Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goals for 2010

This year, I'm not going to come up with my usual New Year's resolution, which is something meaningless that I thought of around 11:45 p.m. on December 31st. After some inspiration from a great blogger, Matt Cheuvront of Life Without Pants, I'll be making a real list and goals I will actively pursue in 2010. Be sure to check out his post at

I'm changing things up with this post; it's not necessarily about public relations or social media, other than my own goals for those. My list will include professional goals, but also some personal ones because all work and no play leads to a lot of stress. I also think it's important that I be specific with my goals. I can easily say I'll try to blog more in 2010. But if I say, I will blog at least once per week, then I have something to stick to. So, without further ado, here's my list:

1. Blog at least once per week
2. Read the NYTimes every day (even if it's just top stories)
3. Attend more guest speakers (There are a lot at the Newhouse School, and I go to many, but I also make excuses for not going to many.)
4. Go skydiving (graduates from my program plan to after graduation)
5. Read more books for fun (One per month)
6. Comment more on other people's blogs (At least once every other day)
7. Find a nonprofit I'm passionate about, and volunteer my time (Since graduating from undergrad, I feel I've been less involved in charitable work).
8. Buy a car, preferably a better one than my last P.O.S.
9. Find an internship at a technology PR agency in New York City or Boston where I can learn a lot.
10. Find a job at a technology PR agency in Boston, where I can be passionate about my work, and continue to learn and grow.

Those are my New Year's resolutions. I feel they are all attainable, and I truly think that sticking to these goals will help me feel more fulfilled professionally, and allow me to have some fun. I'm excited about 2010, but I won't lie, I'm also scared out of my mind. This year, I graduate, again, but this time for good. I'll receive my master's degree in public relations, and I won't return back to school. This means, I'm facing the real world. No more government funded living (through student loans), no more sleeping in because class doesn't start until noon, and no more professors with incredible feeback on all my work. Instead, I'll have many more bills to pay on top of my rent, I'll wake up early 5 days a week and probably work more than 8 hours a day, and I'll probably be scrambling to impress my boss and prove to him or her that they chose the right person for the job. I'm excited though, because I thrive on pressure. And I know that wherever I end up, I will be the right person for the job, because I'll be passionate about it. I chose to get a graduate degree in public relations because I truly love it. I love the many different forms it comes in, I love that it's always evolving, I love the pressure of deadlines, and I love doing something I love.

In the end, all of my goals allow me to do something I love, and that's what New Year's resolutions should be all about. Not sure if this is necessarily a PR thought, but that's definitely my thought for the day.

Image is taken from Google Images.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Time Management for the Long Run

This post is related to time management, not necessarily in your daily routine, though of course that's important. More so, however, I stress the importance of time management for the long run. Daily, I try to fill my down time with something productive, such as reading relevant blogs or researching books I'd like to buy. For the long run, I also try to mazimize my down time.

By this, I mean that I try not to look at off-time as just a relaxing vacation. Right now, I have a month off from graduate school, and a month off from work, since I also work at the university's business school. I could do a few things with this time; catch up with college and high school friends from home; take advantage of my parents' subscriptions to movie channels, catch up on some TV shows I've missed while at school; or I could stay relevant and get more experience in PR.

Well, I've made my decision. I am staying connected to my old friends, but I am also making new connections, while I get more experience with PR. Thanks to a good friend of mine, I was contacted with a great opportunity to do some PR work for a nonprofit organization, CYCLE Kids, while I'm home. The organization itself is great, implementing bicycling programs at inner city schools to teach healthy living styles. The executive director is giving me an amazing opportunity, allowing me to work on some great PR stuff. The best part is, she's really listening to my ideas. Sure, she needs help with all the traditional stuff like media pitches and press releases, but when she asked for my opinion, she was really listening. That's empowering. She's even letting me run with an idea about a digital sound slides video to post online. This experience will truly allow me to grow into a more empowered PR professional.

Beyond this work though, I'm looking into some other great opportunities while I'm home in Boston. I'm taking advantage of the high presence of tech PR firms here and I plan on attending as many guest speakers and events as possible. Unfortunately, I missed a great one today with John Cass, but I know there will be more great opportunities.

The first week of January, I'm headed down to Florida to visit my grandparents, and I plan to experience that trip with my PR goggles on as I visit different sights (including my favorite place, the Magic Kingdom). I haven't visited Florida since I was much younger, and I think that it will be a different experience with my new PR outlook.

