Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Does YouTube Provide a Platform for Eradication of Stigma?

Public relations practitioners often have the opportunity to assist clients dealing with stigmatic issues. For example, a product of a sensitive nature, or a client experiencing a difficult set of circumstances.

When a hepatitis breakout occurred at a favorite local restaurant in southern Utah, the restaurant's public relations agency gathered to strategize the best way to help managers communicate with the media. Situationally, circumstances provided the establishment with a stigmatic issue.

Other businesses and organizations face stigma issues. And when businesses launch product that seems buried in stigma, public relations professionals again gather to strategize. The rise of YouTube has created a platform for communicating many types of messages to global audiences. In the case of public relations, the platform provides a medium for broadcasting controlled messages.

Considering the use of YouTube and the handling of stigmatic issues in the following two cases. First, the Bud Booster: Elevate 420 is a product designed by a southern Utah entrepreneur to assist growers of legal marijuana achieve optimum agricultural results. The following video was produced to offer a mature explanation of how the system can be beneficial, and it was shared on YouTube.

This video produced for YouTube for Squatty Potty (another southern Utah-based entrepreneurial endeavor) was the product's first professionally produced communication tool. The goal, again, was to provide a mature conversation about a stigmatized subject. Medical experts were interviewed and key messages centered on "taking the taboo out of potty talk," and starting a positive health choice revolution.

In both cases, corporations are keying into the opportunities presented by YouTube, a mass medium Rennie refers to as a "site of commons, and of cultural innovation." Rennie believes that corporate interests threaten sites of commons like YouTube, and lend to enclosure versus sites of commons.

In the case of the Bud Booster and Squatty Potty, both are promotion products, though not directly selling them. They are explaining, teaching, educating in a way that an advertisement does not allow. A 3-4 minute television commercial would be far to expensive an endeavor.

Do you feel that videos like these threaten YouTube as a site of commons?

Do the videos threaten the culture of the YouTube community because they have corporate interest? Or do they offer content that fits the purpose and platform of the YouTube medium?

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