Implementing Ethics #withPRSSA

Happy Ethics Month from UF PRSSA! Ethical behavior is a crucial element of reputation building. Since public relations is centered on building mutually beneficial relationships, we use September as a month to celebrate and learn what ethics really means. We are lucky that PRSA offers us a very insightful Code of Ethics to follow. The core values are as follows: • Protect and advance the free flow of accurate and truthful information. • Foster informed decision making through open communication. • Protect confidential and private information. • Promote healthy and fair competition among professionals. • Avoid conflicts of interest. • Work to strengthen the public’s trust in the profession.

Volkswagen is currently facing a major scandal due to a breach of ethics. If you haven’t heard, VW created and installed a code called a “defeat device” that could sense when one of its diesel vehicles was being tested for levels of nitrogen oxide emissions. The software would reduce nitrogen oxide emissions while the test ran to ensure that the vehicles met regulation standards. However, when under normal conditions and not being tested for emissions, the vehicles used separate software that increased nitrogen oxide emissions for greater acceleration and fuel economy. Volkswagen is the world’s largest automaker. With that level of power comes a great deal of responsibility, yet Volkswagen failed to behave in an ethical manner and chose instead to engage in illegal acts to make their products appear better than they truly were. Take a moment to look back over PRSA’s core values from its Code of Ethics and think about what would have happened if Volkswagen had followed these general ethical rules. Ethics matter just as much for the independent PR practitioner as they do for the world’s largest automaker. Ethics are a promise to others that you will act in a way that is just and fair. Ethics define your reputation; whether that is a personal brand or a world leader, it’s always essential to act in an ethical manner. Reputations can’t always be repaired, trust can’t always be regained and mistakes can’t always be forgotten. Acting ethically bolsters your reputation, gains trust and creates the type of mutually beneficial relationships that will endure over time.

 This post was written by Vice President of Chapter Development Torri Macarages

Spreading Diversity #withPRSSA

Happy Diversity Awareness Month from UF PRSSA! Diversity is crucial to the success of any organization, and PRSSA is no different. We take care to ensure that our Chapter is inclusive and representative of students from many different backgrounds, beliefs and viewpoints because we understand that our strengths often lie in our differences. In order to make our Chapter as inclusive as possible, we encourage students from all grade and skill levels to become members. We hold membership rallies in the beginning of both the Fall and Spring semesters to inform students about the benefits that PRSSA can offer them. We reach out to all colleges within the University of Florida to recruit members in order to make sure that our Chapter is comprised of students from many different backgrounds, with many different interests, talents and perspectives. This year we are very excited about reaching out to students at Santa Fe College as well! We will be sending out emails on Santa Fe's college-wide listserve and tabling on their campus to inform them about PRSSA. We also work hard to keep our membership dues as low as possible to make sure that all students can afford to be part of our Chapter.

Internally, our Chapter strives for full inclusion among members. We are taking a bus to National Conference this year to cut back on transportation costs because we believe that every PRSSA member should have the opportunity to attend this event. We host diversity events throughout the year to make sure that all members fully grasp the importance of celebrating our differences. This past spring, our Chapter, in conjunction with Alpha PRoductions, presented a "Diversity in Public Relations" panel-style discussion. The panel featured four leaders and advocates of diversity in the communications field who discussed issues such as inclusion of diverse races, ethnicities, backgrounds, genders and disabilities in the field and in our personal lives. In addition to the panel, we used a hashtag to get members involved in Twitter and actively discussing what diversity meant to them.

To UF PRSSA, diversity is more than just a quota to be filled - it's a way of living that recognizes that we are stronger, smarter and better together; that inclusion, diversity and synergy are more powerful than exclusion, uniformity and individualism; that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

This post was written by Torri Macarages, Vice President of Chapter Development

Add Social Media to Your Event Networking Strategy

This post was written by UF PRSSA member Ryan Baum and was originally featured on

Ryan-Baum-150x150Social Media and Networking Strategy

PRSSA 2014 National Conference has finally arrived, and many students are brainstorming ways to maximize their weekend in D.C. With an intentional approach to networking, attendees can build valuable relationships that last long beyond the closing ceremony.

Strategic networking can lead to mentorship opportunities, internships, and, in my case, even a guest blog post on Culpwrit.

It is important to practice smart networking during any meetings with potential connections, but, in this day and age, any professional repertoire is incomplete without a social media component.

