Author Archives: AllyManet

Animal rights: A world without grey

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PETA would say that you can’t be an animal lover if you eat meat. That sentient beings all deserve the same rights as humans, and as such have the right to not be used as food.

I have a hard time with this. Not necessarily the theory, as I can see the logic and appreciate their efforts to right the wrongs in the commercial farming industry.

I may believe in the prophecy, but I’ve got one heck of a problem with the tactics of the prophet.

PETA goes to extremes to expose animal cruelty, often doing so at the expense of humans or their situations, even going so low in their commercials as to make light of domestic violence in relationships.

It’s never OK to use domestic violence as a joke.

It’s also never OK to make threats, but PETA – although their website asks for supporters to make polite calls – seems to inspire action through hurtful words.

What do you think? Is PETA too extreme? Do their tactics work?

 

Vegging Out

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I’m not a vegetarian.

I’m a country girl who was raised eating meat, with a father, friends and family that hunt and fish.

I’ve seen animals butchered for consumption and I don’t get queasy at the sight of blood.

But I’ve NEVER been less sure of my choices to eat meat until researching Animal Rights and discovering the disgusting details of what mass agriculture really is and seeing what commercial animal processing looks like.

I’ll warn you. This PETA video is graphic and is intended to shock you.

It will.

I can’t say that I’ll stop eating meat. But maybe I’ll start learning more about where it comes from, so I know that it’s not causing the undeserved pain and suffering the animals in that video had to go through.

And that their offspring may be going through today.

Take some time to learn more about this will me, won’t you?

Click here for the full article.

Exploring Animal Rights

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Animal rights.

It’s a term that can both light fires under its most fervent supporters and chill non-believers to the bone. It can encourage, entice, enrage and incite feelings from deep within a person’s core, causing seemingly insane outbursts and cleverly planned attacks, protests and petitions.

But what does it mean to you?

That’s exactly what I posed to my social networks when I asked the following questions:

Via Twitter:             Working on a story & need your help – What does #AnimalRights mean to you? Help me out & reply with your answer & brief explanation!

Via Facebook: Hi friends! Working on a story for class and could use your input – When I say Animal Rights, what does that mean to you? Do you think PETA is awesome or too extreme? Are you vegetarian or vegan – if so, why?

Feel free to respond in the comments & let me know – all answers welcome! Thanks in advance!

The answers I received were very insightful and well-considered, and will serve as the basis for a three-part series titled Exploring Animal Rights, in which we’ll discuss the general concepts, various aspects of animal rights as well as the extremes of animal rights activism.

Do you have thoughts? What does Animal Rights mean to you?

Brand Recognition is Killing Your Dog

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How many times have you chosen a particular brand of anything simply because it’s the one you’d heard of and therefore it seems of higher quality than the other brands?

If you’re like me, you’ve done that more often than you can remember (or would like to admit). It seems like a perfectly logical thought process: you can recall the name which means you’ve heard of it, which means someone probably told you about it, and since you can’t recall it being negative, it must have been positive.

Right?

Unfortunately, the answer is not always that cut and dry, which Danielle discussed earlier. Sure, there may be plenty of situations where both choices are equally valid. Choosing one type of soda over another, for example, is probably not doing any more harm than simply choosing a soda in the first place. But it many instances, the brands you choose can mean a world of difference in your life, and particularly, the life of your pets.

To see how you can cut through the clutter and understand what you’re buying, follow me over here for the full story.

Holding Corporations Accountable: A Case for Social Media

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When people are overturning governments and directing public policy through groups formed on social media platforms, you know that times are changing.

Events like Arab Spring, the Tunisian Revolution and the Occupy movement are proof that when like-minded individuals meet up (or, tweet up), they’re able to accomplish great things. Mashable.com put together a collection of 9 Social Media Uprisings that Sought to Change the World in 2011, and none of them are short of impressive.

The people behind these movements saw their governments plagued with inadequacy and rife with corruption. They believed that governments should be representative of their constituents; social media created an outlet for people to find others with their same ideals, formulate a plan of action and gather together to create change. They’re working to make their lives and the lives of their future generations better through something as seemingly simple as communicating.

Communication is a powerful engine, and social media is adding fuel to the machine. But what happens when people start to influence the way corporations think and act through social media?

The consumer once again is the true center of the marketplace.

Changing the way companies interact

In April 2009, Domino’s Pizza was much like any other fast food company in the U.S. – providing greasy, bad-for-you, indulgent food that was considered reasonably safe and enjoyed by millions of Americans.

That is, of course, until April 13th, when two bored employees at a franchise location in North Carolina decided to film themselves doing disgusting things to food that was set to go out on a delivery order. Then, in a stroke of pure genius, posted those videos to YouTube. Within hours, they had thousands of views; millions of viewers have now enjoyed their exploits as the videos have been posted and reposted across the web. The videos are still available online at The Consumerist and showcase the extreme idiocy of these two employees; the instant corporate was able to identify the culprits they were fired and charged with felonies.

