Monday, December 8, 2008

Can I get a Tweet Tweet....

I'll admit it, until last week's class I had no idea why or how anyone could spend time Twittering. But, once Dr. Waters let us loose I quickly understood how someone could become hooked. However, I think the tar fumes might have affected my newfound Twitter amazement, especially since I haven't been tempted to go on Twitter since class. That being said, I agree with Blake Cahill's post regarding the possibities of Twitter for buisnesses.

Cahill identified five ways a company could increase buisness with Twitter. Interestingly, the five functions identified by Cahill are not revoltionary or new buisness practices. Most companies already incorporate these functions in their day to day operations. However, Twitter does open a new venue for organizations to monitor communications previously unseen.

1. Monitor Industry & Competition
2. Track Conversations
3. Grow Sales
4. Enhance Customer Service
5. Expand Communications with Stakeholders

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fast Times at Missouri State University

I must admit, the first time I saw social media applications on Missouri State's homepage I was shocked. I thought Missouri State had deemed social media un-scholarly and moved on. That being said, I was happy to be proven wrong. I think Missouri State's move into social media applications was a good one. Additionally, as Missouri State officials decide social media is useful and devote more time and resources into developing applications the more useful it will become.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Mitchell's speech and found it extremely interesting. I also believe that Mr. Mitchell's job is extremely necessary to help Missouri State continue to recruit undergraduate and graduate students. Specifically, I believe the Itunes application is a wonderful recruiting and public relations tool, if officials chose to utilize it completely.

Personally, I would love to have a job similar to Mr. Mitchell's but like Keshia I have reservations based on my media skills. That being said, it has given me another job search term to include in May.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

PR and the Almighty Podcast

According to a definition on podcastalley a podcast is "a term that was devised as a crisp way to describe the technology used to push audio content from websites down to consumers of that content, who typically listen to it on their iPod (hence the "pod") or other audio player that supports mp3 at their convenience ". An interesting fact about podcasting is that a former MTV VJ (Adam Curry) is cited with it's creation.

Although podcasts have infinite possibilites, I would agree with Keshia that their usefulness for Public Relations practitioners is questionable. I say that because although podcasting allows you to push audio files, software updates, pictures, and videos using RSS technology, it is most commonly used to disseminate audio files. However, the use of corporate podcasts can allow an organization to build goodwill among their followers. For example, CBS offers podcasts of Soap Operas to their fans free of charge, so a fan can keep in the loop by downloading that days podcast. Interestingly, higher education has also branched into the world of podcasts, in fact Open Culture contains a list of free educational podcasts. It would have been extremely helpful if Missouri State had podcasted it's lectures during my undergraduate career.

Therefore, while I do not believe podcasts can be used by public relations practitioners to fulfill everyday PR functions, I do believe they can be used to increase goodwill towards organizations.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You say potatoe, I say patatoe

I believe the differences between public relations and marketing are mere nuances. Explicitly, I believe that public relations and marketing are different methods that share the same goal. Several years ago, during my undergraduate work in the buisness college, I was taught the standard definitions of marketing and public relations. Marketing was defined as "the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals." Public relations then, was the strategic management function that adds value to an organization by helping it to manage its reputation. Further, my defintion of the two concepts would have been that marketing efforts are paid forms of communication whereas public relations communications are free. However, by the time I was enrolled in graduate marketing classes, the internet had begun to change those standard definitions. Further, as viral marketing efforts increase,the lines between the two fields have blurred. Viral marketing efforts, while occasionally are the product of paid communications, often times result in free publicity. Some of the most popular examples include: Burger King's Subservient Chicken, Smirnoff Tea Partay and Green Tea Partay, and Folgers Coffee.
Integrated Marketing Communications is the advocation for all marketing messages to be integrated so that they tell the same story in the same manner to their target markets. Additionally, marketing communications can be integrated horizontally and vertically. Horizontal integration refers to consistent communications across the mix and the functions. Vertical integration refers to when marketing and communications objectives support the higher level corporate mission.
Therefore, as the marketers continue to integrate all communications across the board I believe the gap between public relations and marketing will continue to narrow. Interestingly, many companies include the public relations function within their marketing department.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Violent Desires for Press Releases

After reading Tom Foremski's blog (Die! Press Release! Die! Die! Die), I feel I should hate traditional press releases. However, I know that in certain instances they are a neccessary. That being said, I found myself agreeing with his views even though I felt a little out of the loop (His blog was published in 2006). His inflammatory post called for a standardized format for media news releases (or social news releases).

