Social Media’s Influence on the Oscar Pistorius Trial

The globalization of news media has created a need for real-time information in individuals throughout the world. With the instant updates on social media and blogs, people are constantly glued to their smartphones, tablets, and computers with a need to stay in the loop. This is currently peaking with the Oscar Pistorius trial where individuals throughout the world are craving real time information to find out what happens to him. Pistorius’ name is trending worldwide on Twitter and other social media sites while news outlets are making sure to cover him on television once (or more) every hour. 

A news article in Cape Argus from South Africa asks if social media, television, will have an impact on the outcome of the Pistorius trial. This is an interesting concept because it might be the first time that outside, nongovernmental officials are influencing the outcome of a legal proceeding. “Regular” individuals will make an impact and feel that they made a difference in the outcome. One can question if this could occur in the United States. However, you can also argue that the United States has a strong justice system where outside sources, other than rich corporations or government officials, cannot influence the results.

The results of this case might counter the results found by Robertson (2013) in her study related to the influence, or lack thereof, of social media in discussions on global television networks. Within her study, Robertson (2013) found that social media is not a significant player in media coverage for important news events. The news corporations serve as a gatekeeper between the conversations on social media and what they say to the general public. Therefore, they make sure to control the message in order to influence the audience.

Due to this, one could consider that these media corporations are fearful of Twitter and other social media outlets. If they sway the outcome of the Pistorius trial, they will move towards controlling the message and controlling the profits of the media corporations. In doing so, it decreases the profitability of these corporations and allows a mass amount of individuals to feel influential and able to make a difference. The outcome is not determined yet but we should all be watching the trial and its results very closely.

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The Cruise Industry is Found to be Inauthentic

A news article by Global Travel Industry News discusses a study by Leeds Metropolitan University that studies corporate social responsibility in the cruise industry. The study goes into detail about how the industry is not going far enough to take care of the environment, the areas where they travel, and the entire society. The companies in this industry do not promote corporate social responsibility on their websites or any reports that they develop. In addition, the data that they report to public stakeholders do not include any positive results that occurred due to the efforts of the companies or sustainability initiatives from any particular efforts.

With that in mind, it is interesting to see the negative publicity against the entire industry due to the lack of authenticity of the companies within it. As discussed by Molleda and Roberts (2008), authenticity is an important asset in developing trust between an organization and its publics. The fact that the industry is not being authentic and honest with its publics is the main reason that this new study and all news displays negative traits for the industry and companies within it. In addition, many do not know if the industry is doing anything to support the environment or if they are just giving “lip service” to members of the public while still doing damage to the environment, animals, humans, etc.

Along with this, the limited reporting and lack of authenticity leads to a decreased economic value in the industry and companies within it. The lack of trust and authenticity does not give members of the public the sense that they can support them by going on trips in boats or donating funds for their efforts. Molleda and Roberts (2008) countered these initiatives by being more transparent and working hard to support the local economy, workers, society. The new Juan Valdez campaign increased the economic sustainability of Columbia and the coffee industry. While on this particular case, it is different because the reports do not show any economic sustainability because of the industry.

Sadly, this case shows that corporations are not progressing towards being authentic and concerned about developing trust with their publics and the entire society. There are some corporations who are fighting against this image to promote true corporate social responsibility. Companies like Chase Bank are promoting the social good and developing their community image locally and throughout the globe. However, I have not found any particular studies to discuss this particular impact or if the public finds them authentic or trustworthy. As we move forward, we should study the true authenticity of all corporations and industries.