Social networking can be used to set the scene for in-person meetings and to sustain newly formed relationships once everybody returns home. It’s also a great way for students not at the conference to stay connected and engage with attendees.

The advice in this post can be applied to large gatherings like National Conference or on a smaller scale with professionals that visit your PRSSA chapter. Here are my tips for success:

Brace for Failure  

Before you start reaching out to new contacts, it’s important to prepare yourself for silence.

Most of the time, even when you are doing everything right, you won’t hear anything back from the professionals you reach out to. Try not to take it personally, and keep at it — it will all feel worth it when you finally get a response from a popular speaker or industry leader.

Culpwrit owner Ron Culp, providing perspective from the other side of the aisle, explained that industry-standard long weeks can make it difficult for professionals to interact. “There simply isn’t enough time in the day,” he said, “even for those of us who are inclined to respond to everyone.”

Plan Ahead 

Start by researching the event speakers, and, more importantly, their topics.

Try to find personal connections with your target contacts, like something distinctive you share in common. Bring it up when you talk during the event, and then mention it when you follow up to jog the professional’s memory.

In that vein, narrow down your pool of potential contacts at larger events to focus on a handful of authentic interactions instead of an abundance of shallow small talk.

Attend sessions and workshops prepared with the Twitter handles of the speakers and some background information, which can be gleaned from their Twitter history and a quick Google search. By understanding what each speaker cares about, and why, you can engage in a more meaningful way.

You can also set yourself apart by starting in the days leading up to the event and tweeting to speakers about how excited you are for their presentations. Again, authenticity is key, so utilize your research and include one specific aspect of their topic that you are particularly looking forward to.

Provide Value

Students often have more to gain from professional relationships, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a one-way street. Figure out what you can bring to the table to show that you care about the other person beyond what they can provide you. Use what you learned in your research to determine what needs your new connection has and think about how you can help.

This could be as simple as tweeting an insightful article related to a speaker’s discussion point during her workshop or even recommending a restaurant if a professional travels to an event in your town.

I have personally had success with live-tweeting speakers at the UF PRSSA chapter and creating Storify event recaps afterward. Here is an example I made after Golin CEO Fred Cook spoke to our chapter last month.

This technique works because you are engaging with the speaker (and other attendees), sharing the content with a larger audience and preserving the presentation for posterity — all benefits for the speaker. Also, any engagement will help professionals remember you when you follow up.

Continue the Conversation

Face time at the event is important, but relationships form over time, not through a quick handshake.

As you process National Conference and assess all of your new connections, follow up by requesting to connect on LinkedIn and make sure that you personalize the message. Include something distinctive that you talked about to recall his memories of the conversation. I also like to include one specific idea from the presentation that resonated with me, and how I plan to apply it to my life or professional career. That means a lot more than saying “nice presentation.”

In the case of a multi-day conference, you can also use social media to follow up before you leave the event. My university hosted the first frank gathering last year and one of the speakers was Jenifer Willig, who led the charge on the international (RED) campaign. Adara Ney, 2013–2014 UF PRSSA president, reached out to her on Twitter after her presentation, and they ended up having coffee the next morning before Willig flew home.

In the weeks following the event, continue the conversation by occasionally reaching out and staying on the professionals’ radar. Like and retweet their content that you enjoy and share your own relevant articles and information with them when appropriate. You can also reach out via email for a more personal discussion. Just be careful that you don’t overdo it; it rarely helps to come off as overeager.

No 'Faults' in my Blogging Adventure

By Sarai Cruz Interviewing Nat Wolff, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort at “The Fault In Our Stars” fan event in Miami. Photo: Gustavo Caballero / Stringer

This summer was a summer of hard work but also fun. In June 2013, I joined a friend in creating a blog about the book and movie, “The Fault in Our Stars.” We had a huge passion for the story, along with brewing excitement and nervousness about our favorite book being turned into a movie. Not all book adaption films do justice to the original material. We decided that the best way to deal with the excitement was to follow every single step of the process.

Needless to say, we were successful with more than 1 million views, 100,000 followers on Twitter and 50,000 followers on Tumblr. Filming started August 26, 2013, coincidentally the first day of class. I remember being in class and on Twitter and ready to retweet any tweets or news from set (sorry, professor!).

