MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Embrace the Internet but don’t leave some employees behind

To gauge the importance of the Internet for the field of public relations we need not look any further than our classes this week. Without new technologies made possible through the internet, such as Skype and Twitter, we would never have been able to speak with Harold Simons in such a personal and effective manner and we would not have gotten the real world, real time experience of Ben and Kimberly’s Twitter experiment. 

The reading for this week by Paul Christ discusses the need for public relations professionals to embrace Internet technologies or be left in the dust, so to speak. I think, thanks to this social media class we are being taught very important and applicable lessons for our future careers that will certainly give us an edge as we search for employment in the future.

Rogers Plus internal communications strategy embraces the Internet in the way that Christ’s article suggests. One of the primary reasons offered by Christ as to why PR practitioners need to embrace Internet communication is because it is now one of the main ways people receive information. As an organization one must examine where their stakeholders get information and provide it through that portal. Simons did a great job with that. As most of Rogers Plus employees fit the 18-24 demographic they would most likely get their information via the Internet. By providing employee information via the ning site, he has made the information available in a way that they will most likely use.

Further, the Christ article, though it doesn’t speak to internal communications specifically, suggests that using the Internet helps to “develop stronger relationships with stakeholders [as] they can tailor their services to meet stakeholders’ needs.” This is evident through the initial success of the Rogers Plus employee site.  They found out what the employees needed from them and provided it through a custom site made especially for employees.

With all this in mind I still wonder: what does Rogers Plus do if a new employee doesn’t have access to the Internet? We (especially those of us who embrace social media like us) like to think that everyone we are trying to reach with our messaging has access to the Internet; but in reality that is not quite the case. As mentioned in a previous class, upwards of 80 per cent of Nova Scotians are without high-speed access. Is it really reasonable to expect that everyone will have the ability to do this training from home? This got me thinking about my own experience. When I started work at the NSLC, I had to do online training modules similar to the Rogers model. The option wasn’t even provided for me to do them at the work place. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but thinking back I now realize the importance of providing another option to new employees so that messaging gets across clearly and so that the organization doesn’t make anyone feel left out. More than that, employee training isn’t an optional message. If the message isn’t getting to those who absolutely need it to do their job then as a PR professional you have not done yours.

Any suggestions as to how to bridge the technological divide between new employees? Perhaps a shared employee computer at the work place providing access to the site?

June 5, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , , , , | 1 Comment

What’s All the Hype? SKYPE!

Today’s class was one of the coolest yet.  Thanks again to Harold for the early wake up! This was my first time using Skype, as I think it was for many of us, and I truly enjoyed the experience. How technically savvy AM I now?

Using Skype was very eye opening. It made me realize just HOW MUCH social media is taking over . What I’m unsure of is however,  is that necessarily a bad thing?

We talk constantly about the debate between “face-to-face”, “person-to-person” communication or the use of social media tools. Which one is better? Which one relays the message better? A strong argument for “face-to-face” communication is that we are able to hear the person speak, listen to the emotion in their voice, see their hand gestures and the emotions on their face…HELLO SKYPE! It gives us everything, and yet we are not technically “face-to-face”.

Is it true? Have social media tools actually mastered achieving person-to-person meetings?

Personally, I think that holding a meeting via Skype (for business purposes) truly achieves the same affects as if the meeting was being held in a boardroom. The only difference is that you don’t get stuck sitting next to the person who had a caesar salad with a side of garlic hummus for lunch.  And that person with the nasty cold? Safely shielded behind the monitor.

Thoughts on Skype taking over the business meeting world?

Signing off..


June 4, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | | 1 Comment

Skype for Business Use – Why or Why Not?

Before today’s class, I had never used Skype. I knew about it and understood how it worked, many of my friends use it to keep in touch while travelling abroad, and my brother uses it to keep in touch with his friends in England, but for some reason I just wasn’t jumping on the bandwagon.

Having Harold Simons give our class a lecture via Skype was an eye opening (and enjoyable!) experience. Out of all of the different technological tools that we study in class, Skype seems to be the most practical and useful one thus far. When Denel mentioned that many Skype users choose it as an alternative to long distance telephone calls, I was surprised once again- I hadn’t really looked at it that way.

So I decided to do a little more research into the Skype phenomenon and found out that many businesses are taking advantage of this new technology for meetings, seminars, etc. One of the more interesting articles I found compared the positive aspects of Skype for business use with the negative aspects. The article gets a little bit technical, but raises some interesting points. Which made me wonder what you guys think.  Is it something that you guys have worked with on any of your work terms? Will Skype become the next great office tool?

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | | 2 Comments

Second Life, Last Choice

In one of my Introduction to Public Relations classes, we had a brief introduction to Second Life. Our professor seemed pretty into it and from that brief introduction I could see that it had potential to be a great social tool if not a professional one. The video she showed us lauded it as a great business tool and the way to communicate for the future. At the time (only two years ago) it seemed so futuristic and beyond anything I might do in my PR career. I don’t feel that way anymore.

 After getting to try it out for myself in class this past week I have formed some new opinions on this unique social media tool. I feel like Second Life isn’t quite “there” yet in terms of being a great business tool. Perhaps I merely need more experience with it or something. However, upon first inspection, I don’t think I would enjoy or feel very professional meeting with people through this portal. Especially since there are other technologies today that could substitute using Second Life. For example, video conferencing and Skype are better alternatives. With such alternatives one can better put a name to a face and the meeting becomes more personable though the group may physically be miles apart.

Growing up with two brothers I was exposed to many video games. My least favourite of these were role-playing games. Starting out in Second Life I was immediately turned off because it felt like just another RPG to me. I can see this being great for someone who is into those kinds of games, but I could not get into it. I do understand that there are benefits of Second Life for PR professionals. If my job called for this type of communication I’m glad that I’ll be able to have a background in it, but it definitely would not be my first choice.

June 1, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , | Leave a comment