Of course, most PR students know to get involved while in school, joining different organization like PRSSA, and getting internships and such experiences. It's the off-time that many of us don't take advantage of. Basically, time management for the long run comes down to taking advantage of every opportunity, even when you're on vacation. That's my PR thought for the day.

Image taken from Google images

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Misleading Blogs: When Descriptions Don't Match the Content

Have you ever read the description for a blog and been really excited to read it, only to find out that the content is not at all what it claimed to be? Well, I just did. I won't mention the blog, but I think this is advice most people should listen to.

The blog claimed to be about architecture; trends, news, and specifically designs. However, the majority of the posts on the blog site were about how this particuluar individual has been connecting with people in the architecture world, and the importance of online marketing and blogging in architecture. The information this blogger provided was in fact useful to many architects, I'm sure. However, the content had nothing to do with what the blog claimed to be about.

This really made me angry, particularly because I was hoping to send some relevant architectural information to my brother, an aspiring architect studying at MIT. I thought he might find content about interesting new design ideas useful in his studies. If the blogger had claimed to be writing about networking and online marketing in the architecture industry, then I would not have been nearly as frustrated when I was searching for content about architecture designs.

Sometimes, it is okay to change things up with a new post about something different or interesting; but the majority of your content should match your blog descrption. For example, this post is a critique of an online marketing/social media tool - which is precisely what my blog claims to be about. My content matches my description.

The lesson to be learned here is not to mislead potential readers of your blog by claiming your blog is about a certain topic, and then actually writing about something else. That's my PR thought for the day.

Image is take from Google images.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Great PR Insight I Received While in NYC

Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend a benchmark trip for Syracuse University graduate students in the public relations program. We traveled to New York City on Wednesday, and on Thursday and Friday we visited various public relations agencies and the PR departments of companies. On Thursday night, we also attended a panel discussion of Newhouse Alums working in the public relations industry.

The trip was an incredible and invaluable experience, where I learned so much about the different sectors of public relations. Before attending this trip, I was positive that tech PR was the only thing I wanted to do. Being from Boston, I was sure I would move home after graduating from Newhouse, and get an entry-level position at one of the many tech PR firms in the Boston area.

After the trip, I find myself re-evaluating my life plans as I'm not entirely married to the idea of tech PR, or Boston anymore. While tech PR is still my number one choice for a career path as I am truly fascinated by the fast-paced and exciting industry, I am not limiting myself to only that industry. We visited Bliss PR, where I learned all about B2B PR and that's it's not nearly as boring as I thought it might be. At Financial Dynamics, I learned about the various tasks that go into financial PR and also that you don't need an accounting degree to understand the business. At A&E Television network and the PMK agency, I learned about the excitement of entertainment and celebrity PR.

At the panel discussion Thursday night, we were fortunate to hear the experiences of Newhouse alums from the Edelman PR firm, and the lessons they learned about getting a foot in the door and living in NYC. The Q & A session that followed was invaluable to all of us who are still nervous about where we'll be in a year from now. After the panel discussion, I truly have more confidence in my abilities to find a job in the field, and excel at it.

Bite Communications was the tech PR firm that we visited, and the Vice President, Sean Mills, also sat on the panel Thursday night. Tech PR is a field I have always been interested in and the presentation by the Bite team truly added to that interest. It's an exciting field that is in constant motion, always changing. The fast-paced environment seems like the right fit for me. Additionally, the organizational culture that I observed at Bite was incredible. Every employee appeared to feel like a valued team member and they were all quite friendly and comfortable with one another.

Here's a list of a five of the most important things I learned while on this trip:

1. Writing Competency is Indispensable - No matter what sector of PR you end up going into, you will need to have absolute confidence in your writing skills. One mistake, one typo, can make or break a pitch or a press release.

2. Be Confident in Making Pitches - You need to be comfortable enough with your communications skills to just pick up the phone and make a great pitch to a reporter or anyone else. This part of PR will never fade, never go away, so it needs to be mastered by anyone in PR.

3. Networking is Invaluable - Whether it is to find a job, or to make a pitch to a media outlet or reporter, the connections you have are vital. Always stay in touch with people you meet in the field, no matter what. Send friendly e-mails, or thank you notes to people who have taken the time to assist you in any way, or that you have assisted. This will set you apart from the rest of the crowd.

