Posts Tagged ‘student’

Building a WordPress Powered Website (Ch.4)

April 12, 2010

CMS is “an application that’s used to create, edit, manage, and publish content in an organized way” ( A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization).  Some CMS applications that WordPress offers are sidebars, sidebar widgets, and plug-ins.

Before installing applications, a person should plan their site. In other words, it is helpful if a blogger makes a list of what they want to have on their site.  Bloggers can search WordPress for available plugins giving them ideas of what to add to their blog site. Here’s a list of what most entrepreneurs, small businesses, authors, and publishers are looking for:

  • image galleries
  • Amazon widgets
  • streaming video
  • podcasts/videocasts
  • RSS feeds
  • social media newsrooms

Plugins “are what give WordPress tremendous power and flexibility” (A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization).  For example, if you’re looking for a plugin for a photo gallery, search WordPress for available photo gallery and decide what plugin meets your standards for your blog site. It is easy as that! Some plugins a blogger should start with are:

  • Askimet: (I use this) the purpose of this plug-in is to delete spam and works as a spam filter for blog comments
  • WordPress Stats: Tracks your blog statistics, your top posts and pages
  • All in one SEO pack: this optimizes your site for a search engine.

To see examples of WordPress powered websites, see websites such as:

  1. Social Media Power
  2. WordPress SEO Pack

Behind the Scenes of Social Media

March 30, 2010

    Being able to collaborate social media and traditional  public relation skills  is one task  that public relations students need to carry out and bring to the table since that is what public relation agencies, companies, and organizations are looking for today, according to Co-Founder and President of Palette Public Relations Inc., Martin Waxman. Throughout the interview ( an-interview-with-martin-waxman), Waxman discusses the importance of traditional PR, life in the PR agency, and the digital footprints that are taking place.

      Integrating social media strategies is the biggest challenge Waxman faces with his clients because clients have to know their target audience ( who they want to reach) and what type of community are they part of, which are all traditional public relation strategies. Understanding how to use social  media tools is just as important as the company has to understand their target audience. For example, just because your target audience is using Twitter, doesn’t mean the company has a deep understanding of their target audience and are able to use Twitter in one day effectively to reach their target audience. With various social media tools that are available, you (the client/company) have to understand what social media sites stand for, the purpose of the site, and most importantly,   how people are utilizing the social media tools and are communicating to each other.

      Not only do you have to knowledgeable of how to use various social media tools, but students and future public relation practitioners must  have   a general understanding of the major communication bloggers, who  the top communication people are, and stay current in what’s happening within the social media world.  For example, even though I follow @paullyoung, @Peter Shankman, @chrisbrogan (just to name a few), I must know what they are discussing, how they communicate/”tweet”, and what  type of professional work they do or have accomplished and not having them just as followers.  Also, after completing a social media monitoring report, I am now aware of what types of social monitoring sites are available. However, just knowing and having a general knowledge of those sites won’t effectively help me know how to use the sites. I have to explain which site to use and why, which has been an interview question.

     Three vital characteristics that his company were founded  upon are simplicity, energy, and integrity.  In other words, simplicity meaning to make it easier for both his clients and for his agency. He won’t give up on his clients until he or his clients get results, which defines energy.  Out of all these qualities that Waxman founded his agency upon, I believe that the last one “integrity’ is the most important quality, especially today.  According to Waxman, “integrity” is being up front and honest with your clients. Having integrity is essential in becoming more transparent in social media.  ” When we started agency, media relations at our core” said Waxman.

Foursquare: The New Social Network App

February 25, 2010

Foursquare is a social network game that allows users to meet up with their friends in a specific city to explore the city more than they have before. “Foursquare” users sign up using their cell phone number. Each time you “ping” or update your status you get points for bragging rights by going to a place that you haven’t been before such as a new restaurant or a theater play and actually meeting up with friends.  Foursquare now has apps for the Iphone, Droid, and soon for blackberry’s.  However, “Foursquare” is only in the big metropolitan cities such as London, Atlanta, New York City, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego, San Francisco along with other cities. So, not everyone can use this app. This trend is great and probably become more popular in the next couple months because it allows people to “advertise” new restaurants, shops, and the “hot spots” in local cities. In a way, “Foursquare” is a word-of-mouth app.  For example, if I’m in Atlanta asking my friends in that area the best restaurant to go to, they will be able to “ping” me using this app. Then, I update my response with a negative or positive review of the restaurant. As a result, companies can look at what people are saying and doing to find what are the “hot spots” in a certain city to either sell their product in the same geographic area or to connect with its customers. Also, restaurant companies  along with others can use “Foursquare” to research what people are saying and doing about their company or product. 

