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Let’s talk about Pinterest.

16 Feb

In the ever-changing online world, there always seems to be a new craze that everyone is jumping for. The current flavor of the month? Pinterest. Everyone is talking about it. As it turns out, Pinterest is the fastest growing website, ever.

I will admit that even I have recently become addicted to the website, which is unusual for me-I try to abstain from getting myself involved with every new social network and internet trend.

However, I am still trying to figure out it’s professional merit in the fields that use social media the most: PR and journalism.  A quick search on the site for “journalism” pulls up some interesting, humorous images and a few book links.  At a quick glance, nothing catches my attention as particularly helpful or useful on a local level–it’s nothing you can really use to find sources or get your work out there, as there are no local “networks” to connect to.

Journalism Warning Labels- these come up multiple times in the "journalism" search

A search for “public relations” seems to yield a little more useful results.  There are a lot of book recommendations and interesting infographics pertaining to PR and social media that have a lot of “quick and dirty” sort of information.  It links to books, informational sites about what PR actually is and successful PR agencies.  It also brings up Edward Bernays and Ivy Lee near the top of the page of pins–the fathers of PR.  These alone would provide fledgling PR students with some must-have information about their field.

Maybe it’s because Pinterest is just getting started that it doesn’t seem to yield many professional-field results.  It’s core user base seems to mostly be crafters, home decorators and foodies.  It is quite a fantastic place if you’re looking for cute DIY organizing ideas or great recipes.

Only time will tell if Pinterest will grow to be as useful as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIN in the professional world.  Facebook did not start out with any professional merit… It had to earn it.

One thing is for certain: Pinterest is something to keep a close watch on.

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Blog Evaluation

9 Feb

The blog I chose to evaluate is called PR In Your Pajamas: Practical Publicity for Entrepreneurs.  I found it on an online list of the top 100 PR blogs.

PR In Your Pajamas was created as a DIY public relations blog, to help small businesses and people interested in doing their own PR.  It was created by Elena Verlee, and entrepreneur and founder of the PR agency Cross Border Communications.  She boasts 20 years of “brand building experience” and has worked with both start-up and large scale businesses.

The blog gets updated regularly, twice in the last week, and contains a lot of information about using social media for public relations.  It is easy to read and navigate, perfect for looking up quick tips.  It also has a “start here” page, which has a nice list of quick links to important posts, explaining what PR is and how to use it effectively–good for learning new information or being refreshed if you’ve been out of the game for a while.

In addition to information geared solely to PR, Verlee uses the blog occasionally for posting information relevant to the success of ALL endeavors.  One of her recent posts featured a book titled Triple Your Time Today:  10 Proven Time Management Strategies to Help you Create and Save More Time! The post talked about how maximizing our sleep can ensure a more productive workday, contributing to the success of your business.

The author makes herself easy to reach by providing a contact page including a phone number and links to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

This blog provides useful information within the content of the posts as well as through links provided within the template.  There is a list of resources on the side of the page which includes information on coaching, links to PR case studies, PR resources, time management and a slew of other helpful links.

While I think this blog is effective, it seems that there are already so many out there like it.  I haven’t seen anything new and different that this blog provides that I couldn’t get anywhere else.  It lacks the enthusiasm required to really put this blog on the map–it ranked 49/100.  One of the elements of a successful blog that Brian Solis mentions in his book, Engage!, is that that it fills a void or solves a problem.  Unfortunately, I do not think this blog really does that.  The blog contains useful information, yes, but it is nothing that can’t be found anywhere else.

Overall, I think this blog’s ranking (49/100) is suitable.  It’s a decent blog with good, easy to find information but it does not bring anything new to the table.  It would be something I could keep in mind if I needed a quick, crash-course on PR but as a whole, there isn’t a whole lot to keep me engaged and checking back regularly

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 Neopets.com 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 Xanga.com.  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 MySpace.com (“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.