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For our topic of the week this week I am having Maranda Butler on here. Thanks Maranda and enjoy guys!

 

My Ode to Social Media
I am a fan of social media. In fact I am so addicted that I want to
dedicate this whole post to my love for it.
I experience cold shakes and nightmares when I am away from social
media for too long.
At night I can hardly sleep because I am impatiently waiting to get up
in the morning and log onto Facebook or Twitter.
When I am sad or mad about something I post a Tweet, it makes me feel better.
In social media world everyone is special. Popularity is measured by
your number of followers or friends (as on Facebook)
I desperately rack my brain for ideas to come up with new social media
sites. It is so much money in them.
In social media sites I do not need friends. Who needs real friends
when you can have the perfect relationship via the internet.
Some of my best relationships have been built on social media sites.
Without social media I would not be able to talk to celebrities like I
know them. I often tweet Ciara and other Celebs my thoughts, I know
they are not going to respond, but its fun anyway.
If I had to go on an island I would bring food, water, and internet
access for social media.
I look at my blackberry apps for my social media sites often
throughout the day.  I probably look at my phone once every 5 minutes
unless I am physically unable to.
If you were a boy, I would kidnap you and lock you in a closet so that
you could be mine forever.Yes, these simple phrases may seem like slightly delusional symptoms
of a crazy person. But this is my life after social media. It has been
a pleasure ..
You now have the right to know!

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My professor Barbara Nixon asked: “Just what is it that makes a simple little video like “David After Dentist” become a Viral Video?”

Never seen it? Watch it below.

I think simple video like this become a hit because they make you smile and laugh out loud. They usually create one-liners or otherwise become quoted.

One that my work and friends continuously quote is “drinking out of cups”

“Not my chair not my problem”

“lighthouses rule”

“not me, no way”

“ya right, yaaa rightt”

“not once, not never”

Another great classic is “Charlie Bit My Finger”

This video never fails to me make smile.

I discussed in my reading notes post, but to recap, they are graphic applications and icon links.

When school lets out I will be helping my sister create more of an online presence and traffic to her site. One of the things I will be doing is placing widgets on her website and blog. By placing a “follow me on twitter” widget, one hopes to increase their followers by those who read their blog. A LinkedIn widget can serve as an electronic business card. A blog roll can help nurture an online relationship. YouTube widgets can help promote your videos, or one’s you like. There are many ways to reach out to others with widgets.

I finally created my Delicious blog roll.

Check it out

College students can benefit from social bookmarking for an endless amount of reasons. Student’s can keep up to-date with recognized professionals, professors, and friends. Students working on group projects and research can be on the same page, for once, when working together. They can also share with family and friends the things they are learning, reading, and interested in.

Social Bookmarks are great for everyone. Say, you have an interview or meeting with a client. Check out their blog roll and you can count on having something to talk about. It’s a great way to start a conversation or conversation going.

Last year I joined PR Openmic, but have not been back since joining. For this week’s topic, I went back on the site and put more effort into trying to utilize this social network dedicated to PR people.

PR Openmic was developed by Auburn University’s Robert French and isn’t very complicated for the current social media user. If you take twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all in one you’ll get PR OpenMic. The biggest advantage of PR Openmic is the accumulation of PR people, from students, Professors, and practitioners. This specialized medium is great for networking and learning about what is going on in the PR world from these 3 points of views.

On this site you can upload a blog post you have written, as well as, browse a plethora of PR people’s blogs. There are also forums in which, you can create and join in on conversations on everything PR. PR people are able to connect and become “friends” with people they already know, or network and become “friends” with new people. Members can also upload picture and videos to share with others. These pictures and videos are available to see on your profile, as well as, a concentrated area separated by tags : Videos & Photos.

This is a valuable tool for PR students and recent grads because of the concentrated information available for PR people. You can network, promote yourself or your work, and learn about anything and everything PR. For myself, I am currently on the hunt for an internship for the Fall of 2010. PR Openmic has provided another valuable tool for students, like myself, looking for jobs and internships. The tabs Job/Interns takes you a page with many links to internships and job opportunities and information. Another great tool is the Groups/Events tab which provides sub-menus to either. This is another great way to connect with people and stay up-to-date on everything PR. I joined the groups: Students and Jobs & Internships. I have found a few opportunities through this site that I would otherwise never known about.

I highly recommend for PR students, faculty, and professionals to join PR Openmic and begin utilizing a great PR tool.

This week we will be discussing podcasting. I always like to begin by explaining what the topic of the week is. So, according to marketingpr.sute101.com, “podcasting involves recording to a digital file that can be distributed over the net using syndication feeds for playback on a computer, MP3 player or iPod.

