Sunday, December 7, 2008

Is everyone Twitterpated?

There are two difficult tasks to overcome when deciding to start using Twitter. First, is the grammar involved with past, past participle, present, subjunctive and future ways of even talking about Twitter. Did I just 'twit' a message on Twitter? Did I make a 'tweet'? Am I going to "tweet" or "twitter it"? Am I 'Tweeting", "Twitting" or "Twittering", presently? The world twitter also reminds me of the Disney movie, Bambi, because in the springtime, all the young bucks and does and girl and boy sqirrels and rabbits and skunks and birds all become "Twitterpated" as the wise old owl would say. It scared Bambi and his friends, I remember that much.

Participating on Twitter also seems like a difficult task if your primary audience or network is not on Twitter. Brad's whole office seemed to be on twitter, but will supervisors and leaders of company's want you to use twitter to interact with your co-workers all the time? It will have to be regulated and monitored from a human resources standpoint, just in case it's abused. I know it was abused the other night in class. People were making fun of me on Twitter and I wasn't even in on the joke since I wasn't updating my tweets fast enough. ^_^
Right now, my friends are not on twitter, probably because we all have Facebook and Myspace pages with that sort of information on it. Also, what are we going to tweet about that has anything to do with each other right now? When I move into a PR job or something similar, it will be necessary since small tweets can really help your audience remember, or gear up for events and programs.
Maybe I'll fall into the twitterpated trap, so to speak, as the owl warned us all as kids. At least I know everyone enjoyed themselves after they discovered what it meant to be twitterpated. Perhaps after I get a 'real' job and join in on twitter more often, I'll enjoy it alot more, too.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Missouri State University and Social Media: The Necessary Next Step

It goes without saying that Missouri State University would have to leap into the Mediascape of online communication. The most important time of my life was choosing which college to attend after my Associate's Degree was finished, and a large part of why I chose MSU's Department of Communication was because information about this department was at the click of a button, thanks to Carey Adams, then Head of the Department. He has done wonderful things to keep the COM department up to date with the latest online trends, and the InCommon Blog that goes out to all the Undergraduate and Graduate Students has been online for over 4 years. It started as a Newsletter/Website for the COM department, but Dr. Adams and our professors clearly understood that they needed to adapt to the fresh markets that interested students such as myself would be interested in viewing. Now, he's Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, and rightfully so.

Brad Mitchell, New Media master at Missouri State University has his work cut out for him. I could spend entire days on MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot, LinkedIn, Del.ic.ious, Technorati, and Google (with all it's progyny in GoogleEarth, GoogleReader, and Google searches in general). [My goodness where do you find a job like his? I hope more New Media positions are opening up and will be waiting for me when I graduate!!] Anyway, Brad's presentation of all the work he does for Missouri State was enough to fill a 12-18 hour day, every day, and it's rightfully so.
Who does Missouri State need to reach online that it's so important for a New Media specialist to be hired? High-School, College-Bound, Scholarship-seeking, future students of our Alma Mater. Alumni. Our External Partners, Stakeholders, such as Missouri State Government; Competition such as the University of Missouri System, and others. But the main event is still future students. And within the next year, Alumni will probably be a much stronger audience than they are right now in social media relations. People will get the idea soon enough.
Interestingly, I was just discussing Natalie Hinds' COM Theory paper with her before writing this blog, and she is looking at the concept of the 'Digital Divide' where online social media and our push to use it becomes more of an issue in information sharing because there are still certain socio-economic classes that don't have access to these websites we are swooning all about. Heck, in Poplar Bluff, MO alone I bet that there are people MY AGE who never get on a computer. Why do they need to spend that kind of money and time? They don't when they are farmers, factory workers and their whole lives revolve around our little community. So how do we reach those who have little to no access to online communication? What about when it's not about marketing, promotions, or public relations but its about their HEALTH? Let us not forget that the traditional ways (snail mail, posters, brochures, A PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF AN ORGANIZATION'S PHONELINE) are still necessary in order to understand, communicate and think about the diverse world in which we live.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Waiting for the other foot to drop

We all know about Podcasts -- and how people can download audio/visual 'broadcasts' of someone else's onto their personal music/video device or computer. What I want to see now is this technology be integrated with the wireless world. What I mean is, when can each person who decides to create podcasts going to get their own wireless channel, like on Sirius or XM satellite?

Another thought, I do think that Podcasts are an interesting way to communicate information, but I see it being more of an internal communication tool for the PR rep than external. Meeting debreifings, conference debreifings, things that people need to catch up on about their organization, this would be a great way to transform the hum-drum newsletter from days of old into the Web 2.0 world.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ethical Challenges to IMC

The problem I see with Integrated Marketing Communications is the idea that you are putting marketing communication with public relations. I don't typically view marketing as being very ethical. Maybe this is a stigma that I've received from uncredible sources, but it's been an issue for a long time now, way before we've been talking about Web 2.0 or even seriously considering the internet as a big marketing tool. It's probably all the Bill Hicks comedy specials I've watched (you really need to click on this link - but be warned- lots of swearing).