4. Get Involved in the Industry You Want to Work In - If you want to do tech PR, B2B, financial, or entertainment PR, you need to follow those industry trends. Every industry needs PR; you need to be involved in those industries that interest you most. This means following the news, as well as the online conversation. Pay attention to blogs and follow companies from the industry on Twitter.

5. Be Really Good at One Thing - While it is very important to be versatile, it's also important to have a niche that you are really great at. This will allow you to be the go-to person for that thing at your company. If you're great at social media, let people know that so when they have a problem or question about it, they will come to you. Your expertise could really impress the people you work with and help you move up faster in the organization.

In any field, the ones who are truly great are the ones who are always learning. One can never know everything there is to know about public relations, but the greatest practitioners never pass up an opportunity to learn something new or become better. That's my PR thought for the day.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Traditional Media is Still the Front Runner for News in America

Where do most Americans get their news? Not the Web like you might have though. I found this bit of information on the Schwartz Communicaions blog, Schwartz Crossroads. The post is "Will IT Spending Impact Tech PR Budgets in 2010" ( Towards the end, they mention that 72% of Americans still get their news primarily through traditional media, according to the First Amendment Center.

At first, I thought this was outrageous, but the more I thought about it, the more I think I understand why it's true. Let's think about who is actually reading the news. Generally, it's not the generations that use the Internet the most. So if they're not reading the news, then they are out of the picture in the first place on this matter. Though they may never pick up a newspaper, they are also not spending their time reading it online. Among those who do pay attention to newsworthy stories, many still prefer to get it from newspapers and television. Still, the news is all over the Web; and it's important to remember that it's not just the original story that's on there.

More than the just the actual story, there are reactions, criticisms, gossip, and all kinds of other talk ABOUT the news. If you want your story to reach as many audiences as possible, it's okay to still use traditional media, in fact, you absolutely should to ensure you are reaching those audiences that will never go to news sites. Just make sure you also use the Web to promote your story and monitor the conversations and feedback about it. That way, you know how your supporters, critics, and everyone else is reacting to the news. That's my PR thought for the day.

Image is taken from Google images

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Whole Family is on Facebook

Remember when us college students joined Facebook a few years back as a way to get to know our other classmates? Was anyone else a little upset when they first started letting other users on there? I know I was one of those people. I joined Facebook the summer before I started college. People from orientation sent me friend requests and I thought it was a great networking site for college students. Then the first time I got a request from someone who was in high school, I was pretty upset. I liked that Facebook set itself apart from Myspace with their requirement of having a .edu e-mail address. I'll admit though, the idea has since grown on me - a lot.

Now, just about anyone can join Facebook, and so many people are jumping on the bandwagon. I really started to like this idea when I started to get updates about old classmates, cousins, or old teammates about things going on in their lives. Honestly, I would have been months behind in finding out my cousin was going to be a father if Facebook Newsfeed hadn't told me! Now, I get to follow along on his fiance's Facebook page and find out just about every step of the pregnancy, as she updates it frequently. I get to see ultra sounds, I know they are having a boy who will be named Tyler, and I know he is due on Halloween. My cousin has a lot going on, especially being a young soon-to-be father, so I know he doesn't have time to call all of his almost 30 cousins and tell each of us the updates of his fiance's pregnancy. This way, he doesn't have to.

About two months ago, my mother finally caved and joined Facebook also. Now this came as a complete shock to me, since she claimed she never would. After chatting with her friends, she finally decided that the benefits were too great to ignore it anymore. All of her friends and sisters-in-law were more well connected and she felt left out of the loop sometimes. She is still having trouble keeping up sometimes, since she is new (and late) to this game. She is definitely trying though. And I've been trying to help her out by sending friend suggestions of family members I know she would like to connect with through Facebook. She may finally be getting the hang of it. She called me the other day to say she was sorry I lost my soccer game, after I updated my status that we had lost.

And yes, even my grandparents have joined the game. My grandfather is quite the avid user of Facebook. In fact, he felt the need to rub in the nice Florida weather he is experiencing, after my status complained of how bitterly cold I was at the bus stop here in Syracuse, NY.

Personally, I'm excited that my family is opening up to the idea of staying connected through Facebook. It makes my life a lot easier to not have to call everyone when something happens, and I get to stay connected with important people in my life. That's my PR thought for the day.

