MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Here, there and everywhere

It’s fascinating to see how social media, viral marketing and on-line technologies are becoming prevalent in almost all of the PR courses I’m taking this semester. Whether it’s media relations, employee relations or our co-op placements, these electronic tools are becoming a huge part of how we conduct business as communicators.

Last week, in my media relations class we had a student YouTube day, where every student had the opportunity to teach the rest of the class something. I chose to speak about how bloggers influence mainstream media using a video featuring Bad Pitch Blog co-founder Kevin Dugan. Dugan had many interesting points, including how bloggers are becoming official sources and experts as they, unlike the journalists of today, have the time to focus on one beat at a time. He also discussed how bloggers are changing the news curve by extending the traditional peaks or breaking news to include pre and post-analysis of media coverage. It’s amazing to see how the blogosphere is broadening how we define official sources and conduct media relations! Likewise, it’s exciting to think to about how we can use this knowledge to help organizations conduct accurate media monitoring and extend its brand visibility and audience reach. 

Last week, I secured my final co-op with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). One of the reasons I applied for this position was because it offered the opportunity to use many of the tools I’m currently learning about in this course (wikis, blogs, video and other multimedia). I was pleased to learn that NRCan has its own version of YouTube called NRTube and has an internal wiki that they say gives wings to employee ideas. Furthermore, I was informed that Facebook and other SMS are not blocked from the server and that employees are encouraged to use the tools they deem necessary to achieve their communications goals. I’m so excited to be able to hone the skills I’m learning this semester in, what I see as, a progressive national institution. Having the ability to choose the best medium to reach your audience, as opposed to being limited to traditional communications tools allows for more effective strategies and targeted audience reach. It was also refreshing to hear my new employers say that just because these tools are available to employees doesn’t mean they’re always the most appropriate vehicles. We are all learning that there is no point in using these tools just for the sake of doing so. The message must lend itself, we must have interesting video and material that is relevant to the target audience. 

One of the most important things I have learned about blogger relations and increasing your online presence is to remain relevant. I know I have so much more to learn about social media, but I am thrilled with the foundation this course has provided. I can already see how the knowledge I’ve gained is starting to transpire in other courses and how it will allow me to remain relevant to future employers. 

Muchas gracias Dr. D!

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June 14, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material, Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Online technologies:The good with the bad- we gonna work it out

It seems June has been a busy month all around. Papyrusnews.com has yet to post any new content for this month. So, in following a common trend, I went through some old contributions and found something that peaked my interest, and hopefully it will yours as well.

 

Back in April, Papryus blogger Sonja Lind commented on how discussions around online technologies seem to focus on the negative and what’s bad about electronic mediums. She referenced cyberbullying and the loss of human connection. Likewise, we, as a class, have also discussed whether or not the internet is making people antisocial or allowing individuals to hide behind their online persona. Lind acknowledges that these are valid arguments, but counters her statement with a link to a good news story about how an American teenager was able to save a British teenager’s life through the use of Facebook. Supposedly, the British male send a private message to American girl saying that he was going to hurt himself. The girl, not knowing his address, told her mother, who then called local authorities. The police called in a “special agent” from the British Embassy who then narrowed down the suicidal teens location. He was found after four attempts, haven already taken an overdose, but still conscious. 

 

This is truly an inspirational story.  It not only shows the power, reach and good qualities of such social media tools, but also reiterates some of the points Kim raised in her post “iTube, weTube, we all scream for YouTube,” specifically, that the internet does have a heart, compassion and humility.

 

It is so easy to disregard the fact that an actual living, breathing, feeling human beings on the other end of your electronic exchange. Computer generated messaging have become quite common and users have become pretty skilled at filtering out a lot of targeted messaging. Don’t get me wrong, this is a necessary skill to have to avoid information overload and media bombardment. Nonetheless, I think this article emphasizes the overlap between online and offline and the impact these relationships can have. In this case, it saved a young males life. Had the teenage girl dismissed the message, he might not be alive today. I think it also highlights the importance of good blogger etiquette and treating people with dignity and respect despite lacking the face to face exchange. As common sense as it may sound, we must not forget that behind these technologies are someone’s sons and daughters, real people with real problems, who just might need a virtual shoulder to cry on. 

 

I’d like to leave you all with a song I’m totally obsessed with lately, musical preferences aside, I think we can all appreciate the message: let love prevail. 🙂

 

 


June 14, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material, Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | , , , | 3 Comments

Maybe it had to do with their beautiful accents?

This week we had the privilege to hear from three professionals who use social media on a daily basis. Their expertise and knowledge really tied in everything we had been discussing in class until then. Bringing us full-circle was great since now I can connect current real life examples to what I am learning in class.
When Calum introduced SEO, I found this extremely interesting. It made me think about how I search things on Google. I’m sure it has happened to you that you can’t seem to find what you are looking for on Google. Well, now we know. It might have to do with the fact that we are not thinking the same way as the person managing the website.

Another thing that makes you wonder is the language being used. It becomes obvious that the rules of English grammar do not necessarily apply online. A new lingo has been created, and proper structure has been thrown out the window. Why can’t we just keep the same language on and off line? I mean, it’s already a challenge at times for me to speak English properly face to face with someone let alone change the structure to make it fit the online criteria. But I guess it’s part of the game.

June 14, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , , | Leave a comment

In one corner we have Press Release in the competing corner Social Media…. Ding Ding Ding… let the battle begin

 As we all know, social media is the new hot thing in the PR, marketing world. People and organizations are using it to contact with one another so socializing purposes, to sending out a message. These new tools are chique, exciting and allowing practitioners to connect to their audience like never before.  But what will happen to the old fashion way of PR? What’s going to happen to the good old press releases?

In Lindsey Miller article: Is the R.I.P. for PR a trifle premature?  It discusses just that. She states that the PR industry is at significant crossroad due to the large part of social media, which has changed the way the profession has always worked. But the old ways are not working anymore. “The old ways of pitching journalists via press releases has largely fallen by the wayside as demand grows for multimedia content and interactive PR,” she stated. Personally, I have not seen the change all that much. In my past co-op job I still had to write press release. However, did I get a response… not so much. I agree with Lindsey that our society is based on creating new and better ways of communicating. Our lives are based around technology; to not embrace that, and not use it would be a mistake.

I understand that we are coming up with new ideas, but what about the traditional PR firms that do not have social media awareness? Fuat Kircaali, CEO and publisher of SYS-CON Media states  “70 percent of today’s traditional PR firms will not survive, while the remaining 30 percent will need to reinvent themselves.” Like we have been learning in class, these organizations well depend on us to show them the 2.0 way before their organizations become extinct. “The new PR companies won’t be putting out press releases and won’t be in the press release business,” Kircaali told Ragan.com via e-mail. “The PR firm of the future will employ professional bloggers who will use social media tools to get their message into the hands of their targeted audience. The press release business already belongs to the Stone Age.”

I raise this question; will the old PR pros survive, and change their way? Or will they be taken over by the new PR social media gurus?

June 14, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | Leave a comment