 On the other hand, “Foursquare” is a controversial network site because users specifically tell their friends where they are in that particular city, which that users’ friends can see.  I think it’s a great way to connect with friends in the same area because it gives someone something to do. However, it’s dangerous because like i said above, users are telling their friends where they are in real-time where  other “Foursquare'” users can see.  On the positive side, “Foursquare” is like Twitter. Twitter users tell their locations and “what they are doing” to their followers. I think it’s dangerous if you let it be and are not cautious of what you are saying throughout these social media networks. Like any social media network, “Foursquare” is going to have its pros and cons.  There are dangers in every social media network site. I believe that as long as participants are cautious in who they follow, who follows them, and who is able to view their profile.  My Facebook profile for example, has my e-mail address and not my mailing address or cell phone number. Also, I have certain privacy settings where people who want to be my friend has to ask me meaning that I have to approve and know who they are before I confirm we are “Facebook friends.”

  It will be interesting to see how popular “Foursquare” and other local services become among Internet users and to see what type of demographics will be using these devices. Another interest I have in watching “Foursquare” in its beginning stage and how companies will utilize “Foursquare” along with discovering if “Foursquare” will be able to implement Twitter and Facebook updates. What prediction do you have for “Foursquare” in the future?

Twitter Benefits: You Should Have Them Too

February 25, 2010

Barbara Nixon discusses why she requires her students to take part in utilizing Twitter  I didn’t even know what  Twitter was or how to use it “properly” and “professionally,” until Barbara Nixon came along to tell us why we should use Twitter.  I’ve been an active user on Twitter for almost a year now(@Leh1185 ) and I love it!

Why do I love Twitter and why is it  beneficial to students? Here’s my story and maybe this will persuade more Public Relation students to use Twitter other than class requirements. I began using Twitter without having any knowledge of how to present myself on Twitter, who to follow, and what do people “tweet” about. Then, I began to follow my technological savvy professor (@barbarnixon) who follows various professionals in all areas of public relations. This is where my REAL story began. I began to follow the “prestigious” Twitter users and responded to their tweets even though they didn’t then respond to mine (or even know I existed). But, the more I responded, the more responses I received from them.

For the first time I thought to myself  Wow they responded to me! Why me (out of all people)?! These professionals still respond to me because I am active on Twitter without being required to do so. I also ask professional questions and general advice to them. For example, my “tweet” the other day said this: to all PR Pros: When job searching, should you have ring backs?  Not only did I get many responses from professionals, but they told me “good ?.”  The more questions I asked the more they could see how interested I really am in learning about anything from professionalism to being a team player to preparing for the “real world work force.”

As a result of being transparent on Twitter, I developed “connections” with these professionals, which is why I love Twitter and other social media tools. Now, they follow me (wahoo!) and know that I exist and not just another Twitter user. In other words, I stand out by being genuine, professional, and having a sense of humor. Some of them I now talk to not only on Twitter, but on Facebook and even Skype, which lead to exchange numbers. I’m not the most outstanding student, but I take what I learn from my professors and implement them without being told. From there, I ask other professors about various assignments, topics, and general discussions.

Being active on Twitter shows others that you are willing to try new technological advances and are open-minded, which goes along with the old saying “you never know until you try.” For me trying out Twitter was all about asking myself “why is Nixon teaching us Twitter when we should be educated on PR writing?” Let me experiment with Twitter until I give myself an answer to this question. Once I gave Twitter a try, I expressed my gratitude to Nixon and told her this: now, I know why you want us to use social media.

Students: You need to be well-rounded in social media because this question will be asked in interviews: What do you do to stay current in social media trends? If you’re only on Facebook,  what is your response going to be when you are competing for a job if the only social media site you use is Facebook?  You have to stand out and being active on Twitter is one way to do that (along with your resumé of course)!