With this blog I was able to apply skills I learned in my public relations classes. In my head I could hear Ann Christiano, professor of PR strategy and public interest communications, going over engaging with our audience and understanding what they need and want. I also learned a lot of new things that you can only get from actually doing. I learned to use social media as more than a personal tool of socializing, but also as a way to inform and communicate with others who care about the content you put out. I did a lot, and I mean a lot, of writing. I collaborated with a graphic designer in making original graphics for the website. I was interviewed by Yahoo! Movies and the Los Angeles Times to discuss the blog and the passion behind this amazing story.

I attend the red carpet world premiere of "The Fault in Our Stars" in New York City. Photo: Sarai Cruz

This blog was a lot of sweat, a lot of tears, a lot of late nights, but it was a joy. We were fortunate to work with 20th Century Fox and attend events as press. In Miami, I got the chance to talk to John Green, Ansel Elgort, Shailene Woodley and bond with Nat Wolff over the Floridian heat. I was also able to travel to New York for the world red carpet premiere and talk to cast and crew.

It was a once in a lifetime experience, personally and professionally. I look back and I am amazed at what I and the team, who were so passionate about a story, accomplished on our own. I am and will forever be proud of this project. I don’t know what is next for me, but one thing is for sure, I can only go up from here.

Fun, Fear and Falafel: A Summer Adventure in NYC

By Elizabeth Boone Living in New York has been exhilarating. The stakes are high, the people are intense, and, sometimes, you just want a pool and your puppy.

But you have to keep going. As is so in ANY place or profession!

Manhattan Theatre Club

New York Manhattan Theatre 2014 Public Relations Interns

My experience interning in marketing with Manhattan Theatre Club has an incredible a non-stop adventure with new things every single day. The job varies depending on the department’s needs, but I usually work with tickets, advertising and customer relations with audience members. On top of this, I also help run a private lounge where major donors visit before the shows. In my spare time, I like to explore the city with friends, and, on rare occasion, sleep in.

PR Lessons

Specific to public relations, I've learned so much about networking and social media for theater. Networking is truly what makes the world go around and what can absolutely give you your next job! In terms of marketing, social media is used to engage our audiences and fans, and is an excellent tool for building good relationships.

Fantastic Fun

I make it a point to see/do/visit everything I can. I've tried amazing foods (Get falafel from a food truck. You won’t regret it.), drinks (can be expensive unless you know where to go…), and seen some killer shows (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder won four Tony Awards for a reason!) AND all within a budget: I just made sure to do my research!

Big Picture

Overall, working here has been an overwhelmingly amazing learning and living experience. I recommend it to all who have any inclination to work here. See for yourself what the environment is like before committing for good because you’ll never know what you’ll learn.

I can’t wait to return one more year as an even more experienced Gator!

Elizabeth Boone is a rising senior studying Public Relations and Theatre at the University of Florida and is a member of the Online Strategy Committee at the University of Florida. 

How I survived an unpaid internship           

By Sarai Cruz It is officially summer-internship-searching time and in the communications field, unpaid internships are the norm. They are easier to find compared to paid internships, but don’t let the lack of monetary compensation deter you from learning all that you can from a really great internship. Last summer, I was the intern for The Riviere Agency, a New York and Miami based fashion and beauty integrated marketing agency. The internship was unpaid, but I don’t regret it.




Image source:

Yes, it was hard to work without getting paid but I survived those eight weeks. First, I saved money beforehand. I knew that finding a summer job while doing an internship was going to be really hard, so thankfully I had saved enough money during the school year to cover expenses. Secondly, I picked an internship in a location that wouldn’t create excessive cost. My internship took place in my hometown of Miami, which meant I didn’t need to worry about housing and transportation.

Most importantly, I understood that monetary compensation isn’t everything. For example, I was able to work during Mercedes Benz Swim Week, which meant lots of swag bags and free samples. Plus, experience and knowledge are more valuable than money. I am so thankful my boss made sure I was able to absorb as much as I could, from writing a media alert to producing a television segment. She understood that I was more than someone she could ask to go to Starbucks and grab her latte.

So as you send in your applications and resumes for those summer internships, remember to do your research and don’t let the paid or unpaid label deter you from it. As the debate whether employers should offer unpaid internship to college students heats up, keep these tips in mind.


And the Oscar goes to...

By Nicole Martins  In honor of the 86th Academy Awards a few weeks ago and the continuing hype of the “Oscar selfie”, here are our own awards for a few noteworthy achievements social media-driven public relations campaigns in the past year.