Image is taken from

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Connecting with the Individual American

Are you ready to let go of the "average American" concept? According to an article by Bradley Johnson on, the 2010 Census will reveal a major shift in American consumerism, in which we'll do just that. The article can be found here:

The article talked about the end of "Joe Consumer" aka the average American. What does this mean for PR people? It means that now, more than ever, it's time to really take advantage of your social media and corporate sites. Campaigns to mass audiences will always have their degree of effectiveness, but now, especially with the farewell to Joe Consumer, companies need to be engaged with their target audiences on a more personal level, connecting with the individual.

Companies need to get onto their sites and start interacting with consumers, potential consumers, or critics of the company or product. If consumers have a chance to ask questions, custom make a product on the site, or talk with an employee through blogging or some other medium, they'll probably be more likely to come back to your company again or tell their friends about you.

Additionally, social media sites can act as a way to correct a problem or handle a complaint a company might not have even known existed. For example, it's easy to hate large corporation X if you had a problem with their product. It's harder to hate that employee John Doe from corporation X who responded to your blog post within minutes to offer his apologies, some advice on how to fix your problem, or maybe some sort of compensation for your troubles.

You can't reach everyone; but interacting with consumers on social media and corporate sites gives you a personal advantage. That's my PR thought for the day.

Image is from

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mark McClennan Offers Advice to PR Students

Last night, I attended the PRSSA Induction ceremony at Syracuse University. The guest lecturer, was Mark McClennan, a Syracuse alum, past president of the PRSA Boston, and VP at Schwartz Communications in Boston. His lecture consisted of his experiences starting out after graduating, and advice for students who will also be starting out soon. He offered a lot of great information and tips that I will definitely be remembering when I graduate in 2010; I'll highlight some of the tips I found most useful.

Mark frequently speaks about social media, including a discussion at the PRSA Northeast District Conference this past Thursday. His advice to students was, not surprisingly, that they need to have a great understanding of social media. He warned that although Twitter and similar social media outlets might not necessarily be around in a few years, that idea of instant information boards and microblogging will be for a long time. Therefore, get familiar with the technology and how it is most effectively used, and be ready to leave it behind for something better.

Mark also spoke about how every company nowadays is jumping on the social media bandwagon, thinking they need to use every social media outlet there is available. Therefore, they have several accounts, and aren't doing much with any of them. His advice - pick the three services that will be best used to reach YOUR audience and be actively involved on those accounts.

Since Schwartz is a tech PR agency, he offered his best advice to students trying to get into that field; read all the industry magazines available and be knowledgeable. You can read every Google alert you get, all your Google reader accounts, 10 newspapers, and every blog you subscribe to and still miss something. No matter how much you're reading now. It's not enough. That goes for any type of PR.

You don't have to be a tech person to be in tech PR, most people at tech PR agencies aren't tech people. You simply have to be a PR person that can speak tech, because tech people usually don't know much about PR.

Additionally, Mark says that if you don't have an internship on your resume, your application is likely to be thrown out, at Schwartz and at many other companies. If you're going into tech PR, you're better off having an internship with a tech PR firm.

Mark also encourages people entering into PR to be aggressive. Silence is deadly - speak up and be assertive. Those are the people that rise to the top faster and the people he says he wants on all of his biggest accounts.

If you're new in PR, and your superior tells you to contact reporters, be assertive and use the phone over e-mailing news reporters. It's still 33% more effective than e-mailing. Pitch your idea fast though, because once you get them, you have 7 seconds to convince them.

Lastly, writing skills are vital to success for any PR person. It is possibly the most valuable skill to master. Practice writing a pitch letter, over and over again. You can never get enough practice and it's an imperative skill. Everyone who works at Schwartz has to write one before they get hired.

Overall, Mark's lecture was beneficial to anyone who is hoping to be successful in public relations. Syracuse offers a lot of great lectures about social media and PR, and my advice is to go to as many of them as possible. Take advantage of these free opportunities because they won't always be there. It's a great way to network and to learn information that you might not get other places. That's my PR thought for the day.

Image is from Google images.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bringing the Doctor Into the Home via the Internet

Have you ever asked your grandparents what they use the Internet for most? Would you be surprised if it was for their health?

I recently read a journal article from Health Communication, written by Wendy Macias and Sally McMillan from the advertising and public relations schools at the University of Georgia and the University of Tennessee. The article was titled, "The Return of the House Call: The Role of Internet-based Interactivity in Bringing Health Information Home to Older Adults." It provided insight on how older Americans use the Internet for health communication, and how reliable they found it.

