Between You and Me, There's PR

Exploring, learning and using social media, public relations and marketing.

Facts and fictions of “The Social Network” October 15, 2010

It is fall break for Missouri State University and midterms are over! After spending hours studying “The Social Media Bible” by Lon Safko for our midterm, it was nice to come back to St. Louis and not think about social media or school.

And then I watched The Social Network and my social media obsession began again.

I thought that “The Social Network” was a good movie but the because it includes both fact and fiction, I was left not knowing what to believe. Determined to find out, I immediately grabbed my computer and started researching.

The movie is based on the book “Accidental Billionaire” written by Ben Mezrich. Without Mark Zuckerberg’s support, Mezrich managed to write a story portraying Zuckerberg’s life by gathering information from The Harvard Crimson newspaper and co-founder, Eduardo Saverin. A review in The New York Times said the book was “nonfictionish” and that “‘The Accidental Billionaires’ is so obviously dramatized, and so clearly unreliable, that there’s no mistaking it for a serious document.”

I then wonder, how a movie that claims to portray person’s life but is actually made up of partial fabrications is allowed to be produced. Obviously Zuckerberg does not need any more money so there is no need to sue, but if I were the creator of Facebook and was portrayed to be an angry and obesseive person in a movie I would be frustrated. Then again, Zuckerberg reported to Mashable that, “We build products that 500 million people see… If 5 million people see a movie, it doesn’t really matter that much.” Clearly he is not concerned about an effect of the lies.

David Kirkpatrick blogged on the Daily Beast and explained which aspects of “The Social Network” were true and false. He claims to be an expert on the subject after studying Zuckerberg for over a year to write his book “The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World”.

A few highlights from Kirkpatrick’s blog include:

  • “Zuckerberg may be the least angry person I have ever met.”
  • Zuckerberg is and has been dating someone since before The Facebook first launched.
  • The Winklevoss brothers were real, though did not have as important of a role in Facebook as the movie leads to believe.
  • “Zuckerberg did wear Adidas sandals all the time, even in winter.”
  • “There really was a zip line from the chimney on the house in Palo Alto that enabled the guys to fly into the pool.”

I encourage you to visit this link for the full story because it is three pages long and includes links to other sources disputing “The Social Network” facts as well.

I definitely enjoyed the movie “The Social Network”. Seeing the coding and complicated thought process the Facebook team experienced in the creation of this amazing product was very insightful and something I hadn’t considered.

I definitely recommend “The Social Network” to you, and now you know how to discern the facts from the fiction!


If you don’t talk, someone else will. October 7, 2010


Creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg.


At only 26, Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, is worth billions.

We all wish we were the genius billionaire behind this social networking site, however, there is but one. On Oct. 5, 2010, The Social Network, a dramatic portrayal of the life of Mark Zuckerberg, hit theatres. The film leaves viewers feeling either angry or sympathetic towards Zuckerberg as he is blamed for stealing the idea for Facebook.

I am not here to analyze the movie because I have not seen it, but I am going to talk about the  potential consequences this movie could have from a public relations view for both Facebook and Zuckerberg, something Zuckerberg was reportedly fearful of. If movie-goers leave the theatre feeling angry towards him, perhaps Facebook itself would see a negative response. Let’s be honest though, it is Facebook and it is addictive. Zuckerberg said this, according to an interview he gave to mashable’s co-editor, Ben Parr:

““We build products that 500 million people see… If 5 million people see a movie, it doesn’t really matter that much.”

This is great for Zuckerberg, who does not have to worry about the impact of negative publicity since his website changed the world, but what about us average folks?  Those of us who are promoting a business or building a personal brand for ourselves as we look for future careers have a little more to worry about when it comes to negative publicity.

As we begin utilizing social media for personal use and businesses, it is important to be aware of the content you post, as well as what other’s post about you. As Lon Safko writes in “The Social Media Bible,” everyone is a publisher and anyone can write positive or negative content about you.

From a business or organizational standpoint, having consistent information on each social media website is vital. This ensures that people searching for your organization find the correct website rather than a random one with fake information on it. This also sends an uniformed message to consumers to distinguish a brand.

Businesses also must be aware of what people are posting about their business or organization. Actively searching for any mention of your company allows the ability to react to problematic content and ensure that all information posted is correct.

Lastly businesses have begun monitoring their employees’ social network content to regulate its appropriateness in relation to the company’s values. We discussed in class that many companies have employees sign a social media contract when hired that holds them responsible for the content they post on their personal websites.

From a personal standpoint, it is important that the image you portray online is the same image you want employers to see. Are you tweeting informative content or about a party you attended last night? This is your image and despite all privacy settings you might use, big company’s can still find you.

How in control do you feel about what people see on your page or what they say and read about you or your business?


Anytime TV October 2, 2010

Thursday is one of my favorite nights of television, however, I am forced to give my heart to either Grey’s Anatomy or The Office because they both air at the same time. Thankfully, Hulu has been streaming free episodes from network television since 2007.

Each network features full-length episodes of shows as well, but the one-stop-shop benefit Hulu offers by makes catching up easier. The best part about watching television online is that there are only about three or four commercials that are short and simple.

According to a poll conducted by, most people still rely on their traditional television to watch their favorite shows, but person to person mediums and Hulu were the second and third most popular.

This poll did not consider how many people who watch traditional television use DVR and skip over advertisements. Because of how many people use Hulu, buying advertising space on this website could result in a high return on investment because they are short enough that people will sit through them.