So, know that we are all on the same page on what podcasting is, lets discuss why an organization would decide to create a podcast as a way of connecting with its publics. The obvious benefit to podcasting is the ease and convenience to which listeners can listen to the program. When I began my student career into the world of public relations, I had no clue what a podcast was. Granted, this was still a new technology, about a year old. Sitting in my Barbara Nixon’s Intro to Public Relations class, I received one of my first assignments: listen to a Podcast. Professor Nixon was a big fan of podcast and gave the class a list of podcasts that she listened to weekly. She explained to us, podcast were her way of staying up to date with the PR world and was something she could do when convenient for her, like on her nightly walks or her 45 minute drive to school. It can be as simple as uploading your iPod and you decide when it “airs”. So, in other word it is an effective medium to communicate with you target audience.

“This new technology gives corporate communicators a way to bypass mainstream media filtration to take their message directly to market, “says Eric Schwartzman, founder and president of iPressroom Corporation.

Show notes, another important aspect of podcasting,  “provide an outline of the content in an episode of your podcast. They are usually posted as an entry in your blog.” Show notes are an important aspect because of the information they convey to your potential listener. Here, potential listeners often decided whether they are interested in listening to the show or if they are not.

For PR students and practitioners alike, listening to podcast can be an essential part in keeping up-to date with whats going on in your industry. For professionals, podcast can help them learn about whats new, whats under discussion, and what other people are doing. So, I would suggest for people, in any and every industry, to listen to podcasts.

This week we are discussing foursquare: What it is, how companies can benefit from it, and what are some of the potential dangers of using Foursquare (and other location-based services) for individual participants?

First, lets start with what foursquare is. Pete Cashmore, founder and CEO of Mashable is also contributing to CNN.com as a weekly columnist on social media and technology. He is undoubtably one of the go-to guys for anything and everything social media. In his CNN article he helps clarify what foursquare is. “The location-based mobile startup serves a simple purpose: It lets an individual share his or her location with a group of friends.” Foursquare has quickly caught on as the newest online addiction where you can “check-in”. When you “check-in” you let people know where you are or things to do for people in the are. “Foursquare will keep track of the things you’ve done, help you create To-Do lists and even suggest new experiences to seek out.” You earn points for checking in and can earn different badges. The most loyal patron can also become the “mayor”, which comes with perks. Many businesses are offering freebies to people who are the “mayor”.

Foursquare benefits companies, just as it benefits consumers. Consumer, as we have seen on all social networks, are turning to other consumers for information on businesses and where to take their patronage. Foursquare is consumer driven testimonies which lead to free advertising, promotion, and branding for companies. Just as Facebook hopes to link people with its brand through their fan page, foursquare allows customers to share with other where and how they spend their time. Companies benefit from these conversations, because instead of advertisers telling us what a company is all about, now our friends and family are informing us.

This constant update and public announcements of where you go and spend your time could potentially pose a threat. This could possible subject people to being easily found by those who they don’t want to be found by, stalkers. Most people do not have to worry about dealing with such an instance, but consumers should understand the risks it could potentially lead to.

But, that being said, it could also provide information to parents who want to know what their children are doing daily. As always, use good judgement when participating.

This week’s topic of the week is in response to the Podcast recorded during the Ragan Communications conference, “Corporate Communications in the Era of Web 2.0” at the Cary, North Carolina headquarters of SAS on October 16, 2008. The moderator of the podcast is Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications, moderated the panel discussion. The panel includes David Biesack, SAS, Shel Holtz, Vida Killian, Dell, Terry McKenzie, Sun Microsystems, and Jim Ylisela, Ragan Communication.

The podcast discusses the role of social media “concerns and objections around the adoption of social media communication channel.”

Social media is about creating relationships.

I read Search Engine Visibility by Steve Rubel and others at Edleman Digital and found it very informative. Google has become vital to internet users all over the world. For me, it is my homepage on my web browser and the beginning of every internet activity. According to Rubel, companies are now using two ways to ensure they will be high-ranking results when consumers search for information. These two tactics are: Paid search and Optimize search. Rubel defines each:

“Paid Search – More widely known as search engine marketing (SEM), Paid Search is an advertising paradigm in which marketers purchase small text ads that are triggered when certain keywords are searched (for example, an ad for Toyota Prius might show up on searches for “hybrid cars”)”

“Optimized Search – Often referred to as SEO, Optimized Search is a technical process in which webmasters make adjustments to their sites in an effort to rank well organically on high-value keywords (e.g. Toyota.com becomes a top result for “hybrid cars”)”

Technologist and Marketers usually are in charge of these operations. PR professionals are responsible for:

“Reputational Search – The premise and promise of Reputational Search is that any company, NGO or brand can apply a search mindset to tried-and-true PR tactics and, in the process, influence the search results around certain keywords.”