 Best Foreign Campaign: Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” Campaign


Launched in Great Britain in April 2013, this summer-long campaign drastically improved consumer perception of the world’s largest beverage company. Coca-Cola replaced the logo on its bottles of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero with 250 of the most popular names in the country. Coupled with the hashtag #ShareaCoke, marketing efforts encouraged consumers to find their personalized bottle and share them with friends and family.

Best Viral Video: Carrie’s “Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise”

Distributors for the 2013 remake of Stephen King’s “Carrie” successfully generated interest in the film by partnering with Thinkmodo. The agency produced an elaborate hidden camera prank in a fantastic execution of viral marketing. The video, released just prior to the film’s October 18 release, features coffee shop customers reactions to a freaky stunt with a short promo for the film at the end. The video has reached over 54 million views at the time of writing.

(Link to video:

Best Spotlight Steal: "Dorito’s Super Bowl Photobomb"


Doritos created a “human Dorito” by dressing a group of people in orange outfits and arranging them in the shape of the iconic triangular chip. This in-person prank proved to be especially memorable and effective as viewers gathered in masses through social media to discuss the photobomb. Along with images tweeted from the company, Doritos also produced a video displaying the orange-clad participants receiving a special award: the World Record for world’s biggest Dorito.

Walmart's PR Team Uses Twitter in Unique Way

By Kristina Florio
If you have ever tried to follow Walmart on Twitter, you have probably realized that Walmart has a different approach to Twitter than most corporations.

Walmart has seven Twitter accounts.

“As you can imagine, we talk about quite a few things at Walmart, and our biggest fear in using just one handle was audience fatigue,” said Chad Mitchell, senior director of digital communications for Walmart, in an interview with Arik Hanson. “With initiatives ranging from veterans hiring to domestic manufacturing to sustainability, we simply couldn’t manage an editorial calendar covering so many topics.”

Deciding that one Twitter handle would not work for the corporation, Mitchell and his team created the following seven accounts:

  • @WalmartNewsroom: issues press releases and other announcements; the official “corporate spokesperson handle”
  • @WalmartGreen: addresses sustainability issues.
  • @WalmartGiving: highlights the corporation’s philanthropic efforts.
  • @WalmartAction: focuses on public policy and supports their efforts in the communities where they serve.
  • @WalmartHealthy: shares news about ongoing efforts to get customers fresh and healthy foods at great prices. Some of their best content has been recipes, Mitchell said.
  • @WalmartVeterans: focuses on the corporation’s support of veterans hiring and other veterans-related issues
  • @WalmartHub: the “parent” hub; “utilizes a retweet strategy where all of the best performing content pushed out from the sub-handles mentioned above is surfaced with our biggest following,” Mitchell describes.

Additionally, the corporation has the account @Walmart that is managed by the marketing team with more of a focus on product and store related news.

Mitchell describes that such an approach takes team effort, a lot of work (they manage approximately 60,000 mentions a day), flexibility and willingness to experiment. They believe that multiple accounts facilitate their effectiveness in sharing news, giving updates, protecting/enhancing their reputation, responding to criticism and preventing crisis.

As PR professionals, we are always trying to find new ways to be innovative and effective. Do you think that this innovative idea is a good strategy for Twitter relations?

PR Career Success: Four Rules to Live By

By Christine Pietryla, Senior Vice President at Walker Sands

In September, I had the pleasure of speaking with PRSSA members at my alma mater, University of Florida. During my presentation, I shared what a typical day as a PR executive looks like as well as some advice about starting and advancing your career in public relations.

While there are no shortcuts to a successful career in PR, I did share a few important tips that will help you thrive in your career and achieve your personal milestones.


Read Every Day

My day always starts with reading. Read early and often – everything from books to articles to blogs to social media posts. During interviews, I ask candidates to describe what and how often they read. Why? Because reading and staying informed are important for helping you speak intelligently about current trends and events in the course of everyday PR interactions.

Stay Focused on the Big Picture

It’s important to establish your long-term goals early in your career, and understand why you are choosing that path. I’m not expecting you to have all of the answers at first, but you should have a clear sense about where you want to be ten years down the line. You have to know your destination before you can determine how to get there. Otherwise, you may be disappointed when its feels like your career lacks purpose later on.

