Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

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September 7, 2012

Social media is just the beginning: Next chapter involves interconnected emerging platforms across platforms, channels, and devices

The thing that we find when it comes to technology is the fact it evolves and changes over time.  Each medium has their own ecosystem where you see a peak of buzz and conversations emerging across the various communities and professions.  Professionals gather to discuss, share, comment, and explore varius

We are coming to the time where social will continue to have a strong presence for sure in businesses and communication professions, but we have to as scholars and practitioners look at the overarching phenomenon overseeing influence and power of social media.  What is this overarching concept?  It is about digital storytelling through universal platforms that are interconnected.

Brian Solis, who I think has clearly established himself as one of the leading professionals and thought leaders in the industry, had an interesting comment on Facebook this afternoon to one of his friends.  It was related to a video discussing how Sephora was dedicating its time and energy with its digital shopping strategies.  Several people commented on his video and said that he was the person they went to for information about social media.  What I found interesting was how Brian responded and said that he would like to be known as the go-to guy for “overall experiences.”  This concept raises the bar from social media to include all elements that are digital across platforms and devices.

This comment got me thinking – is there an end to social media?  Are we  already off to the next chapter in the digital media story?  The answer is no – not exactly.  What we are seeing is a phenomenon that has captured the attention globally and allows people to connect and form relationships instantaneous that have never been possible.  However, like all previous mediums before, communication channels and mediums change and evolve.  The key thing to note here is that we are seeing these changes happen much faster and responding to these immediately in a strategic and innovative way for your profession is the name of the game.

I made a comment to this discussion and I do agree with Brian on this point – social media is great and one piece of the converged media puzzle that will continue to evolve and become seamlessly integrated across various mediums, platforms, and devices.  This is where the technology is going for public relations professionals, so we always have to keep this in mind as we research in social media, practice and share insights related to the evolving platform with clients, and point out these changes and developments with our students.

Converged Media Model from Altimeter Group (2012)

Social media is being classified as being part of converged media (Altimeter Group), and there are some that have looked at this and say that it is nothing new except to break down silos.  However, I think we are experiencing some differences because we have to communicate, listen, monitor, and act seamlessly and consistently across all of these various platforms in real-time and make sure we cross-reference each platform extension and medium across devices (computer, tablet, smartphone, and wearable devices looking forward towards the future). Here are some pretty amazing stats to take note of when it comes to multi-device screen usage and power this brings to the table for PR professionals.

In addition, content marketing, social marketing strategies, and emerging technologies involving mobile and other devices will be explored as this continues to evolve. We are definitely moving closer to an era where we are going to be listening, monitoring, and engaging with audiences through tools and platforms like what we saw in the Tom Cruise movie “Minority Report.”

In summary, this discussion is happening among the key influencers and thought leaders in the area of new media specializations within strategic communications and public relations, and professors need to be 1) aware of these conversations; 2) take notes on some of the implications these have for research, teaching, and mentoring and 3) becoming part of the community to study the impact of converged media within the profession in the academic community.  I think it is great we have professionals like Brian Solis who is generously sharing his insights and comments with others in the community.  Thank you Brian.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,



August 10, 2012

readings in social media for 10 august 2012 #aejmc12

AEJMC is celebrating 100 years and our panel on ‘social connectivity’ was designated one of the ‘highlights!’ We discussed social media, on-line education and we provided useful resources for both the practitioner and the academic. I was honored that we were so recognized!

Although my late Uncle Leroy (Sievers) was a journalist’s journalist, he saw the value of the new media in reaching a broader audience and in different ways. While executive producer at Nightline he wrote a widely read blog and he continued this for NPR writing daily for three years on his brave battle with cancer. If he was starting his career today, I know he would be right here with us!

Here is what I am reading today:

“London 2012 has been dubbed the first Social Media Games with the use of Twitter and Facebook exploding since the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and allowing athletes to chat directly with their fans for the first time.

It has also been a testing ground for athletes, managers and sponsors to find out what does and does not work on social media, with two athletes expelled for racist tweets and a teenager arrested for abusing British diver Tom Daley.”