I didn’t know about Twitter and I still don’t have that much knowledge on utilizing Twitter, but I read various novels to educate myself in how to use Twitter more efficiently and what other apps that can be used for your “Twitter” profile that Twitter doesn’t offer. For example, it was required by Nixon for us to read a novel on our major. For that assignment, I chose “Whuffie Factor” (@missrogue )  and then over Christmas break, I read “Twitter Power.” These two novels taught me how to improve my social media skills. I recommend every student to read a novel because another interview question that’s being asked is “what books do you read?”


Communication is Powerful

February 20, 2010

Language is communication. Communication is engaging writing. Writing delivers strategic messages. The better the communication, the more effective written publications will be delivering strategic messages that others can simply understand.  I know this is an understatement, but it is so important to know: mean what you say, say what you mean. Communication is powerful because it influences and drives people to buy your product, brand, and influences the company’s reputation. Communication is a big deal becoming more prevalent in social media through blog posts, Facebook updates, and in 140 characters on Twitter that anyone can see. These communication methods can influence a company which is why improving writing skills is very essential. The more your writing skills improve, the more effective blog posts will be, the more followers you will have on Twitter because of what you say in 140 characters, the more you can drive  people via Facebook status updates.

News releases are the most powerful thing today. Public Relations practitioners need to understand that by having smart quotes and getting inside the heads for whom they’re writing for will make their news releases more effective. For example, one of the speakers  this session told us that one of his friends writing samples  was in the State of the Union Address speech. The point is that you never know how important news releases are and who may read them, so it is not something to take lightly and think “oh that’s just a news release, I can write that in five minutes before I leave today.” One way to improve your writing skills is to become a good reader. In other words, read novels that pertain to your field of study or something that is interesting to you and not reading “Seventeen magazines.” To be a good writer, you have to be a good reader.

 Half of communication is about being friendly and available, which is part of developing media relations.  Building media relations means that you being the “PR” person is a resource for the media (journalists) such as directing the media to other organizations or people who can help them out with a story.   It is also important for you to make others understand the importance of quick response because not everyone works the hours that “pr” practitioners work. With that being said, future  public relations professionals  must have writing skills, poise, a team-player,innovative, detail oriented,  confident, and have revenue forward thinking for the companies. In other words, bring something to the table that will benefit companies, agencies, or non-profit organizations in 5 or so years down the road.

 One of the speakers told us that working hard is not going to get you the job, talent is.  I disagree  because talent comes from working hard. I’m  becoming more well-rounded reading novels from “A Thousand Splendid Suns” to “Groundswell.” I have learned and still learning skills and various ways of thinking from these novels, which can improve my writing skills. Another example of being a good reader is being a good writer is to blog. Blogging is helping me develop tight, cohesive thoughts which is essential in writing.  My point is that my work ethic improves my public relations skills and hopefully shines through.   I didn’t realize how powerful writing is until I attended the PR Real World Conference.  Even though I have publications from newsletters to news releases  to three articles  in the Georgia Southern University newspaper, and blog posts,  I am still learning and improving not only my writing skills, but  my poise, confidence, and  being a team-player.

Social Media Impacting Higher Education

February 5, 2010

   The topic of this Ustream   is the “Future of  Social Media and how it impacts higher education now, today, and tomorrow’s work force.  The current social media tools is becoming a demand for distance learning. Social media is revolutionary and collaborating the current tools colleges use.There is a 70% increase in online student enrollment, which  means 1 in 4 students are taking online classes. 85% of college students are on Facebook, which makes sense to utilize social media tools  for academic purposes.

There are 6 million non-traditional students with 25% of them being over thirty. Half of them will get their degree in 4-6 years or drop out because there is that lack of engagement. What does this mean? It means that there are students that learn in different ways and social media can be used to reach every student’s learning ability and give a platform to further their employment skills. People are returning to further their education due to the economy today. Therefore, open content allows these students to understand their classroom assignment using social media tools more than they would in the classroom.

