How to Network: Twitter Chats

23 May

Who knew that participating in online chats would ever deliver professional results? I’m not talking about the online chat rooms that people used to participate in years ago, where hundreds of users simply discussed random topics with complete strangers hiding behind a cute username. I’m talking about chats created on Twitter by the use of hashtags.

Hashtags, represented by the # sign, label a topic, location, etc. and, upon searching for a hashtag, Twitter will show you recent tweets that include the same hashtag. Twitter chats, Tweet-ups or Tweet Chats (whatever you’d like to call them) are made possible by the use of hashtags. A moderator will usually asks questions to begin a discussion and users can also contact each other individually. Some of the chats that I have participated in are #pr20chat, #happo and #PRStudChat, which are all public relations chats but there are Twitter chats for just about anything.

Most recently, I participated in the graduation edition of #PRStudChat, not for Public Relations Studs but for Public Relations Students,where students and professionals alike join to chat about almost anything PR. Deirdre Breakenridge and Valerie Simon have been hosting #PRStudChat since August of 2009 and an awesome community with many relationships has been created by a simple Twitter Chat.

I have participated in #PRStudChat in order to not only keep myself up-to-date in the Public Relations world, but also to ‘meet’ other PR professionals or students. One might not see the value of a Twitter chat until you actually participate in one. You may find contacts in a city where you hope to get a job or you may even pick up a few projects or volunteer work which can ultimately benefit your career.

The Graduation Edition of #PRStudChat was really fun and I even won one of the three giveaways! I also had the opportunity of being interviewed by Harrison Kratz, creator of #PRStudCast, along with Cory Williams, a Communications graduate from Virginia Tech, discussing future insights for PR graduates. You can listen to your podcast by clicking the link below!

 #PRStudCast Graduation Edition 5.20.11

So whether it be a job offer, an interview for a podcast or simply meeting people in your industry or with similar interests, Twitter chats are a great resource for networking. You should never miss out on a networking opportunity, even if you have been employed for years!

A Social Media Class

4 May

Doodled Desks 2 by Tiffany Szerpicki

This Spring, I had yet another opportunity to take one of  Barbara Nixon‘s classes at Southeastern University. Social Media for Public Relations was a very influential class and, just like any public relations class, we  learned about things that were currently happening. The Public Relations field is constantly changing so it makes me feel like I’m learning, studying and working in “real time.”

I am truly going to miss gathering weekly and discussing the latest PR scandal/incident at the beginning of each and every class. I learned a plethora of things in all of Barbara’s classes and would recommend her as a professor to any of my fellow communication majors.

I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Barbara for the awesome influence that she has been to me. I believe that without her having come to Southeastern last year, I would not be as prepared to enter the PR world as I am now. Her classes were challenging and interesting because she truly loves what she does and I believe that she will always love it. And to all of #COMM4633, thanks for the laughs, discussions and learning experiences. I hope that you all “make it big” wherever your path takes you!

Guest Post: Cut your Cable and Keep your Laptops!

29 Apr

Today's guest blogger is Melissa Rodriguez of Florida Southern College.

Cut your Cable and Keep your Laptops! 

How many of you actually pay for cable? Sure I can understand it’s because you need to feed your Dexter addiction, or whatever new show is on HBO. Exactly how many shows can you actually watch for your money through cable?

While some consumers might be ready to cut the cord with their cable companies, and there are lots of reasons for doing so, some might argue that America isn’t, ahem,technologically savvy enough to do so.

“Downloading torrents or NZBs is time consuming and only a small portion of the population actually has the know-how and hardware to do it. Sorry. Cord cutting is a lost cause,” says TechCrunch writer Matt Burns.

However, a Canadian research firm estimated that by 2012 over 2 million households in the United States will turn to web streaming companies/devices for their entertainment and sever their ties with their cable companies.

Netflix is quite aware of this switch from regular TV to on-demand viewing. Last November they added a streaming only plan and experienced a 63% subscriber growth. Most subscribers jump onboard to watch older programming they missed out on when it was first popular. Many older shows like Ally McBeal and My So-Called Life are available on instant play and many movies from Hollywood’s golden era are available for disc rental. Newer content, especially from Warner Bros., takes about a month for Netflix to make it available to consumers.

Still, it’s not a bad replacement for regular cable.

Many college student don’t have the time to sit down and have regularly scheduled meals, much less watch regularly scheduled programming. Even without a Netflix subscription many popular television stations post popular programming on their websites 24 hours after the original piece aired.

Chances are you are not the first person to have a life that doesn’t revolve around primetime viewing. Usually when I actually have time to watch cable the only things to watch are pretty awful choices. If I actually paid for cable I’d be so disappointed that I was paying for constant Teen Mom coverage, NASCAR races, the Bachelor, and The Real Housewives of Wherever. Amazing choices for viewing, right?

Which is why more people are turning to under-the-table downloading to keep up with their favorite shows. Not allowing programming to be viewed on-demand just leads to more sites made for pirating content. It’s not hard to go to Google and type in “(name of show) online viewing,” or “(name of show) episode download” and find links to what you want.

Is having cable completely worth it? Not so much. If you still aren’t brave enough to make the cut completely, I challenge you to freeze your cable subscription for at least two weeks and try to watch everything online. I promise you that by the end of the first week you won’t miss having to wait through endless late night infomercials.

Looking for Entry-Level Hires? We’re Out Here!

