MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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“Making a pitch? Try following rules for dating” the does and don’ts.

This week on my blog, I found a post that relates how to make a pitch and the rules about dating. The author keeps the tips short and humorous, but also interesting points which helps further and former media relation practitioners.

The following are the tips:

1. Call, baby: If you are going to pick up the phone and call, have something intelligent and interesting to say. Know a little about the person you are calling. With reporters, be ready to reference a recent article; with a potential date it is always helpful to be aware of the win-loss record of their favorite team. 

2. Do not make it all about you: Ask about what the reporter is writing (or what the date prospect is working on) … and better yet, what else they read. This will get you to interview (date) No. 2, rather than leaving you dead in the water after the first. 

3. Know when to walk away: Recognize the disingenuous Call me back later. Journalists, like some people you date, will sometimes lie in order to let you down easy. Get your lie-dar going and always be straightforward with journalists (dates). They appreciate it. 

4. Do not use any stupid pickup lines: Have a point. Say it. Enough said. 

5. Do not filibuster: We have all sat across from the guy/gal/not-sure-which talking on and on and on … and on. That is the last thing a journalist wants to hear on the other end of the phone or during the lunch he took the time to have with your client. Deliver your message. Illustrate it. Move on to the next one. Repeat. (Dates like that as well.)

6. Make that date already: Set up the interview, and get the heck off the phone. Never dillydally or think the strength of a relationship is measured by the how many minutes you spent on the phone. You both know why you are talking — in both cases.

7. Be considerate: Never — ever — call during deadline or when the date is in the shower. Or at 5 p.m. on Friday. Or in the middle of the night (date wise). Offer to have your client do the interview over the weekend if it helps the journo out. Be flexible with both parties!

8. Do not compromise integrity: If the story does not fit, or if you could never see yourself with this guy or gal for more than a couple of shoddy minutes, do not try to make it work. Walk away and look for the better fit now. 

9. Make a lasting impression: Position the client appropriately, and personalize your story angle. Talking about the CEO as the CEO is not going to get you anywhere. Use first names. With dates, use nicknames. 

10. Show intelligence: Nobody likes an idiot. I have said what everyone is thinking.


Personally, some of these points seem like common since, however I believe that it is important for all PR professionals to know the do and don’ts about making a pitch. I would just add one more tip though… Don’t be too needy. Being needy just turns people off in professional and personal encounters and makes them think “maybe this person isn’t so secure..

Can anyone else think of any tips to add???


May 28, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | Leave a comment

Moving religion closer to the masses

To keep up with the Internet boom, religions from around the world are moving their practices into the cyber-world.

In the Net Effects blog this week, Evgeny Morozov mentions Al-Sadiq Al-Othmani, a Moroccan expert of Islam living and has brought his work in the Islam religion to a broader audience in Brazil.   Morozov says that for many Islams living in Brazil it can take up to 12 hours to reach a mosque. Othmani saw an opportunity and put his sermon online he was able to reach thousands.

“To our surprise, the sermon got 800,000 hit in just one week,” said Othmani.  Morozov mentions Othmani has since established an online magazine introducing Latin Americans to Islam.

This article shows that it is not only the business world that is taking advantage of this new avenue of communication but religions are also using social media to connect with believers in today’s world.

After a little investigating, I discovered it is not only Islam using online resources, but I found everything from Christian Facebook groups, Buddhist blogs, Muslim Twitter lists and Jehovah witness web sites. It seems most religions are jumping on the online bandwagon.

Is this a good thing for religions? Can the same faith be felt in a virtual community vs a real life religious community?

Your thoughts?



May 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Beauty is [such a] Pain

What does my Second Life usage say about me in “real life”?

Today’s Second Life tutorial class with Denyse Rodrigues was an eye-opener for me. One of the SL benefits we talked about in class was the opportunity it provides its users to drop the physical limitations of person-to-person interaction. Without these limitations, users can transcend gender and age biases. Persons with physical disabilities have the opportunity to walk, run and even fly. The way we look in real life is no longer a factor in socialization.

