Archive | January, 2012

Engage: Chapter 4

31 Jan

In chapter four of Brian Solis’s Engage!, “The New Media University 101,” he discusses the influence of blogs, podcasts and wikis.

The interesting thing about blogs, as he points out, is that people severely underestimate the amount of effort a successful blog requires.  Many assume that just because their blog is out there, people are reading it. Many companies also assume that consumers are reading their corporate blogs.

The facts about the lacking credibility of corporate blogs (pg 26) were interesting, but not surprising.  As a consumer and very active user of the internet, I can relate to the skepticism.  I would much rather read a blog where I know the information is honest and not simply pushing a particular agenda or product.  Much like how newspapers really have to strive for objectivity, corporate bloggers need to maintain their dignity and keep their blogs informative rather than persuasive if they wish to be taken seriously.

Another thing that I’ve noticed in my personal experience with blogs is the language (not something discussed in this chapter, but still important to be mindful of).  I think a successful blog should read professionally.  Sure, they can have more of a conversational rhetoric, but they still need to maintain their formality as a business.  The writing style within a blog should reflect the public’s perception of their brand.  For example, references to popular internet memes would complement a geeky tech blog quite nicely–they  would not fare as well if referenced within the blog of popular outdoor equipment giant, Patagonia.

When it comes to wikis (pg 31), Solis discussed appropriately the user-based content control of Wikipedia pages.  As far as credibility goes, I generally accept the information on Wikipedia as accurate.  As Judy Breck discusses in her “golden swamp” concept, open-content is self-vetting.  Companies need to be fully aware of the public’s perception of their brand for this reason–it is inevitable that in a consumer-generated ecosystem, consumer opinion and experience will prevail.


Comment Log

30 Jan
Blog: Resonance; The Social Wavelength Blog, post: “#McDStories to ‘Dear Shameful’: Social Media is NOT easy for brands”
Comment awaiting approval!
“This is a great article that contains good advice for how to avoid social media gaffes….” I forgot to copy the comment before I added it and I can’t see what I wrote until it’s approved! I mentioned how important it is for brands to make sure that their social media communication runs smoothly, and especially liked the tip about factoring social media into the budget: just because the sites are free to use does not mean they don’t need to be professionally maintained!
Blog: State of Search, post: “Five Ways for Local Businesses to Grow their Twitter Followers and Business”
“This blog is so helpful! I started using these tips for the small business that I work for! Keep up the great advice :)”
Blog: Emily Stark’s class blog, post: “Viral media”
“Everyone is totally jumping on the viral bandwagon these days and trying to start some “buzz”. Volkswagon saw a lot of success at this year’s Super Bowl as a result of last year’s. They released a teaser trailer for their commercial this year. Yeah, yeah, it worked I guess. But COME ON!!!! A TRAILER for a COMMERCIAL?? Really? And it worked!
Ladies and gents, we’ve passed the point of being annoyed by commercials. Now we want to see commercials for upcoming commercials.  Good grief.”
Blog: The Brand Builder, post: 10 Things You Still Need to Know About Social Media/Social Business

“Great points! I like how all of them are straight and to the point– I like your tone. Sometimes you have to lay it all on the table and if these things are news to anyone, they’re doing it wrong!
I particularly liked the first point: social is what you ARE, not what you DO. If you don’t care about customer relations in real life, putting yourself on the internet is not going to make one difference. Social media is a TOOL, not a cure-all for crappy service/products.”
Blog: Dee Eunice, post: “Facebook the Changes”
“I am also annoyed with all of the rapid changes Facebook makes, but look at it this way: if they aren’t evolving and keeping up with the times (they are a-changin’), someone else will take its place. The reason Facebook became the new Myspace is because it literally became the NEW Myspace. Myspace maybe could have stayed on top, but they got too comfortable.
The customers/users control the market these days. Facebook must know what we want better than we do, because if they weren’t giving it to us, we’d just find it somewhere else. We all seem to hate the changes, yet we stick around and eventually just stop arguing.”
Blog:, post: “How To Sell Your Services Using Client Success Stories”

“Just make sure your success stories method doesn’t backfire like #McDStories! Monitor carefully and honestly.”
Blog: Six Pixels of Separation, post: “The New Media Diet

“That is so true about the banner ads… I’m not sure why marketers thought that making them more invasive and annoying would make me more willing to click on them. The only reason I could imagine an increase in traffic would be from accidental clicks on the ad when trying to hit the moving X to close it!
As a “digital native” I urge marketers to try harder. COME AND GET ME!”
Blog: The Anti-Social Media, post: “Why Won’t Google+ Die?”

“I don’t know why people are still holding on to G+. Internet hipsters, I think. Too cool for Facebook but too stubborn to realize their ship is sinking.
G+ isn’t going anywhere! Still!”
Blog: Spin Sucks, post: “The KONY Video: What Worked and What Didn’t Work”

“It seemed as though Invisible Children put all of this effort into the video and then just kind of let it fall flat on its face.  Then they made a sequel video touting “awareness” as their main goal and down playing the lack of real action.  Internet activism at its finest.
Great analysis of the campaign!”
Blog: Ashley Hutcherson’s class blog, post: “We Never Mixed Business With Pleasure… Well Until Now”

