PR- More than just communicating.

Communications specialist.  That is the term I most frequently use to describe myself.  Of course my degree is in PR and I work in social media, doing a nice little blend of PR, Marketing and Customer Service.  So rather than that mouthful, I use communication to describe it all.  That is what I do.  You see, in addition to PR background, I studied International Relations, where I also saw myself as a communicator.  Back then I wanted to be a diplomat.  I still see myself as a diplomat, but for organizations communicating with their public.

This author however, makes some valid points about the continued need to define ourselves as Public Relations experts.

In PR, we not only have to know how to communicate.  We have to know who we are communicating with, how to plan and strategize communications.  More importantly, those working in PR need the expertise to guide an organizations actions, not just the ability to explain them.

What do you think?  Is it better to be a PR or a Communications “expert?”

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Continued Relevance of Social Media

In the past few weeks as news and media organizations have raised a clamor over Facebook’s coming IPO I have seen several variations of this article.  All of them with a lovely gloom and doom tone for Facebook.  Many of them through implication also spell gloom and doom for social media in general.

I have a problem with this.  First of all, even if Facebook were to decline (and someday it likely will), the trend will be for something more useful to replace it (remember when Facebook obliterated MySpace?).  A Facebook demise does not spell the end for social networks.  In fact, social media is increasingly becoming more relevant in how we carry out business (You can read all about that here or watch this for a nice summary).

These articles sounding the end of Facebook all seem to rely on two pieces of information.  First, a large company is pulling paid advertisements from the site.  Second, a study shows that a large number of users distrust Facebook and social sites.

In response to the fear of companies pulling paid advertising, I would say that is to the consumers benefit (though Facebook misses out on some money).  This shows me that companies are learning the value of interaction and engagement as opposed blasting ads at people (Adblock anyone?).  The challenge this brings to platforms like Facebook is to either survive on less revenue from advertising or innovate a new business model.

Regarding the distrust of users, it would appear to me, that this isn’t stopping people from using the site.  At least not in droves.  While many, including myself have privacy concerns, they still continue to use social media.  In fact, users increased concerns with privacy raises my hopes for privacy improvements by social sites, as well as more educated and aware users.  Increases in the kind of people who don’t post every personal detail of their own and their children’s lives- but that is a post for another time.

All of this being said, it is clear that many people still don’t understand the lasting implications of social media.  In reality this is not a fad as a recent study showed many people think, but the latest innovation in communication.  Over the past decade, as the web has matured and become accessible to an incredibly large segment of the global population, as technology has allowed for mobile internet use, social media has risen to become one of the many great communication tools to harness all of this innovation.

What do you think?  Is social media the communication tool of the future?  Or will it quickly succumb to something even more innovative and advanced?  Or do you stand with those who view this all as a fad?  Those who see me typing my future diatribes from a typewriter and faxing them in to a newspaper to be printed as an Op-Ed piece, which I will then clip from the paper so I can show it to all of my friends and relatives before I snail mail it to Grandma (via a financially successful USPS of course).

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Facebook and Subpoenas

Currently in the news is the story of a Washington man updating his Facebook while on the run.  Not just status updates, everything from commenting on friends posts, to changing his relationship status.  

Article Here

This isn’t the first time someone has done this, and it likely won’t be the last, but it does bring up the interesting subject of what information Facebook and other social sites will provide law enforcement officials.  

As illustrated by the “Craigslist Killer” case, Facebook will provide pretty much everything.  Beyond copies of your status updates (public or private) and all the information you have posted to the site, Facebook will provide IP addresses and any location information.   

Article Here

The moral of the story is not to commit crime so the police don’t have to subpoena your social media accounts.  But for all of us law-abiding citizens this does serve as a nice reminder to think before you post.  

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Qr Codes- Effective Marketing Tool? Or Obnoxious Gimmick

For those unfamiliar with QR codes, they are the square barcode-like images popping up everywhere.  When scanned with a smartphone app, these codes can take users to a website, or provide other information (think contact details or a special promotion).

Mashable’s 10 Creative QR Code uses

These codes are becoming the latest fad in digital marketing, popping up everywhere.  I personally do not yet own a smartphone, though I would definitely be tempted to scan some codes to see what they do.  Whether the excitement of this would quickly wear off or not, remains to be seen.

The trouble with QR codes in my opinion, is that for every organization that uses one correctly, 20-30 more do a terrible job of it.  Codes taking you to the company website (easily accessible without the code), codes leading to websites not optimized for mobile tech, and codes that are impossible to scan are popping up everywhere.

So what makes a good QR code?  Like most new media, the best use gives the consumer something otherwise unavailable.  When scanning the code becomes an inconvenient way of doing something routine or uninteresting, the QR code has totally failed.

Great blog featuring ridiculous QR codes

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Google+ and SEO

With the launch of Google+ and Google’s introduction of personalized social search results, have come new challenges and opportunities for Search Engine Optimization.

http://www.readwriteweb.com/biz/2011/07/google-plus-impact-on-seo.php

Before Google+ was Google’s +1 button.  Now, fully integrated into Google+, this feature influences search results and can be used to help increase a pages rank in a Google search.

In recent months, Google has rolled out social searching, which relies heavily on Google+ to give users personalized results.  Other social networks play a role in this, but Google+ is heavily favored by Google in this process.

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2162309/Google-Search-Plus-Your-World-The-Peer-to-Peer-Evolution-Continues

 

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Distance Collaboration

Technology is revolutionizing the way we work.  Telecommuting is growing in popularity, assisted by an increasing number of distance collaboration tools.

List of Options for Tools

From Google Docs to Skype, there are plenty of tools available to help people work on anything, anywhere.

The benefits of this sort of work are easy to identify, but what are the downsides?  Sometimes face to face meetings are necessary to accomplish things.  Sole use of these tools can remove the human element if this is not taken into account.

Discussion of pros and cons

So what do you think?  Is distance collaboration beneficial for organizations?

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Unplug, Disconnect, Check Out

Today media is everywhere, it is a constant part of our lives.  75% of people take their smartphone to the bathroom with them.   With all this information and connectivity come great opportunities.  I am able to work from anywhere, including the fast food joint I’m currently sitting in.  I can work on collaborative projects from the comfort of my home, without leaving my family.  I can even receive instant approval or instruction from clients.

This past weekend, I took the opportunity to disconnect from everything while I was on vacation.  With wifi connections everywhere and data plans, it would have been simple to remain online.  Doing so probably would not have inhibited my ability to have fun and enjoy my vacation.  But I chose to turn off my phone, disconnect my wifi and detox.  After doing so, I cannot say enough about the benefits.  I’m in no way against the internet or the many ways in which I think it brings us together, but the benefits of leaving it, and fully engaging in my weekend were worth the break.

When I reconnected, I had a stack of email, various social media notifications, and other information to sift through, but there was nothing that couldn’t have waited.  I plan on making this a somewhat regular activity, perhaps quarterly or bimonthly in my current situation.

Are you in need of a digital detox?

 

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