But out of necessity comes ingenuity, and for Domino’s, that means springing into social media like never before to respond to these videos and try to win back any customers that hadn’t already gone running for the hills. The CEO responds within 48 hours by filming a short video and posting it to YouTube:

In the years since the incident, Domino’s has become a social media case for what to do in a crisis situation, and undoubtedly will teach lessons to Public Relations students for years to come about how the Internet can be your foe and your friend.

But Domino’s didn’t stop at resolving the situation. With a newfound appreciation for social media and the level of consumer engagement you can achieve, Domino’s began asking for customer feedback. They wanted pictures of their deliveries to see if the food was up to par. They wanted comments about the sauce, the crust and the quality of their toppings. They wanted to know what their customers thought, and they were open to genuinely listening to their criticisms. They’re calling it the Pizza Turnaround and it’s changing the way they make decisions.

By opening up their ears to the concerns of their customers, Domino’s has been able to reconstruct their products and create entirely new marketing campaigns centered on the consumers’ wants and needs. And they’re quickly moving past the tumultuous days of April 2009 and into a customer base that is willing to try them again.

In this case, social media stood at the crux of success and failure for Domino’s. Certainly, their consumers were concerned with what they saw happening at the store in North Carolina. The videos spread like wildfire across the YouTube video platform and put the entire country on fast-food high alert. But social media allowed for Domino’s to not only respond quickly, but to remain a part of the conversation. Had they not jumped in with a video of their own, they may have reached an entirely different base of customers than the ones who saw the original video, causing potentially more harm than good. But by embracing social media, they were able to quickly and efficiently reach those who had seen the video and issue a sincere apology.

But more than that, they were able to continue engaging their customers, encouraging their feedback and taking their criticisms to heart. They changed their business model because the customer was demanding it, and the customer now has a direct line of influence into the brand through social media.

A world of give and take, and take

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I’m working out a few ideas for what might be a great story – I hope you’ll all provide some insight as to where you want this story to go. Please – don’t be shy!

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It’s Sunday, so she’s looking forward to coupons in the paper that help plan out the weekly trip to the local grocer.

Her experience tells her that the rolls of toilet paper she’s clipping a 3-by-3 inch coupon for won’t be on sale this week, but she files it away in a tiny blue box that lives permanently in her purse, filled with opportunities she needs to save money in the future.

* * *

It’s Sunday, so he’s up early checking his Blackberry for messages while he pours himself a black cup of coffee. Sugar is wasted on his tastebuds; milk seems childish mixed with his morning ritual.

And somewhere near the bottom of his inbox full of unread emails, there’s a memo from the HR department confirming the final numbers after crunching cost savings from the more than 900 employees across the company taking a week off work, unpaid.

* * *

The two people don’t know each other, but their checks are written and signed by the same automated machine, digitally embossing the signature of their shared superior on the line. Their lives, however, couldn’t be more different.

The lines between the common worker and the c-suite are clearly drawn.

Unfortunately, the line out the door seems nonexistent.

Why do these workers feel trapped? What’s causing them to continue working for corporations that very clearly do not consider their well being when making these decisions?

And more importantly, how long has this been happening if corporations feel this is an entirely acceptable practice?

State of the Union, State of OUR Union

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I’m what most would consider a good American. I work for a living, pay my own bills, vote and try to stay apprised of the issues. I am married, own a home and file my tax returns in a timely manner.

In other words – I play by the rules.

But it’s one day after our President’s State of the Union Address and I’m left with cause to think about exactly what gives rise to global resistance movements that are calling for change in so many areas.

President Obama spoke to education reform, adjusting tax brackets and encouraging small businesses. He spoke to many initiatives that all people can believe in, but also ones that people from different camps disagree on. And regardless of political affiliation, many can agree that Washington is stuck in a perpetual lock-down, each side refusing to hear the rational arguments of the other.

This congressional gridlock is forcing people from outside of governmental influence to come together, bring their ideas about what a better United States would look like. They’re doing it on a grand scale with things like Occupy Wall Street, but they’re taking on the everyday with small steps in their own lives, too.

Here at Metamorphosis, we’ll be examining many of the global resistance movements that aim to change the status quo, both here in the U.S. and around the globe. This is just the beginning of what we hope to be a genuine conversation – one aimed at discussing the problems and discovering the solutions – so chime in to tell us what you’re facing.

So, what global resistance movements are you seeing, or are you involved in? How do you see change developing in a world so engrained in what’s already done? What was one thing that President Obama said in his address last night that you agree or disagree with, and how do you propose a change?

And perhaps more importantly – what’s one step you can make (or, have made) today that can change your tomorrow?

Let us hear it!

-Ally