Facebook: The PR of Tomrrow?

Facebook was established as a means of updating the traditional paper facebooks used at many American universities. This modern approach launched early 2004 as a social networking website. Members easily join one or more networks based on their school, place of employment or geographical region to connect within the specified community. For more information check: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/).

In his feature article “Facebook 101: Ten Things You Need to Know About Facebook,” Thomas Krivak states that users age 25 and older are the site’s fastest growing demographic group. Facebook is a great way to stay connected with peers and since it is a social networking site, it provides a great resource for their resumes. Their resumes are not visibly posted on the site, but rather, they are based on how each individual establishes his or herself on their personal profile page.

Group membership is important in order to be aware of upcoming events held by different organizations. For instance, being a member of the CPRS (Canadian Public Relations Society) group, I am able to check various networking events, some job postings or volunteer opportunities. Even more targeted, I am a member of various Toronto PR groups with the same results.

Beyond branding yourself on your profile page, some PR practitioners are beginning to recognize Facebook as the future of PR. Andrew Smith posts about this very topic. He foresees a future for public relations, especially media relations, with Facebook. Journalists have the opportunity on this network to befriend certain practitioners and reject other friendship requests. Tedious briefing documents will simply disappear because the journalist will, by default, provide that information on their Facebook page, at least to those they consider appropriate to have access to it. In regards to contacting one another, the times and preferred method can be outlined on their status. For instance; “Erin Cohen is available for the next two hours. Feel free to call me regarding X on my cell phone xxx-xxx-xxxx.” If a rule is broken through this method, the repercussion is simple; the friendship is broken. This media relations method rewards those practitioners and journalists who really do have genuine relationships.

Robert Scoble, Vice President of media development at podtech.net writes on his blog that the best way to pitch new products to him are through his Facebook wall. In fact, he has termed Facebook has “the new press release.” He says this because once receiving a link to a new product on his cell phone’s Facebook application, he can’t help but linking to the product to learn more about it.

Todd Defren, author of PR-squared, linked Scoble’s post, adding that all people who look at Scoble’s profile will see the link posted on his wall. This is free and simple public exposure. “The extent, though, that Facebook will become the be-all, end-al for PR’s intersection with social networks remains to be seen,” he says.
Can this phenomenon be so?

Facebook is not only a great way to keep in touch with friends and colleagues, but is also a non-conventional approach for today’s practitioners to do their work.

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The Community

Starting out in a new part of life is scary. People are always scared to close the door behind them and open the next one. High school graduation can be recognized as one of the biggest transitions. We are not only graduating from grade schooling, but it is the first time we have the opportunity to move away from our parents, we begin to identify ourselves by our “majors”, which in turn result in our career paths. We connect with others at the same institution as us and develop a new circle of friends.

This year, though, at Centennial College, I entered a new community. This year has been my first insight into the world of Corporate Communications and Public Relations. Maybe it is just my class, but I find it amazing how each one of us is there to support the other. We are all preparing for interviews for field placements. As each person goes to his or hers, all 39 of his or her classmates are waiting to hear how it went. If someone in the class has an interest in a certain area and another person has “connections” in that area, they are there ready to help that person.

School is possibly more social now than ever before. We are finding ourselves going to school this year because it is a pleasure to be amongst our peers. We are connecting with each other on academic, corporate and social levels. It is something that I do not think any of us have ever experienced before.

Our teachers are there to support us in the same way. Watching us day in and day out for the past number of months, they have gotten to know us pretty well. They are there, possibly more than ever, to guide us into the working world of CCPR. They take it upon themselves to guide us, help us and advise us…all things they are not required to do.

I feel, or rather, I hope, that this is a taste of the networked community in the CCPR world. Obviously it is not going to be all picture-perfect as described here, but I do foresee constant support and companionship.

Anybody else feeling this way at this time?

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Entry-level Jobs

So, every morning I grab a copy of Metro to read while on the subway on my way to school. It is quick and easy to read, allowing me to stay generally up-to-date when I don’t have much time as it is.