Monday, November 3, 2008

Press Releases

The handout given in class about how to write a press release online was very helpful to understand how formatting and general layouts will be better received in online media. I couldn’t help but notice that the version already had a ‘1.5’ attached to it. What this tells me is that this formatting template is merely the first of many. This formatting will be in constant flux as we as Communication and Public Relations scholars continue to conduct marketing research and shift into new paradigms. It seems that standards and norms such as this press release template will constantly change depending on what the demands of online constituents are. This could change in a few years, or tomorrow.

We now have to think of who will be viewing our press releases. It’s not just the media we are trying to connect with anymore. Any informed person can look online and view a press release (whether they know it’s a press release or not will be another story). I’m expecting that by the time I retire I will be viewing a press release format version ‘56.3’, which will deal with holograms and formatting your press release to be viewed in the windshield of your flying car and other futuristic options for you to consider when practicing PR.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Social Networking: Etiquette

Social networks, like other forms of social media, holds alot of potential to do good and harm a PR practitioner. I think the best advice I would give to a fellow PR rep (and myself) is to choose wisely about what you disclose when thinking about your clientel. external vendors and other relationships you create in your career.

Some people like being able to communicate fast and easy through sites that they are already subscribed to (i.e. Myspace, Twitter, Facebook etc). But what if you are subscribed to a site that half of your clinets are not? Pay attention to generational differences, and even personality differences in the clientel and internal/external partners at your job. I still appreciate a phone call from my doctor's office reminding me of a visit and frankly think it would be too weird if my Doctor's office asked me to be a friend on facebook. Personally, I use Social Networking site to talk to close friends, and have never used Myspace/Facebook to communicate with a potential employer or customer. At least, not at this point. I'm easily swayed by whoever is on the 'bandwagon' in many situations, so if the pressure builds, i'll probably cave.

I think the biggest thing a PR professional could do when creating a page of their own on a Social Networking site is to keep the information about you to an absolute minimum! For instance, if you love Barack Obama and your client is an avid McCain supporter, that could easily alienate the relationship you are trying to build. Put information about your job skills, past projects, professional associations and professional awards you've received. It is very important for clients to see and read the same things as you would tell them in real life. Let the personal disclosure information come naturally through conversation, if you and your employer feels it's appropriate.

Do research. One of the basic lessons that 100-level students understand learning about Public Speaking here at Missouri State is to analyze your audience. You will have to conform to them. Remember, you are a leader, an organizer and a service provider, so act that way.

Friday, October 10, 2008

RSS and Me: The Affair Begins

The biggest challenge for a PR professional is getting your message to the right people. Sometimes the right people are newspaper editors, current and potential clients, vendors, investors, or even event organizers. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a great way to filter information and tailor what news and blog posts you want to see when you log onto the internet. There are some great benefits to this new technology.

RSS feeds can *really* help if you are representing a client and want to make sure that any and all information out there about them is tailored to your specific communicative needs. For example, if Morningstar Communications in Kansas City had Boulevard Brewing Co. as their PR client, then just being able to subscribe to the blogs and news categories concerning the beverage industry or more specifically, beer, would be very advantageous and a huge time-saver. The keyword searches are a wonderful tool to have, and you even can see how many people have subscribed to a blog or website. Now that RSS feeds are in the mix of information dissemination, PR professionals have a new tool to relieve the information overload that comes with surfing the 'net. In fact, I’ve just subscribed to a bunch of RSS feeds for the first time just because I’m learning about them.
BUT -- what if your messages get filtered out? There's a saying for that: S.O.L.
The moral: We as PR professionals will have to think smarter about how to disseminate our information and make sure it gets into the right hands.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My future?

This is a big concept to try to discuss: Where do I see myself after college? At this point, I can't even see myself surviving Quantitative Methods. My ideal is that as soon as I am finished with the necessary coursework here at Missouri State, that I am able to move up to Saint Louis and try to get a job. What kind of job? Ideally, a departmenrt of communication in an organization. Somewhere that I can feel like I am taking care of my fellow employees. If I could excersice my mediation/negotiation skills in a business setting, and excercise my leadership and organization experience as well, that would be ideal. I like doing research, and I thought it would be neat to work at WashU with their research component. I'd like to keep the option of teaching at a Community College or a St. Louis university open just in case the economy is not in my favor for a business potition somewhere. I'm very glad i am getting my Master's degree, because it opens alot of doors. With my four years of professional experience, leadership experience, organizational experience, mediation experience and conflict management experience, I hope that this makes me viable and a great candidate for a great job.
My living plans are not as material as they used to be. I'll be happy finding a room to rent for the next few years by a fellow professional who needs to extra resources. I'd like to get my Jeep back -- I miss my Wrangler so much (ok, so that's a little bit materialistic) -- but more importantly I want to finally feel like I am in the right place in my life, where I can enjoy more of my immediate joys. I want to enjoy my family and friends more. Right now I keep making excuses for why I can't come home on the weekends and why I can't travel more to see friends. I need the resources that will let me accomlish that.