Advocate for Yourself

Being your own best advocate is a fundamental part of achieving your professional goals. But many young professionals take a misdirected or passive approach when it comes to advocating for themselves and their careers—and that’s a big mistake when it comes to career advancement.

Young people must get past the misconception that just because they are young, they can’t add value in a conversation with their more senior colleagues. Individuals who recognize the value in their experienced colleagues and communicate their ideas intelligently will shine, regardless of age or seniority.

Build Your Personal Brand on Social Media

Often, recent college grads delete their social media profiles when they are job hunting. This is a misguided and potentially harmful decision. Instead, young PR pros should be present on social media and use it to build valuable connections during a job search.

Don’t get me wrong … you should definitely take down those questionable photos that depict you doing Jello shots at your fraternity kegger. But don’t be afraid to show off your personality with photos of you and your friends going out to dinner or doing other fun activities.

At the end of the day, be yourself and remember that good PR is about hustle, hard work and dedication. If you focus on doing your best, being confident in your abilities and staying curious, you can set yourself up for a successful PR career.

Follow Christine on Twitter @cpietryla

Facebook to Launch Social Search Engine

     Suppose you’re in New York City for a job interview, and you’ve never been there before. You’ll only be there one night, and you want to find somewhere nice to eat during your visit. With more than 4,200 restaurants to choose from, how do you decide where to go?
     Before the Internet existed, you could talk to friends and family for references on where to dine. Now, you can simply search “restaurants in New York City” on Google to find a destination. If you wish to further investigate your restaurant choice, you can even read restaurant reviews on sites like Yelp, Zagat or Urbanspoon.
     Facebook’s Graph Search, announced Jan. 15, will soon offer another yet another option.
     Graph Search is a search engine that gathers results for users based on their friends’ likes, photos, check-ins and more. It combines the ease of an Internet search with the unique make-up of a person’s social network to provide instant results to a search as specific as: “restaurants my friends have been to in New York City.”
     Facebook presents Graph Search as an important addition to its website, labeling it as the “third pillar” next to its Newsfeed and Timeline. If Graph Search is as big a deal as anticipated, businesses may have to adapt their branding strategy on Facebook.
     According to an article in The Huffington Post, Graph Search has the potential to cause brands with multiple locations to find their Facebook strategy “turned on its head.” Corporate pages will decrease in value because Graph Search is geared to provide practical, nearby results, which increases the influence of local pages.
     Graph Search is being tested for user feedback so it can be refined before its release to the general public. It will initially offer basic search categories such as people, photos, places and business pages, and it will be continuously adapted to include more.
By: Rachel Stephens, University of Florida PRSSA Communications Committee 

Diversity in the Workplace

 Diversity in the workplace is inevitable. At last Wednesday’s UF PRSSA meeting, Lori VanNess explained the role of diversity in the workplace and Jarrod Cruz related these roles to his position on campus.
     VanNess, the AT&T associate director of retail sales operations said her company defines diversity as “something you can see.” You can see when someone looks different, she said. She went on to explain the importance of making employees feel included through the company’s 11 employee resource groups.
     Cruz, the director of intercultural engagement within UF multicultural and diversity affairs, describes diversity as broad and complex differences between people. He said he believes these differences are brought on by the multiple identities that people can have. He said we maintain these identities through factors like family, values and religion.
     When asked about the different cultural subgroups at UF, Cruz explained the groups all come together under certain organizations. For example, the Institute of Black Culture tends to bring together the other black organizations on campus through communication. He stressed that the diverse organizations must communicate with one another in order for them to be productive. This is similar to in the workplace. VanNess explained AT&T employees come together during employee resource groups to discuss projects that include the other departments. This brings everyone together in an efficient manner.
     According to VanNess, as a part of AT&T’s goal to create a more diverse workplace, the company has been focusing on recruiting women and people of color from a regional level. “We just want to make sure that everybody is being represented,” she said. She said she sees how many of these people have been promoted. In the past, white males have seen more promotions, but the company is trying to create more balance and provide opportunity for advancement to all employees.
     Cruz’s take home piece of advice for students looking to be more diverse to employers is to immerse themselves in different cultures. He advised students to develop their multicultural understanding and competence through expanding their social circles. Cruz said in order to do this, students must step out of their comfort zone. For example, they could attend a meeting full of people who look different from themselves. He said this will help develop students’ cultural understanding. Cruz stressed that now is the time for them to take advantage of the diverse environment UF has to offer.
     VanNess advised students to get involved with different communities. She said this will help students get to know obstacles they could be faced with in bringing together people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. She said this will help you learn to adapt how you act no matter what community you work in.
     Both speakers brought great advice and insight to the panel. They encouraged students to get educated in diversity now, while they still have the opportunity take advantage of the diverse UF campus.
By: Annie Uzar, UF Public Relations Student Society of America Member

