The past two weeks I have sorted through my own crisis, my own personal public relations crisis.
If you’ve been keeping up with my story, you would know that there is a fake account with my pictures on it named “Kim,” and I began a quest to find this account through social media.
I originally posted my initial blog post on April 6th at around 4:00 p.m. and shared it on my Facebook and Twitter accounts asking friends and family to share my story with those in the Athens, Georgia area to help find the fake account. Then, my story took off…
I had over 5,000 views on my blog by midnight. Let me put this into perspective for you… My best blog post prior to this story received 465 views, and I thought I killed the game with that one. So, these hits were incredible to me.
An aspect even more mind blowing though was the speed in which my story took off. A mere two hours after I published my first blog post telling my story, I received an email from The Daily Tar Heel, our school newspaper and one of the top college newspapers in the country nonetheless. I was then interviewed by the DTH later that evening (the same night I published my blog post) and was featured in an article that made the front page of the newspaper on Tuesday, April 8th.
The next few days were when I realized what a PR crisis I was involved in. A plethora of emails and interview requests swarmed my inbox and I had decisions to make. Luckily, my professor, John Robinson, gave me tips and helped me organize my thoughts and decisions in the first few days.
Monday, I had a local Fox News station write an article about my story, as well as a site called The Daily Dot. Neither of which interviewed me, but instead simply told my story based on my blog which I found very interesting.
That evening was when it really hit me how big my story had grown. I received an email from Keith Wagstaff from NBC Universal asking for an interview regarding my story. NBC?! Safe to say I was freaking out.
I talked to Wagstaff on the phone on Tuesday and he published an article titled, “Hook, Line and Tinder: Scammers Love Dating Apps,” featuring my story. The article wasn’t published until later that week though, Friday to be exact.
WRAL, the television news station based in Raleigh, called me on Wednesday to schedule an interview… on television. This was my first on-screen interview ever (besides the occasional high school volleyball post game interviews every now and then) and it was a valuable and interesting experience.
A reporter called me at around 4:00 p.m. Wednesday asking to interview me for a feature and I agreed. The reporter and his camera man arrived at my house at 5:30, interviewed me for about 45 minutes and then told me to watch it on the 11:00 news.
As a journalism student, I see how long it takes for broadcasting specialization students to film, edit and present a video project. So, the turn around from calling, creating and producing left me in awe. And my broadcasting-track friends, too. Sure enough, my story was featured on the 11:00 news that night.
My story was also included on various other sites like Tinder News, The Red & Black (University of Georgia’s newspaper), a news station in Oklahoma City called KFOR and a site called Global Dating Insights, among others.
But, the short amount of time it took for my story to take off, it was equally matched with a sudden death. I went out of town Thursday to Monday and decided to handle everything regarding the “Kim” story when I got back home, but in those 4 and a half days, the story had died.
The experience of scheduling and communicating with reporters is one that I wouldn’t have firsthand in any of my journalism classes, even the best ones. It was my own personal PR crisis, and I was the person in charge.