10 tips on how to be a terrific blogger (for newbies)

April 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm (Comm 4333 Topics of the week)

When I first started this blog, I had an immediate headache. I’m not particularly computer savvy, and I get frustrated pretty quickly when I do not understand how to accomplish a task. Then I learned that it’s not too difficult. What I really would have appreciated, was someone getting me set up for success, and then learning along the way. Start simple, and then master the art of blogging into to something much more complex. I have compelled a list of 10 things you should do as a new blogger to get stated and find your way in the blogging world.

  • 1. Pick a blog theme that you know a lot about.

You’ll want to WANT to write on your blog. Nobody likes visiting a blog that never gets updated. Have a single topic or theme that interests you to the point of elaborating and diving into that subject frequently to keep your readers happy.

  • 2.  Explore your blogging website.

Learn the ins and the outs of whatever site you choose to blog though. It can be confusing to figure out the categories, and the pages. Choose your widgets wisely, and pick out an appropriate theme. You’ll begin to feel better when you see a finished product.

  • 3. Add photos and videos

These little eye catching treasures are going to entertain your readers in between all that text. We know you have something important to say, but if you want to hook the readers to stay tuned, you’ll want to stimulate them with photos (with photo credits if they are not original)

  • 4. Be brief

Make a point and try to keep it short. An interested reader may not be so interested after a few pages.

  • 5.  Read other blogs

Stay up to date with fellow bloggers. Learn some tips on how to format your blog in a more appealing way.

  • 6. Comment on other blogs

You love when someone comments on a recent post right? Then by all means, pay the dues of a blogger and comment when you agree or disagree with someone else’s post. Don’t just say “Great post!”, actually put thought into a comment. This is one of the best rewards a blogger can receive.

  • 7. Always try to link your findings in your posts

Finding interesting information is always a delight, especially when you direct your readers to the source. This often proves your point even more, and it reinforces your credibility.

  • 8.  Let it all roll off your shoulder

Be able to take criticism. Sometimes people are not going to like your opinion. Learn to refrain from firing back with a hard heart. This is a marketplace of free-flowing ideas, and you are entitled to your opinion as much as anyone else. Remember this when you get your first bad experience.

  • 9. Develop your own writing voice.

Without being mean, write in your own way. This draws a following of people who enjoy your take on a subject.

  • 10. Be open minded

Leave room for conversation. There are rarely situations where there is a total right or total wrong way to view something.  Have a backbone and take a stance on some issues, but leave room for others with an open ended writing style.

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Those PR Hot Shots in Government Have a Huge Job

April 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm (Comm 2322 Topics of the Week)

I shared with you all on Tuesday about how the government distributes information to the U.S. citizens, and I would like to elaborate to the students of COMM 2322 of how important public relations is within the government.

There are three scopes in which the government distributes information. They are the governmental agencies, the congressional efforts, and the white house efforts. There are around 10,000-12,000 governmental employees who deal with public affairs. This may seem like a large number however this is a normal percentage of any company. The government just happens to be the U.S. number one employer so the number seems so large.

The PR professionals who work within the government are called public affairs officers or POAs. These POAs answer press and public inquiries, write news releases, work on news letters, prepare speeches for top officials and oversee the production of brochures and plan special events. Top level Public Affairs Officers will sometimes even counsel top management about communications strategies and handle crisis situations.

Public image is important the executive staff, especially the President. This is the reason why each public appearance is carefully created to make the President appear healthy and lively in a favorable way. This also helps keep up his ratings, which is always beneficial when he is introducing new legislation ideas.

State information services provide information to each individual state. POAs work within the Department of Tourism to liven up economic activity within any particular state. They also work in the Department of Health in spreading the word about the flu season, or other types of health threats.

City information services are focused on a specific city to distribute news within an information specialist. They help to promote new businesses, new jobs, and deal directly with the mayor.

Although the government is extremely efficient in their efforts to distribute information, there are many criticism that are valid when looking at where the tax money is being spent, and the phony larger than life press releases that reporters receive on behalf of these POAs.

