Between You and Me, There's PR

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

Pancakes with a side of news February 20, 2012

I remember applying to college and finding out I was accepted, via email, just a few days later. I was disappointed. I had watched the college acceptance process on TV shows and in movies and assumed I would wait in agony for weeks until a bulky or thin letter from the university determining my fate would arrive. Instead, a simple congratulatory email, discovered after school in the journalism room, was all I received. I didn’t even get a chance to hold my breathe before opening it!

Then, I was disappointed in the speed of information because I felt like it degraded my value- as though nothing about my history was being considered. Now, I thrive on this fast-paced delivery of information and drain my battery before the day ends by simply checking email, Facebook and Twitter.

The good news is, my obsession for knowledge is not isolated. 48 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 check Facebook when they wake up in the morning and 28 percent before they get out of bed (guilty!). Is the increased speed of information flow dangerous or a positive change?

For me, it can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s the worst for me when I know an important email is coming, but not when. I assume this is what it was like for students applying for college in the olden days (you know, a few years ago), only worse because we are used to having information at the exact time we want it.

Three years ago, I successfully gave up Facebook for Lent. Could I do that today? Then, I was a sophomore in college so Facebook really only served as a distraction from homework. Since then, Facebook created groups and chat, which was imperative to many group projects. In fact, one day I had to park so far away from my multi-media journalism class that I went to a different computer lab and worked with my group members through our Facebook group instead of wasting 15 minutes walking to class. Even now, as a hopeful PR girl whose future career will most likely involve the use of Facebook on a daily basis, the thought of not having access to social media or the Internet seems impossible.

To step away from the information and technology is not an easy thing to do these days. Because the news is readily at your fingertips, you are expected to be more knowledgeable about the world around you-which, don’t get me wrong, is a great expectation. The challenge comes when we attempt to find a balance between information overload and general knowledge.

Evaluating and separating information we need or want to know from information that is just occupying space helps  to better utilize our time. Logging on to Facebook or Twitter just because  you are bored or to check up/creep on old classmates is not a good habit to practice. We should live in harmony with information, rather than letting it dominate us.

I 100 percent believe in the power of social media and its use for information flow, but sometimes I have to scold myself for checking my phone apps instead of enjoying the life around me. Information is an addiction and accepting it is the first step- Yes, I’m poking fun a little. But seriously, here’s some tips to keep in mind nonetheless. Read Responsibly.

 

** Update: Here is a great article from a social media curator’s point of view. How can the people creating and monitoring social media content avoid burnout?  Four easy steps to avoid social media overload.

 

Is this real life? October 22, 2010

This week at Campus Crusade for Christ’s Fusion, I was definitely distracted by the fact that I needed to write a blog before the night was over and then out of no where, as though a sign from God, the Fusion team used Animoto to create a publicity video and this blog was born.

This week in class, we discussed video sharing, and though I am familiar with the programs used to post them on websites, I had never worked with any video editing software before. As I watched this video in Fusion I thought to myself, “I wish I was that talented,” but as it turns out, I can be!

Free software, such as Animoto, makes it really easy to download your images or video and give it minimal guidance and it will create a professional looking video to share. Another really easy way to create a simple but professional video in 30 minutes is by using a flip camera. Our professor, Melinda Arnold, created a video ready for upload in a five-minute demonstration during class because the camera comes with its own software. Videos can become viral instantly regardless of how much time or money you spend, or hire someone to spend, creating a video.

Another innovative way to incorporate video into an organization or company is through live streaming. For instance, Mizzou has developed its own channel on USTREAM to stream video of different homecoming activities.

Having the ability to include people outside of the actual event promotes the school, homecoming, the organizations involved and even lets me  watch my best friends dance despite the fact that they are three hours away. USTREAM preserves these files so people who missed the live stream can view them at a later date, and even gives the option to embed or download the live stream.

I find it amazing how anyone can create a video and regardless of its quality, it can become viral instantly.  “David After Dentist” is not any less funny because it was shot in a car on a simple home video recorder. A man simply videotaped his son doing something, uploaded it, and the world found it to be funny enough that poor David is now as well-known as a celebrity.

If you are looking for a way to publicize an event or organization, grab a camera and within 30 minutes, the world will see whatever it is you would like them to see. It is a fantastic publicity tool that takes little effort and time and definitely worth utilizing because it is free!

Spoiler alert: I am going to end this conversation here because our next class assignment is a learning assigment when I will attempt to learn a new form of social media.  Therefore, you can be sure to find a blog update on how my personal experience goes with these tools. Perhaps it is not as easy as it seems? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I leave you with YouTube sensation, David.

