Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finding Your Way With the Social Marketing Compass

I am loving all of the diagrams in Engage! by Brian Solis.  As a visual person, I have been looking up some of the charts and diagrams online to get a better feel from them, and I am not disappointed by the results.  As with the Conversation Prism, the Social Marketing Compass is a helpful tool for current students to begin to comprehend and understand the importance and detail that goes into brand management through social media.  

This diagram would have been helpful last semester when I was working on a group project that involved creating and implementing the beginning steps of a PR plan revolving around social media for a local non-profit.  While my team understood what social media outlets might be best for the organization as well as basic ways that they could utilize these outlets, we by no means had an understanding that was this in-depth of the brand, their stakeholders, players, platform, channels, and sentiment.

As PR students, I don't think we were quite at that level of thinking yet, but as I go on in my classes, I am leaving them with a better understanding of the mindset it takes to create real and meaningful social media interactions and plans for a brand or organization.  The details and time it takes to do proper research can seem overwhelming, but with diagrams, advice, and guidance from books like Engage (and all of the visual aids that go with it!) PR students everywhere can learn what it really takes to succeed in new media.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why you should use the Conversation Prism

For our class we're monitoring a brand or company for several weeks as an assignment.  As a member of the generation that demands to find out things instantly and believes procrastination is a way of life, I thought the assignment would be easy: Google said brand/company; search for them as a hashtag on twitter, and check out their Facebook page. There. Done. 

However, after reading through the chapter about listening and monitoring of Engage!, I was fascinated with the intricate detail of the conversation prism and how much more complicated brand monitoring can get.  The gives a liter step-by-step on how to listen to an audience over social media.  It'll be a very helpful chapter in about a week when I put my monitoring project together.  The halos of the prism show each level of engagement and listening, and include a how-to navigate the waters of each--it's the most helpful guide a brand persona manager could have. 

I think this model is creative, innovative, and best of all--actually helpful.  It's easy to understand, logical, and offers the reader tips and suggestions on how to engage/observe/monitor.  I was compelled to look at the blog and saw just how much research went into it as well as a look into how much it changes each time it is updated.  New media is an ever-changing world, and each update of the conversation prism takes away the irrelevant social media and inserts the up-and-coming tools.  This model can be applicable to any brand or any company.  It's a great thing to know how to do well, and this project will help our class be in a better position at our future jobs.  When you think about it, having a good handle on what the world is saying about your brand or company is almost like insider information.  Those who are top brand managers don't only know what the brand thinks the brand should be-- they also know what everyone else is thinks.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Online Personalities

Chapter 12 of Engage has been the chapter most relevant and helpful to me as I debate on how to handle my online personality.  As I have been applying to graduate school as well as making professional connections, I've been struggling to decide how I should come across online. My facebook has been around since I was in high school so there's lots of old stuff on there, and my twitter was originally started for personal purposes as well.  As I've learned more and more about social media and personal branding, it's been hard to decide if I should be strictly personal or strictly professional.  I think I'm beginning to suffer from Multiple Online Personality Disorder.

My twitter followers get quite an array of tweets, and I'm not sure that I am coming across very well after reading this chapter and really looking at my followers, who I'm following, and what I retweet.  For example, I retweet a lot about sports as well as interesting facts about New York as well as interesting social media and  PR topics. It's easy to see that I'm suffering from a little bit of multiple personality disorder.

A recent topic I've become interested in is student affairs/higher education, and those who are starting to follow me can look at my past tweets and see quickly that this is a recent interest.  However, I still would like to have my personal interests on twitter, so it's hard to figure out what I should do about this new online community I've become interested in.  Through the advice of Brian Solis, I think that I am going to manage this difference in interests by creating a new blog and twitter for me to engage with this student affairs community professionally.  This way, I can keep my personal twitter about sports, friends, and restaurants separate from the professional relationships that I'm hoping to build.  When I do this, I will definitely be looking back at the tips given in order to make sure I establish good brand pillars and characteristics as a student affairs graduate student.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Definitions of Social Media and New Media

In our Social Media for PR class, we are reading Engage! by Brian Solis. While reading the chapters on the definitions of new media and social media, I found the attempts to define both terms to be interesting.  My personal learning project (more details to come) revolves around different types of social/new media that are being used in higher education.  When I first started looking into this topic, I was really narrow minded and looking for all the wrong things and thought that our school didn't use much social media other than for marketing purposes.  

