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.


The midterm #election on #Twitter November 6, 2010

Filed under: social media — thisgirlsarah @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m not a big politics person, so the purpose of this post being several days after the midterm election is because I find the election period overwhelming. There are endless advertisements everywhere, including social media.

As I jumped on Twitter Tuesday night I was welcomed by a seemingly endless stream of election results. I follow several local and national affiliates, however the three dominating the election talk on my Twitter feed were the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and NPR.

Because I didn’t stay on for long I didn’t notice any specific trends, however, apparently this round of elections was revolutionary for both Twitter and the news media!Even Twitter wrote a story about how impressed they were with the success of Twitter usage for election related news.

The New York Times attempted to stand out by utilizing a visualization of the conversations occurring on Twitter as well as a streamline of tweets. The Senate races starting October 21 and ending on election day can be seen here, but below is a static picture of the visualization.

CNN also created a visual using the tweets directed at monitoring the conversations on Twitter. For instance, CNN posted several different maps of what people were talking about. One compilation answered the question, “Why are you voting” but it was not a poll or a direct question, just simply what people were tweeting about. They also used this same visual on CNN television. What a great analysis of the election’s presence on Twitter!

Lastly, the Washington Post did something no one had ever done before as well. They became the first organization to buy one of Twitter’s “promoted  trends.” This looks just like a normal tweet, but it notes that it has been paid for by an advertiser. When anyone used the hashtag #elections, it would promote the Washington post first. According to a post-election article measuring the success of this promotion, the Washington Post said it was successful in driving traffic to the paper’s website but that their main purpose was to just be at the center of the conversation.


The innovative ways in which these organizations used social media to engage with the audience though analysis and conversation proved they were accepting this new trend in resources for information.

While some people might still be in shock that many people rely on Yahoo or other online sources to receive their news, that is officially, for lack of better terms, old news.

The new trend is in social media and especially using Twitter as an outlet for delivering news. It is mobile, fast and it is here to stay. For these three news outlets to reach out to their audience in such a different way shows real progression.

Where do you get your news from?

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Foursquare in space? Really? October 27, 2010

I realize my mind was focused on homecoming preparations a lot the past weekend, but I am wondering how I missed the fact that astronaut, Douglas H. Wheelock, unlocked a new badge on Foursquare from space.

First of all, though these astronauts have been traveling in space all summer, I had no idea they were able to use their phones and tweet along their journey! According to Mashable, astronauts have been tweeting since 2009, so clearly my social media knowledge is not as great as I had hoped.

While I understand there are satellites in the sky, I still find it amazing that they are even able to do anything with his cell phone. The important question is, who will become the next mayor of space? According to an article on Mashable, soon non-astronauts can unlock the badge as well by visiting and checking in at NASSA related locations listed at their Foursquare page.

Wheelock and his team of astronauts are continuing to tweet about what they are doing and what they see. A couple of other astronauts have chosen to share their experience via social media as well. Shannon Walker keeps a blog and Scott Kelly tweets about their mission and daily tasks (@stationcdrkelly).

In times past, information about what our astronauts were doing up in space wasn’t streamed to us as quickly as it is today and we definitely were never able to see photos in real time. Here is one of my favorite photos from Douglas (@Astro_Wheels):

Douglas has also created a game with his pictures as he uploads a new picture every so often and has viewers guess what city or landmark the shuttle is orbiting above. Viewers have a lot of fun trying to guess where he is and watching the pictures. There were 37 comments on the photo above and they trickle in long after the initial post.

This seems like an extremely effective use of social media for NASSA. Most likely these astronauts were trained before entering space as to how to utilize social media. The instant communication we have with someone in outer space is a genius way to promote the space program.

I learned so much more from this discovery than I ever would have if I had relied on traditional media outlets.

Did you know that astronauts were tweeting from space? Thanks for your thougths!


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)


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