Yesterday in an inserted section of the paper called “Learning Curve” was a column by Tracy Rogers titled “Entry-level jobs are a window of opportunity.” Immediately I was intrigued since I am preparing to start a field placement and already go into an office on a weekly basis to fulfill my Client Project course.

So, I thought I would share Tracy’s five points of advice to those entering the workforce with everyone out there.

1. Meet people

2. Get involved

3. Attend training

4. Remember, it’s just a job

5. Stay positive

You can read more about these five points on the link above.

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Easy PR vs Hard PR?

I just got home from meeting with my client project. This morning I met with someone who graduated from a post-secondary PR program in Toronto a couple of years ago, used to work for a pretty big Toronto corporation and now works for a not-for-profit organization.

We started talking about the different areas of PR and how you can jump around within it and how people from her program all have such different jobs, but still all PR. She started to describe her job in the big corporation in comparison with her current job. She said, “that was easy PR…this, well, this is more challenging and rewarding.” Intrigued by this comment I asked what she meant. Her explanation was as such:

“at my old job, I would publicize events and hope people would not show up. I would send out press releases and now have to follow up because they were in the news daily. It was simply easy PR. Now, well, I have to keep in contact with every person I send something to, hoping it will be picked up and hoping for a good turnout to events. It’s all up in the air and never a sure thing as it used to be. But I like this more, I’m helping people and seeing how my work is a success.”

I found this to be a very interesting point. I never heard that side of PR before nor had that thought come to mind.

This is only one person’s opinion but I thought it would be interesting to see what other people thought of it.

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PR vs Journalist spoof

Here is a video someone sent me. There are some delays between the different role playings parts. No need to watch the whole thing, just even part of it. It’s a parody of the PC/MAC battle.

It actually is the essence of bits and pieces of my media relations course last semester.

Take a look, enjoy.

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Why PR?

When asked why I want to break into the PR world, my answer is simple. I want to do something that I care about. I don’t want my everyday job to become mindless and meaningless work. With a career in PR, we still have the choice of our concentration in the field. I want to be able to note differences I have made. I want to be able to show it off. I think that PR is one of the few professions that this is possible in.

Of course I understand why it is not something that everybody would like to go into – everybody has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. I just do not understand why people enter professions that they have no passion for!

It is evident by my teachers that they genuinely love what they do. They build our lessons on past experiences and teach us from things they have picked up along the way. It is definitely a different experience from what I am used to.
The thing is, though, I am not too sure which area of PR I would like to get into. As my class starts our client projects and begin to apply for field placements, I keep getting the feeling that I am the only one questioning where I want to be. I know many people change their career paths many times in their life, but am I really the only one unsure of where I want to be and what I want to do?

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First impressions?

I am in the Corporate Communications and Public Relations postgraduate program at Centennial College. Our teachers are actual PR practitioners, meaning what they say really sticks.

We keep learning about the importance of social networks and that being active in them is vital to break into the industry.

Most people in the class are on Facebook, some are on LinkedIn and some are already members of the blogging world. All of these Internet networks, we are told, have the ability to make or break us (as an extreme) in the industry. We are told to join all of these networks and be involved with them, but at the same time, we are told of people’s ability and ease to search us online through them.

Does this not take away from first impressions of, say, an interview? So much is based on that first impression. With some organizations looking up information about their applicants beforehand, this already forms their opinion of them. The standard first impression is not even applicable anymore. What is a first impression now?

Because we are going into the communications industry, I understand the importance of the Internet and interactive networks. The thing is, I do not understand this loss of personal privacy. Facebook, something I joined to keep in touch with friends while abroad, I am being told can now take away potential job offers. The personal privacy that should be available on these networks, I see, to be of vital importance. It is one of the few ways we are now able to achieve work/life balance.

Because of this openness, I was hesitant to write this first entry and kept putting it off. I guess, though, that the acceptance of the research and openness of using online networking really is part of accepting the fast-paced and Internet-based ways of our society.

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