Foremski proposed altering the format of the traditional press release into the following sections: a brief description (minus spin), page of qoutes from executives, customers, and analysts, financial information in a variety of formats, and links (inside copy as well as additional sources).

Public relations practioners who utlize social news releases have the oppurtunity to provide interactive information regarding their topic. If practioners use the format proposed by Foremski, journalists may view that organization more favorably because of lack of spin and useful links. Therefore, I think public relations practioners who utlize social news releases are more likely to get stories published due to the more informative nature of the release.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Confessions of a Facebook Creeper

I am not ashamed to admit that my facebook obsession began exactly 4 years ago. I am ashamed that I remember exactly when and where I found out about facebook. After returning from L.A., my roommates (60 lovely ladies) were going wild updating their facebook profile and creeping to find new friends. I was completly out of the loop, so I remedied the situation immediatly by becoming an official facebook creeper myself.

Facebook, along with Myspace, Bebo, Ning, PeopleAggregator and vibEngine have unlocked a world of possiblities for Public Relations practioners. Although, like all forms of online public relations tools social networks also provide risks for organizations.

Ning, as the most popular DIY social networking site (80,000 new networks are created every month) provides public relations practioners a unique oppurtunity. Individuals join Ning networks which suite their interests; which provides practioners a segmented market. Individuals also do this on Facebook, however I do not remember the last time I looked at any of my groups. Further, according to an article dispersed in class, the frequency which college students use social networking sites has increased. 59% of college students use social networking sites everyday, compared to 33% who used it everyday in 2006. Further everyday usage far exceeds every other frequency: 17% several times a week, 15% weekly, and 7% monthly.

Therefore, if public relations practioners are ignoring Facebook they are doing their organization a great diservice. The variety of social networking sites allows pr practitoners the ability to mold their efforts according to the expectations within each site. For example, within Facebook practitoners could do everything from creating a facebook profile for their client to sponsoring a advertisement included in member's updates. However, practitoners should not become lost in their facisnation of social networking and neglect other forms of communications.

(My current facebook profile picture)

Monday, October 13, 2008


As someone who once prided herself as being a technology junkie, I'm embarrassed of who I have become. It seems as though once I started college, I stopped updating myself on the latest and greatest technologies (facebook aside). Therefore, although I have seen the RSS symbol on a majority of the websites I read daily (don't be too impressed, they include PerezHilton and People) I had absoultly no idea how useful RSS was until last week, when Dr. Waters forced me to learn in COM 639. So, don't be too critical as you read the following post as it may contain a few errors.
First, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS saves valuable time by directly feeding updated information to users via their reader. Users can subscribe to their favorite websites via their reader and login in to one website for all their media content, instead of having to visit each site individually.
If I was currently in the field of public relations, I would be overjoyed by the discovery of RSS. It allows practioners to save valuable time doing environmental scanning for their clients. Instead of spending hours checking websites for relevant information, they can simply subscribe to all relevant websites and news sources and check-in throughout the day to make sure all is well. For example, if I was the poor unfortunate soul representing Britney Spears during her meltdown last year an RSS subscription to People or PerezHilton would have streamed continous updates from which I could craft strategies from. Thus keeping me ahead of the pace, which might have prevented the infamous ambulance shot.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Until reading blogs suggested in this class, I assumed blogs were a channel for those who wanted to broadcast their opinions about nothing. However, after reading a few suggested blogs I have discovered that like books, the quality of content depends largely on the author and all you have to do is find a blog author you like and voila.