Social Search – With Google and competitors increasingly prioritizing social content from Flickr, blogs, Twitter and others in result pages, it is imperative that brands build out “embassies” in all relevant networks – places where employees work to serve the interests of the community, as well as their company. This will ensure optimum visibility, and help them prepare for the next great revolution: the convergence of search and social networking. “

According to Rubel, “For many years, SEM and SEO were the only tools needed to build a visible presence in search engines. Recently, however, things have changed. ” Companies websites are no longer the go-to source for information about them. Now, there is information all over the web to be found about companies, from twitter to Facebook to blogs.

This information, for a PR student, is not new. But, what I did learn is the technical aspects and logistics of it all. Google is looking for sites that are more up-to-date than others. Sites that are not publishing frequently will not be indexed as fast. Google’s algorithm’s show a mix of brands, media companies, and ordinary individuals. Links also influence your rank. If pages with high rankings link to a page that has not climbed the popularity latter, the higher ranking page helps give them that notoriety. Rubel explains, “For example, if a corporate blog post generates a lot of genuine discussion on Twitter and then, later, a CNN.com link, it’s more likely to see that post rank highly on related searches.”

I learned the parts of a succesful Reputation Search program. There are three componenets including: research/planning, content development and meaurement. But, what surprised me is the avoidance of generic search terms. These words will face a lot of competition. So, a Reputational Search program uses highly targeted keywords.

I recently did a Search Engine Optimization project in which I used such tools as wordtracker and Google Insight. This helped my gain an understanding of how people search. Searching blogs, twitter, and Facebook helped me gain an understanding of how people naturally talk about topics. The keywords were then incorporated into a press release.

Rubel reminds PR people, “The end game here is to compile a list of keyword phrases (the more the better) that: a) accurately reflect how people talk and search, b) don’t have a tremendous amount of competition and c) generate enough search volume to be worth your while.”

Another key piece of advice offered by Rubel was, “As a general rule of thumb, aim for the “magic middle” – keywords that are searched but aren’t too generic and therefore don’t face a lot of competition. And use them often in a meaningful ways, like headlines.”

I was surprised to read about social media networks challenging Google’s prominence. That is a huge statement, considering the importance of Google in most internet users lives. I have been studying social media networks and have been on Twitter just barely before it took off. I am proud to see the people taking control of information that is out there.

This was a great article and very helpful in my Search Engine Optimization project. Perfect of newbies (like myself) starting to use SEO’s and other tactics. I would like to learn more about the effects and reach of SEO with and without using key search terms.

Adam Vincenzini asked on Twitter and on his blog for people to share their definitions of “social media” with him, in 140 characters or fewer.

In 140-characters I would define social media as:

“revolutionary way to engage, interact, learn, challenge, support,share, influence, & create or maintain relationships with 1 or many people.”

From the list of definition that were shared with Adam here are a few of my favorites:

  • @dbreakenridge Social media means listening carefully and learning to share valuable information that bonds people and builds strong relationships
  • @ValerieSimon Social Media is a participatory form of media that provides opportunities to listen, share & engage using virtual technologies & practices
  • @swonderlin Social media is a revolutionary tool – bringing thoughts & ideas together from every corner of the world and in all facets
  • @LucySofiano Its a revolution of waterfountain gossip, cocktail party banter & has opened my world to new and exciting people, possibilities and places
  • @steveology (Part A) The greatest shift of power from the corporation to the consumer since the birth of the industrial revolution
  • @BarbaraNixon Social Media provides a new way for us to listen to, learn from, laugh with, and (lol) even loathe each other.

Internet, since the beginning, has opened doors and lines of communication to people all over the world. The internet has given people a world of information at their fingertips. Today, with social media networks, people are interacting with others and communicating more than ever. For Haiti, social media networks have helped raise recognition and action. According to Journalism.org, people on Twitter synonymously tweeted links to news articles on Haiti as well as, places people could donate and lend help.

The topic of the week is about social media and how is it being used in the Haitian earthquake crisis.

The American Red Cross received almost $35 million in donations within the first 48 hours after the earthquake, with more than half the donations from online contributors. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy,  fifteen days after the massive earthquake struck Haiti, donors have contributed more than $528-million to 40 U.S. nonprofit groups, the American Red Cross has raised approximately $185 million.

Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts on Haiti have allowed people all over the world to express their concern, give donations, and influence others to do the same. Multiple organization helping with Haiti reflief are receiving a great amount of support from social media networks. The Network for Good, a nonprofit internet giving platform reported that, “many of the major relief organizations made the top ten, but remarkably, many smaller, grassroots organizations with annual revenue well under $1 million received significant funding. The fundraising success of smaller nonprofits demonstrates a shift in crisis giving. Historically, the majority of disaster funds have been donated to the Red Cross and other headline charities. During the South Asia Tsunami in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, for example, 60% of donations went to the Red Cross. The response to the earthquake in Haiti shows a new pattern: only 25% of funds raised through the Network for Good giving system went to the Red Cross and the top ten charities accounted for less than 70% of total donations.”

People and organizations are able to endorse and support causes personally and publicly on social media networks, which has inevitably contributed to the success of the numerous charities for Haiti relief, both large and small charitable organizations.

Social media networks have enabled organizations and people to inform others on various charities that will help Haiti while, creating a convenient way to donate to them. According to the Neilsen company, much of what people around the world are learning is coming from social media sources with Tweets leading the source of dicussion, followed by online video, blogs and other online boards/forums.

According the the USA Today, the Homeland Security Department is also using social media networks. “The department’s Haiti Social Media Disaster Monitoring Initiative is designed to get information more quickly to people involved in recovery efforts by tracking up to 60 Internet sites including Google log Search, The Huffington Post and Twitter, according to a department report.”

Voices are being heard through the social media movement.

The topic of the week is about social media monitoring and is it ethical?

As a Public Relations student we often discuss ethical situations.

Right around a year ago, I was sitting in my introduction to PR class when I first heard about a YouTube video that 2 Dominos Pizza employees had made. If you didn’t see it the video below will give you a glimpse.

Situations like this are why, according to Michelle Webber, “it’s no wonder why employers are monitoring social networking sites and sacking workers for posting potentially threatening material to protect their company’s reputation.”

I was first warned at my freshman orientation to be careful about what I put out on the web, particularly on Facebook. This was during the end of the MySpace era and the beginning of the Facebook revolution. At this point, Facebook was still exclusive to college students and was strictly enforced (you needed a valid university e-mail to create an account). Even then, we were warned that the police and future employers could see your pictures and conversations.

I still hear stories of people who have to give their username and passwords to employers so they can see what they say both, publicly and privatly. Our society is growing more connected everyday. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and blogs give people from all over the world an opportunity to communicate and create a relationship. The conversations people have can be a topic of interest for companies, especially when their company or competitor is the subject of that conversation.

PR people are not only listening but engaged in these conversations. For the first time companies can personally respond to consumers on via social media.

The Dominos employee Youtube video had hit various social medias so, they responded to consumers through those outlets. This allowed them to respond to particular people’s concern on the outlet it was expressed. Also, they were able to thank loyal consumers who were showing their support despite the incident. In my opinion, the relationships and conversations that started on various social medias have helped the Dominos organization become aware of their downfalls. Since their YouTube incident they have created a consumer driven campaign dedicated to creating a product consumers want. They have listened to their customers concerns and suggestions with one topic after another. They have changed in my eyes as a company so, I gave them a try for the first time in years. Must say, it was awesome!

The Dominos PR campaign was successful because they listened to what the consumers want. Image consulting in PR is about giving the public what they want and not just what they want to hear.

Steve Rubel says, “Micro Persuasion, my blog, is a microcosm. It has over 50,00 subscribers, 5,000 pages of content and a Google Page Rank of seven. Let’s say that I were to to start blogging about a negative experience I had with a company that competes with one of my clients. This could influence their search results negatively and in the process seem to elevate my client. This would be highly unethical. Subtleties like this one are becoming the norm.”

Value people’s opinions and never forget the importance of listening to your audience.

Social Media Code of Ethics” can serve as a guideline for companies interacting with consumers.

  1. RESPECT: We respect our users and their opinions and pay attention to a respectful exposure to players among themselves.
  2. OBJECTIVITY: We welcome relevant content and objective criticism.
  3. ACCESSIBILITY: We respond quickly and appropriately to direct questions, suggestions and criticism.
  4. CREDIBILITY: We stand with our public statements and opinions in all conscience for transparency and credibility.
  5. HONESTY: We deal with errors openly and do not conceal them.
  6. LEGAL: We respect the rights of our users as well as the rights of uninvolved third parties, in particular copyrights, privacy rights and data protection.

From a student PR perspective, I see social media monitoring as a good thing. A successful company will be able to continuously maintain a happy customer. Social media monitoring can help companies find their faults and strengths in the eyes of the consumer which can lead to a lifelong relationship.