PRSA, Ethics Codes and Big Data Concerns- Katie Wyble

“The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is committed to ethical practices. The level of public trust PRSA members seek, as we serve the public good, means that we have taken on a special obligation to operate ethically.” –PRSA Code of Ethics

In this post, I am going to briefly illustrate the exact codes that support the use of big data. Taking advantage of available information is essential to running a more efficient business no matter what it is. Utilizing big data is public relations is important to better know your audience and be able to reach them better.

I believe everything comes down to honesty. Few people in this world like getting lied to. Eventually, the truth of every matter will air and everyone will know. If you’ve been paying attention to the news or even you news feed, you’ve probably heard of Volkswagen’s most recent PR blunder. For those of you who haven’t, it involved a lie about the emissions of their engines.

The lie: environmentally friendly engine with low emissions.

The Truth: High emissions and terrible for the environment.

I can’t even begin to imagine the ordeal their PR department is going through. There are many people outraged by this and it is the job of their PR department to recover the image of the company.

From the PRSA Code of Ethics, “We adhere to the highest standard of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public.” Any PR professional should uphold their integrity as well as their company’s by giving the public the truth. Without integrity and trust, what do you have?

“We provide objective counsel to those we represent. We are accountable for our actions.” If someone were to skew the given data from their resources with big data, they would be held responsible for their actions. Big data is called into question often because of the fear of a security breach. Thousands of companies utilize big data but it is their job not to misuse it. IT is possible for it to be a great thing and so far it has been! The only downfall is bad people using it for bad things.

Under the section titled, “Free Flow of Information” the PRSA Code of Ethics states, “Core Principle Protecting and advancing the free flow of accurate and truthful information is essential to serving the public interest and contributing to informed decision making in a democratic society.”

In other words, the PRSA is an advocate for fair use of information.

“Intent: To maintain the integrity of relationships with the media, government officials, and the public.” I know I’m harping on it but it makes a lot of sense: no member of the PRSA should be using big data for harm or misuse. In my last post I discussed the pledge and the necessity of every member signing it upon admittance to the association. By signing this, you are committing to upholding a certain standard the PRSA is associated with and prides itself on.

To view the full code of ethics go to:  https://www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/Ethics/CodeEnglish/#.Vlyjo3arSUk

Works Cited

https://www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/Ethics/CodeEnglish/#.Vlyjo3arSUk

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How to Avoid Mistakes in Big Data by Melanie Wieland

The past few years have seen an explosion of new technologies for storing, analyzing and displaying the enormous amount of data available to businesses today.

Therefore, modern day, successful businesses must not only have the latest and the greatest to demonstrate to their stockholders, to inspire them to invest, but also realize that in reality that success is neither automatic nor assured.

The three biggest mistakes companies make in Big Data are:

 

  1. Don’t rely on technology alone.

 

  1. Don’t use old models.

 

  1. Making your big data analytics program a success.

Big Data helping change the name of the PRSA

 

For centuries the public relations profession has had a bad reputation of providing false information. The public will often excuse public relation officials of “spinning words”. Public relation officials have been known as manipulators for this reason and as a result PR has become know as one of the most unethical professions. The PRSA is doing everything in their power to eliminate this bad reputation, even enforcing a code of ethics that all members must abide to after taking an oath.

Big data is helping to bring PR out of the dark ages in hopes of tarnishing this awful reputation. You see with the public relations profession starting to use big data it’s hard to provide false information that you can blame on the PR officials themselves. Big data uses “powerful monitoring and social media intelligence tools, pulling and analyzing large sets of data…” prsa.org. In other words big data provides public relation professionals with information received by analyzing Internet activity. For example you can use big data to find out what social media outlet middle school children most often with a small margin of error.

Big data is helping the PRSA advance into the future with a positive outlook of the public relations profession.

Works Cited:

https://www.prsa.org/index.html

http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/public-relations-ethics-bad-reputation/

Before Big Data

The PRSA holds the title of the world’s largest organization of Public Relations officials. Working in public relations you are responsible for creating and maintaining connections between your company and the public. In order to do so, public relations officials must collect information on the public that they are looking to attract and draw interest to their company. Valuable information such as a person’s likes or interests really helps when you are looking for your target audience. Big Data provides public relations officials with this kind of information by analyzing Internet activity.

Before big data was around this type of data was collected by questionnaires, interviews, and direct observations. While all of these techniques work in there own way and are efficient, they can be flawed. The main reason why questionnaires and interviews do not work as well as big data is because people just do not want to participate. For example, how many times has a register worker handed you your receipt while asking you to participate in the online survey at the bottom and you have actually participated? Most people do not participate and lack of participation leads to lack of data collected. Using big data gives you the information you need without the worry of lack of participation, which is just one of the many components that makes big data the future of the PRSA.

Works Cited:

http://people.uwec.edu/piercech/researchmethods/data%20collection%20methods/data%20collection%20methods.htm

http://www.prsa.org/Learning/Calendar/display/6105/PR_and_Big_Data#.VluYVt-rS1s

Opinionated Thoughts on How PRSA Should Handle Issues Faced- Brian L. Taylor

In essence, I find this to be very simple. The issue at hand that seems primarily to be on the public’s mind is whether or not big data is ethical, and whether or not it is an invasion of their privacy. I believe that in order to combat these thoughts that linger in the mind’s eye of the public, PRSA ought to take a transparent approach to their actions. Allow the public to know exactly what PRSA is doing with big data, so that they have no reason to fear their information being wrongfully used against them.

