MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Is that really you?

Like every other week, I’ve been keeping you updated on the Community Marketing Blog. This week when I went to see what I could write about, something seemed odd. For the second week in a row the post had not yet been changed and was dated. Now, I know people are busy but don’t you think the blog should be kept up to date constantly considering this specific blog is used to communicate best practices with proffessionals? However, the rest of the page is being updated, I just find it odd that the top story does not.
On June 11, Ellen Bradt, winner of the blog-off contest posted an interesting article. If you’re interested you should read I Don’t Like What You Wrote. You Should Be Poisoned, Garrotted, Stabbed With Stiletto Heels, Thrown Off A Tall Building, and Have Vultures Eat Your Liver. This article touched on an interesting topic: identity online. Ellen goes on to talk about how you never know who you will meet online. For the most part people are genuine and friendly but you never know. So how can you make sure that you are not meeting sketchy people online? Well you can’t; I guess you just have to trust your own judgement. Since the internet is not only used for professional but also our personal lives, this brings in a sense of insecurity and skepticism on t he trust we give people. With online dating sites being popular, how do people know that they are not setting themselves up for disaster and dissapointement?

To me it seems easier to get to know someone in person. I guess I prefer meeting people face to face rather than online.


June 17, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , | Leave a comment

Dell does Tweetzza (…so to speak)

I realize by now you’re all probably sick of me gushing over how relevant Brian Solis’ posts are on PR 2.0, but I really can’t help myself… so bare with me.

Yesterday, I posted a comment/reflection about Naked Pizza selling pizza via Twitter. This is an interesting concept (ie: using Twitter as a marketing tool to drive sales), and one we should take note of. With that as a background, when I checked Solis’ blog today, lo and behold was a post about how Dell  has been using its own Tweeting techniques to drive sales… in other words, my gushing about his relevance is justified!

Solis’ post describes how Dell used its Twitter account, @DellOutlet, to drive $2 million worth of sales.

They have done this by posting special offers and “nurturing customer relationships on Twitter” (I assume this means responding to customer Tweets, etc). The @DellOutlet account currently has close to 625,000 followers – in other words, they’ve essentially formed their own “micro community” with access to Dell’s exclusive deals.

To take a quote from Dell from Solis’ blog, “We’ve surpassed $2 million in revenue in terms of Dell Outlet sales, but we’re also seeing that it’s driving interest in new product as well. We’re seeing people come from @DellOutlet on Twitter into the site, and then ultimately decide to purchase a new system from elsewhere on If we factor those new system purchases that come from @DellOutlet, we’re actually eclipsed $3 million in overall sales.”

(note the extra “O” for emphasis)

The Twitter technique has evidently worked very well for both Naked Pizza and Dell (both very different businesses). Not only has their tweeting boosted sales, it has fostered customer involement, thus loyalty to the brands and their products.

Solis’ friend who works at Dell, Richard Binhammer, noted, “…this is about putting the public back in public relations where relationships are direct. The dedicated practice of connecting with customers generates real results on many levels. While this announcement focuses on revenue results and referrals to, they are also reinforced by the relationships and direct connections we have with customers everyday using the Web.”

This train of thought (ie: conducting business via Twitter/social media) has raised some new questions for me:

 – Is this an example of a new “best practice” in public relations, or just strategic marketing strategy that’s replacing things like flyers and mailouts?

– And as a continuation to that,  where do we draw the line between marketing and PR in businesses’ use of social media tools?

– Will the use of social media to drive sales and/or nurture relationships serve to distinguish public relations practice, or will it do the opposite?

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | 1 Comment

R.I.P Traditional Communication Tools

As this is my last post on my monitored site, SXSW, I was anxious to write about something SUPER cool to end it with a bang.

As I browsed through the latest updates to the site, I came across a clip of another award that was given out- Category: Blog – Sites that revolutionize the power of publishing by providing regularly updated content of a personal or professional nature.

This award went to a blog called The Bygone Bureau, Which was created by two college seniors. It’s basically an online newspaper which has over 2000 contributors. Many of them have not even met the two creators of the site.

In the interview after winning the award, one of the creators was asked if he thinks blogs will someday take over print newspapers. He responded “I really, really hope that newspapers don’t go away.”

Well, I really, really hope newspapers don’t go away either. In fact, I really, really hope that cd’s don’t go away (although that’s looking more and more of a possibility) and I really, really hope that comic books don’t go away, or person-to-person conversation, or bank tellers, or telling secrets to friends, or books, or dvd’s.

What I’m getting at here is that after 5 weeks of monitoring my site, looking back at all of my posts, they have almost all had to do with technology replacing mediums that have been around for ages! This goes for a lot of our class posts as well.

I think the progress that technology has made in such a short span of time is amazing. And amazingly scary.

I mean, I’m all for technology. I can’t live without my cell phone, can’t go anywhere without my iPod, checking facebook has basically become  part of my everyday life and yes, blogging is fun! I just find myself moving forward and not looking back, not taking the time to stop and think about just how much technology is advancing.

I hope that someday social media and traditional forms of communication can live in harmony, pleasing everyone. I would like to still be able to wake up in the morning and check the morning paper over coffee. Because I know myself too well, and a mug of coffee over a laptop just wouldn’t work.

What are your thoughts on technology replacing traditional communication? It’s EVERYWHERE!