 

Join the Purple People October 19, 2010

I began noticing earlier this week that several of my friends on Facebook were posting about wearing purple. It was all over Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the news. Oct. 20, 2010 has been named Spirit Day as dedication to the recent suicides caused by bullying kids about their sexuality.

A Canadian teen, Brittany McMillan, used Tumblr to create an unofficial remembrance day for the recent suicides caused by sexual bullying. She stated that everyone should wear purple to make the it is OK to be GLBTQ and that the world will support them no matter what.

The Eastern Echo stated, “Tumblr is like the Twitter of the blogging world where users are able to post text, photos, quotes, audio, and video with speed and ease. Using her account, McMillan was able to spread her request with chain-letter like speed.” The beauty of social media.

As of October 19th at 10 p.m. 76,793 Facebook users were “attending” this event and 13,954 were “maybe” going to attend. People have posted it as their status on Twitter, Facebook and reposted the original blog.This is the power of social media. How amazing is it that people from across the world can unite under one cause and create an unofficial holiday?

Not only is this an excellent remembrance for those who took their own lives because of the hateful environment they lived in, but it lets others in the same situation know that there is hope. As the recently common phrase goes, “it gets better.”

Many celebrities have joined this campaign to end bullying through the Trevor Project which specifically fights GLBTQ bullying. “Trevor” was a film in 1994 that portrayed a 13-year-old boy who attempted to take his life because he was being bullied for his sexual orientation. Upon the film’s television debut, it was discovered that there was no helpline to accompany the film incase others were feeling suicidal like the film but there was none. The Trevor Project was the first helpline established in 1998.

A few of many celebrities that have joined The Trevor Project’s mission include Daniel Radcliffe, the cast of Glee, the cast of Modern Family, The Kardashians, Tim Gunn, Kathy Griffin. These videos are posted on YouTube, another example of how social media is helping this cause.

Ironically, the world of social media and specifically social networking was the cause for some of the situational suicides because of videos leaked online, yet the online world has also become a safe haven for conversation and support.

Social media allows every person to have a voice and for every voice to find a niche that supports their voice. Hopefully, with all of this publicity related to Spirit Day and the world uniting against GLBT bullying, the taboo has been lifted on this topic and victims can find help. No one is alone. It gets better, and that goes for everyone regardless of sexual orientation.

Will you wear purple tomorrow? I will. No one should die because of a bully. (#spiritday)

 

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!

 

Careers in social media October 9, 2010

Did you ever think you could make money by updating Twitter or Facebook accounts? Simply Hired has 6,063 current job listings related to social media and Indeed has 26,624 listings. Something many people use as a social tool or, simply something to pass the time, is introducing a new and very important job opportunity.

Social media’s ability for instant communication and allowance of anyone to post comments about a company or product anywhere on the Internet presents the need for someone to monitor conversations at all times. This allows businesses to not only appreciate and thank consumers for the positive comments, but also to react to negative attention when needed.

This past summer, my best friend had a paid internship that was dedicated to creating and implementing a social media plan. I felt a little jealous that she was getting paid to use Facebook, but there was a lot more research and intention to what she posted than I imagined. After my own internship supervisor left me in charge of our Facebook and Twitter accounts while she was on vacation, I began to realize how much work and consideration actually went into a career in social media and understood why this job deserves to be a paid.

This 2009 podcast from the Ottawa news, “Social Media Jobs on CBC News,” aired during the pioneering stages of social media jobs. Now, in 2010, these jobs are everywhere.

As students, the idea that we could be making money for our knowledge in something we use everyday is pretty exciting. Though it is used differently than when I update my friends that I am going to the movies, the concepts are still familiar. Here are a few tips taken from a Mashable article for people looking for internships or future careers in social media.

The article states that:

  • The top four qualities employers look for are good communication, writing and social skills as well as enthusiasm.
  • Recruiters claim that utilizing social networking websites on their own is an important skill for their intern or employee to acquire because it shows they know how to use them as well as determines their own personality and brand.
  • Interns should be creative, flexible, a team player and willing to learn. They also would like to see their applicant show their social media work rather than simply talking about it.

For more tips and job postings, please read the full article: “What Companies Want in a Social Media Intern,” by Amy Mae Elliot.

So what are you waiting for? Get paid to be social! Did you notice the video from 2009 said social media jobs pay $50,000? That could be you!

 

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?

 

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 AskJeeves.com. 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 gather.com 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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