After reading into the book more, the picture of what is included in social/new media in a university setting began to come together.  In classes when we use blackboard or wikis, it's new media.  When my organization uses Evite! to invite people to an event, it's new media.  And when we also internally use blogs to keep in touch and show we're learning over the summer, it's new media.  Social/new media is most commonly known, however, as: facebook, twitter, tumblr, and foursquare.  

I know it's much more than that.  There's blogs, social bookmarking, picture sharing, and video sharing.  However, I never thought much of these tools being useful in a different way.  The examples of Southwest Airlines, Jet Blue, Red Cross, Oracle, and IBM in chapters 3-6 of Engage! were helpful in illustrating that.  I am finding that the cases and examples are showing how only what's worked, but also some road blocks and how to overcome them.  It's given me a new starting point to look at when going forward with my project, as well as with finding out what skills might help me in the future.

Bloggers: The Next Generation

When I heard that the New York Times was going to start charging for digital subscriptions, I immediately worried and was not excited at all about this new development.  While the fee isn't much (comparatively) and the motives are understandable, I still wasn't happy that I would have to pay to read the articles I see on twitter every day.  Then I learned that articles made available and linked to through their official twitter feeds would still be available to the public, and I felt much much better.

It is easiest to get my news from my twitter feed than any other way. I wake up every morning and before I even get out of bed I check my twitter feed.  There I get to see what's going on with friends, brands, and news  before I turn on the Today Show while getting ready.  Throughout the day, I normally check twitter now and then plus tweet a few times if I find something interesting or have something exciting to share.  It's become a habit to get my news and read online posts almost solely through tweets with links, and that's why I when I found a New York Times article (through twitter) about how blogs are not as popular with younger generations, I found myself agreeing.

Though blogs are normally pretty brief, I find it much easier to find something I want to read by going through twitter, and not just searching until I find something relevant.  I try really hard to use Google reader daily, but the fact of the matter is that it is much easier to read twitter than anything else.  Twitter is brief, mobile, can include videos, pictures, links, and it allows for instant interaction.  Unless you have gotten into the habit of reading through blog posts daily, the instant gratification of scrolling through tweets is hard to beat.  The future of blogging is going to all about how bloggers tweet and link back to it... in the shortest and most creative ways possible.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tweetcast of St. Edward's Passion and Civility Debate Finals

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A different kind of #winning

Forget Charlie Sheen.  James Franco has established what it really means to be "winning."  Hint: it has nothing to do with tiger blood, goddesses, or money.  James Franco is proving himself as the best multitasker ever... and is putting all of our "I'm too busy" excuses to shame.

In a recent New York Times article highlighting his dedication to everything he does, Lisa Foderaro revealed that James Franco made it to his 9:00am doctoral class the morning after he hosted the Oscars with Anne Hathaway.  Any college student would think he's nuts--why wouldn't he stay and go to all the parties? But Franco proves once again that he's dedicated to obtaining his doctoral degree in English.  Any doctoral program is grueling itself, but add movie-star and another master's degree program at NYU, and you're just asking for stress.

Franco's online presence has made it easy for anyone to follow his daily adventures.  He posts pictures and videos of things he's up to via his twitter, but without any accompanying text.  There are also websites and students at Yale committed to reporting sightings of him around campus.  Which by the way, his residence is in New York City... and Yale is in Connecticut.  Talk about dedication.

As a student who tries to stay busy and on top of my work, it's unbelievable how he manages to do so many high-stress and high-commitment things at once.  He should really be teaching a class about time management, not film editing.  He's a true multitasker and deserves way more credit than he gets (especially after his okay hosting of the Oscars).

credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Sunday, February 20, 2011

the twitter mystery: who's important?

It's always been intriguing to me: who on twitter is really important?  I've spent time hunting for the people who are top influencers in various topics that I'm interested in: PR, fashion, and leadership.  Compare it to going on a scavenger hunt: finding clue after clue and tweet after tweet to see where all the news and latest developments originate.

After reading articles about twitter and influencers, I realized that I participate in this social revolution every day. My information comes from people I know, their information comes from people they know and people their friends know. But on twitter, I can go straight to the source and hear the news when the rest of the world does.  Then I can also find people who follow and interact with the user in order to discuss the news, development, or big event that was just unveiled.  Not only can I follow fashion brands like Oscar de la Renta and DKNY, but through their tweets and interaction I have been able to identify widely unknown (yet important) bloggers, buyers, people, and businesses by whom the big brands are influenced.

It's kind of cool feeling like you are part of the brand, industry, or business because of their tweets.  It's fun to look at your twitter feed and lists and know that you are on the cutting edge of what's news in the world.  I think twitter, social media, and the internet have changed how we find out news for the better. You can find out anything through following the right people on twitter.  After all, that's exclusively how I'm finding material for my original posts on this blog!