Similar Youtube, blogs have the ability to create free publicity for organizations. However, it may not always be good publicity. If a blog is sponsored by an organization, then it can become a source of positive publicity by drawing in more viewers. For example, KY3 has been advertising a political blog by David Catanese through television advertisments. Many individuals in my age group no longer recieve their news through traditional media outlets, so by branching out into blogs KY3 may widen their audience. Another example is Cosmopolitan magazine's fictional blog which is posted online, as well as published in every issue. As a subscriber, I found myself so addicted to the monthly snippets I recieved every month that I was soon going online every week and catching up. I thought I was the only one, until one day I was shocked when a ghost posting (a title appeared but no blog) garnered about 50 angry postings from fellow followers. In that instance, Cosmopolitan recieved negative publicity due to negligence towards its blog. Since that time, apologies are posted if no new blogs are added during the week. If, however the blog is not sponsored by the organization negative publicity may result. In a related instance, the CEO of Whole Foods was found to be posting negative comments about Wild Oats (a company they have since acquired) under an alias. The postings resulted in an investigation by SEC after a lawsuit was filed by the Federal Trade Commission. This, of course created negative publicity for Whole Foods, an organization which prides itself on its organization's values.

Public relations practioners can utlize blogs to promote events, campaigns, and programs in a multide of ways. First, practioners can scan current blogs related to the event, campaign, or program they are interested in promoting and identify key blogs. Practioners should then find a way to get their event, campaign, or program listed on those key blogs. For example, a practioner could contact the author of the blog and send them information, or a link to their blog. Second, practioners can also set up their own blog about their specific event, campaign, or program and advertise it through other channels (organizational website, sponsor's website, sponsor's blog, televison, etc.).

Sunday, September 28, 2008

You Tube

It's interesting to see the growth and acceptance of technologies. For me, I know that a technology has been accepted by the majority once I recieve emails from my mother and grandmother about it. Most recently, I was shocked to recieve an email from my mother that contained a YouTube link. I may be giving her too much credit, because it is extremly likely that she merely forwarded the email. But, I hope its a sign that YouTube's popularity has spread to those not in the technology loop. That being said, I think there are many aspects of YouTube that public relations practioners can exploit.

The first, and most obvious aspect would be to create a video promoting an organization's event/campaign/program. Another aspect would be to create a YouTube page, which features related and official organization videos, for that organization and link it to the organization's official website. The third and most effective, and therefore most difficult aspect would be to create a viral video that in some obscure way featured the organization in a positive manner.

YouTube can be very tricky to exploit, therefore an organization must fully understand what it is getting into. Two major strengths of YouTube are cost effectiveness and potentialy large audience. The great thing about YouTube is that amatuer videos are often the most popular, so a large budget is not a neccessity. Additionally, everyone with internet access has the capability to get on YouTube and many do. However, the major strengths can also be weaknesses. It is very hard to predict which videos will catch on with the public and be passed around the internet.

That being said, YouTube has the ability to enhance an organization's brand visibility and image. I believe it is a good thing for an organization to acknowledge and at least try to exploit emerging technologies, it shows that they are at least trying to keep up with the times. However, it can also hurt your organization's image if the video is recieved poorly, or if someone makes a negative video about your organization and it spreads like wildfire (i.e. Apple).

Although the primary YouTube audience is younger, I believe that an organization can use YouTube to effectively target their current target audience by merely advertising their YouTube video on media currently used by that target audience.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hopes, Dreams, and Fears

As May gets inches closer, I feel that I will be asked at an increased frequency, "What are you going to do with the rest of your life?". I however, do not have an answer. As sad as it sounds for someone about to graduate with a Master's degree, I have no idea what one occupation I want to toil away at for the rest of my working days. Therfore, I hope that I am able to find a dream job and discover what it is I should do. I fear however that I may not.

After completing my undergraduate degree in buisness, I decided to pursue a MBA to broaden my job oppurtunities. However, my first Finance class changed my mind. As a graduate assistant in the Office of Alumni Relations, I discovered the interesting world of Communication and changed my degree program. This decision, I do not regret; it's wonderful to actually be interested in what you are learning.
Although I have no idea what occupation I want to toil away at, I do have several goals for myself and my professional career. I want to use my COM degree in some aspect in the corporate world, because it would be terrible to waste my education. I also do not want to be a slave to my job, i.e. I don't want to hate my life. I want to enjoy what I am doing everyday in some aspect. Further, I do not expect to land my dream job out of the gate in our dismal economy (especially because I have no idea what I want to do). But, my hope is that my master's degree will enable me to find and get my dream job within 5 years. If not, look for me on some island in the Carribean.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Please don't read this...