Category Archives: Social Media

Advice to PR Students for a Dream Dissertation

It is coming to that time of year when PR students start thinking about what else they have to finish on their dissertations… or hat they have to start in some cases. With only a few months left and much research to be finished and analysed, notes to be typed out and checked, bibliography to be finalised, appendices to be organised – the end only seems a million years away. But I promise you not, the day you hand in the 3-inch thick bible will soon come!

I have pulled together a few top tips which I think helped me get through the endless amounts of paper and sleepless nights.

Don’t panic

It is important not to panic about how much time you don’t have, but think about what you have left to do and plan your time around this. Take a deep breathe and think happy thoughts about how good you will feel once you hand your final piece in.

Be organised

I believe that the most important element of getting through your dissertation is to keep organised. You can waste so much time if your papers are not organised or your documents aren’t saved correctly – so as it’s a new year, take a few hours to organise all the work and reflect on what you have done so far. Put it all into files which state what your research is; interviews, questionnaires, discussions, findings, journals etc… Before doing anything else, I assure you that this will help clear your head and put you in the right frame of mind to continue.

Timetable your work

You may find it useful to keep a calendar on your wall where you work, as this lets you see how much time you have left, and helps you section off different periods of work. Draw one up and try to stick to it!

Keep writing

Most of you will still be researching, whether it be primary or secondary, I found that the best way to keep your thoughts was to write it all down. As you read, discuss and interview make sure you are keeping a track of everything. This can be done in the style of a log book or just in your research file – which will help you when you come to writing out your findings.

Talk to professionals

Alongside conducting your dissertation methodology, it may also help if you chat with professionals on your topic. It is classed as part of your research and can still be counted. If you have a placement position, it would be recommended to talk to the team – gage their views, opinions and advice. They may let you in on something you never thought of.

When conducting my research, I used Linkedin to speak with professions around the country about my topic – I even gained a great contact in Spain who helped me find the information I needed. Therefore, use your professional social media tools and engage with people. The other advantage of this is it lets people know what you are doing and allows them to see you working… you never know where this may lead.

Time to check

The worst thing you can do is to not leave enough time to check your work efficiently at the end of writing your 15,000 words. Make sure you leave enough time for this, and ask friends or relatives to read your dissertation through for you – as they will see mistakes you won’t.

It is a difficult process but you will get to the end – Good luck!

SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS… CONSIDER YOUR VIEWERS

Following on from my previous post on managing your social media foot print, I thought it maybe beneficial to look at a selection of different social media tools used for networking, how they are used, what their audiences are and how they will portray you.

Facebook is a very ‘friendly’ platform, where as long as your settings are tight, you can display funny images, quirky comments which you use when around your close friends. They have also introduced ‘Private Groups’ which can be used for creating personal pages for just you and a select group of friends. This way, you are not showcasing your whole life on Facebook and leaving yourself open to any negative comments or mistaken reputation issues.

It is important to realise that Facebook is a showcase into your private life, so do think twice about what you display online.

Twitter is a more professional tool than Facebook, and I think this has not been understood and realised by many students. There is the temptation to use Twitter as you would your Facebook updates, but the problem with this is – Twitter is visible to EVERYONE! Therefore, finding things out about people is easy.

I believe the best way to use Twitter, especially for young professionals and PR students is to use it as a sharing information tool. Share stories in the news, comment on discussions of a professional nature, connect with potential employers and most importantly network.

Linkedin is a tool which is very similar to that of Facebook, but again more professional. I think of Linkedin as a professional Facebook page, where my main aim is to connect with those I work with or want to network with. It is a great way to see how well-connected people are in your business area and a great way to find out who works at which companies. From this, I recommend that this tool is used in a professional and career-developing way.

Another concern I want to highlight, is that a lot of students, young professionals use their Facebook pictures (images of them out on nights out), as their Linkedin profile picture. I wouldn’t recommend this, as it does require a more professional image which can portray your employability.

I think blogs are a fantastic way of showcasing your work. This is especially relevant for PR students, as they are asked to produce a PR portfolio, therefore having this online is a great way to publish yourself. Again, this is a great way to show potential employers what you are capable of doing, your past projects, what work you have been involved in and also how you write and communicate.

It is crucial that when starting a blog you decide what your blogs aims are, and how you want to show this. I read many blogs which are just career-developing, or used to showcase work, but I also I read blogs which have specific topics, are for comedy value or are serving a purpose of discussing a certain topic.

