Just Like Cancer

Get ready for a rant.

Let’s rewind to Tuesday afternoon. As usual, I find myself wondering the best method for purchasing my books for the semester. While I usually buy/rent all my books online since the prices are by far the cheapest, I decided a $15 dollar book was worth getting now rather than waiting.

After walking around the UNT bookstore for a little while, I realized the book was not there, and so I decided to ask the service worker if they had any left. The individual notified me that there were no copies available, but I can purchase the book online and should expect it “hopefully sometime next week.” “Hopefully?” I don’t go to a four-year university and pay ungodly amounts of money to “hopefully” get a book from said university at a reasonable time.

Fast forward a few hours to a call I make to another bookstore to see the availability of the book I require. After asking a lady who sounds too busy to talk whether or not she has the book, she lets me know that the book is not in store, but I could purchase it online and it would be there by Friday. “That’s great,” I respond, “but how much will it cost?”

“I can’t tell you the price because our registers are closed.”

Did I hear her correctly? She cannot check the price of a textbook that I wish to purchase online because the register is closed at 3:30 in the afternoon the second week of school? Does this woman take me for a fool?

Lo and behold, after calling nearly all the bookstores surrounding UNT, I found that their efforts to communicate effectively with me were nearly non-existent.

What has happened to the University of North Texas students that they have been subdued like dogs by the whims of these bookstores?

Not only must I often pay $100+ for a textbook, but now I must deal with businesses that have absolutely no regard towards me as a student or a consumer.

When did service and customer relationships get thrown out the window, and since when is it OK with students to be treated this way?

Much like a parasite, these bookstores benefit off a toxic relationship with us as their hosts. We need these bookstores to get through school and these bookstores know that. Unfortunately, when these lecherous entities realized they had to give nothing in order to take from us (and I mean this almost literally in respects to returning books), they seized the opportunity and we find ourselves with the dismal service that we have today.   

I tell you now, the reason for this disgusting state of mind is largely due to the students unwillingness to take action. The student body has a voice that is powerful enough to shake these vermin from their greed focused ideals and cause some change for the better for students in the Denton area. An unwillingness to communicate effectively with the student body is absolutely unacceptable, and it is up to us students to fix these injustices done unto us, or just like cancer, they will worsen and further inhibit our ability to succeed.  

Read it on Reddit

With social media taking the public relations world by storm, it should be no surprise to anyone that some parties have turned to popular news website Reddit.com to interact with their target publics.

While Reddit is technically a news website containing all types of information, it is driven by user created information, making it about as close to social media as you can get without starting drama.

Well anyways, earlier this year president Barack Obama did an AMA on Reddit. AMA stands for “ask me anything,” and on this forum, Obama answered questions live from everyday Americans who probably would never get a chance to ask something personally to an individual of the president’s stature.

Utilizing tactics like this, the president was able to draw public attention away from the Republic National Convention.

With such a strong and efficient way to reach target publics, why isn’t consumer interaction on sites like Reddit a more often used tactic?

As companies are often called to have a higher degree of transparency, using social media websites can help to work wonders on their political image, but it is important to note a powerful danger that comes with this degree of consumer interaction.

About a year ago, Woody Harrelson did an AMA on Reddit. It is important to remember that AMA stands for “ask me anything,” something Mr. Harrelson forgot to take note of. As his AMA went on, he refused to answer questions that were unrelated to his then new movie “Rampart.” As questions piled up and most of them went unanswered, redditors (people who take part in the Reddit community) started to trash the AMA asking/doing ridiculous things that were almost completely unrelated to Woody, or even Rampart for that matter.

This little debacle tarnished the once popular image of Woody Harrelson on Reddit, which has a notorious record of never forgiving, and never forgetting (much like the online hacktivist group Anonymous).

The reason Reddit is able to have such a strong impact of public perception is through its notorious upvote/downvote system. On Reddit, everything pasted is treated like a comment, and redditors can either upvote or downvote these comments based on whether or not they like what is being said of posted. Posts with high upvotes reach the front page of their respective sub-reddit (the part of the website dedicated to that topic), and reaching the front page makes it so that the post is the first thing other redditors see when they log on to Reddit.

This system makes it so only content approved by the community will ever reach the front page, meaning that have a bad perception of Woody Harrelson could potentially forever condemn him to the sticky pits of downvote-hell where few people will ever get to read his content.

Making it to the front page can result in a massive amount of people viewing the content posted. In Barack Obama’s AMA there are a total of 24,242 comments. In my opinion, you could probably multiple that number by at least 6 to find out the amount of people who got on and read that posts.

As public perception becomes ever more important in the coming years, I know that relying on sites like Reddit for business communication can work to serve wonders for the parties involved.