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Barnes & Noble, A Potential Casualty of a Social Media War….

This new age of social media, has the power to create instant and spontaneous change for both the good and the bad. Due to most of us having 24/7 access to our mobile devices, we are able to engage or entertain newsworthy events nonstop. We may often encounter positive or feel good stories such as military personnel returning home to surprise their families, babies dancing to Beyonce’s single ladies cover, or simply pay it forward acts of kindness that are shared countless times over. These acts often warm our hearts, but there are other instances where we are forced to take action based on information that does not shed organizations in the best light. 

Recently after watching a docu-series entitled “When They See Us”, about the trial and persecution of five minority teenagers who were charged with the rape and attempted murder of a Central park jogger in 1989, a social media campaign was initiated calling for the boycott of books written by former NY District Attorney Linda Fairstein. This was pretty significant as the series was not released on Netflix until this past Friday, and within a 48hr timespan the attack on bookstore retailers such as Barnes & Noble, had spread like wildfire. 

The Central Park 5

Barnes & Noble would have no foresight into the fact that by simply carrying some of the products of Fairstein, that their brand could be impacted by the matter. After all, they had no parts in the social media persecution of those young men; however, in order for Fairstein to receive the wrath that social media felt she deserved, they undoubtedly could become a casualty of war.

The below link, looks at how Putnam’s social analysis plays a part in connecting the dots between social media influence and public relations for Barnes & Noble. In order to avoid a media pitfall, the organization has to be strategic about the message(s) they convey to their consumers, in regards to the handling of this matter. Long gone are the days were companies could simply wait for crises to blow over, now they must address the issue head on and face the music.


Burch, S. (2018, September 26). “Social Media, is a ‘Cancer of Our Time’, LA Times Owner Says. Retrieved from:

Ihlen, O., Fredriksson, M. (2018). Public Relations and Social Theory. New York, NY.   Routledge 

Johnson, C., Hackman, M. (2018). Leadership, A Communication Perspective.   Long Grove, IL, Waveland Press. 


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