On a side note: I will definitely still be keeping up with SXSW as often as I can. I suggest you all take a look at it too!


June 16, 2009 Posted by | Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | , , | 1 Comment

Research, Research, Research …

This week on PR Conversations, Frank Ovaitt, discusses the “Four Things That Only Took Me Five Years to Learn.” Frank is retiring after five years as President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations.

 Franks Four Things:

  1. There is no reason to assume that Public Relations is inferior to marketing, advertising (or many other management functions)  in terms of our research.
  2. There are three kinds of public relations research:  Research used in public relations, to guide and evaluate communications programs. Research on public relations, to understand what we do and how we do it.And research for public relations – theoretical development to provide the social science underpinnings.
  3. The public relations field is more interconnected globally than ever before, and research is one of the great connectors.
  4. Public relations professionals who understand research will rule this field.

 His ‘learnings’ are interesting to me because they are all around PR research… something that I’m not THAT fond of. Maybe that’s why it took him so long to learn it… I’m not sure how the rest of you feel, but research always seems so stale and, well, annoying.  

 However after reading his post I sort of got it, an ‘ah ha moment’ if you will, research is the foundation of what we do, and without it we really are spin doctors.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , | 2 Comments

Bull Twit

On June 15, Social Media Group posted a blog entry called “Tweeting your way into a Twinternship”. A Twinternship is essentially an internship where students can act as a Twitter expert, consultant or content manager for large organizations or high-profile individuals that don’t have time to Tweet themselves.

Considering Twitter’s sole mandate to determine: “What are you doing?” (“you”, meaning organizations and individuals on Twitter), does it make sense for someone from outside the organization to come in and answer that question? Does a fresh-faced student, not-yet immersed in the company culture have the knowledge and intuition to provide daily updates on the inner workings of an organization? Maybe.

On one side of the coin, an outside source would be free from the biases and cynicism that result from years of working for the same company. Someone with a fresh perspective could tweet about exciting news and events that they know would be of interest to the outside world.

On the other hand, that fresh perspective may not be an accurate one. Furthermore, it might not be articulated in a tone that is true to the organization or celebrity.

It’s one thing to Tweet about oneself. We don’t have to research the current events in our life, or adopt a specific tone in order to accurately portray our Twitter status. But when we Tweet on behalf of an organization or celebrity, we must assume the personality of that organization. Someone external to that organization would likely have to fake it.

I suppose that is what we, as communicators do when we write a news release or speak to the media on behalf of an organization. The difference here is that social media claims to be a more organic, or “real” medium. Can companies, political figures and celebrities really claim that they’re using social media to be “real” and transparent when they pay someone else to do the tweeting?

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If Social Media Were a Small Town That Nosey Old Lady Down the Street Would be Facebook

This week on Managing the Gray my eyes were shocked to behold a brand new podcast by our pal (you’ll be meeting him via Skype tomorrow) C.C. Chapman. As always, the podcast impressed. One topic that stood out the most for me was a presentation he did called Social Media is a Small Town.

Being from a small town in Newfoundland, I could totally relate to what he was getting at with this presentation. He says, there is often a small town mentality associated with social media. To me, that means it’s all about generating a conversation or dialogue with your publics. In a small town, everyone knows everyone else’s business. If you want to know what movie to rent you will ask your neighbour. Growing up in a small town can often be cumbersome especially if you are a private person; but, if you’re into social media you want people to know your business! (or at least want to know other people’s business)

Chapman says growing up in a small town has helped him excel in this world of blogging and podcasts and social marketing. I would have to agree with him there. Small towns teach how to spread information whether you want to share or not. I guess it all comes down to transparency. In a small town, the flow information is often inescapable. If you are to be successful in the social media world you need to realize that information must be truthful and passed along the right channels and to the right people.  In every small town there is the one nosey lady down the street who knows everything and shares it with everyone she speaks with. In our social media world she would Facebook or Twitter. Tell her a secret and within seconds all of your friends will know.

So, who agrees? Who in the class is from a small town and can see how this has helped them with social media? Or conversely has it hindered you? Let me know!

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , , , | 3 Comments

The List of Change

Last week, the Buzz Bin announced the launching of the List of Change – which ranks the top English-language change or cause related blogs. The great thing about the List of Change is that any blogger can submit their URL to potentially be part of the list. The List of Change is a collaborative effort between Geoff Livingston, programmer Shannon Whitley and Beth Kanter— a leading change blogger.

 The Team developed the initiative to help out the not for profit sector through creating a single point of aggregation for change blogs, which will help bloggers promote themselves and also benchmark their performance. The List will follow an opt-in ranking in which bloggers must submit their URL to become part of the ranking. The List of Change has no profit motivation, with no corporate affiliations, and it is the hopes of the team that the list will eventually move to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s site. What a great initiative Geoff!

 Geoff updates that as of June 10th, the list includes 125 change blogs – 115 of which were added over the span of one week. The team still hopes to add to the List and improve on its function but for now the List will be used to help promote the 125 blogs.

 The List of Change is a great example of the power of blogging. While some people may feel like a blog is just that – a bunch of text someone puts online everyday, we often forget about all the bloggers out there that are trying to make a difference. Often times, the only reason we forget, is because we don’t know about them, and this list hopes to change that.

 To check out the List of Change click here!

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | Leave a comment

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!

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. 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

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 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