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!
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:
- 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.
- If you can’t always trust yourself to do this then ask someone else: a coworker, friend, or a PR professional.
- 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.
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.”
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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.
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!
This week I came across a post written by Peter Shankman called Yet Another Lesson Learned About Social Context and Having an Audience. In 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?”