Principles of Public Relations: A Reflection

This class has been one of the best in my college career. And, no,  I’m not just saying that for grading purposes. The reason I think this class was helpful was because of its application to the REAL WORLD.

Every class we discussed something relevant to what is going on today in PR. Whether it was talking about current crises and how they’ve been cleaned up (or not), or which Presidential candidate has the best overall website, it took us outside of the textbook and gave us tools to make us more marketable.

Our textbook!

I learned about social media campaigns and how social media is not just about keeping up (aka stalking) your friend’s lives, but rather looking at it as a business STRATEGY.

One of the best parts about this class was our personal branding project. I’ve known for a while that I needed to build my own website and craft my own brand, but I was always putting it on the back burner. This class made it a priority and look – if you’re reading this post, I will consider myself successful!

This class also required me to volunteer for a local event (see previous post). Volunteering is another thing I often think about but often do not feel I have a platform to give me the support and opportunity to make it all happen. This class also helped me look at the volunteering experience more critically and look at the process from a variety of perspectives.

I’ve found that most PR students do not wish to be labeled as journalists and vice versa, but I knew even before this class that I want to learn how to incorporate both worlds into my future career. I do not see a reason why we have to choose one side over the other and I intend on working for a company who finds merit in having skills from both arenas.

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The world of Twitter chats!

So what exactly is a Twitter chat, you ask? Well, they are events that allow Twitter users to talk to each other about a specific topic by using hashtags to easily organize questions and answers!

They sound more complicated then they actually are and they are a great networking tool! Think about it – you can network in your Snuggie if you wanted to!

I’ve observed quite a few twitter chats but have actively participated in two. My very first Twitter chat was back on September 27 and it was through PR 2.0 Chat. At first I was a bit intimidated because most of the chatters appeared to be professionals in the field.

I felt like I wouldn’t have much to contribute since I’m still an undergrad, but I thought I’d give it a whirl anyway. I was quite surprised when people actually started replying and re-tweeting what I had to say!

The account asks questions and you can reply to anyone you want! The first few questions were about stunts and content.

The first few questions involved publicity stunts and questioned whether or not they work and if they should be considered tactics or strategy. I replied that they only work if they are clever and if the public does not feel like the stunt is desperate.

I received a tweet questioning my response, to which I replied but received no tweet back.

However, I did manage to have quite the Twitter feed going when one of the questions asked what to do when a client’s goals aren’t being realized. I applied things I’ve learned in class to common sense and I found the dialogue fascinating.

The hosts even re-tweeted me on their page! Not bad for my first try, eh?

The second Twitter chat was on October 19 and was through the handle PRStudChat. Two moderators facilitate the chat and stimulate a conversation between students, educators and professionals.

I really enjoyed this one because it asked questions like: what is your favorite assignment? This was an easy one for me because my favorite assignment was a social media campaign (see my portfolio) that I worked on just recently.

And GUESS WHAT?! My tweet was published in an article the following day!

It was published on: http://www.examiner.com/

See the last tweet!

My Volunteer Experience

On Monday, September 26, 2011, I volunteered for the University Lecture Series (ULS) when they presented Common:  One Day It’ll All Make Sense. This is also the title of his book, which you can find here.

I knew I wanted to volunteer for ULS when the schedule was posted at the beginning of the semester. Once I learned Lara Logan (which is now canceled) would be a guest I did whatever I could to be a part of the group.

Once I arrived I was given a volunteer lanyard and a staffing schedule letting me know what role I would be in charge of.  It was storming on this night and Common was running late.

My role was event greeter. My job was to stand at the entrance of the Marshall Student Center and inform attendees on where to go. This event was open to the public and it was really interesting to see how an event of that magnitude was executed.

During the Q&A portion of Common’s lecture, a student gave him a drawing they had done of him. After the lecture I went to gather my stuff out of the room and while I was leaning down I saw the drawing. I said, “Wow, that is really cool.” However, I had no idea the person holding the drawing was none other than Common himself. Lol. I would do something like that.

ULS gathered the volunteers at the end and thanked us for our help and Common said he thought we did a wonderful job. They also presented Common with a scrapbook of student letters, which I thought was a great touch.

Here is an article from USF’s newspaper about the event!

It was great night overall! Photo courtesy of Greg Bryon: http://eight20eight.tumblr.com/

My favorite part of the lecture was the beginning when Common did a rap. This wasn’t just any rap – it was a rap specific to USF… GREATNESS right there!