Online social media can lead to depression

March 28, 2011 at 8:43 pm (Comm 2322 PR Connections, Comm 4333 PR connections)

Image Credit: Patch

This is a sad one. Social media sites that were intended to bring friends and family closer together although they may be miles apart is actually leading teenagers to feel more lonely than ever.

In a recent article written by Honey Berk, teens are more and more likely to be addicted to social media sites such as facebook and twitter. They can’t seem to help themselves to stay off the computer while neglecting their homework, sleep and physical activity. The lack of self regulation of these social networking sites is partially due to peer pressure and immaturity.

The fact that teenagers are feeling isolated is based on a report by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “Viewing a constant stream on Facebook that includes happy, boasting status updates and photos of your peers having a great time can make kids feel worse about themselves”.  This feeling can be just as impacting as offline depression, resulting in isolation. Often, when teens feel isolated they turn to risky online “help” sites, which may encourage substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, or self destructive or aggressive behaviors- research says.

While many parents make light of the heavy use of social media, it is important to be aware these sites have created a phenomena that researchers do not know what to expect. The research says that social media use is now one of the most common activities of children and adolescents. This is shocking considering Facebook was created less than 10 years ago.

The moral of the story is please monitor your children’s social media usage. We all want children to be up to date with the times and always knowledgable about the big world around us, however we should remember the impact that it makes in large dosages.


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Internship meeting

March 28, 2011 at 10:24 am (Comm 2322 Topics of the Week)

On March 23, 2011, there was a communications department informational meeting on internships. I had attended because I have to serve my internship this summer, and I must admit that it is quite overwhelming to prepare for everything that an internship brings. Do not fret! Step by step instructions are available and if you missed the meeting then you are in luck because I have everything you need to know  on how to serve an internship.

First word of advice is find an internship! This may seem simple and silly, however many students do not know that finding an internship is their responsibility-not the responsibility of their advisors or professors. This takes research, and preparation. Add, #internchat, and @HeatherHuhman to your twitter account to skim for any new internships available in communications.

Have an outstanding one page resume with active verbs under your skills, and include your High School if you wish. For more information on how to produce a knock out resume check out this link.

If you are going to serve your internship with Southeastern University, then here is a link for all of the paperwork needed to earn credit for the work.

Although we may all have the best intentions to do great as we work for a company who was kind enough to allow us to come learn for the summer, there are 10 steps to help us rock our internships. Barbara Nixion has compiled a list of what great interns do which makes them so successful.

  • Learn names- of anyone who is anyone in the office! Don’t be caught 3 months down the road not remembering the person who you communicate with every day.
  • Be on time always- punctuality is a must! Find out what “on time” means with your company. A 10a.m. meeting may mean strolling in at 10a.m., or it may mean presentations start at 10a.m.
  • Dress the part- professional casual does not mean jeans and a nice shirt. And ladies, no cleavage please.
  • Ask questions- interns are supposed to ask questions. This is why we must intern. We don’t know what we are doing, so when we are being trained, don’t just nod your head and say you understand if you really don’t.
  • Recap every meeting- make sure that you are completely aware of what is expected of you by voicing every objective to your boss. You may have had the wrong idea, and you may end up having less of a world load.
  • Avoid personal use of social media on the job- leave facebook and twitter for your own time, not on the companies’ time
  • Don’t complain, especially publicly- you never know who you are complaining around. This could get you into a lot of trouble.
  • Save copies of all your work (that you are allowed to keep)- you’ll need it for a portfolio in the future when you are looking for jobs in the communications field.
  • Keep in touch with the company in which you interned.- it’s great to be on good terms with a company who may need to hire PR professionals one day.
  • Leave an impression- you want to be memorable, not just for your reputation-but the reputation of the school that you represent.

All of these tips will help you “Rock your internship” if you keep them in mind for the duration of your internship. Thank you Barbara Nixion for having a great guide to keep for the next 3 months.

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Finding a job via twitter

March 25, 2011 at 5:30 pm (Comm 2322 PR Connections, Comm 4333 PR connections)

It seems like social media is taking over all professional and stiff approaches to the workplace these days. This article reports how the NY times held a contest to find the Lucky 13 summer interns. (there were only 6 interns chosen after the contest was over) Those interns will have a paid position in New York city starting June 6 and will run for 10 weeks.

This is a very interesting way of appealing to potential interns. It  shows who is up to date with social media, and who is generally falling behind.