Following on

All of the above tools can be linked together to increase your SEO and your online footprint. Although, you may want to think carefully about linking Facebook to your professional tools. Facebook can be altered by other people, for example any of your friends can tag you in stupid pictures, write things on your wall  and comment on anything they want. Therefore, for me, this is too uncontrolled to be seen in a professional light, as someone else could do something which damages your reputation. It may not be the fact that you have anything to hide, but for your own career development I think access to your personal life should always stay private until you know people really well! But obviously you can all judge for yourselves…

I hope this has been useful in deciding which tools are relevant and for what reasons, what to consider and what to watch out for. Any comments or questions please get in touch.

Tips for managing your online footprint

How the world views you is through their own eyes but also through the eyes of Google… Everything you put online or have an association with will in some form or another affect the way people form opinions.

I know… you are thinking this shouldn’t be the case! Why should what you do online, reject or favour your own reputation and how others view you…

Well, take a look at the stats:

Social media is HUGE! It is a growing trend and something we all (from a very young age) need to consider our online footprint. It has been suggested by many professionals, that young people will need to change their name before having the chance to enter the professional work place due to their ignorance whilst experimenting online. For example, many young people are uploading drunken videos, photos, writing obscene comments on blogs, websites or chat sites. What they now need to realise, is it’s there forever. It may be lost out of sight for a while, but until someone wants to find something on you, it may become visual again!

From the current view on online footprints I have put together some advice to guide young professionals, especially university students to generate a positive online profile:

Online footprints…

1. Remember to set your Facebook privacy settings – Employers search Facebook to see what you are like outside the working environment and you should keep your private life as personal as possible.

2. Think who your actual friends are whilst on Facebook – Remember that if you add any random person into your Facebook profile as your friend, then this opens your settings to them, and also to their connections (depending on your FB settings).

3. Consider what you upload – When you upload anything to an online or social network site, you should remember that it will be there forever. Even if you remove your upload it can be copied or stored by someone else. Your name will be assigned to these uploads and therefore any future employer will be able to see it.

4. If you wouldn’t mind your mother seeing it – then it’s fine to do! Check everything you do online by asking yourself this questions – “Would I mind if my mother saw this?”… This will help filter out things which may not be beneficial to you in future years.

Personal profile online…

1. University students have the upper-hand, so use it! When you finish university and start looking for your career starting point, young graduates will have an advantage and a skill which employers are looking for. You understand social media! This is an important tool and skill to utilize in any interview, as many businesses are run by the generations which find it a lot harder to understand the changes made in social media.

2. Use university to gather those skills – Whilst you have more free time during studying, it is wise to build up your skills of using online mediums and tools. These will be most likely used in any future career role, and greatly appreciated by your future peers. (Believe me… it’s harder to gather these skills whilst working, as time is rather limited!)

3. Build up your profile – Build yourself a blog or a website and use it to show what skills you have gathered from university. Everyone is graduating with a degree these days, so the challenge is to show that you are different from the masses. Therefore, building an online profile is a crucial way of showing that you are unique, hard working and you understand the current environment. A blog can also be used for building your portfolio, which is a great way to showcase the projects and work you are involved in at university.

I hope these pointers help to understand the dangers and the positives that the current environment has brought. Good luck with developing your own online profile and watch your online footprint!

Please do get in touch if you need any advice or help – or comment if you have any more pointers which will help!

Queensland, Where Australia Shines – Global Facebook Campaign

Last week, Queensland’s tourist board started a new global social media campaign where entrants can win a holiday for them and 9 friends to Australia, Queensland.

Passport to Shine is a unique global social media campaign which provides Facebook users in Australia and across the world with a virtual passport which they can fill with Queensland experiences to be in the draw to win an ultimate Queensland holiday worth up to $100,000.

This campaign is one of the first high profile social media campaigns to be ran by a tourist board. Tourism agencies are realising the potential that free social media tools can mean for campaigns, as tools such as Facebook generate access to millions of people, many of whom are willing to hand over contributions to make a campaign grow. Brands are realising more and more that user-generated content is a cheap, effective and successful way of gaining brand recognition – and as in the case of Queensland Tourism, promoting your brand alongside a competition can achieve huge results. A few days after the launch of this campaign, they had already received Facebook followers of 117,000 people. It will be interesting to see how this campaign grows. Check it out at: www.facebook.com/visitqueensland

The ‘Unseen’ is ‘Seen’ because of the Wonders on the Web

Whilst researching creative social media platforms a few months ago for a presentation, I came across Vimeo.com. This site is very similar to YouTube in the way it shares videos and visual content, but it’s special because the videos uploaded are of a certain standard and quality. It’s a great website for creatives who want to publish their work on a global platform and those who need camera and filming advice and opinions. I would recommend exploring the pages and videos which have been uploaded; for example the one I have found below. The producer and artist called Simon Christen has uploaded several amazing videos which at the time of this post, the video below had received 584,000 views after being online for only 28 days. The artist also received 540 comments.

I believe this shows the increasing fascination with new art online, new sharable tools and how people love to share and give their own views and voices online. The world of social media is sharable and social, and this is a perfect example of how a piece of art can be broadcasted globally and seen by thousands in only a few days – whilst before social media tools existed, such as Vimeo and YouTube, this video would have probably been unseen on the artists laptop…

Watch and enjoy!

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=15069551&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=1&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0

The Unseen Sea from Simon Christen on Vimeo.

Watching every online move!

It’s interesting to think that somehow, someone, somewhere can damage a company’s brand reputation through a home-made movie or an angry tweet… well this is true and exactly what can happen through the use of social media.

A great example of this is Dave Carroll’s United Breaks Guitars video which has now been watched 9.23 million times. His video was a backlash against United Airlines who damaged his expensive guitar whilst he was on one of their flights. Dave complained and got no where with the airline who appeared not to care, so from his frustration he created a video to convey his anger and concerns.

Less than a few months after the video had been created, the airline had a massive public relations crisis on their hands, as not only did Dave’s video highlight the bad response of the airline in a creative and funny way, but more people then came forward to vent their frustrations online too. This caused the whole idea to snowball out of control.

I think the obvious change in the media environment is the blurred boundaries between ‘news’ and ‘social media’. The significance between a front-page news story damaging a company’s brand and one persons voice are no longer different – all it takes is one Tweet, one video one Facebook post to catch the attention of others and it can cause a PR disaster!

On the other hand, social media can be beneficial or disastrous for employees or job-seekers. As much as we are watching what companies do, they are also watching us! Our online footprint can be tracked and followed so being careful about what we write and how we write it is crucial. There have been many examples which show individuals slagging their bosses off on Facebook and getting caught out, but then there is many examples of individuals gaining jobs through their online work.

Social media tools are very accessible and therefore not easily monitored. This can create problems for both companies and the general public alike because anyone from anywhere can mimic a company by calling themselves by that company name. A great example of this is the fake Birmingham National Express Twitter account called Travel_WM which has been set up by someone other than the valid company itself. They are damaging the reputation of the company through tweets as shown below. The account looks valid as they have even used company logos and added company details into the description boxes, therefore people believe it’s real – and why shouldn’t they! However, the tweets that are being displayed on the account are not beneficial for the Birmingham travel company.

This range of examples show the changing environment we all now sit within, whether we are a company a consumer or both we are all effected by the social media and we should all learn to acknowledge it and embrace it where possible. If working for a company, traditional or not, we need to understand how social media can effect the reputation, brand and workings. There is a lot of trial and error happening, but we are fast learners and keeping on top of the new social media trends will allow PR professionals to help their clients and themselves out in situation which will occur.

A revolution is really happening…

I have spent the past two days at a social media workshop, learning so much more about the world of social media. I think that if you need something to sum up the importance of social media to any clients, or just any jo bloggs who believes its all for geeks, then you should show them this video. It certainly made me gasp a few times… interesting!

It is from a company blog called socialomics.net

Facebook… a PR tool or just a confusing and unreliable mess to a PR campaign?

A new post on a former lectures blog about the role and power of Facebook in managing events and other PR activity was extremely insightful in understanding what role these social networking sites can actually play. View the post here: F-Off and Get Real

Students and early PR professionals seem totally addicted to this form of online friendship and communication, that it has become a tool which ‘must be engaged with’ in PR projects and campaigns that practitioners carry out. However, what does a tool such as this actually tell you? I have seen it before, when you set up an event and people are very willing to click ‘yes’ to joining, but do they actually show? Is this just for their online reputation, or do they actually show support for the cause you are promoting? It is a tricky tool to assess and evaluate, but increasingly becoming a main tool to use. Calculating how effective this is in your own PR campaigns can be extremely tricky.

As Richard stated in his blog, the early adaptors are getting fed up of Facebook, maybe I suggest because of its overloading of brands, companies and corporate use, but there will be something new that early adopters will drift over to and maybe there maybe better and more reliable chances of PR campaigns to work within this. So PR pros, you need to keep on top of the social media game!!