“Facebook, which generates the most traffic referrals among social networks, had no trouble getting customers to view products on other sites, but nearly half of those visitors would leave the site without visiting another page. The percent of customers who did buy something when they stayed? Less than half a percent.

By contrast, Google had a conversion rate (the measurement of actual sales from traffic) of 2.44 percent, and e-mail has a rate of 4.25 percent.”

“How do you build buzz in social media? What makes social media real-life marketing events successful? It is not one thing in particular, but many things: your vision, the people you involve, and the strategies you employ. Be action-oriented and true to the principles that make social media the dynamic, global platform that it is.”

“#NBCFail: Network’s Olympic disaster earns global social media mockery; NBC exec Schiller disses ‘whining’”

June 15, 2012

Creating a “social media front page” w/ Rebel Mouse: Great opportunity for PR pros & researchers

Social media professionals in PR have to stay up with the latest trends and technologies.  It is almost a full-time job, but what makes it great is the fact that it is exciting and constantly evolving. One of the things we are seeing in social media is the focus of personalized content – whether it is looking at applications on smartphones and tablets or creating/curating the content you would like to read or share with your virtual communities.  The businesses and professionals that take advantage of this will be ahead of the game.

I just created my own social media front page using the new site Rebel Mouse.  Rebel Mouse is similar to what Paper.li has done with allowing users to create their own personalized magazine or paper.  What Rebel Mouse has done is allowing not only the possibility of creating content, but also tailoring the users who you would want to share on your front page, what hashtags to follow, AND presents it in a visual manner similar to what you see on Pinterest.

What also is great is the fact that Rebel Mouse allows the user not only to effective engage with their followers, but they can help build their influence by mixing and balancing the use of textual information with videos and pictures.  It does help build individuals (and agencies or brands) to establish their influence as being a primary source of information for others, which will be interesting to track to see who are currently the top users and brands with a social media front page.  I can see a future blog post / discussion on this for sure. :)

Not to mention the impact this will have on research.  As mentioned earlier, Rebel Mouse allows you to follow certain hashtags, so if you want to focus on certain conversations people are following in a mixed approach (update + video/link), you are able to see this in a centralized location.  In addition, you are able to track what others are saying in a more organized and professional format.

If you have a chance, definitely check out Rebel Mouse – it is a great site and very user friendly.  Plus, it is a great place to see organized and personalized content in a central location. This is definitely useful for both practitioners, professionals, and students in PR.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,


April 12, 2012

Returning to Influence: Emerging trends, insights, and practices shared by Mark Schaefer with WVU

I had a chance to listen to Mark  yesterday virtually through a guest speaker presentation sponsored by the IMC program at West Virginia University on the issue of influence and his new book titled “Return to Influence.”  Great presentation and information – definitely was taking notes as I was listening to the presentation.  I first heard Mark speak at the first Social Slam event held in Knoxville, TN (a great event to go to and learn from experts about latest trends and issues in social media) just before I graduated with my PhD from the University of Tennessee.  Mark is definitely a great speaker with a very resourceful blog (definitely one I share with my students and on the reading list for my Social Media class at the University of Louisville for Spring 2013) and very charismatic about discussing social media and how it is integrated strategically into marketing and public relations practices.

Mark Schaefer's latest book "Return on Influence" - available on Amazon!

 As Mark mentioned during his presentation, influence is definitely a very hot topic both marketing and public relations circles.  He discussed how there were certain individuals who have high Klout scores and are begin reached out to by major brands (ex. Audi, Disney, etc) to experience using their products and services.  I also found out that if you had a Klout score about 50, you were in the 95% of influencers.  So, I found out that my score is actually 53, and my Klout style is that of a specialist (where I focus on just a few areas to discuss across social media platforms). Fabulous! :) Mark also shared his insights about the purpose and power that comes with blogging, which is great to hear since this is one of the points I communicate with all of my students in PR and in Strategic Communications.  A great point Mark made was that content was what gives power to the user and builds their influence in social media – and blogging is a great tool to get opinions, thoughts, and perspectives out in the digital sphere for others to react to.