 This points out a real issue on lack of engagement, which is why I decided to go to Middle Georgia College before transferring to a university. In a university, typically there are 200-300 students enrolled in one class and participation is 30% of your grade. How does that impact  your learning? If you don’t participate, you’re out of luck. With Facebook such as, every student can receive their participation points and interact with a class discussion or topic using a Facebook discussion board. For example, a professor can bookmark or create tags if they’re willing on a Facebook page  instead of the traditional way of posting study guides, notes, on the Blackboard learning system. However, playing a devil’s advocate, faculty have to learn not only how to use it, but how to” integrate grading using these other tools”, said Dr.Kathy King.

Faculty have to learn how to use blogs, skype, twitter,and podcasts for academic purposes. This transformation and trend allows students to go beyond the classroom to communicate in the “real world.” For example, I am very impressed with all of my professors at Georgia Southern University, but there’s one who I didn’t understand her method of madness if you will. Her name (all of you are familiar with I’m sure) is Barbara Nixon. Why do we have to use Twitter in our PR Writing class?, why do I have to blog when we have to learn how to write press releases and other traditional public relations writing?, why use PR Open Mic? and my last question was “how in the world am I going to keep up with all these various social media websites along with being required to have a LinkedIn account for her Practicum class?

Barbara B. Nixon is a prime example of how social media impacts higher education. She required us to do all of this so that we can interact with other professionals in our field, to learn how social media is impacting the way public relations is transitioning, and how companies are using these websites for interviews and background research on people. I wouldn’t have learned what I know now if she didn’t do this, which is why I believe this topic is very interesting and needs to be discussed. I use Twitter to interact with my professors and to ask them questions if need be because it’s in real-time and they can “retweet” my questions to their followers (who are other professors) to answer my questions more effectively. Blogging is showing me how to write professionally and interact with other college students around the globe. I use PROpen Mic for my internship and job search and to interact with other colleagues in my field of study who are in my shoes.  If it wasn’t for social media overlapping the present college tools like the blackboard system, I would be lost.

With all of this being said,  here are some questions to think about:

  • how will college tuition be affected with the adoption of using social media tools
  •  are colleges going to transition to using E-books?
  • if so, what does that mean for textbook companies such as McGrawHill?

Public Relations: “Paying it Forward”

February 2, 2010

Tonight I talked with my mom from relationships to being narcistic in your twenties.  Without realizing it, I am learning how to behave in society as an adult and that it’s okay to be self oriented during this stage of my life.   Also, I’m experiencing the famous quote “paying it forward” as well. As I go to my internship at CASA Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Inc, and attend classes, I have “family” away from home that have helped me out in various ways because they know what it’s like to be a broke college student. I established this relationship by doing charitable activities throughout the community, which is part of societal behavior as an adult.  I surround myself with people who value what I do for them and people who appreciate me. 

All of us have heard “paying it forward.” To be honest, I didn’t know what it really meant until my mother made me understand it tonight. The family that I mentioned above is what “paying it forward” is all about. It’s a circle that never ends.  For example, I go above and beyond (which is what you should do) what is expected of me at my internship. As a result, my hard work is respected, appreciated, and most of all exceeds the expectations of the organization.

Therefore,  I appreciate small things that are done for me and having older people who respect me on  a professional and personal level.   These are  life lessons that are teaching me that I should also help out a person in need (large or small) since it has been done for me, which is “paying it forward.” and relates to how public relations practitioners should behave regardless if you’re in college or establishing your career.

So, how does this relate to public relations? Twitter is a prime example of paying it forward. Twitter users combine their knowledge to help someone else, which in turn set up a “relationship” to help each other. Not only is Twitter an example, but this “paying forward” is explained through various novels I have read on social media such as “The Whuffie Factor,”  “Twitter Power,” and  “Groundswell,” (which I’m reading now). All of these novels explain it in a different way of course, but  what the main point is helping someone out throughout the social media and society.  

Even though I’m a college student, I have worked in groups, read novels, and putting myself into the community to help out any organization and person in need. I’m not trying to brag, but my point is that these tools and requirements have taught me how to uphold myself in society. Thus, public relations  isn’t just about helping, but it’s a characteristic that exemplifies how one should behave in society as an adult at this stage of their life. Think about it, take the two words apart- public and relations. Then, tell me the  social mannerisms expected of a public relations practitioner.