But what about the way we look online? SL gives users the oppourtunity to design their avatars, with customization options for hairstyle, body shape, clothing and even facial bone structure. Want higher cheekbones? No problem. A smaller butt? Just a few adjustments and you’re as slim as you want to be. The best part is, if users get tired of their avatar’s look, they can change it anytime with just a few clicks of their cursor.

Clearly, this is not how it works in “real life”. (I put “real life” in quotations because I don’t want to undermine the realness of online life.) For those of us who chose to socialize in person, our saggy cheekbones and big bums are far more permanent. When SL gives us the option to adjust and perfect our look at the click of a cursor, are they liberating us from physical limitations? Or are they placing an even larger emphasis on physical appearance?

I can only speak for myself, but I was far more concerned with my avatar’s appearance than I am concerned with my “real life” appearance. (And I’m a girl who likes to spend an hour on my hair and makeup when I go out to socialize.) In fact, I’m ashamed to say that I spent the entire class period tweaking the shape of my eyes, augmenting my breasts and applying makeup. I was so concerned with my avatar’s look that I forgot that the purpose of the exercise was to get out of the virtual beauty shop and socialize with my classmates online. Before I knew it, the class was over and all I had accomplished was a really bad digital smokey eye makeup job.

I can only chaulk my behaviour up to one of two things:

a) My makeover madness was just a manifestation of who I am in real life: self-conscious and image-obsessed. SL simply emphasised my vain tendencies.

b) By providing so many avatar appearance options, SL creates an unrealistic environment where appearance is valued over character just as much–if not more–than it does in “real life”.

So is it me? Or is it SL? Maybe me and SL are a just a bad combination for eachother. Either way I think I’ll stick to being self-conscious and image-obsessed in real life. Worrying about my appearance in one realm is enough for me!

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Still a fan of real life.

Worlds in cyberspace are becoming a much larger part of our world. People now have the ability to make a second identity for themselves and in a sense be the person they wish they could be in real life, or as it now called “offline”.

Having used Second Life yesterday for the first time and stumbled through the different worlds in my beautiful outfit. For me, I struggle with the idea of having two identities, one which I live in and the other I live through via my computer. I do see the advantages to these type of cyber reality worlds with the need to become more connected with people throughout the world but for me I find it odd to talk to someone I know I will never meet.

This may be a simple first timer-use anxiety and hesitation to this type of world. To be quite honest I am not even really sure what I am supposed to be doing once I have entered this world but I am much more comfortable meeting colleagues through face to face methods. With the introduction of Skype and web-casting I believe face to face meetings are possible from opposite sides of the world and people will be able to use their true self.

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | 1 Comment

I’d rather hear it from the toaster!


Is technology taking over the world?!

Is technology taking over the world?!

There were only two new entries this week on PR Conversations one on the Vatican’s PR efforts and the other on communications relation to corporate trust.

 The latter was an interesting compellation of quotes, lessons learned and statistics on public trust. Information was provided from theEdelman Barometer of Trust and their perception of the relationship between communications and corporate trust, as well as lessons learned from the Maple Leaf Foods Listeria outbreak.

Main points include Maple Leaf’s incredible crisis communication and its ability to retain public trust, and the Edelman Barometer of Trust findings 2009.

 Industry sectors most trusted in Canada:

1. Technology 67%
2. Biotech/life sciences 57%
3. Health care sector 59%
4. Food 54%
5. Banks 53%

 It was interesting to see that technology was the most trusted sector in the country and especially interesting when you consider the most trusted sources:

Traditional Information Sources
1. Stock or industry analyst reports 52%
2. Articles in business magazines 50%
3. Conversations with your friends and peers 42%
4. Conversations with company employees 41%
5. Television news coverage 40%

 My first reaction: machines are taking over the world!!!

I guess I was shocked at this information, but the more I thought about it the more I connected it with our class discussions.

 The stats prove that people are more willing to believe reports and technologies over their own friends and colleagues. It get’s back to our discussion on Wikipedia and other tools and how/why ‘experts’ are considered to be more credible than friends and traditional media sources. As practitioners it’s important for us to understand this shift and to find ways to maintain relevant and connected with public trust. I

 Thoughts? Suggestions?

 Over and out.


May 28, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment