The Real World

I have all these plans for the future or “The Real World” as I like to call it (note: also a great MTV show). So my plans are to continue observing and learning from social media. I’m not a very active social media person, I’m more of a social media wallflower. And because of this one of my goals is to become more involved and creative in social media. I think that posting about some of my designs and work can help get my name out into the world. Social media can act as a great portfolio for my work. I myself follow many artists and PR professionals that use social media as a means of increasing their reach so why not give it a go for myself.

I’d also like to network some more though social media because I think it’s a great way to make your name aware to other professionals and maybe even future employers. Social media is  a great way to easily stay in contact with network contacts. Social media is a game changer for many professionals. Both negatively and positively. This class gave me great in-site and tools on how to keep my game positive. It also brought awareness to the strategic behind-the-scenes aspects of social media. It’s a whole new world when I get onto Twitter or Facebook. Almost like I know all of the secrets now!

How to Solve the Biggest Problems with Personal Brands

This is sort of a hard thing to give advice for because everybody is different and sometimes people need specific or tailored guidelines for the way they should use social media. But here ate a few key advice points that I think are important for whoever uses social media:

  1. Always take a step back and rethink what you are about to post. What do I want to accomplish by posting this? Will my post get this reaction? Will it get a different or negative reaction? You need to make sure that what you are about to post is clear and is not going to be misunderstood.
  2. If you can’t always trust yourself to do this then ask someone else: a coworker, friend, or a PR professional.
  3. Think about what effects the things you post will have for you presently and in the future. Is this something that will negatively impact you in some way.

It’s hard to separate your personal life from your professional life when it involves social media. Whether we like it or not, social media is not a personal thing, it’s a very public thing. It whole intention is made to be a public foray or medium. I know we can sometimes limit who sees what, but what we post is still being seen by other eyes not just our own. So we need to keep in mind that what we post is public. Is what your are posting something that you want others to see forever? If not then don’t post it.

Engaging Positivity and Awareness

I read an article the other day on Joe Favorito’s PR sports blog about the role and effects that social media played in the Special Olympics World Games. It’s an interesting read because Joe interviews the Chief Marketing Officer of the SOWG, Kirsten Seckler. These articles have a special interest to me because sports PR is something that I’ve always had a fascination with and it’s ultimately my dream job to work in the sports industry as a PR professional.

Often times we hear about the negative effects that social media can have on the sports industry and of course it’s athletes. We hear and read about stories everyday about the awful or just terrible social media decisions that are made by someone in or involved with the sports world. And I’m just going to say it, but it’s usually athletes. Ok, its ALWAYS athletes! Not really, but seriously this an issue that we see time and time again. And it definitely has a negative impact image wise on the sports world.

However, this isn’t the case for Seckler and the Special Olympics World Games in Joe’s article. In the article Joe mentions that the 2015 Games were “the most integrated and digital and social engaged platform that Special Olympics has had in their history.” In the interview Seckler mentions that the Games “gives us a chance to change perceptions and attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities – the most marginalized population on Earth. Social media will be a critical component to our awareness efforts. Not only will we push out news, results, content, stories, etc. through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more, but we will engage people and mobilize them to be more inclusive and respectful of people with intellectual disabilities.”

This is an interesting thing to think about. Everyday we see stories and examples like this of the positivity that social media can bring to the world or even a simple yet important cause. Yet, it’s the negative stories that gain our attention the most. It seems that sometimes we are more concerned and aware of the “oh no’s” than the “oh ya’s.”

Professionalism Today.

I think that professionalism is a continual learning process. Not just by students, but also seasoned professionals, professionalism is learning, understanding and integrating not just technical skills and specific knowledge, but also responsibility, respect, and leadership for yourself, co-workers, and clients. In a world that is so technology-focused it can be difficult to practice and develop this professionalism.

Currently I work for the the technology unit of the Forest Service. Unlike the HR and Finance units, the Tech unit of the FS is scattered across the U.S. I’ve worked with people for years, on a daily bases, who I’ve never met or seen in person. My core team is located in 6 different states. Yes, due to our tech-advanced world I am able to Skype or video conference my fellow co-workers, but working with people who you see and interact in person daily with versus working with people that you email and talk through phone and video calls is extremely different.

Not having in-person human interaction really tests the development of professionalism. It’s hard to be responsible, gain and give respect, and lead when you’ve never seen or met the person you are working with or for. Which is why continual learning and evolving is needed in order to be professional. I don’t think there are any guidelines or lists that you can follow in order to be professional, but you have to cultivate your own definition of professionalism that both benefits you and those you work with and for.

To Grad-School Or Not To Grad-School

Graduation is nearing (next semester), and I have yet to cement a plan for the future. Recently I have being hearing opposing arguments on graduate school being the “right way to go” after graduation. So I did some research and found a blog by the Public Relations Society of America, which is a professional PR society that is represented not just around the U.S., but also at UNM. (I almost joined, but couldn’t find the time to attend the meetings.)

A post written by Janet Krenn, a member of the PRSA, shared her findings after surveying and interviewing several successful PR professional PRSA members about whether their career benefited from getting a graduate school degree. She found that overall, these PR professionals, believed that their graduate degrees made them more marketable and successful in find and keeping jobs in their career.

“Several said their graduate degree qualified them for positions they were interested in. But the greater benefits seem smaller, two-thirds of those surveyed said that their graduate degree has provided everything from strengthened skills to credibility.”