The study found that 72% of older online women seek health information, while 51% of men do; and of those people 1/3 of them take the information they find to their physician. In a sense, they are beginning their health care at home. They can enter symptoms and find certain treatments for smaller problems, and go to their doctors if they think it might be more serious.

Though the article focused on older adults, online health communication is a service that can provide value to a wide range of demographics; the college freshman who is away from home for the first time and thinks he might have mono or the single mom who just lost her and health insurance but wants to ensure her children are healthy - this service can be useful to just about anyone.

Online health communication makes life easier for the those who seek health information online, and for their physicians. People don't have to wait to make an appointment every time they think something is wrong with their health, so it is more timely for them. Meanwhile, doctors do not have patients calling them and making appointments for every little problem that sometimes turns out to be nothing.

Interestingly enough though, the study found that older Americans consider easily accessible health information not to be reliable or of high quality. So if it is easy to access, they trust it less. This may be an opportunity for health information forums to becoming more credible; maybe they can even charge for a subscription based health Web site, that people will trust more because it's not free.

If not, they can offer free memberships, but require people to sign up and be members to access the health information. This provides them more credibility, and they can offer advertisements to pharmacies and other health services as a way to cash in.

Online health communication provides people with a more hands-on approach to their own health. In a way, it brings the doctor into the home. It is more cost-effective and less time-consuming for the average user. It can be quite a useful tool, even if it's just confirming that someone should make an appointment with their physician. That's my PR thought for the day.

Photo provided by Google images.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cultural Diplomacy Through Blogging


Earlier this week I blogged about a cultural diplomacy panel discussion I attended at Syracuse University. One of the topics of discussion was social media and how Marjane Satrapi did not think it was an effective tool for improving diplomatic relations, and how panelist David Pogue disagreed. As I stated in that blog, I also believe that social media is a great tool for cultural diplomacy. The more I thought about, I began to believe it even more and I got to thinking about a book I read last year.

The book is called "Baghdad Burning," and it is a compilation of blog posts written by an anonymous female only known as Riverbend, who lives in Baghdad. She blogs about her experiences and feelings in regards to the Iraqi War. Her story is incredible and moving and I learned a lot from reading this book.

Riverbend began blogging in 2003 and was last heard from in October of 2007, after arriving safely in Syria with her family. Her posts were well-written and insightful; providing her honest political insight as well as cultural information about her family and her country.

I do not mean to review this book, though I do highly recommend it. This blog though, is a prime example of cultural diplomacy achieved through social media. Through her emotional and insightful story-telling, people from across the globe are able to share her experiences. Many disagreed with her viewpoints, I'm sure, many learned things about the war, and many wept for her and her family and friends. Everyone who read it though, had a better understanding of what it is like to live through that, on the other side of this war. Whether or not you support the war, which I will not get into because this is not a political blog, a sense of understanding and sympathy went out to this girl and her family.

That is cultural diplomacy. Many people felt a connection to this girl, and therefore to the people of Iraq. Many had greater understandings after reading her blog. In this case, and in other similar to it, social media has proven its use for the good of cultural diplomacy.

Social media isn't just an online marketing tool, it's a tool to help us understand one another and provide connections and sense of understanding across cultures and countries. That's my PR thought for the day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Starbucks Uses Social Media for Business. No, Really

Maybe you saw my title and thought, so what? A lot of businesses are using social media to promote their brands. Well, that's great, but that's not what Starbucks is doing, well not all of it at least. They are actually using social media to CONDUCT business, not just promote it. I got this tidbit of useful information from one of my favorite blogs, Mashable. (

So yes, they've had Wi-Fi for a while now, that's not what I'm talking about. They are actually providing a way to find the Starbucks closest to you and even pay for your coffee using your mobile device. Hey, if I can pay and be done with it on the bus on my way to work - I'm doing it! That's not all though, with this FREE mobile app, you can customize your own drink and save it, manage your Starbucks card account balance, search for stores with drive-thrus, and invite people in your address book to meet you there.

I thought this was an important feature to write about because it's an example of a business that's really using social media to make getting a cup of coffee easier for their valued customers. And let's be honest, a lot of us out there need our coffee because we're not quite awake enough to function, so if getting it is easier - I'm sold. This is a valuable tool that was obviously made with the customer in mind. That's value in social media. That's smart mobile business.

