No phone? Welcome back to real life!

Following on from Hannah’s post (read here) regarding involuntarily taking three weeks away from social media, I thought I’d post about a similar situation that happened to me over the last few weeks. My iPhone has well and truly gone to phone heaven at this stage but I’m not so sure if all of my 3,000 photos/videos have gone with it! Hence why I am still holding out hope that my iCloud will be restored in the coming weeks. I received that same lovely message as Hannah,

“To verify your iCloud account, a code has been sent to your device ending in *********41.”

The only problem is that both my Irish and French numbers end in 41. It turns out my phone is backed up to my French number which no longer exists. Therefore, I now patiently wait for the next couple of weeks to see can all be restored.

In the meantime, these are the following five things that I noticed whilst I was phoneless.

  1. Everyone is addicted to their phones

It’s not just me who has this habit. Sometimes I feel rather depressed when I think about all the time I’ve wasted just doing nothing and scrolling through Instagram, Twitter or whatever. But everyone around me appears to be addicted to looking at their phone screens too. Addicted to looking and scrolling through nothingness essentially.

  1. Our need to share everything online

This became even more apparent on special occasions like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. If someone needs to share every aspect of their happy relationship online, how happy or secure are they really in that relationship? Also, it now seems that we all feel obliged to post something online on Mother’s Day.

LH20

We all continue to portray an image online of how we would like the outside world to view us and our own lives. When you’re off social media, you start to genuinely not care about these things. You’re spending all your time and energy with the people you care about or doing the things you care about to even be bothered about checking back in with the online world.

  1. Our need to have a phone when we’re out for food

This is a habit that’s always annoyed me even before I went phoneless for a couple of weeks. Sitting with someone who is on their phone and not listening to a word you’re saying is hardly the height of craic. What is the point in going for lunch if you’re not even going to bother fully immersing yourself in a conversation with the people you’re with? I find it hard to adapt back to our lunchtime habits after living in France where lunchtime lasts up to two hours. You chat and eat over the two hour period. That’s the whole point of it (This is also most likely why I now appear to be the slowest eater when I’m out with friends!). Anyway, the point I’m making is, if the French can talk over two hours of lunch and digest their food at a much slower pace, then why do many of us feel the need to have our phones out while we eat our food in basically 20 minutes or less?

  1. I felt less stressed away from it

You don’t quite realise the anxiety that comes with the constant feeling of needing to keep up all the time until you’re away from it all and phoneless. Perhaps not everyone feels that way but I’m sure I’m not the only one. Chances are that whilst you haven’t heard or seen a story on social media first like everyone else, you can be sure that people are going to tell you about it regardless. Whilst you feel like you might be missing out on something, you’re actually not. You’re just discovering or being told about some important viral videos a couple of hours or days after everyone else (sarcasm intended!).

  1. We can’t flake on people as easily

Finally, just like Hannah, I didn’t miss social media as much as I thought I would. In fact, when I went back to Toulouse for a couple of days to visit friends, I particularly noticed this. I have not one single photo from the few days away (very uncharacteristic of me!). Also, I winged it every day by messaging everyone in the morning from my friend’s house and telling them my plans for the day. Then I would just turn up at the bar or wherever and hope for the best that they would turn up at the time I’d said earlier on in the day. I was phoneless so if they didn’t turn up then I couldn’t tell if they were just late or weren’t coming at all! You feel more of an obligation to meet people at the time you’d previously specified because you have no way of simply messaging them a few minutes before meeting up to cancel on them. I think that’s a positive, don’t you?

 

Louise Harvey is studying for an MSc in Communications, Advertising and Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @louiseharvey_ // LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/harveylouise/ 

Flight Centre UK find PR potential in a mundane scenario

As I passively scrolled through my Twitter feed, I stumbled across a post regarding a situation that initially appeared somewhat passive. A few clicks later and I’m intrigued by a simple, yet subtly clever, PR move. For me, it is the fitting reminder that we, as PR practitioners, need to make the most of every opportunity regardless of whether it’s big or small. We shouldn’t overlook the potential within simple monotonous day-to-day situations that we all encounter.

The scenario: A young guy, George Armstrong, goes on a night out, gets drunk and loses his ID card. Standard. The outcome: A travel agency, Flight Centre UK, find his ID, return it to him and then some. You may ask yourself, how have these two managed to cross paths? Very simply. The travel agency had found his ID outside of their premises. They then took it upon themselves to post it back to George and most likely gave him a slight scare in the process of doing so.

Upon opening the letter, George was welcomed with his nicely laid out travel summary. It appeared that he had treated himself and booked flights from London Heathrow to the Maldives (#treatyoself). The following page thanked him for his custom and gave a subtle reminder that his rather modest balance of £5,289.87 would be due by the end of the week. However, he was finally put out of his misery when he came to the last page. It stated that the entire thing was just a joke and that they had simply found his ID outside of their premises. (Note the lovely ‘Just make sure you consider us for your next holiday. Take care!’ at the end).