The NFL's PR people have got to be stressed...

After attending Super Bowl XLV and watching how the National Football League has handled the catastrophe that was, I have also found how much negativity is surrounding the NFL right now.  With the possibility of no football next season, fans are enraged about the seats at the Super Bowl and now about the negotiations that are seemingly endless.    

With the NFL Players Association going up against the owners of the NFL teams, it's hard to say who has the best leverage in this situation.  The owners are demanding a longer schedule, a lower salary, and no increased health benefits in one of the more injury-prone sports.  The negotiations have been brought to a mediator because they seemingly cannot come to an agreement through conventional negotiation.  

As to how both sides are handling this in the media, neither is really doing a good job.  When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell  said that he would take a salary of $1 if that's what was necessary to come to an agreement, the head of the NFLPA DeMaurice Smith said that his salary would be $ .69.  Each side just keep trying to one-up the other, clearly without consulting their PR people, because both sides come off as petty and childish.

The mediation has gained a lot of media attention because what's at risk is major for the American public.  If the sides do not come to an agreement, there will be no football played next year--which is devastating for owners, fans, and players alike. Fans have even made a commercial and a website petition to show the NFL how badly they want an agreement.  Let's see if they listen.

For everyone unfamiliar with the whole situation, here's a funny explanation of it:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

twitter may not spark a revolution, but it won't hurt one

As someone who (obviously) thinks twitter is the greatest thing since sliced bread, I found it surprising when I agreed with a lot of Malcolm Gladwell's opinions about social media.  His comparison to what it takes to truly send a message during a revolution to the limited power of a network struck me as both reasonable and true from my experiences with social media.  Clay Shirkey's response also intrigued me and made me think, but overall, I agree with Gladwell's thoughts.

The use of social media may not start a revolution, but can help people find others who are as dedicated and care as much about a cause as themselves. Its ease of spreading a message and finding others who agree is what is helpful in rounding up people, but like Gladwell said, often does not involve more than clicking, donating, and sharing. People are going to talk regardless of if we can assemble without ever saying a word out loud.  It's been done before and will be done again.  Social media, in my opinion, wouldn't hurt anyone trying to start or assemble a movement, but it might not be as helpful as one might originally think.

I use social media in the way that many people do, almost purely social or personal.  I look for interesting articles, posts, and links; I e-mail and tweet with friends, and I use facebook to check up on people that I know.  It makes the world seem smaller, but I do not employ it to do anything too complicated or drastic.  And although I love it, don't believe it would be the determining factor in making a large social movement happen.  People can find others like themselves, but that does not mean they now have a strong bond that would convince them to sacrifice for each other.

New media is a great development in technology and makes s closer together than we could ever imagine, but it is not the answer for making great strides in social movements--not yet.

A Super Bowl without cheer

It's like the year without a Santa Claus in Dallas, kind of.  It's been sporting disappointments left and right.  First the Stars lost Mike Modano and Marty Turco, then the Rangers lost the World Series, then the Cowboys didn't make the playoffs, and now the Super Bowl won't have any cheerleaders or dancers?!

I know this topic isn't the most intellectually stimulating, but I found it in my twitter feed a few times and finally decided to read the New York Times article about how there won't be any cheerleader's at Super Bowl XLV.  With the big game in Texas, it's both funny and a little sad that the stadium that normally has Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders as well as the Miller Lite Rhythm and Blue Dancers, will not have any professional dancers performing.

The Super Bowl in and of itself is a huge event, and every single aspect of what's going on in Dallas seems news-worthy to anyone and everyone.  Everyone I know has been wondering why there won't be cheerleaders without knowing the real reason behind it.  It's been on facebook, twitter, the local news, and even newspapers.  I mean, for a state that loves Texas high school football games, college football games, and NFL games, it's a little disappointing that a game as big as this one won't have any dancing and cheering come game time.  

At first glance, it seems as if the NFL is trying to say something by not having cheerleaders at this game, but when you look closer, you notice that there are quite a few teams that don't have cheerleaders on a normal basis--the Packers and Steelers are just two of them.  These teams that don't employ dancers are teams that have outdoor stadiums in cold places.  So, they're doing the girls a favor and not making them dance and cheer in the sleet and snow.

So, though it looks like the NFL is banning cheerleaders, they're actually doing a favor to the girls.  And though it stinks that there won't be any cheerleaders at Texas' biggest football game of the year, I think we'll all survive.