications group sought out The New Yorker, a highly respected publication to provide a fuller, in depth look at Mark Zuckerberg from his own personal perspective.  When ever the press would question Zuckerberg about the film, he made sure to emphasize the fact that it is a work of fiction. I’ve listened and watch countless interview with the various cast and filmmakers of The Social Network and they always handle this situation extremely delicately. “‘I don’t want to be unfair to this young man whom I don’t know, who’s never done anything to me, who doesn’t deserve a punch in the face,” Sorkin said in one of several interviews. “I honestly believe that I have not done that.”‘ Jesse Eisenberg, who plays Mark in the film, never failed to mention how terribly uncomfortable this must be for Zuckerberg, to have the choices he made as a 19 year old permanently transcribed onto film and how gracious and sweet he’s been through all of this. Around the time of the release of the movie, Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to New Jersey schools. Eisenberg pointed out in an interview that he truly believes that Zuckerberg had the best intentions when doing so but whatever the motives behind that donation, $100 million is nothing to blink at. Zuckerberg also participated in a skit with Jesse Eisenberg when he was hosting Saturday Night Live in late January of this year poking fun at the situation. I believe Mark Zuckerberg’s actions throughout this past year to be amazing, he handled himself perfectly, laughing about the awkwardness in jest and donating to charity. If I were his PR team, I probably would’ve donated $100 million when I first got wind that there was going to be a Facebook movie and not publicize the donation within the week of release. But that is the only thing I would change!

Dealing with Difficult Conversations

When ever I am forced to have a difficult conversation that might be about things I wish not to reveal or about topics that may be hurtful to the other person, it just looms over me for days before I have to have this talk. When it is a personal difficult conversation, I usually wish to write a letter or send a text message if it’s something that would make both parties involved uncomfortable. Although writing a letter or texting are decent options, they are neither the most effective nor are they the most mature way to go about professional difficult conversations. If I am forced to have a difficult conversation face to face, I tend to just blurt out what I feel instead of easing the person into the situation. This proves not to be the most responsible way of going about it, either. According to NewsU, my style of dealing with difficult conversations is accommodation.(Which didn’t necessarily surprise me.) It says I give in rather than press for what I believe is right. I don’t think that is necessarily true of me all the time. I do speak my mind often and I adhere to the idea of “let’s agree to disagree.” I respect what other people have to say but I don’t necessarily always agree or “give in” to what they are telling me. If someone is very forceful and stubborn with their beliefs, I’m not going to scream my opinions at them; I think it’s pointless. Through the NewsU course, I learned the various levels of conversations that one will deal with and what the best ways are to go about them. Such as mentioning the future when letting an employee know they did not get the promotion, or having an HR rep near by when firing someone. I also learned how to deal with the consequences of such conversations. Like what to do when they deflect or cry or personally attack me. When the conversation is over and goals have been met, I am supposed to relay what was said and what is to be expected of their job performance and also ask them to do repeat what they heard from me as well. This course taught me a lot because most of my office knowledge on dealing with employees is based off of Michael Scott from The Office and obviously he’s not the best example.

What is Public Relations?

When someone says the words, “public relations,” some may immediately picture a party atmosphere with lots of networking as well as a lot of schmoozing involved. To me, public relations is almost as important as the company itself. How the public views or receives a company can make the difference between that company succeeding and flourishing or failing and floundering.   We live in an instant gratification, soundbite society. One word of bad press, and our mind’s made up. A publicist’s has to be extremely skilled now a days in order to keep a person or a company afloat.  In order to achieve this, the publicist must have thorough knowledge of what the company’s clients want and expect from them and their immediate concerns. Not only does PR have to respond to the public itself, but they also need to cultivate a relationship with the press. They have to be able to answer the hard-hitting questions in a truthful way that will benefit the company as well as it’s consumers. There is a heavier importance put on the relationship with members of the media because the press is where everyday people go to find out the latest news. Often many people will follow or read a specific news source, so if they deem a person or a company not worthwhile, people will take notice and that will affect the business in question. But PR is not there just to dismiss a company or the person being represented. It is also there to provide feedback to the company. Public relations is like the life line that connects a person or a company to it’s consumers. If the company’s clients are unhappy with a certain aspect, public relations will be able to inform the company who will then be able to change things accordingly.