For my entire presentation on chapter 18, check out my Comm 2322 Powerpoint presentation.

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Barefoot Contessa’s PR nightmare

April 2, 2011 at 6:49 pm (Comm 2322 PR Connections, Comm 4333 PR connections)

One of my favorite food network stars is Ina Garten from the cooking show “Barefoot Contessa”.  After reading a recent article on Gerten’s choice to not once, but twice shoot down a little boy’s dream of meeting his favorite food network star, I am not quite as fond of her as I was before.

The little boy gave up his one wish from the Make A Wish Foundation was to meet with the Barefoot Contessa. He has Leukemia and his parents requested several times to meet, and although she has since reconsidered and offered to meet with the little boy, this does not take back the awful mistake she made earlier this week. It seems as if she has only reconsidered only to spare her reputation, and not out of genuine interest in participating with the Make A Wish Foundation.

One aspect I was curious to know about, was how the Food Network is handling this crisis. Will they reconsider the Barefoot Contessa as apart of their prime time lineup?

Her staff is going to suffer tremendously for this act of selfishness. Many fans are upset about her decision to blow this poor kid off. I know I am.

Instead, the boy is reportedly choosing to swim with the dolphins instead of meet with the Barefoot Contessa, and her show is still his favorite.

To find the whole story check out this article.

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Artificial dyes in foods

April 2, 2011 at 6:24 pm (Comm 2322 PR Connections, Comm 4333 PR connections)

A recent article has possibly uncovered the link between many of the artificial food dyes found in Fruit Loops, Twinkies, and Jell-O with hyperactivity in children who are already susceptible to an existing hyperactivity condition.  I would hate to be the PR professional for any of the companies that distribute these products.

Although the artificial food dyes may not cause children to be hyperactive, there needs to be more research with these chemicals because nobody is certain at this point the effects it has on them. There seems to be a lot of skepticism about the link between hyperactivity in children from 3-9 and specific artificial dyes that are combined in certian foods.

Parents who are concerned about having hyperactive kids should switch to foods that do not contain these dyes to attempt to see if in fact they are effected by the chemicals found in the dyes.

I always thought that kids were naturally hyper-now we are finding that they are really only hyper because of some dye in their favorite cereals and snacks?

It seems a little far fetched to me. All I know is junk food would be far less exciting if they removed all of the colorful dyes.

For more information on how hyperactivity in children may be linked to artificial food dyes in foods check out this article.

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PR/Marketing Podcasts

April 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm (Comm 4333 Topics of the week)

For this week I decided to first begin listening to the For Immediate Release podcast. After about eight minutes of that I was so bored that I moved on to another podcast that appealed to me because it was made by students. PRStudCast was much more lively like a conversation going back and forth between the student interviewee and two PR and Marketing professionals. I feel that I learned way more from listening to this podcast than I did with the first.

I choose to listen to the new year’s podcast because it was the longest, and the most broad of a topic to discuss for this assignment. The professionals happened to discuss their new year’s resolutions. One had expressed that they wanted to find more time to increase learning activities instead of having uncreative experiences with peers through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. She also expressed that she needed to find a limit to where she knew it was time to step away from social media because it is easy to get burnt out of these networking sites.

Both professionals agreed that it was their ultimate goal to make sure the different industries understand the importance of PR. For this reason, it is incredibly important to improve existing relationships and new relationships in an effort to reach out these companies.

After listening to these podcasts, I have really gained a new understanding of the importance of a constant stream of communication from both parties. Most of the PR podcasts have to do with brainstorming on how to have better communication with clients and each other in the workplace.

I would like to stumble upon a PR/Marketing podcast concerning how PR professionals ended up in the field they are in and what exactly is the every day life like. I would like a wide variety of jobs and an explanation of how it is perfect for them. I feel uneducated in the different field options that a communications major has. This would be very beneficial to me.

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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 #PRopenmic.org, #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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LOL

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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