Active Blogging

January 22, 2010

Through my recent blogging, I have noticed that I haven’t received comments or ratings. First, I thought I’m a “beginner blogger.” However, the more I blog, my statistics  stay the same even though I publish my blog posts on Twitter. Reading novels such as “The Whuffie Factor” and “Twitter Power” have made me realize that it doesn’t matter what you blog about or how much you blog.

 What matters to increase your blog posts is to comment on other people’s blogs and rate them.  By doing this, not only will people begin to give you feedback, but also increase your popularity on various social media websites. The result is rewarding because you make connections with people who you never thought you would. So commenting on other people’s blogging increases your popularity on social networking websites, which will result in connecting with other people. It is important to see what other people are saying on various topics, not just what you’re interested in. For example, even though I’m interested in the public relations field,  I still read other people’s blogs that discuss fitness, politics,  businesses, etc. Not only does this give you ideas to blog about, but it also gives you awareness on what people are talking about, similar to “trending topics.”

My lesson that I have learned is to comment on other blogs and end my blogs with questions so that people can comment and discuss your blog topic.  What is your advice on commenting other blogs?

Haiti Media Coverage: Competition or Awareness

January 22, 2010

The destruction of  Haiti due to the earthquake  is speechless.  When this happened, I was watching various news networks to get updated stories about the earthquake. With that being said, I don’t know if the media is exploiting the Haiti Earthquake by reporting personal stories or if they are delivering personal stories to raise awareness on how severe this is.  For example, is Anderson Cooper in Haiti reporting new facts to increase ratings and compete with other news networks or is he there for our sake to increase our awareness by using personal stories?  Is it necessary to know personal stories of various Haitian people and use graphic pictures for competition and to capture the American audience to watch a specific news program or read a specific newspaper? In my opinion, I think all the news programs are doing both competing with one another to increase their ratings and to persuade Americans to help out in any way possible. On the positive side, relief for Haiti has been technology friendly. For example, the International Red Cross is using text messaging for people to give $10 and will show up on people’s cell phone bill. Haiti is receiving faster, quicker relief due to people having more access to social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging. As an active member of Facebook and Twitter, I have seen various tweets and status updates on both social media sites for people to help in other ways.  This strategy is genius because we didn’t take advantage of the technology for Hurricane Katrina, which exemplifies how technology has become more advanced within a couple of years.

Public Relations in Fight Against HIV/Aids

December 1, 2009

Throughout the decade, I have come across many non-profit organizations, advertisements, marketing strategies, and campaigns helping to raise money and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The best marketing strategy that stands out is when GAP went “red” by selling shirts throughout their stores to raise money for HIV/AIDS.
At the time, I didn’t realize how many people are living with AIDS, have died, and how common this epidemic has become on a global perspective. In the U.S. more than 1 million people are HIV positive. In South Africa, over 250,000 people have died from AIDS and 5.2 million people are living with AIDs in 2008 according to According to the New York Times article “South Africa to Expand to Combat Aids, South Africa has more people infected with AIDS in contrast to any other country. 35,000 babies died last year and 330,000 people died from lack of treatment under Mr.Mbeki’s governement according to Harvard researchers. As a result, Pres. Zuma will be treating pregnant women and babies who are HIV positive. As a result, more people with AIDS will be living fuller lives.
On an international public relations standpoint, a public relations practitioner has to understand cultural differences, political and economic forces along with societal forces that influences the South African culture. The primary language is English along with 11 other official languages. A practitioner’s job is to work as external or internal public relations officers. An external agent would be consultants or advisors to a company where as in internal public relations officer performs multiple functions such as organizing, media relations, and production of media messages. In relation to the HIV/AIDS issue in South Africa, it is important for one to understand the background history and how a country operates as a whole. Public Relations has had a major impact in the country’s operations, especially with HIV/AIDS. For example, due to the many struggles of political and social conflict in South Africa, public relations has been a communication tool to help build trust among the various cultures within the region. According to Skinner and Von Essen (1991) “public relations has emerged in South Africa today as a sophisticated, multi faceted discipline able to help forge effective two-way communication between an organization and its various publics.”