27 Apr

Image Credit: Angel by Salih Ozovali

Employers, it is time to save paper and turn to social media for locating ideal job candidates for your business. Sure, human resources employees know the right tactics for finding the right candidates, but are they adapting to the technological advances of this generation? Today’s young professionals are constantly on social media and, at times, even use social media for their job search. Here are some things to try:

1) Set up an account on Twitter and tweet about open positions at your company. Within your tweet, include a link to a page that includes a job description, instructions for applying, online application, along with a job search hashtag. Some job search hashtags include:

    • #jobchat
    • #jobsearch
    • #entrychat

2) Post jobs on searchable job sites such as indeed.com and simplyhired.com. These two websites search several job posting sites in order to provide job seekers the most accurate search results.

3) Search for job seekers on LinkedIn. By simply typing the industry along with keywords such as student, freelance, etc., you will be able to locate many young professionals in your area.

There are many other social media methods but the above are just a few of them. Although the use of social media for hiring may be unfamiliar to you, don’t be discouraged; you will surely be able to find the young professional you are looking to hire. For more information, read this article on the use of social media within the hiring process.

Podcast? What for?

12 Apr

Why should a company consider using podcasts to deliver messages on behalf of their company? Some of the reasons that I see as important are as follows;

1) On-demand streaming
2) Share opinions or have discussions on topics
3) Receive feedback from listeners.

I think that churches should definitely consider having podcasts for churchgoers who aren’t always able to make it out to the service or to the online streaming.  By listening to a church podcast, I think listeners can relate better to the man standing above them and even interact with him via social media or podcast comments.

Public Relations students, or students in any degree, should listen to podcast related to their future career field. If we have access to learning about the topics that professionals in our future industry are talking about/expect us to know about, why aren’t we subscribing and listening to podcasts? I encourage you to download podcasts onto your phone and when you’re in the car and are tired of listening to that same ol’ list of songs on the radio, plug your phone in and learn while you drive!

Below are some of the podcasts that I subscribe to:

Discovery Church Audio Podcast, Orlando, FL

Inside PR

Couch to 5k

The Tornado at Sun N Fun

12 Apr

March 31, 2011 was an extremely interesting day for me. My plans were to volunteer at the Media Room at the Sun N Fun International Fly-In & Expo. I was prepared for a day composed mostly of welcome media to the Fly-In and issuing credentials repeatedly. That was not the case.

It was a gloomy day as clouds darkened the Lakeland, FL skies and there was a very high chance of precipitation. My thoughts: “Just another rainy Florida day.” After getting lost while trying to locate the Media Registration trailer, I was feeling exhausted. I finally arrived at the trailer and very few media came to the trailer for registration; they were probably sleeping in because of the rain. After an hour or two of sitting and conversing with Danny Kushmer, among others, Danny suggested I run back to the Media Room to take a lunch break. Little did I know, Danny was sending me to shelter.

I arrived at the room which was full of tables and chairs for the media to relax and eat lunch. Twenty minutes may have gone buy until it began to drizzle. The Media Room populated pretty quickly as media took shelter from the rain. Before we knew it, the lights started flickering and it began to pour. It turned from a semi-bright cloudy day to complete darkness. This weather was normal for me, having lived in Florida for over 13 years, but the media in the room were from all over the nation and globe and were definitely not used to this sort of weather.

OK, so you may be wondering how this post has anything to do with public relations. The truth is, I got first-hand exposure to media reacting to the crisis that was occuring at Sun N Fun. Journalists were drafting stories, making phone calls, publishing on social media outlets, etc. I tweeted the entire time (I must say, I contributed to #lkld becoming a trending topic on Twitter that day). After the storm calmed just slightly, reporters ran outside with cameras searching for any damaged aircraft, etc. At one point I was next to a Polk County Sheriff who was being interviewed in person and over the phone. She provided nothing more than the most accurate information. Erroneous reports of a building collapsing got out on websites and social media. Turns out that an exhibitor tent had collapsed and only a few minor injuries occurred.

I volunteer to help causes, meet new people, gain experience, etc. but what I witnessed in the Media Room on March 31, 2011 was a learning experience and much more.

Guest Blogger Megan Getter on Widgets & Badges

10 Apr
It’s Guest Blogger Week! Our guest is Megan Getter of Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL. She is studying Public Relations, Interpersonal Communication as well as minoring in English. Check out her blog, Waves and Ripples!

Widgets, and badges, and more: Oh my!

It’s not as much fun to say as lions, and tigers, and bears, but I’ll explain why they can be more helpful than carnivorous mammals.

lions and tigers and bears 

Image Credit: “Pick me! Pick me!” By captainxo

A few things you should know before we get started…

Widgets

First, according to Wikipedia, a widget is “a stand-alone application that can be embedded into third party sites by any user on a page where they have rights of authorship (user can edit coding of page).”

Example:

I use widgets a lot on this blog. If you look on the right side, each of the different items is a widget enabled by the blog theme. There’s a widget at the bottom of the page too! (See word clouds.)

Badges

Second, also according to Wikipedia, a badge is “a small image used on websites to promote web standards, products used in the creation of a web page or product, to indicate a specific content license that is applied to the content or design of a website.”

Think of badges as bling or flair. You can show of all the cool stuff that means something to you.

Example:

HTML5 Powered with Connectivity / Realtime, CSS3 / Styling, and Graphics, 3D & Effects

I got this badge off the HTML5 logo creation site. You often have to click on the badge to find out what it means. Maybe you should do that for this one too! ;)

Practicality

For a company or nonprofit, the use of badges and widgets can come in handy. A company can create a badge or widget for others to display on their website. For donating to a cause, someone could get a “giving badge” to share.

A widget can be created to provide a special service to either clients or potential customers. Think industry news! Or a countdown till the release of a book, movie, or event. People love to display widgets (gadgets for windows) on their desktop and blog, so make sure whatever you create is versatile.