Those who are inherent sticklers when it comes to grammar, can’t quite seem to get over the faux pas that was the incorrect use of the word you’re instead of your. For the rest of us mere mortals who saw past this faux pas, it was simply a kind act and an imaginative move all in one by the travel agency.

Flight Centre UK has somehow eloquently mixed humour with fear – not quite the same fear that George thought he’d suffer from after his night out on the town. Facts are boring; playing on emotions will spark true reactions and grab people’s attention. This example backs up that statement. Imagine if Flight Centre UK had have returned George’s ID and attached nothing else. Well, you don’t have to imagine because that passive act would have been just that. Dull. Boring.

Having just clicked back on the post, it appears that George has paid a visit to Flight Centre UK to meet the guy who made it all happen – Steve. Instead of robotically signing off the letter as an unnamed member of the team, Steve took the personal approach and simply used his first name. Everyone wants and appreciates that personal touch when dealing with corporations and particularly with bigger corporations. George appreciated his gesture so much so that he even got his photo taken with his new-found friend Steve. A happy, humorous ending to a simple mistake.

Louise Harvey is studying for an MSc in Communications and Public Relations with Advertising at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @louiseharvey_ // Instagram: @louiseharvey93 // LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/harveylouise/ 

Pourquoi ?

Pourquoi, the French word meaning why. A question that I’ve been asking myself several times since moving from Toulouse, situated in the sunny South of France back to the cold, rainy hills of Donegal. I was happy there, felt settled and have made some lifelong friendships. One word stands out in that sentence to me. Settled. In my eyes, being settled in this context is synonymous to being in your comfort zone. Does anybody like the feeling of change? It can be rather scary and overwhelming at first. Anyway, I decided a change is what I needed to gain a career I’ll enjoy.

During the first week of uni, our lecturer, Conor McGrath, told us to question everything in PR – including his own words. I find this a refreshing outlook to have in life in general. Mind you, since moving home, I’ve already had the joy of attempting to answering why the simple things in life are the way they are to my four-year-old niece! Is it just me or do we seem to lose this curious nature the older we become? We don’t seem to question anything until it directly affects us.

 

 

During the same week, someone else asked me about the master’s course I was going to be studying. When I told them about it, the response I got was ‘Oh, public relations, are they going to train you how to answer the phone?’. Oh, touché my friend. A few hours later, I was reading the first paper we had been given for our seminar the following week. One part of the paper stumbles upon the professionalisation of public relations. It briefly comments on how there are few people outside of the profession that accept it as that: a profession. It made me realise how oblivious many people are to what is behind PR and the power in which it holds from the way we view the world to how we view people in the media. Perhaps this ignorance plays to the advantage of PR practitioners. Or am I already feeding into that stereotype of PR practitioners being nothing but untrustworthy beings out to do us all wrong?

Having just finished my second week on the course, I find myself questioning one event. PM Theresa May’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference. Firstly, the lyrics ‘Who knows why it’s gotta be this way?’ from Rihanna and Calvin Harris’ song ‘This is what you came for’ filled the room as she entered. Why pick this song? I’m guessing this is her attempt to form a link between herself and the younger supporters of the party?

Those who attended the conference got more than what they had thought they came for. You couldn’t make it all up. Between a P45 being handed to her by prankster, Lee Nelson, to her coughing fit that went on for what felt like a decade, to the Chancellor giving her a lozenge to somehow help the situation, to her coughing some more, to the letters of the slogan on the wall falling behind her mid-speech. Not long after the conference she posted this on Twitter:

 

 

Right, so she is making light of what just happened. Top marks for having a witty response on social media within hours of the event happening. But can anything help her reputation at this point? Today, the day after the conference, numerous ministers have been backing her publicly. However, former Conservative minister, Ed Vaizey, has suggested that numerous MPs feel it’s time for her to resign. Her lack of leadership is evident but who would replace her during this crisis?

I have many British friends living in France, currently EU citizens living in another EU country, wondering what Brexit has in store for them and their livelihoods. Theresa May isn’t exactly giving them the picture of hope. Likewise, she isn’t giving me any hope. I live a short 15-minute drive to the border of Northern Ireland and I had no say in the Brexit vote yet the outcome of what is yet to come will potentially affect my town and community.

I would say I had a mild interest in British politics up until around two years ago. Like I said at the beginning, we don’t seem to question anything until it directly affects us…

Louise Harvey is studying for a MSc in Communications and Public Relations with Advertising at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @louiseharvey_ Instagram: @louiseharvey93