The applicants were asked to tag their comments with the hashtag #L13, and were also asked to submit 13 comments on Twitter in 13 days, from Feb. 13 through 25. Initially there were 425 people that registered to apply for the contest, and over 300 ended up submitting the required comments on Twitter. After a committee sorted through the thousands of comments, they identified 32 finalists. All 32 of these finalists were interviewed through Skype, and then the 6 interns were chosen.

NY times has wanted to recreate this process for a long time, and it just happens to be the best fitting way to finding the next generation’s creative ideas and aspirations. The day to day work of a journalist is becoming more and more digital which makes this contest so appropriate.


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March 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm (Comm 2322 PR Connections, Comm 4333 PR connections)

Image Credit: The gold standard.

Is LOL really a word? How about OMG? This may seem silly to even question because we all know what they stand for, however are they truly considered a legitimate word that we need to define?

These acronyms have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary online version as of yesterday. The use of these acronyms (which OED is naming them initialisms) has been the outcome of internet slang which has accumulated over the years of text messaging and instant messaging. Some of the initialisms include BFF (best friends forever), TMI (too much information), POS (parent over shoulder),  LOL (laugh out loud), OMG (oh my God), and FYI (for your information). Oxford English Dictionary has stated that “initialisms are quicker to type than the full forms, and (in the case of text messages, or Twitter, for example) they help to say more in media where there is a limit to a number of characters one may use in a single message.”

What do you think? Is the english language evolving into simple phrases and shallow exclamations? (OMG!) Is this due to the younger generations not reaching for excellency in terms of vocabulary? For the record, I’m not going on a rant about the youth being “dumb”, I’m just stating that there are changes that are taking place that we should be a little worried about. The fact that the Oxford English Dictionary has added these initialisms to their dictionary is a little worrying.

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Our neighbors up north..

March 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm (Comm 2322 PR Connections, Comm 4333 PR connections)

Canada, believe it or not, was just recently reported to be the Number one internet users in the world. It’s safe to say that I’m not the only one who was surprised that the average Canadian spends 43.5 hours a month on the Web, almost twice the worldwide average of 23.1 hours. They lead the world in internet usage and not just by a small margin. This may have to do with the different social media outlets that allow Canadians to interact with eachother, and also with Netflix recently moving north of the boarder. Now Canadians can watch all their favorite shows instead of fight the snow outside.

Emailing ranked as Canada’s #1 internet activity, followed by general browsing (surfing). The province of British Colombia is ranked highest in internet usage.

The amount of internet usage has actually hurt some Canadians due to the large amount of downloading of data. Internet providers are now charging a penalty to users who download 200 to 300 gigabytes a month. It is causing the costs to inflate, not just for the heavy downloaders, but for the regular users as well.

Of course the age group that is using internet most is those who are 16-24, but now even those who are over 65 are reported to go online in increasing numbers. These statistics are located at the world internet statistics website.

Check out this website for more information on how Canada’s internet usage is off the charts.

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The wonderful world of infographics

March 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm (Comm 4333 Topics of the week)

About 60% of people are predominately visual learners, and because of this seeing statists and data is much more helpful than just reading them from a book. This is why infographics are so handy. Infographics are visual representations of data that is usually displayed by pictures which appeals to those visual learners.

These are extremely useful in representing large numbers. They allow you to make your point in a fun and easy way. One picture could represent per thousand items. An example would be an infographic that displayed one strawberry per thousand strawberries that were consumed at the local strawberry festival, or one flower for every thousand flowers that were sold in the U.S. on Valentines Day.

Infographics are meant to be fun, not boring. They take the place of bar graphs, pie charts, etc. This generation has short attention spans and does not want to see a shaded area of a graph to represent how many strawberries were consumed at the local strawberry festival.

I stumbled upon this great website that was useful in creating your own inforgraphic. They can be large, small, colorful, vibrant, classy, or simple. You can appeal to your client’s needs by crating an infographic that will simply display the information that they need to read. The best part about infographics is that they sort out a large amount of information and make it fun and effortless for the client to understand.

Infographics help us to see the “big picture” of date and figures. We may read about the amount of people who use the internet in each country in the world, but that doesn’t give us the visual aspect of exactly how large that number may be as compared to smaller countries with fewer numbers.

I chose to leave an example of a coffee infographic because I love coffee, and I work for a local coffee company. Nobody seems to know how to order their coffee correctly so along with a great example of an inforgraphic, it satisfies a part of me that wants to set it straight.

