Every week, we see individuals and institutions make headlines for various reasons. We tend to admire them for their valiant actions or question them for their misdeeds.
Although there are many out there that deserve to be highlighted, here are my picks for this year’s heroes in the realm of social media.
1) Boston Police
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings in April, rumors and false reports quickly swirled in regards to potential arrests and identification of suspects. This made a chaotic situation even worse.
Fortunately, the Boston Police Department quickly stepped up its Twitter presence to provide the latest updates on the investigation along with clarifying rumors and reports being circulated. They even did not hold back in celebrating the eventual arrest of the person allegedly responsible for the attack.
Kudos to the men and women of the Boston Police Department for being at the forefront with the most reliable, up-to-the-minute information in the midst of some chaotic and terrifying times.
In Depth: PRSA Public Relations Tactics article: How the Boston Police used Twitter during a time of terror
Miles Scott, a five-year-old boy with leukemia, adorned the hearts of many around the world in November when the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted his request to be Batman for a day and save the world from evil.
The organization teamed up with city officials to temporarily transform San Francisco into Gotham City.
Miles, with the help of his little brother as Robin and a grown-up Batman driving a glorified Batmobile, went around the city to save a damsel in distress and the San Francisco Giants mascot while helping to capture and bring to justice the respective perpetrators, The Riddler and The Penguin.
The outpouring of support from well-wishers around the world helped Miles deal with something no child should suffer from and raised awareness for a cause that helps his fellow peers.
Miles Scott: Batman for a day, forever a hero in our hearts.
In November, the Gap clothing company launched an ad campaign featuring a Sikh fashion designer wearing a turban juxtaposed with a female model.
It was not long before vandals defaced these ads at New York City subway stations with racist markings. Among the offending messages, the vandals suggested that the man was a terrorist and that he should stop driving taxis.
Fortunately, Gap appeared to have a plan in place to respond to potential racist vandalism in its ads. Upon learning from observers on social media who reported these defaced ads, Gap quickly went to work in replacing these ads with new, untarnished ones. They even went as far as highlighting the same ad photo as the header photo for its Twitter account.
Good on Gap for swiftly going to work on protecting its brand, the individuals featured in its ads and proving to consumers that such acts will not be tolerated.
4) Noah Fisher
Getting used to wearing glasses is not easy.
For four-year-old Noah Fisher of South Carolina, he received some support through strangers around the world on social media. His mother, Lindsey, took to social media with the Facebook page, Glasses for Noah, after seeing that her son had a hard time grasping with this new lifestyle change.
Thousands of fans uploaded pictures of themselves wearing glasses in an effort to help put Noah at ease. There are even pictures of individuals wearing glasses while adorning superhero attire, something that greatly delights him.
Noah Fisher is a hero to us all. After all, Clark Kent wore glasses, and he turned out just fine.
Who or what else also deserves to be on the list?
Simon Oh is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton with a degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations. He will serve on the PRSA New Professionals executive committee in 2014 as the diversity liaison. Follow him on his blog at simonoh.com and connect with him on Twitter @SimonOh or over on LinkedIn.