A lot of companies get a Facebook page or promote an event or their brand using Twitter, which is all good. But somehow they think that makes them progressive and they really give themselves a pat of the back for using social media. The businesses that see the greatest payback from using social media though, are the companies like Starbucks, that see how it can add value to their customers' days. They're not just talking about social media, they are really doing it in a way that will no doubt create greater customer satisfaction.

Getting into social media is a big step for businesses who are still just joining the game. But to really get value out of social media for your business, you need to find a way for it to have value for your consumers first. That's my PR thought for the day.

*Photo from Google images

Monday, September 21, 2009

Social Media and Cultural Diplomacy

Today I went to a panel discussion on Cultural Diplomacy as part of a Cultural Symposium at Syracuse University. ( The panel included Marjane Satrapi, Paul Salopek, David Pogue, and Shen Wei, and was moderated by SU law professor David Crane. Each of them are very respected in their fields and watching them interact was very interesting, particularly the inputs and interactions between David Pogue and Marjane Satrapi.

David Pogue is a New York Times columnist and author of "The World According to Twittter." Marjane Satrapi is an Iranian and French contemporary graphic novelist and author of "Persepolis." While the discussion was not devoted to cultural diplomacy as it related to social media, the topic certainly came up. These two panelists views on social media and cultural diplomacy seemed to be quite opposing, though both were respectable.

Pogue kicked off the discussion using his iPhone to demonstrate cultural diplomacy by using an App to listen to an amateur musician play music on his iPhone in Australia. He explained how this technology has the ability to connect with complete strangers in very unique ways. He may be impressed or unimpressed by the Australian's musical talent, but he most certainly feels connected to him, improving the diplomatic relations of two individuals. He went on to further explain his points, but I'll now explain Satrapi's side.

She criticized that social media; Twitter, Facebook, and other such outlets do not have the power to improve cultural diplomacy because it is not real. She even said something to the idea of you can have 500 friends on Facebook and none of them may be your "real" friends.

To this, I say two things. First, I disagree, this person agreed to be connected with you. Just because you cannot see or hear a person in real time, does not mean that you are not connected with one another. Secondly, who is to say, even if they are not best friends or even face-to-face friends that their connection within the social media realm cannot give them the power to influence one another?

Example: Friend A and Friend B connect on Facebook. They do not know each other personally, but have similar interests; they are in the same groups and fans of the same pages. Friend A is from the United States, and Friend B is from Iran. Two weeks go by, and Friend A puts up a status that pops up on Friend B's newsfeed. The status reads "I support the 'Greening of Iran.,'" in reference to the Green Movement that does not the support the current radical regime of Iran and may force the regime to close Iranian universities to prevent protest and opposition.

Friend B reads this and is a student at a university in Iran, who also supports the Green Movement. Friend B messages Friend A, and they begin an in-depth discussion of Iranian politics from two totally different points of view. Friend A learns a lot about the Green Movement from someone who is actually living it; and Friend B finds comfort in support from an outsider. Maybe this is a miniscule scale, but here are two people, an American and an Iranian citizen, who have forged an important bond. If that's not cultural diplomacy, I don't know what is.

Marjane Satrapi made many insightful and interesting points during the panel discussion; I simply did not personally agree with this one. If we are truly trying to improve cultural diplomatic relations, then shouldn't we go after it with any means we have available? To rule out social media, a force that is taking the world by storm, seems like taking a step backwards.

Social media is a force whose undeniable advantages should not be ignored by anyone; businessmen, politicians, diplomats, or anyone hoping to stay informed in this world. Social media does have the power to aid cultural diplomacy when used in the proper manner. Thats my PR thought for the day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ignore My E-mail? Not A Chance

I recently purchased the book Socialnomics by Erick Qualman and read the first three chapters today. I won't comment too much on the book until I'm finished, but so far it has been interesting and provided some good insight. It's an easy read, so I should get through the rest fairly quickly, but I wanted to comment about an excerpt from Chapter 3, titled, "Social Media = Braggadocian Behavior."

The excerpt discusses how e-mail, though still a vital computer mediated communication medium, is actually being ignored by some members of Generations X and Y. Immediately, I began to disagree in my head, however, as I read on, the proof shocked me. According to the book, Boston College did not give e-mail addresses to incoming freshmen this year and Apple hired a 22-year-old who had never sent an e-mail in his life.