Hulu serves as a common place for collecting television and movie clips and placing them online, but they are not the only service available. YouTube is another addictive site that most people are very familiar with, unless somehow they have managed to unplug their life and all connections to the online world.

Youtube was created in 2005 (Safko) as an online haven for literally anything and everything related to videos. This website features TV show clips, seminars, how to tips, music videos, pranks, and more! There is really no end to the variety of videos found on this website.

YouTube even paired with Vevo this past August to stream a live concert. According to an article on, YouTube has begun a trial period of allowing users to stream live videos onto their site. If this trend picks up, people will never miss a concert or television show again and it will be easier for users and businesses to create conference style videos.

So what does this have to do with your business or organization? According to YouTube’s website: “People are watching 2 billion videos a day on YouTube and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily. In fact, every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.” This is a viral website so create something people want to watch or learn more about and upload it for others to forward. This is free advertisement to anyone who might see it and pass it along. YouTube also found that 52 percent of 18-34 year-old users repost videos to friends and family.

People will spend hours looking at random videos or television shows simply because they are available to them. Take advantage of this opportunity and get them interested in a video from your organization or company. There are plenty of other similar sites that I did not mention, so find one that fits your organization’s need best!

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think about videos and television online!


Anyone can. You can too! October 1, 2010

I lack talent in the cooking department, but if I saw a book titled “Anyone Can Cook” I would simply have faith that this author has found a way to mold me into a chef.

In the same way, social media has created the idea that anyone can become a published musician, writer, and videographer. Suddenly, anyone can promote themselves online with any talent they may or may not have. I think I am a writer and therefore, I am writing this blog. I signed up and was given the ability to share any thought or opinion I have with the world.

“The Social Media Bible,” by Lon Safko states that: “In the twentieth century, professional reporters and publishers decided what the news was and determined how the public saw it. Though we might still have some professionals making these decisions in the twenty-first century, we now have personal reporters and publishers— more than 50 million of them—who bring our news to us on a daily basis.”

Safko goes on to explain that today, instead of only receiving the news our local media deems newsworthy, we have endless news sources to choose from and the format is more conversational rather than telling.

This idea that everyday people are creating information sources is called citizen journalism. New York University journalism professor, Jay Rossen, defined citizen journalism in July 2008 on his blog, Pressthink,as “when the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another, that’s citizen journalism.”

Podcast, also described as an MP3 file, is a very popular way to promote information or video online. Here are a few examples of how both professional and accredited organizations, as well as how individuals use these tools to publish their thoughts.

1. CNN creates podcasts for each segment they air making it easy to pick and choose a topic you wish to know more about.

2. Geek News Central is an online website devoted to podcasting about technology. This is a perfect example of how anyone can find a niche, create a podcast and find followers.

3. Philip Defranco creates a short five-minute video five days a week. In his podcast, he very quickly and humorously offers his opinion of that day’s top news stories.

4. Missouri State University has a select number of classes and professors that have recorded and uploaded their lectures into podcasts. For instance, Dr. Dyer post all of his lectures on iTunes U convenient to not only his students, but other students and professors across the nation.

As an organization seeking publicity, having information readily available to consumers wherever and whenever they want them is a key component to a company’s success. If prepared, creating and uploading a podcast will only take a few minutes. This is a simple and free way to reach people on the go. Why not take advantage of it?


Times change September 24, 2010

I am a proud millennial child who has never turned in a handwritten paper and who instant messaged her grandpa in fifth grade. I understand that I am growing up during a very technologically advanced period, but I have never been an early adopter when it comes to these trends.

For instance, I remember the first time my mom discovered search engines. She dragged my brother and I downstairs to our gigantic computer, dialed up the Internet and we were and introduced to We could ask Jeeves anything and Jeeves would find the answer. At the time, I wasn’t as impressed as my mom with this ambiguous Jeeves man, however, I have since fallen in love with how easily search engines respond to my questions.

The point is, I catch on slowly. I am the girl that paid extra for a phone that was not a touch screen and who actually thinks it is a little creepy to “check in” every time I leave Craig Hall and walk to Glass Hall on Foursquare; but times change. If I hope to be successful in the world of public relations I must learn how to actually use my Twitter page and explore the endless options of social media.

This Youtube clip from Erik Qualman, author of “Socialnomics,” shows statistics regarding social media and really opened my eyes to the success of these trends.

Perhaps the reason social media has created such a sudden presence in our lives is because there are so many options and each one is free to try. In “The Social Media Bible,” by Lon Safko, Safko outlines a few of the most popular social networking sites. Because I am still catching up in the social networking world, I took the time to follow-up on Safko’s suggestions and visited a few of the social networking websites he features.

1. Bebo– This website fuses Facebook’s group features and MySpace’s ability to upload content into a single location. I can see this being used for musicians and artists to feature their work.

2. Fastpitchnetworking– With the tagline “Are you ready to make your pitch,” this website is designed to generate sales and market a product, idea or person. Safko lists one of its features as being able to distribute press releases, newsletters, event announcements, videos and more. What an excellent resource for a business or a business’ public relations firm to get connected (note to self).

3. Gather–  Safko explains that is a forum where people can connect with others who share similar interests. The website’s main page is divided into different sections like a newspaper would be making it easy for any person (or business) to build their presence and start talking.

My first step in exploration and better understanding is officially underway. Becoming familiar with each social networking website will take time, but will help me find the perfect medium to promote my future employer or client.


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