She also asked the question if graduate degrees are becoming necessary, which is a trend that I have seen recently even outside of PR. “6 people believed a graduate degree will allow you to ‘keep up’ with your peers. ‘A graduate degree is now considered a regular requirement for some positions so it may not provide as much of a competitive advantage as it did in the past.'”

After I read this post I made the decision to finalize grad programs that I’m most interested in for the future. And I will start planning for a future in grad-school. But for now I’ll just concentrate on getting through my bachelors alive!

Lessons Learned on Social Context

This week I came across a post written by Peter Shankman called Yet Another Lesson Learned About Social Context and Having an AudienceIn the post featured on Shankman’s blog, he reflects on learning lessons even as a professional. When he was a PR Writing professor at NYU, Shankman posted an inquiry to some of his PR contacts regarding internships for his students, however, the words he chose to use were taken out of context and he ended up with a call from the Dean and losing his job.

He shares this story as being a lessoned learned about being aware of what you are saying online and how your are saying it. “Remember – Just because your audience “knows” you, and “gets” your sense of humor, doesn’t mean everyone does, and as we know, what we post to a few people never stays there, it goes around the world in a matter of seconds.”

This is an important lesson to be learned and practiced. We live in a time where posting something online is so easy. It doesn’t matter if you are posting for personal reasons or professional reasons, you have to take into account your audience and if what you are about to post can or will in any way be taken out of context.

And according to Shankman, “The point is, if this could happen to me, someone who preaches regularly about what NOT to do on social, then it can happen to anyone. So I encourage you to learn from my mistake and transparency surrounding it. As always, be aware of what you’re posting online, in any form. Don’t completely alter your life, but ask yourself – Could what I’m posting be construed the wrong way?”

The Sport Industry.

From my very early interest in PR and Communications every time I looked ahead to my future I always imagined myself working for a sports organization. Something like the U.S. Olympic Team or, my very favorite, the Pittsburgh Penguins. I imagined this because it seems like such a fast paced environment to work in. My love of sports has a little bit to do with this dream as well!

So of course when I found out this is what I wanted to do, I did what many teenagers do and I followed as many sport organization social media accounts along with their (if they had one) PR/Communication accounts. I also did research on the internet about sports PR and the major people in the sports PR world.

From this research (especially the social media aspect) I wanted to learn how these accounts were being run and who was running them. And many of the PR/Communication social media accounts provided a behind-the-scenes look of what these communication and PR professional were doing and their day-to-day work lives. I found out that some of these professional travel a lot and they always work with a team.

Following a lot of sport social media accounts also allowed me to see that what the industry was posting is different than what many other industries post. Most of the posting is “live” and without “campaign” planning. I’m also able to see who they are networking with on social media.

Though social media I’ve even been able to ask advice and just general questions from these PR/Communication professionals. Some even have developed into conversations! And I think something like that wouldn’t have been possible without social media.

Creativity and Techie Skills…

After graduation two of my most feared and least confident skills that I know I will need in my future career are creative and technology
(techie) skills. Maybe it’s just part of being human, but doubt in yourself is something that is a constant challenge. I know that in my future career my knowledge of technology (including design software, work programs, etc.) will be tested. There are many programs as a designer and in the PR world that I have yet to experience that the people around me (competitors for the same jobs) may have more experience and more overall skill with. The same goes with creative skills.

And the true problem is figuring out how I can overcome this fear and lack of confidence. How can I make sure that I can offer future or prospective employers a candidate that has these skills? How can I be confident in the skills that I already have? Only recently have I really tip toed on the edge of learning about various creative software like design programs, video editing programs, etc.

I have about a semester or two left of school and my goal is to each month experiment with a different software or program that I think I will need in my future PR and design career. One program per month. I think this way I won’t become too overwhelmed with learning multiple programs at once, and I think that focusing on one program per month will, not necessarily by any means make me a pro, but it will give me foundational knowledge that I will need for the future.

Gaining confidence one program at a time!

Six Ways

In September, a PR blog called PR In Your Pajamas, that I occasionally scroll through when I can remember to, featured the post 6 Ways Women Can Thrive in the PR Industry. I chose this specific blog post to include in the final project not only because I’m a woman and it centers around PR, but also it sort of inspired some thinking on the subject of women in the industry something that I’ve never really thought about before.

The post starts out with statistics, “Anywhere from 60 to 85 percent of PR workers are women, and they hold more than half of the field’s managerial positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s a huge jump since 1970, when women were just 27 percent of the PR labor force.” However after the authors share these positive facts they follow up with, “But the C-suite is still something of a boys’ club. Women comprise just 20 percent of the top leadership in PR firms…” And there is the “problem to solve” comes into play for the post.  This is not a negative things just something interesting to point out.

So the problem is woman still have a ways to go to get to the top and the post gives us six ways to accomplish this task. The six include: giving the client what they need, learning past your degree education, mentoring, emotional intelligence, creativity within constraints, and communication davy. By all means these points or ways are all very good advice to give and follow, but not just for women. I think that these can easily apply to men as well.

One of the main points that sticks out to me when I read these sort of articles or posts about furthering/helping women in the job field is that many of them then to imply and encourage women to stick to each other like glue and to only learn from one another. They sort of draw the line between women and men. But in order to really gain accurate experience and truly learn “real world” work skills we need to include men into the picture as well. We need men mentoring women and women mentoring men. If women are not “thriving” in a workplace where they make up 60 to 85 percent of the field then it’s not just a woman’s problem or issue it’s also a men’s issue as well because they amount the rest of the field and they work at the same places, on the same teams, for the same clients, and for the same purposes. So if part of the ship is sinking or not running as well as it could then the whole ship has a problem