Can a Selfie Actually Inspire Real-Time CSR?

In the case of Ellen DeGeneres’ famous Oscars selfie with celebrities such as Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt and more, the answer is yes. The selfie, posted by DeGeneres on her Twitter account, received over three million retweets and was a major highlight during the Oscars extravaganza. The huge response to this single image prompted Samsung, the product used to take the selfie and one of the sponsors of the event, to donate $1.5 million each to two separate charities selected by DeGeneres herself: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Humane Society of the United States.

Some questioned whether or not the selfie was staged by Samsung. The company however was quick to deny the allegations stating, “While we were a sponsor of the Oscars and had an integration with ABC, we were delighted to see Ellen organically incorporate the device into the selfie moment that had everyone talking.” It was, “A great surprise for everyone, she captured something that nobody expected.”

The spontaneity of the Oscars selfie, and Samsung’s charitable donation, has spurred questions regarding CSR programs. As stated in PR News’ recent post, companies can learn an exceptional amount from this moment by practicing more real-time CSR. Rather than spend copious amounts of time planning CSR programs, brands should attempt to achieve a more organic, real-time approach to what should be a genuine form of outreach. Not only can real-time CSR save time, but it can also have a larger impact on publics.

What are your thoughts about real-time CSR?

The Common Core and How It Can Create Change in Our Education System

In a recent New York Times article, the encouragement of the Common Core standards throughout U.S. schools is explored. These standards, which have already been adopted by the majority of states, outline goals for performance level in each grade. The ultimate goal is to move students away from multiple choice tests and instead focus on a writing-based curriculum. Common Core supporters hope the changed curriculum will promote reasoning skills in students at an earlier age.

The standards also enable continuous instruction and feedback for teachers by master educators, as opposed to yearly conferences. The Common Core standards seem to be a step in the right direction for our country’s falling education system, with California and Tennessee already investing heavily in the program.

According to the article, “California allocated $1.25 billion in the current school year for carrying out the new standards,” and the Tennessee Department of Education, “trained more than 40,000 teachers,” with the program.

New York is another state that has invested the standards in their school system, however without proper funding, the standards will fall flat in the classroom. The state Board of Regents has advised Legislature to, “increase school aid by $1.3 billion in the 2014-2015 school year.” The article also states that $719 million would go toward helping districts that are, “still reeling from state funding cuts related to the recession and a state-imposed tax cap that limited their ability to raise money.” About $125 million would go to an instructional development fund. Without this financial aid, students and teachers will be at a standstill.

These standards and programs focus on both student and teacher performance, which is extremely important; one won’t work without the other. With a stronger curriculum for students and constructive feedback and programs for teachers, the Common Core has the potential to create massive change in our education system. The standards are set, however without proper funding schools are unable to create change.

What are your thoughts on the Common Core being implemented throughout schools in the U.S.?