As a fellow 22-year-old, I found the latter incredibly difficult to digest, considering I have sent at least two e-mails a day since I started college over four years ago, and most days I sent infinitely more than that. I have three different e-mail accounts (2 for each college I've attended and my personal g-mail), and I send e-mails to friends from home every single day; I e-mail my boss countless times a day about various projects I'm working on; I e-mail former professors and bosses; I e-mail my sorority sisters for updates; and of course, I e-mail my mother. Not to mention my Google Alerts that I rely on to stay informed about current events in PR and social media. Without e-mail, most of my friends and family would not even know I still existed and I would have a much harder time maintaining connections and relationships.

Maybe this 22-year-old was able to get away with texts, instant messaging, comments on Facebook, and other such mediums for informal e-mails to friends, but what about professionally? How did he even submit his resume to Apple or any other companies that he applied to? If this person went to college, what if he had to ask a professor a question?

Additionally, while networking sites and other social media may provide messaging services very similar to e-mail, most, if not all, lack one major function; the ability to attach an outside document. This includes Word documents, presentations, photographs and much more. How would this person send such stuff; is it really possible that he has never had to?

All I know is that I have a lot of questions for this 22-year-old employee of Apple who has managed to escape the e-mail phenomenon for so long and still landed a job for Apple. I'm also not trying to knock the guy, good for him I guess. He's clearly been able to master social media in such an incredible manner as to have replaced a more traditional form of communication, at least as far as new media goes. Still, inquiring minds want to know, how did he do it?

I've embraced social media in my life, but I still find the need for constant e-mailing. The fact that others don't and can still maintain a professional online lifestyle baffles me. That's my PR thought for the day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Staying Current: Vital to PR and Not as Time Consuming as It Seems

So by now it should be no secret that's it's vitally important to stay current if you're in the public relations industry. This means current with all kinds of news, because you never know what news could impact your business or client, either positively or negatively. But it's also important to stay current with industry trends and changing social media. If you're in PR and you don't follow social media, you won't be in PR much longer.

Today, during my research pubic relations class, we talked about the blogosphere and even Google alerts. A lot of fellow classmates were wondering, if there's so much news and so many blogs out there, how are we supposed to follow it all? I agree that there's hardly enough time in the day as it is, but I still manage to find time to stay current in the news and the world of social media. So I thought I'd share my tips about how I manage my time and still stay current.

First of all, our professor today discussed Google alerts, which I also subscribe to. He discussed following something as specific as a company, particularly Wal-Mart. However, I've decided to broaden this quite a bit. I subscribe to three Google alerts; public relations, social media and politics. Whenever there is a news item or blog about any of these topics, I get an e-mail. It's not a pain like it may sound, for those of you who already have an overflow of items in your inbox. I get three e-mails a day, one for each topic. In the e-mail is a list of all the articles or blogs that pertain to the topic. Now, do I go through and read every single one? No, but I read each title and the first paragraph. If I like it, I read on. If not, it's on to the next article. So I do not read every single thing, but I get a general idea from the first paragraph, and I read all of the stuff that seriously interests me.

Also, I know you've all heard enough about Twitter, but when used effectively, it can actually save you time. Follow people or organizations that are worthwhile; such as PR firms, the PRSA and social media experts. They'll post links that are worth your time - they've already done the work of sifting through the surplus of information out there to find the good stuff for you!

On top of this, I also read almost everything on This is a great Web site for people breaking into PR, or those who know little to nothing about social media. I also recommend, which connects social media to PR more than mashable. Both are great sites.

It can be difficult to find time for things in your day that don't seem absolutely necessary. But you have to think that if you really want a career in this, it isn't just an option anymore; it's becoming a necessity. That's my PR thought for the day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Establish Web Presence with Brand-Yourself

Establishing GOOD Web presence can be tiresome; it can be difficult; it can be tedious. But it is also vital to success in a down economy during what some have called "the Youtube era." If a potential employer googles your name, do you think they'd hire you? is trying to help people do just that. It's a company created by three student entrepreneurs from Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management, to help people establish a good Web presence that will help them get hired. (Disclaimer: I work for the Whitman School.)

They coach you on many aspects of the job-hunting process, such as creating a meaningful personal brand, marketing yourself online, reputation management, and the importance of useful activities, not the summer jobs where you made coffee all day. Not to knock that, I spent a few summers at Dunkin' Donuts myself in order to makes ends meet during undergrad.

All I'm saying is that anyone who's interesting in establishing a good Web presence, which should be almost everyone in this economy, should check out the tips they have, and actually put them to good use.