I do my bloggin' after midnight

Ok, not really. I usually try to leave campus by 10 Pm. The custodian at Craig Hall likes to watch Leno. ^_^ If my job was to read blogs and look at Social Media online in order to conduct public relations for a company, my head could easily explode. There's only two blogs I have ever read with any consistency, and both of the writers are close friends of mine. it's hard for me to read blogs, and I feel like I am missing out on some rich information.

A few years ago (2004) I was President of a student organization here at the Department of Communication. We had a really good year that year and the professional chapter of the organization awarded us with an 'Internatiuonally renowned" Business Communicator. They suggested a man from the west coast named Shel Holtz. When I asked headquarters what he specialized in, they told me he really liked talking about new technology called Web Logging or 'Blogs'. My face crinkled up with distaste. Why would we want to hear about someone's journal online? How is that going to help business communicators, leaders, event planners, and public relations practitioners? Imagine the disgust I felt in myself when I see that blogs are some of the most influential pieces of communication out on the web as we speak. I opted to have a speaker who would talk to us about media relations, and she ended up taling about things that everybody had already learned about.

That was a big mistake, and can be added to the few regrets that I have in my career sofar.

Monday, September 29, 2008


A PR professional has to be very careful of monitoring YouTube. There are now jobs in the communication field that rely solely on managing the PR of an organization on the World Wide Web. My friend who worked for the City of Branson said that his main duty was to search the internet, every day, and make sure that the messages being sent out by other internet users was accurate and the way that Branson wanted to be portrayed in online media. For example, if a blogger posted a blog that said he/she just came back from Branson, and his testimonial was that it was a town full of ‘Jesus-freaks ‘and ‘old people’, then my friend’s duty was to reply to that blogger by stating all of the attractions that the blogger must have missed that would have given him a different perspective of Branson. That way, any reader of the blog could see that there are other opinions, and if persuaded, the blogger him/herself could negate his previous statement. YouTube poses that same need for high monitoring. YouTube users have ‘vlogs’ that they can easily say anything in, and it’s our duty as PR professionals to make sure to provide feedback and comments to regulate the messages.

I think that YouTube, if used the right way, can really help an organization. As we saw in the Dr. Wesch video, YouTube users were very angry when someone was disingenuous on YouTube. There was the example of the ‘Emo’ boy from some Mid-Western state who was actually a British boy posing. People got mad, and we saw that they were mad by the responses they posted in both writing and in video. I think that it may be a good idea to find a blog user, someone real and genuine who is willing to truthfully talk about your product/service and have them post in their vlogs a testimonial about what they think of your product/service.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Global Warming is just "God hugging us closer"

Sarah Palin may very well be the next President of the United States. My neighbor told me last night that if that happened, he may very well leave the country. Palin seemed like a very interesting choice made by presidential candidate John McCain. I think that the SNL skit aired last week is a great way of summing up the feelings that I and many others are having about Mrs. Palin entering the horse-race we call Presidential Elections.


I was never much of a Hillary Clinton supporter. I did wonder what it would have been like to have Bill back in the White House as the ‘First Gentleman’ or whatever he would have been called. The thought entertained me enough to never really turn negative towards Clinton, but still I didn’t see a big reason to support her (or any mainstream candidate for that matter). The SNL skit does make me sympathize for Hillary, though. I don’t know if this is a gender-issue or not, but think about it: A strong, motivated woman, who fought and worked her way almost to break through the glass ceiling of the highest office in the land, only to fall short and now Mrs. Palin, a new comer to the political spectrum, is even closer to the Oval office than Hillary ever was. It’s like a Greek tragedy. Homer could not have done any better (ok, maybe he could). Palin reminds me of these girls I went to high school with. They were of a certain faith, one that normally gets represented outwardly by style of clothes, hair and attitude. These girls were more vindictive and snobbish than the cutest, most in-style, classic preppy-cheerleader ever was. They wore their faith proudly by the judgments they made on others. Their opinions kept any sense of diversity away from their rose-colored world. It always baffled me that girls who talk, sang, and preached so much about the love of their faith could bash so many who were different than them. It really made me mistrust them. Palin reminds me of those girls.

Hancock: The Best Portrayal of PR Ever!

I saw the movie 'Hancock' this weekend with some other Grad students. We all thought that the screenwriters must have been in some COM classes at some point in their lives because there was references to 'conflict management skills' and alot of PR references. We were interested in the Jason Bateman charecter because he was a PR specialist and he was one of the most positive PR portrayals I have ever seen in the media. His primary motive in the movie was to help save the world and he tried to approach this by talking to major corporations and trying to persuade them to donate some of their biggest selling products to people in need. For instance, at the beginning of the movie, he pitched his 'All-Heart' brand to a Pharmecutical Company and asked them to donate their latest medication to treat Tuberculosis (which was a very expensive, exclusive drug) in people who could not afford it and were in desperate need of the treatment. Needless to say, the corporate executives laughed in his face. And the dynamic he brings to the story of Hancock is a positive role, too. Has anyone else seen this movie??