Image Credit: Playpen


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March 25, 2011 at 12:57 pm (Comm 4333 Topics of the week)

Peter Shankman, inventor or HARO (help a reporter out) has successful created a tool which allows reporters and sources to happily unite! It all began in 2008 and is one of the fastest growing social media services in North America.

Maybe its too soon to say that the days of pitching a story in 60 seconds is over, however this website is a step in the direction of the  “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” idea.

HARO creates free publicity for sources to appeal directly to the targeted journalists. This helps out not just the reporter, but the source. So, in all reality HARO should be HARASO (help a reporter AND source out).

This idea is genius! I can’t imagine how much time is saved by using a source such as HARO. Deadlines are kept, client’s needs are met and reporters are happy.

I can imagine as a PR practitioner my client will get the upmost coverage of their events locally and possibly nationally. I could be more efficient in landing coverage because I am appealing directly to reporters who are interested in my content. Although it is important to keep a contact list, with HARO it is less of a necessity because the program allows you to directly connect with reporters who are just as desperate for stories as you are to have them covered. It’s a win-win situation. No more out of date contacts!

Over 75,000 journalist inquiries have been published and 7,500,000 media pitches have been forwarded to prospective journalists. Journalists now have professionals and experts at their fingertips to narrow down the contacts they need to efficiently cover a story. Above all, it’s free, easy to use and independly owned and operated. Check it out today at

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Martin Waxman sharing insight on Public Relations

March 23, 2011 at 11:58 pm (Comm 2322 Topics of the Week)

I listened to the interview with Martin Waxman and I enjoyed listening to him discuss his company that is based out of Toronto, Canada. His agency is considered a boutique agency, which basically is emphasizing the size of the organization being quite small.

He found podcasting fun to do, and I found that surprising. I figured that a person as busy as he is would not enjoy being pulled in another direction to conduct a discussion that took more time out of his Sunday evening. The weekly podcast is available every Wednesday on iTunes, and is called “Inside PR”.  The show generally takes about 40 minutes before they start recording, which I never knew before this interview.

Digital footprints and “personal branding” was mentioned at some point during this interview. This is something I would like to learn more about.

He teaches social media classes, where he teaches PR students to utilize their skills and integrate social media tools which he has found to be a challenge. As an employer, some of the things that Waxman looks for all the traditional skills having to do with media relations. Although the PR world is evolving, it’s important to be grounded in the basics. He’s also looking for people who have an understanding of social media. Although a prospective employee may not be completely active in the social media world, they need to be following people on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

A tip that Waxman offered during this interview had to do with a blog that a prospective employee had submitted as apart of her portfolio which contained many spelling and grammar errors. It is so easy to look over those errors when you are in school, however when you are submitting a blog to an employer, it does not look good at all. The girl ended up loosing the opportunity to work with his agency because of this mistake.

I am surprised to learn how organizations closely watch what consumers are saying about their services and products. Apparently there are high tech tools that allow them to see every single thing that mentions the organization’s name.

Martin Waxman gave a lot of insight on how a traditional PR background is important to have before integrating all of the social media tools. Unfortunately this is how many students become frustrated when first getting their feet wet in the world of PR. His tips and words of wisdom were helpful in learning from more than one source, which is why I found the interview to be so successful.


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Interviewing a PR professional- Cheryl Smith

March 16, 2011 at 11:27 pm (Comm 2322 Topics of the Week)

I interviewed Cheryl Smith from New Oakland Child-Adolecent & family Center. It is a Michigan based comprehensive mental health facility that my Mom works at, and I was able to talk with Cheryl about her career working in PR/Marketing.  Cheryl graduated with a business degree from Central Michigan University in 1993 and has had an array of jobs before focusing on PR in 1998.


I learned quickly that Cheryl has a type “A” personality, and was able to get along with her great.  When I asked her what a typical work week was like she answered, “Building relationships and maintaining those relationships is the main focus of my job. I connect with targeted organizations, host “meet and greets” with our staff hosting meetings which is mostly physicians, schools, insurance companies, the court system, non-profit organizations, psychiatric facilities, etc.” She also prepares the displays for group events and trade shows.  One of the last responsibilities she mentioned was surprising to me, because I thought that it was usually one of the main duties of a PR professional. “I also plan and direct PR programs designed to create and maintain a favorable public image for my employer,” said Cheryl.


