Friday, April 30, 2010

Helping Others (Well, Students) for HAPPO

Years ago, I somehow got roped into the universe known as Auburn University. My first exposure to Southern women (I love them dearly, now), the pure freakish hyperactivity of SEC football, a motto that has nothing to do with the mascot (War Eagle, but it's a Tiger? What?) and PR students.

See, I did philosophy in school and worked in both student government and wrote for the college newspaper. That's how my track into PR started. Plus, well, my friend Kyle who told me I'd be good at PR (he also told me to start blogging - so, it's pretty much all his fault).

It all started, naturally, with one student saying she didn't like me. And that made me laugh, because she didn't like what I wrote on my blog. But from that moment, I got to meet Robert French (a man that's done more for PR and social media than 99.99 percent of the social media gurus that tend to give nothing back). And from him, I've mentored AU students, become good friends with a bunch of them and helped them out when I could with job leads and introductions.

I don't get them jobs - they do that themselves - but I make introductions that may help them out. And that's key - and interesting, as when I reached out to a few students, one of them was dismissive that she didn't need help. A nicely stereotypical generational response and attitude that will not work well for her in the real world.

And it comes down to this: we can all use mentors. I still talk to mine (like I noted in my first HAPPO post) and if it's not for the future practitioners, all this talk of PR or PR 2.0 (pshaw) or whatever is for nothing. If we don't give back and help the future generation grow, there won't be a future generation of PR.

And it also means giving them realistic advice - not bad advice like telling them to stick with a firm for 3-5 years because it makes the firm and its founder look better - but letting them know the good and bad of PR, what to expect and to be realistic on salary and titles. It ain't all roses, but if you like what you do, you're better off than most people.

So this time around, it's cut and dry. I'm highlighting people that I interact with on Twitter, and may or may not have been recommended to me by the various professors I speak with IRL and on Twitter. They are all vouched for, they're all looking for work, and I'd hire any of them in a minute. Because I've yet to be let down by one of the AU students, or the UGA students, or others I've mentored throughout the years (favorite little Spartans and all).

Plus, well, I am trying to build my ARMY OF EVIL PR STUDENTS ... one day, I'll figure out what to do with them.

NB: the students had the choice of answering questions, writing a few paragraphs or doing a video - and we got all those covered.

Your college and when do you graduate?
Auburn University- August 9, 2010

What type of public relations do you want to go into?
I would love to go into media relations, publicity or event planning but I am not limited to these.

What city you want to live in?
New York City

What would your dream first job be like?
My dream first job would be in NYC where I am in a company or firm that allows for creativity and offers guidance to entry level employees. My dream job would allow me to be an active participant in meetings, planning and allocation of PR campaigns. I have so many ideas and I'm ready to use them!

What you like about public relations and social media?
I love that public relations is always changing. It makes your day to day work exciting by learning about new technologies and new ideas. I love social media because it is immediate. A message can get to thousands of people withing a matter of minutes and it blows my mind! I find it fascinating.

Extra-curricular activities that relate to PR or SM
I was the Assistant Director of PR for The University Program Council for two years, the Vice President Education for my sorority, a Camp War Eagle Parent Counselor and I am a site administrator on the Auburn University social network Auburn Family. See my website for my details on these positions.

An interesting tidbit about yourself and/or biographical background?
I was raised in a town outside of Atlanta and have always had a desire to move to New York City. Now is my time and I'm ready to move there. Check out my video about the PR campaign I started called #GetAmandaToNYC!

My name is Miranda Ayim and I am a recent graduate of Pepperdine University ('10). I have just finished four years of Division 1 women's basketball, and I would like to pursue a career in professional basketball.

My goal is to play in the WNBA or overseas for a few years. While this may not seem to contribute to my field of study, it is, I believe, an appropriate road to take to reach my ultimate goal of practicing public relations in the sports or entertainment industry. My existing knowledge of the sports community will hopefully give me an advantage in pursuing this goal. I would love to work with the NBA or NFL.

As of now, I do not have a specific position or "dream job" that I aspire to. Rather, I am looking for experience in various positions in the athletic world to gain a better idea of what might be a good fit for me.

I also mentioned my interest in the entertainment industry, the music industry in particular. This is another passion of mine, and a place where I hope to end up working in the future. Since sports is generally grouped under the umbrella term of "entertainment," alongside music, movies and television, there is plenty of opportunity for overlapping job experiences.