How Choice of Speakers at Political National Conventions Helps Reach Voters: A Lesson in PR Tactics

Every four years the atmosphere in the media takes a shift toward the impending presidential election. Two of the most anticipated events in politics are the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent or have another party affiliation: Watching both national conventions is a perfect way to not only get informed on pressing issues of the election, but also to watch public relations practices in action. In order for candidates to get their constituents’ votes, candidates must know their constituents and be able to appeal to a vast range of needs. The speakers at both national conventions were key in attempting to reach as many different demographics of voters, and especially important in tallying up the Independent vote. The conventions allow both parties to highlight their accomplishments and generate support in weak areas, using PR strategies is an integral part of this process.

     According to an article on, Hispanic voters hold the key in this year’s election. This isn’t just a matter of opinion; an appeal to Hispanic voters was evident at both the RNC and DNC. With minorities (especially Hispanic) leaning toward Obama in the polls, the RNC had to reach this demographic.  The choice of Florida Senator Marco Rubio and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez to speak at the RNC was a PR strategy by the GOP to identify with Hispanic voters, even more so after its anti-immigration stance in the primaries did not fare well with minorities.
     On the other hand: Since President Obama is up for re-election and under scrutiny from Republicans for not keeping his promise of change, it was in the Democrats best interest to showcase what he has accomplished during his four years in office. An example of this was Arizona mom Stacey Lihn speaking on how Obamacare is benefiting her daughter, who was born with a heart defect. She explained that the Affordable Care Act prevents insurance policies from placing a lifetime cap on most benefits, emphasizing that this will allow her daughter’s insurance to cover the surgeries she needs. She even stressed the fact that if Romney wins and repeals Obamacare, she doesn’t know how she will be able to pay off her daughter’s medical bills. This PR tactic appealed to mothers across the board (even those with healthy children), while it also appealed to people with hefty medical bills. Plus, it demonstrated Obama’s reliability against Romney’s criticism. It highlighted that he did what he promised in the healthcare sector, a huge platform point in his 2008 campaign.
       Both conventions gave plenty of examples that showcase the careful PR strategies behind political campaigns; choice of speakers was only an aspect of it. From camera cues and angles, to video montage filled with inspiring music and citizen testimonies, public relations continues to silently dominate the behind-the-scenes work in politics throughout this election.
Link to article:
By: Ana Gomez, University of Florida PRSSA Online Strategy Committee

Warner Bros. & "The Dark Knight Rises" Shooting: A Lesson in Crisis Management

When a gunman opened fire on a movie theatre audience during an opening night screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo., the tragic fate of the victims would overshadow the success of the summer blockbuster. Warner Bros., the studio behind the film, came to recognize the scope of the tragedy and make several bold decisions to manage the crisis including:

1. Weekend box office totals for the film's July 20 (Friday) release were not provided until July 23 (Monday) out of respect for the victims and their families.

2. The studio canceled the Paris premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises" and all cast interviews on July 20, the day of the shooting.

3. The trailer for the film "Gangster Squad," which features a movie theater shooting scene, was removed from screenings of "The Dark Knight Rises." TV advertisements were also pulled for the Batman movie nationally.

Finally, early on Friday, July 20, Warner Bros. released this statement: "Warner Bros. is deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time."

How "social" is social media?

The managers of social media sites are trying to get people to become fans of their pages or follow their Twitter accounts. Once people start following Twitter and become fans of Facebook sites, the next goal is to get those users to read the content -- not just skim the content, but read and retain it.

That is a very difficult task. Some companies and organizations are using prizes to lure in users to "like" statuses or to comment on event pages. Other companies make competitions to see who can which users gain the most friends in the shortest time.

How "social" is social media though? Yes, everyone follows favorite people and looks at favorite pages, but how will companies get audiences to comment or respond, to get involved and feel attached to a company or organization.

The future of social media is unknown. Will there be regulation of social media or will social media continue to grow to be a bigger part of society?