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.