A project she particularly found to be rewarding involved the development of her company’s bi-monthly newsletter. The reason for this was because she was given freedom to decide what material she felt would make the biggest impact on her “target market” and it ended up being well received.


She stressed that keeping current with the PR field was extremely important, and she does that by researching the latest on the industry news every day so that she knows what the competition is up to.


One thing she wishes she would have known before getting into PR was getting in with the right company that has the potential for growth is an important key for success.


She said that writing is very important in PR, and I’ll be doing it constantly if I enter into this field. It is a large portion of her job responsibilities and if you struggle with writing, then learn quickly how to improve, because there are plenty of talented people out there who could take your place.


The internet has greatly changed the way PR is done. The information can be immediately shared with an enormous audience, which works in all in our favor. It also helps you to keep an eye on what the competition is doing.


When I asked for three tips she would give for someone (like me) who was interested in perusing a career in PR, Cheryl said, “Network to build positive relationships for your company, put your name out there and study people’s opinions. Understand everyone’s attitudes around you-your company, the consumer, and the community. Lastly, always be organized. Read everything you can about your industry so that you may never be surprised.”


Cheryl was so helpful in assuring that I certainly am going in the right field. This wasn’t her first career path, yet she says she enjoys going to work everyday. This is partly due to the company that is in a growing industry, and party due to her boss giving her the freedom to plan her own days to do what she thinks is needed.


She encouraged me to find an internship where I will have a well-rounded exposure to the PR field, and if I strike an interest in a specific field in PR to pursue furthering my education in that direction.


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Guest Blogger- Tiffany Hobby

March 15, 2011 at 11:44 am (Comm 2322 Topics of the Week)

Valentines Day Recap

Valentines Day: A day created out of love, but hated by most.

For once in my life I was looking forward this year to Valentines Day (probably because I actually had someone to celebrate it with); I had it all planned out, blueberry heart-shaped pancakes, then the fair for the classic ferris wheel ride with your soul mate and all the junk food you can manage to eat. Monday, February 14th was going to be perfect! Except for the fact that we are both workaholics and didn’t bother taking the day off, so we ended up having to work.

Kyle, my boyfriend, is a pastry chef at Bern’s, and while he specializes in making sweet treat I would rather read blogs about yummy things that I have absolutely no idea how to make. Since I admire all the blogs on WordPress about food, I came across an article that I fell in love with, get a ring on it.

In a nutshell; she had been dating her boyfriend for a very very long time and he still had not proposed yet. An older couple told the woman to take her man to Europe, and he was sure to propose, but that already been the previous year, and he had still not popped the question. So she decided that this year she was going to make a coffee cake for her boyfriend, and he proposed that night, proving that ”the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

So I figured… why not try it.

I made the desert after work, since I am disabled in the cooking part of my life my best friend came over to help. I had the cake set for the minute till he was supposed to get off work, but to my surprise the cake took longer than expected and Kyle got off early, so he had to help me with checking to see if it was done.

We stayed up almost all night eating cake and talking about our future. Although I didn’t get a ring, I am happy to say that my engagement was, and will never be, on Valentines day.


The Pear and Apple Coffee Cake Recipe:

Servings: 12

Cook Time – 1 hour and 30 minutes, including prep. time. (Maybe even less if you’re a Master Peeler)

Ingredients (Where would I be without commentary?)

For the Cake:

1 Stick and 1 Tablespoon of Unsalted Butter – room temperature

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar – the original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cup but it really isn’t needed

2 Large Eggs – room temperature

2 Cups All Purpose Flour – Sifted

2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon of Salt

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Cup Sour Cream – I used low fat, and let it sit out for about 30 minutes, so that it could come close to room temperature. Please don’t forget about your sour cream, you should not leave it out for more than 1 hour. I also used a dry measuring cup to measure the sour cream (as opposed to a liquid measuring cup).

2 Teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

2 Medium peeled, cored, and chopped pears – I used D’Anjou

1 Medium Apple – I usually use granny smith but thought I’d try it with a honeycrisp apple, which I already had in stock.

For the Crumble Topping:

1/2 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar – I am still having a love affair with dates so, I only used 1/4 cup of sugar and substituted the rest with about a cup of chopped (and seeded) dates.

1/2 Cup of All Purpose Flour – if you are substituting some of the sugar with dates like I did you may want to add an addition 1-2 tablespoons of flour.

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter – Room Temperature (Soft)

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