Secondly, PRSA ought to be extremely forthcoming about their code of ethics, and display it prominently in an attempt to make people understand that they aren’t trying to hide anything or conduct shady business practices that would harm them in any way, shape, or form. The PRSA code of ethics is sound, but unless it essentially becomes their motto, no one will know about it, and thus, won’t care. They will continue to believe that PRSA are evil spies, using big data to undermine their existences.

In reference to the more statistical and numerical side of big data, it’s a simple matter of refining their programming and knowing what they’re looking for. PRSA needs to take a very slow, cautious approach to big data, so as not to overlook important information, or make poor, rash decisions that harm the company’s integrity morally or ethically.

-Brian L. Taylor

Code of Ethics and Big Data- Katie Wyble

“The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is committed to ethical practices. The level of public trust PRSA members seek, as we serve the public good, means that we have taken on a special obligation to operate ethically.” –PRSA Code of Ethics

In this post, I am going to briefly illustrate the exact codes that support the use of big data. Taking advantage of available information is essential to running a more efficient business no matter what it is. Utilizing big data is public relations is important to better know your audience and be able to reach them better.

I believe everything comes down to honesty. Few people in this world like getting lied to. Eventually, the truth of every matter will air and everyone will know. If you’ve been paying attention to the news or even you news feed, you’ve probably heard of Volkswagen’s most recent PR blunder. For those of you who haven’t, it involved a lie about the emissions of their engines.

The lie: environmentally friendly engine with low emissions.

The Truth: High emissions and terrible for the environment.

I can’t even begin to imagine the ordeal their PR department is going through. There are many people outraged by this and it is the job of their PR department to recover the image of the company.

From the PRSA Code of Ethics, “We adhere to the highest standard of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public.” Any PR professional should uphold their integrity as well as their company’s by giving the public the truth. Without integrity and trust, what do you have?

“We provide objective counsel to those we represent. We are accountable for our actions.” If someone were to skew the given data from their resources with big data, they would be held responsible for their actions. Big data is called into question often because of the fear of a security breach. Thousands of companies utilize big data but it is their job not to misuse it. IT is possible for it to be a great thing and so far it has been! The only downfall is bad people using it for bad things.

Under the section titled, “Free Flow of Information” the PRSA Code of Ethics states, “Core Principle Protecting and advancing the free flow of accurate and truthful information is essential to serving the public interest and contributing to informed decision making in a democratic society.”

In other words, the PRSA is an advocate for fair use of information.

“Intent: To maintain the integrity of relationships with the media, government officials, and the public.” I know I’m harping on it but it makes a lot of sense: no member of the PRSA should be using big data for harm or misuse. In my last post I discussed the pledge and the necessity of every member signing it upon admittance to the association. By signing this, you are committing to upholding a certain standard the PRSA is associated with and prides itself on.

To view the full code of ethics go to:  https://www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/Ethics/CodeEnglish/#.Vlyjo3arSUk

Works Cited

https://www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/Ethics/CodeEnglish/#.Vlyjo3arSUk

 

Issues That PRSA Faces In Reference to Big Data- Brian L. Taylor

A particularly prominent issue that PRSA faces in regards to big data is the fact that they operate in a realm in which the public that they serve distrusts the PR field. Many seem to find large companies like PRSA to be untrustworthy, and dislike the idea of PRSA collecting big data.

Many members of the public find this to be an invasion of privacy, and a violation of their rights, making PRSA’s job of collecting data much more difficult. Numerous law suits are filed every year against various PR companies, PRSA included, for violation of privacy and unethical conduct.

So, it seems that one of the largest issues standing in the way of PRSA and their plans for big data is that their ethics don’t seem apparent enough. Members of the public claim, with substantial backup, that it’s easy to fudge the numbers in big data and sway statistics in any way that will assist the company in question’s goals. This bias brings PRSA into question in regards to its ethical code of conduct.

– Another problem with big data arises from the simple fact that big data can lead to big screw-ups. Big data can be useful, yes, but can also be imprecise if not used properly. This can lead to many issues for PRSA, including their ethical standing once again. If they appear inaccurate, they become an easy target for claims of falsehood.

With big data, it’s best to adopt a “think slowly” attitude, so that rash decisions are cut out of the equation and false positives are kept to a bare minimum. Also, if rashness is adopted as a policy of operations, it’s easy to lose sight of the goal and overlook informational “gold” altogether, which is a tragedy in and of itself. The information that is being looked for by PRSA in big data can be easily overlooked, much like a needle in a haystack.

These are only a few of the issues that PRSA faces today, and many more are foreseen for the rapidly-approaching future.

Works Cited:

http://www.networkworld.com/article/2973963/big-data-business-intelligence/5-problems-with-big-data.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/opinion/eight-no-nine-problems-with-big-data.html?_r=0

https://www.prsa.org/Intelligence/TheStrategist/Articles/view/10925/1104/Taming_Big_Data_Start_by_Asking_What_Customers_Nee#.Vlv-auJs-qw