I appreciate and am well acquainted with the popular social media sites and mediums, but I am especially excited about the face-to-face dynamic of some PR jobs. I enjoy Facebook and Twitter as much as the next college student, and I also have my own blog called C2C: College to Career; however, I love interacting with people on a more personal level. As a Canadian citizen who loves her hometown but has lived in California for the past four years, I would enjoy staying in the LA area to start my career (quite appropriate for working in sports/entertainment PR) but am also open to living on the east coast.

My name is Tara Allstun, and I am graduating from Pepperdine University in 2 days with a double major in psychology and public relations. When it comes to the type of PR that I want to go into, I can't say that there is one specific area I am interested in. Event planning has struck my interest, as well as corporate public relations, or even specializing in viral marketing. My lifelong goal is to become an expert in something, I just don't know what that something is yet.

I am very open as to where I end up living, but I would like to end up around the midwest or west coast. My dream first job will introduce me to a mentor and hone my writing skills, as I understand that writing is a vital part of PR. Furthermore, while I have had an internship specific to PR in the past, I like learning about the "real world" of PR, as it is sometimes different from the theoretical discussions that we have in classes. Work environment is really important to me, and I want to find an office where I am comfortable and feel like an asset to the company.

In terms of what I like about PR, I really enjoy the social media aspect, including figuring out effective and creative ways to use this newer medium to a client's advantage. I also enjoy the writing aspect of public relations, as writing has always been one of my strong points. When it comes to social media, I have a Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook account, which I use regularly, and like to do my own research to see how companies I follow use these mediums. I recently started a blog, though its main focus has not yet been decided. I'm in the process of researching how to effectively use blogs, and I hope that running my own personal blog will help me to implement corporate blogs in future job experiences.

There is really too much about me to put in a short post, but I'm a redhead, born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. It's always been hard for me to blend in with the crowd because of my carrot-top, but I love it. Even when I was born, my hair was so vibrant that the nurses at the hospital had to move me to the front of the nursery because everyone in the maternity ward kept asking to get a closer look at "that redheaded baby."

My name is Marcella Lentini and I'm a soon-to-be public relations graduate from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Ideally I would love to stay in the beautiful Pacific Northwest or northern California as I transition out of college life this Spring, but with hardly any obligations to hold me back I'm open to a new adventure outside of this region. By embracing public relations as my field of interest, I've given myself the gift of a career that could take me anywhere in the world. The need for public relations isn't confined to any one area, city, state or country and this is one of the many reasons I love it. The ability to use my knowledge and ability to communicate in a way that will help inform and enlighten people is what it's all about for me.

I'm a total foodie and find myself thinking about the smells, tastes and textures of food every day of my life. Nutrition and a balanced lifestyle is my foundation and my dream job would be to use my public relations skills for an agency or an organization that will benefit from my passion for health and wellness!

My mantra in life is "I can do anything I can Google." I am Rachel Friedman, a driven, innovative and sharp job candidate interested in PR career opportunities in the LA/OC area, especially the technology and digital media industry. I graduate in May from Pepperdine University with a Master of Science in Communication specializing in PR, persuasion, and mass media. My PR and marketing experience lays in the grass roots, non-profit, beauty, publishing, hospitality, and tech industries. I excel at project management, communication research and strategy, and creative problem-solving.

Pepperdine recently nominated me as an honoree for Who's Who Among American Universities primarily for my work to enhance our public relations program. I re-established a failed PRSSA chapter on campus and I am founder and director of ExPRess PR of Malibu, a student-run PR firm that offers pro-bono work for local non-profit organizations. At the PRSSA national conference this year, the National president honored me with the National Leadership Award for the success of our chapter and firm.

A project I am most proud of is coordinating the Hunger Cleanup, a volunteer community outreach event that resulted in record-breaking fundraising, over 80 volunteers who donated a day to 5 local community improvement projects, hundreds of pounds of food for local food bank, great media coverage, and the mayor's official declaration of annual Hunger Cleanup Day henceforth.

Thanks for getting to know a bit about me and please contact me if you know any PR job opportunities in the LA/OC area that you think would suit me!

I am a well-rounded, experienced soon-to-be college graduate. During the past four years, I have worked in fund-raising, event planning, journalism and new media. Through these experiences, I have can offer employers a varied skill set, mold to client's varied needs.

