Between You and Me, There's PR

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

Politics, religion and sex November 4, 2010

In my personal selling class we have been talking about how to use small talk when networking with people as well as when approaching a prospect customer. Small  talk means you can talk about random topics, but everyone knows to avoid politics and religion.

This is the same for nearly every aspect of conversation at work, online and when meeting someone for the first time.

Christina Khoury, author of the PRBreakfastClub, wrote about trying to find the fine line between being yourself and “word vomit” or as she defines it, “the act of putting one’s foot in thy mouth.” A few ways to avoid this, according to Christina, is by not discussing politics and religion for their tendency to lead to debate and why you hate your job, because the wrong person (boss or client) might see it.

#PRStudChat aired their first podcast on Monday and featured Brandi Boatner (@brandiboatner) from IBM for more great discussion on online transparency.

Brandi’s best tip was to “treat your online relationships like your offline relationships.” She presented the scenario that if you walked into a party where you did not know anyone and yelled ‘I am here’ it would be considered rude and awkward. In a normal situation, you would talk to people and get to know their background a little and earn their trust before getting deep into a conversation. Brandi says the same thing applies online, listen and gradually add to the conversation instead of being the loud obnoxious new person.

Brandi also mentions three key topics to avoid in conversation: politics, religion and sex.

It is all about our online image. We are branding ourselves out there in the gigantic world of online networking and just as people are forming opinions  about our company whether we like it or not, they are being formed about us as individuals as well. As a student looking for a job or even someone currently employed by a company, filtering your online presence is very important to building your credibility.

Hopeful parting words:

Brandi mentions in the podcast that human resource people don’t necessarily have all the time in the world to dig up your history in photos. That is not to say they will not look, therefore, becoming more conscious of how your online presence looks currently is definitely a step in the right direction.

Our guest speaker in class last night, John Scroggins from Noble and Associates, mentions that he understands being in college and utilizing privacy settings. He considers that a judgement call rather than hiding a deep dark secret.

That said, not everyone will be as generous as these two professionals and we should dfinitely still use discretion. If you wouldn”t want mom to see it, don’t post it.


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?


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