There are so many articles out there that are useful on this topic; all you have to do is look. One I found recently from the about 5 social media power tools was very useful. I actually found this article from a tweet by Like I said, they know what they're talking about; that's why they've experienced so much success.

Creating a brand with can help anyone with their social and professional networking if they want to. Make sure you know what's coming up on a potential employer's screen if they google your name. That's my PR thought of the day.

Obama Warns About Dangers of Social Media

Okay Okay, maybe this topic has been beat to death. Yet, people are still doing it. They are incriminating themselves with what they put up on their social networking sites. Pleading the Fifth won't save you now, your Facebook album already incriminated you. What will it take to make these people realize that no professional business or recruiter will take you seriously if you're profile picture is you doing a keg stand?

Well, maybe the president will be convincing enough. When a student at Virgina High School asked how he could be president some day, Obama answered honestly, that people young and old need to be careful about what they put on their Facebook profiles. It's a technology age and it seems we'll be able to get dirt on just about anybody in a few years from now. Maybe it's not fair to this generation because these social mediums weren't around before, but it seems simple to me. If you don't want people to know about it, don't put it online for everyone to see. Better yet, don't do it, but everyone's young once and makes a few mistakes. Just be smart enough not to document it on the World Wide Web.

Networking sites are supposed to be a useful tool, not a harmful one. There's enough literature out there about it now, so there's not much room left for excuses. If you're serious about your career, you know what to do. Keep an updated LinkedIn profile, have a serious and non-incriminating Facebook, update your Twitter with tweets of substance, not what you had for lunch.

It's nothing too new, but that's my PR thought for the day.

From Matchmaker to Wedding Planner

First of all, I'd like to apologize for a mistake I made in yesterday's post about blogging. PR-squared has stayed very up to date with their blogging. They provide relevant and valuable information on social media frequently. I mixed up their site with another one, techprgems. Like PR-squared, I really do enjoy this blog and they have great information for newcomers or experts in social media. However, is the site that has not posted since August 20th, and we'd love to hear from them soon!

Onto today's post. Since I discovered, I've been fully addicted to it. Today they had a post on how to plan a wedding on the Web.

For this service, you can do everything from planning your proposal, sending invitations, registering, picking a caterer, a vendor, creating a Website to keep guests informed about nearby hotels or your fiance's background, and even afterwards sharing your photos. Basically you can plan your whole wedding without even leaving the confines of your own home.

All of this is great if you're a Web-equipped individual, I won't deny that. But they help you plan the proposal? Where's the romance? What happened to the days of a fancy dinner, ring in the dessert and getting down on one knee? I'm not saying that's the only way to do it, but the point is that it's supposed to be personal and thoughtful. Brainstorming ideas with people you don't even know hardly seems like either of those.

Also, how are you supposed to pick a caterer while sitting on your couch. You can read as many reviews as you'd like, but when it comes down to it, don't you want to taste the meal you choose for all your loved ones to eat on your most special day? And it that cake is going in your face, you had better hope you like that whipped vanilla frosting or whatever you choose.

The Website seems like an excellent idea though, as a way of keeping guests informed. They can find maps, hotels in the area, maybe even predicted weather. But if my friend or cousin is getting married, I want to meet the fiance, not just hear about him or her on their Website. He's a new family member, not a new employee, so I'll skip the resume thanks.

I feel like I'm criticizing Web weddings too harshly. I think it's a great service and many people have successfully capitalized on it. It surely makes a lot of people's lives easier in a very stressful time. When it comes time to plan my own wedding, I'm sure I'll make good use of many of these applications. However, I won't get too carried away in making my wedding impersonal. What's next, an online bachelor party instead of going to the strip club?

That's my PR thought for the day.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Introduction Post

This is my first blog and I'm pretty busy with work and grad school, so I don't know how often I'll be able to update, but I'll try my best. Here's a little about me first.

I'm a graduate student at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University in the public relations program. I earned my BA from Merrimack College in North Andover, MA, majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Business Administration. Currently, I work at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse, as the PR/Web assistant.

After graduating, I plan on moving back to my hometown just outside of Boston, looking for a job at a PR agency in the area. I like agency work over working for a corporation, because I think being able to work on different project and with new clients will satisfy my creative and restless mind.

I thought I'd just introduce myself so people know who they're hearing from. Look back for my views on social media and public relations.