I am passionate about social media! Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and location-based applications offer real-time case studies of successful PR and the social community has served as another classroom. With today's immediacy of information sharing, social media skills are ESSENTIAL for success in the communications industry and I am confident in my understanding of the social media environment. Plus, I love the way social media truly forces brands and organizations to be accountable to their publics.

I give back. In addition to a rigorous academic schedule and internship experience, I am also highly involved in my community as a member of the largest campus philanthropy in Georgia (UGA HEROs) and a highly selective leadership program (Leadership UGA). I am also involved in UGA's chapter of PRSSA, serving on the 2009 UGAConnect Social Media and Public Relations Conference planning committee and PRWorkout 2010's Social Media Panel. Grady College and UGA offers students a wide range of opportunites to get involved and I am lucky to have taken part!

When approaching the job search, I hope to find a forward-thinking company that encourages innovation and creativity while focusing on integrated, strategic communications. Right now, I am researching opportunities with digital agencies around the country; I am pretty much open to any city! You're only young and unattached once, right?

* * *

Now a coda: it's really easy as PR professional to do this for one day. It's really easy to turn your blog over to 10 or 15 or however many "special" students ... and then do nothing at all. Yes, we know all professionals are busy - we're ALL busy. But doing nothing the rest of the time is just hypocritical. Turning over your blog is easy to do; helping others is the hard thing to do.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

It's About Why, Not How

Watching the BlogWell discussions, I started having discussions with Tom Biro, Kevin Dugan, Anna Lingeris and Amybeth Hale discussed various points on social media. One of the points brought up is that social media should be about the why, not the how - and that there needs to be more strategy and tactics.

That made me think back to when I met Anna at BlogHer Food last year - Anna Lingeris - and fell in love with her because: she's loud and not afraid to shout out what we're all thinking (it's gotta be the Greek side); she works for Hershey's and Scharffen Berger; she likes college football; and, well, come on, she's a cute blonde. Plus, now I get to tease her as she is one of the sharper minds that sees how social media and public relations co-exist and what can be done for companies.

At BlogHer Food, though, I was talking to the head of Smucker's and telling him about my childhood memories of Smucker's Goober's PB&J in the jar (best invention ever). That as a little kid, that's what my Mom bought, and we'd end up eating it out of the jar. And, that we still do take a spoon and eat out of the jar. I think he was sorta grossed out by that, but he said that that's a great story.

So Anna handing out chocolate at BlogWell made me think about that: when we lived in Michigan, my Dad would sometimes come home with the really big bar of Hershey's with almonds. It was a special treat for us (makes us sound like some poor Depression family, huh?) mainly because we weren't a big sweets family (okay, some of us like sweets so there weren't much in the house). So for me, childhood relates to food, such as Goober's, Hershey's and the occasional mud pie from Baskin and Robins. Those are happy memories.

While social media is all fun and good, does it generate anything beyond discussions? Are there memories built from social media that will take people back to another time? Or is it more for adults to talk amongst themselves, share anecdotal stories and other things like that, but not much? Social media does create friendships - I have met many great women at BlogHer and consider a bunch of them friends - and know they think the same, but those relationships are definitely cemented from real world interactions, beyond the social mediasphere.

We all know the how in social media. It's this tool and that tool and this network and that network. But there is still the why - why are companies going to get involved in social media? Why is tool A or tool B the right tool for the job, and what do they hope to get out of it? What is the ROI / end goal for the company, and "being part of the discussion" is really not enough ... or have none of none of us learned that lesson from Nestle, who wanted to be part of the discussion - twice - and both times run into the bully platform of social media? (No, I'm not on the condemn Nestle bandwagon, but pointing out that being part of social media is not enough without a full commitment - and that is really not enough of a good reason to be involved in social media).

The issue for corporations right now is you have a ton of social media speakers - many who have no public relations or marketing backgrounds, but have (for some odd reason) been labeled social media and community geniuses - that come in full guns blazing about how to do social media. That is worthless, and does not help companies. Ask them why, and see if they can talk about any past successes - real successes that point to an agreed upon ROI and results - and then judge if what they are talking about would work for your business. And if that includes a Chatroulette, well it better be one helluva great idea.

And, at the end of the day, real world experiences are still going to trump online experiences. So factor that into your social media plans ... or really, your public relations plans.