One of the things that I think Mark definitely touched on is the growing need to quantify what it means to be influential.  What do each of these scores truly mean, and how can we effectively measure influence to fully understand what it means?  This got me thinking – and I did ask Mark about the question if influence is universal.  Sure, there are people that have a strong presence across all social media platforms (one of the characteristics that I looked at in my SMI study a few years ago), but there are others that are influential on one particular social media platform.  In addition, influence is different across cultures.  What is influential here in the States is going to be different from South Africa to China to even Brazil.  Not only do we need to explore possibilities of how to measure influence more effectively, but we have to also look at these other variables and how they influence a person’s perception of influence.

Another point I would have liked to have asked Mark is the issue of  mentoring.  There are many influencers who have a strong following from thousands to even millions on Twitter and other social media platforms.  But, how do you effectively mentor and help others for the long term with social media?  When I think of influence, I think another component to look at is paying forward and help building the next generation of influencers and professionals in the field.  What are some best practices for using influence for mentoring?

These are just a few questions I had – I hope to continue this discussion with other professionals in the field.  Influence is a topic that will continue to be discussed in both professional and academic circles. I really do appreciate Mark taking the time to share his insights with us on this very important topic and I will make sure to pick up his new book /download the ebook as soon as possible.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,



April 8, 2012

Fabulous Five Blog Post Series: Top Social Connectors & Curators in Academia

In a few months, I will be participating along with several other professionals and professors in PR in a panel at the upcoming AEJMC Conference on the topic of scholars as social connectors.  This has been an interest of mine for the last couple of years, and we are approaching this from various angles from the professional world to academia, and also from a program director’s point of view and even a graduate student.  As I have been preparing my part of the panel presentation, this got me thinking – who would be some of the top five professors that embody this characteristic?

There were five that came to mind, which will be the first my new blog category called “Fabulous Five.” So, here is the first Fabulous Five ranking I have for my blog for the top five professors who are social connectors and curators:

  • Serena Carpenter (Arizona State University):  Dr. Carpenter teaches a variety of classes at ASU, including social media and online journalism.  Serena’s ideas and suggestions for assignments on her website are very creative and detailed – a great resource to have for professors who are interested in learning from the best in how to teach social media in their programs.
  • Mark Schaefer (Rutgers University):  Mark is one of the leading professionals in social media with his influential blog as well as his innovative commentary he shares not only with professionals, but with students as well.  He is very active in the academic community with guest lectures (online and in person) as well as being a featured speaker at academic and program conferences.  I recommend Mark’s blog as a must read for professors and students to have in social media classes.
  • Corinne Weisgerber (St. Edwards University): Corinne is not only a great innovator of the latest technology in the classroom, but her graphic design skills are fabulous!  If you have a chance to check out her presentations she has uploaded on to Slideshare, they are truly amazing.  Great ideas for how to incorporate social media into the classroom as well as being willing to share her expertise in some of the growing trends occurring in the emerging technology field and the implications this has in the classroom.  Here is her website for her social media class at St. Edwards University.
  • Robert French (Auburn University):  I first met Robert via his InfoOpinions blog back in 2006 when I first started my own blog after I finished my track and field eligibility at USC.  Robert really established the online PR community where he has connected students with professors and professionals in a centralized location on PROpenMic.  This is such a great resource for students to get hands on experience using social media technology as well as making new connections.
  • Marcus Messner (Virginia Commonwealth University): Marcus is a professor at VCU who is very active in social media (he has created a group on Facebook titled Social Media Professor – definitely good to join!)  Marcus is very active in sharing updates and information to others not only what he is doing with his class at VCU (he has been using iPads for his journalism classes, which is very cool!) He is very generous in sharing what he is doing in his classes and in research involving social media.

In summary, what you see with all of these professionals and professors is that they share some of the same characteristics.  They are all very active online and know the latest trends and issues involving new emerging technologies and how they impact their respective fields (ex. journalism, PR, business and marketing, etc).  Also, they are willing to share their knowledge with their communities to help others who want to teach social media in their programs as well as brining forth a platform for discussion on research.  Lastly, they are forming their own communities and building networks with other professionals in the field.  These five professors do embody the true form of a social connector in academia.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,







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