“I would never take a job that asked that of me! I would turn them down and kindly tell them to screw off haha. I don’t think they need to go that far. If they can find my Facebook on their own and want to look through it, fine. But they’re certainly not getting my password nor will I log-on for them and let them peruse through all of my stuff. No way!
I don’t think this kind of stuff is important in new hires. Standard job interviews worked just fine 10 years ago. They can work just fine now.”
Blog: Kaitlyn Horbal’s class blog, post: “Can Social Media Split Families Apart?”
“Oh boy! I love how things that happen on Twitter are SUCH A BIG DEAL! I can’t even believe some of it is newsworthy… I remember it was a huge deal when Katy Perry unfollowed Russel Brand haha. Ridiculous!
But yes, people need to keep their family drama OFF OF THE INTERNET! I’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff on my newsfeed. People sometimes forget how public it all is. Use more discretion!”
Blog: Anthony Forte’s class blog, post: “Trayvon Martin and Social Media”

“Sometimes I think social media can do more harm than good. People, strangers I mean, are investing too much time into trying to re-construct Trayvon’s character, looking to justify his death. The same goes for Zimmerman, trying to either prove his innocence or demanding prosecution.
People fail to realize that it doesn’t MATTER what Trayvon posted on his Twitter before he was shot and killed. It doesn’t MATTER how nice and put together Zimmerman looks in a suit. All that matters and all that is relevant to the case is what happened that night. And people really should just stay out of it because they don’t know what happened.
And that dude with the hoodies comment needs to just shut his mouth. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. And I watched the first three seasons of Jersey Shore…”

Engage: Chapter One

29 Jan

The first chapter of Brian Solis’s Engage! focuses on the necessity of businesses and PR specialists to make the switch to social media.  His message is clear:

According to Solis, for those who do not adapt to the changing way that we communicate (publicly, openly, rapidly),  the future is dismal.  The one-way road of communication has now been opened up, into a multi-lane two-directional expressway.

Throughout the chapter he uses strong, symbolic language to stress his point and I can’t help but scoff at it.  Maybe I am “old fashioned” but I still haven’t accepted that this gravitation to social media is anything more than a phase.

Solis states that a “fundamental shift in our culture is under way.”  He also says that businesses will evolve and brands will humanize–“with or without you.”

I understand where he is coming from but I just can’t believe that the only way to survive in this world is by abandoning all of the old “tried and true” methods of customer service and marketing and focusing your efforts into 140 character messages and clever hash tags.

Twitter marketing does not always end up the way companies might hope.  McDonalds, for example, just realized this with their recent #McDStories trend.  For at least the next couple months, people will enjoy looking at the fast food giant’s social media faux pas as the perfect example of what not to do.  For a huge brand like McDonalds, a little (or even, in this case, a lot) of bad publicity is not going to mean much in the grand scheme of things.

For the little guys, however, some sort of social media gaffe could mean the end.

As discussed in my previous blog, social media as a tool is still a foreign concept to me.  Brian Solis, as of chapter one, has yet to win me over.  Maybe, of course, I am just stubborn.

Social Media: For business or pleasure?

24 Jan

Those of us who were born in Generation Y have an interesting relationship with social media and the internet.  Being part of the last generation to have experienced life without a computer, albeit briefly, we have witnessed the change and growth of the internet from a unique perspective.

My personal experience with social media has left me unable to transition to using these websites professionally.

My first memory of a household computer dates back to age six.  Our computer ran Windows ’95. We had set it up in our laundry room and I used it primarily to play Putt-Putt Joins the Parade.  There was no such thing as an internet connection in my world, and that was okay.

By the time sixth grade rolled around, just five years later, I was on and AOL Instant Messenger. I remember having to beg my parents to let me get my own email address.  At the ripe old age of twelve years old, I was starting to develop a life on the internet, chatting with kids my age in different states on Neopets.

Scary as I’m sure it was to my parents, AIM chat rooms fascinated me.”A/S/L?” became a question I both asked and answered daily–the first time in my life I had given any sort of information about myself to a complete stranger.  It was fun to meet new people, of all ages and backgrounds.

In seventh grade, I experienced blogging for the first time, on  My middle school friends and I would blog about our days, post transcripts of funny AIM conversations and fill out those copy/paste surveys that would circulate the website.  Later, after Xanga was banned from school computers, LiveJournal took its place.

In 2004, my freshman year of high school, I made an account on (“A Place for Friends”) and it was all downhill from there.

What makes the online experience of Generation Y different from that of X or Z is that we essentially grew up at the same time as the internet and social media.  We know what life is without it, unlike the younger generation, but we also didn’t have to learn a complete new way of life, as many of the older generation has had to do in order to keep up with the times.

Given my history with social media, having experienced it in its infancy, I find it difficult to accept it as having any purpose outside of social entertainment.  The fact that Facebook and Twitter actually have validity in the professional world is something that I have yet to completely come to terms with.  And do not even get my started about workplace Facebook “background checks.”

Facebook to me was a safe-haven, from early 2006 till sometime in late 2009, when parents and relatives finally started to catch on.  Now, Facebook is the topic of every family gathering. I’ve seen too many friendship and family issues hashed out in the comments of cryptic status updates.  Too many times has my dad called me to get me to take down a status update that he found offensive.

Ironically enough, as I write this the South Park episode featuring Facebook comes on TV, reiterating how big of a part of our lives it has become and how seriously people take it on a social level.

While I understand HOW social media can operate as an extremely useful tool in the world of business and public relations, I have difficulty taking it seriously.  I have spent too much time being consumed with Facebook as a casual user.

Hello world!

17 Jan

I am a journalism major exploring the “other side,” the field of public relations. I am a former public relations major, having switched over to journalism for a reason. I am going to attempt this PR thing.


My journalist colors may show through, however.


– Krystal Elliott