We have seen a growing trend in 2012 as people shifting the focus on the voice of authority when it comes to media. Meaning, we are seeing more people using various social media platforms not just to connect and network with others, but use these platforms to be their voice that is directly targeted to their followers, instead of relying on the media to be the gatekeeper in this equation.
Athletes have been a particular audience who has used social media to communicate directly with their fans – in good times and in challenging times as well. Individual professionals in public relations are establishing themselves as well on these networks to build their influence and expand their expertise in a particular area. Look at how some of the leading professionals like Brian Solis, Mark Schaefer, Jason Falls, and others are building their communities and sharing their voice across multiple platforms?
So, the question arises – can professors also become the media as well? Of course – in fact, I think this is going to be a growing expectation for those of us who are researching, teaching, and consulting in emerging media. How can professors become the media exactly? Here are a few tips I have regarding this:
- Always have a mindset of being a student: We have to continue learning and growing our toolkit and library of knowledge when it comes to emerging media because it is always changing and evolving.
- Establish your personality online and have a presence: I always tell my students they need to find their own personality and voice online. So many times we see students in the classroom try to write a blog to fit a “cookie-cutter” frame for their blog. My advice is to write what you are passionate about and showcase your personality at the same time. Be interactive and share your perspective while noting what you can offer to the community that no one else has done yet.
- Know the tool that would be most helpful for communicating your voice in various circles: This means, you have to look at what platform and tool you can use for various communities. For example, I am using Twitter for communicating a lot with my friends online who are active on social media, sports, and crisis communications – as well as for teaching purposes as well. Facebook has been my primary platform for networking along with LinkedIn, but I have used Instagram for visual storytelling purposes and travel experiences are showcased on Ptch. However, the ultimate hub for me with all of these platforms is of course my blog and website. You have to think about what works best for you and your brand when it comes to your online presence and voice.
- Be active and consistent online with your interactions and conversations: You want to make sure you have a presence on a regular basis on the platforms you have established. Some of these are going to require more frequency than others, but this is something you have to think about and consider. If people are relying for you for content whether it is for research, teaching, or consulting – you have to be aware of this.
- Share a variety of information that is useful and relevant to your online persona and voice: Whether it is interesting trends or relevant articles in the field or even real-time updates from class / conferences / or momentous events, you should try to share these with your communities when they are relevant.
- Lastly, the best spokesperson for you is yourself: Whether you are reporting great and exciting news or addressing even a crisis situation – the best person who can represent you is yourself. You need to take ownership of your voice and address your various audiences online in a honest, transparent, and authentic manner.
In summary, we are seeing the trend in the workplace and in other industries of professionals bypassing the traditional media gatekeepers by establishing their own network to communicate directly with their audiences. This is going to be something professors and fellow researchers to take note of and be aware of for themselves. If we are telling our students of these trends, one way we can establish credibility in this regard is to practice what we preach and follow through with these same practices as well.
Hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas Eve and Merry Christmas!!
One of the skills we are seeing being featured across the board for public relations professionals is the area of photo and video editing. Visuals can really enhance the overall story and provide a window into what people are experiencing and how they see the world. This is one of the reasons why Instagram has been very successful in this way for both individuals as well as brands.
One of the challenges we are seeing with this is the fact that either 1) photo editing software programs are pretty expensive; 2) the time it takes to get every light and edit in a photo is time consuming; and 3) classes offered are not always available. Personally, I have always loved photography – taking pictures spontaneous of friends at track and field meets, landscape of cool locations around the world, and even fabulous meals. What can I say – I come from a long line of foodies in my family!
There are of course many different photo editing and storytelling apps out there for users to use – but which ones are good for PR professionals and students to use? There are a few that I think are really great and can enhance your images to be effective in receiving attention and stimulate conversations:
A photo taken with FilterMania2 of the University of Louisville. Go Cards!
- Camera+: This probably one of the must downloaded apps you have to use – great app for various editing and lighting for your photos.
- FilterMania 2: Amazing new app I discovered that is a free app (yes, I did say free!) on iTunes and it really allows you to provide some great filters to your photos. There are other filters you can download in the process as well that can include pictures of well known landmarks to incorporate into your own picture. Pretty neat if I say so myself!
- Marblecam: This app transforms your picture by presenting the image either looking at a glass marble or micro lens.
- PhotoWonder: This app allows you to not only provide some filters to your photos, but also allows you to even do a little retouching as well if needed. You can edit, crop, and create collages of some of your photos to share with others
- Pitch: This app is pretty fabulous – it allows you to create a short video (60 seconds at most) with photos and videos to share your story and experiences. Here are some of the ptchs I have done so far!
- Honorable Mentions: Pixlomatic and Camera! are both pretty good apps as well – and they are actually free also on iTunes.
In summary, mobile apps are allowing people to be able to edit and transform their pictures into something much more in a very easy and seamless way. What I find amazing is the fact that most of these apps are free and can produce some great results. All of the apps allow you to either save the photo or share them via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Hope you all are having a fabulous day!
Managing your online reputation is a full-time job. It takes patience, dedication, commitment, and a forward-looking perspective on how you would like to be presented in the particular profession and community you are in. Online reputation has been a focus of conversation among business, marketing, and public relations professionals – both in research and in practice. These same discussions are also happening in the classroom as a reminder to future PR students on how to present themselves professionally in their first internship or position.
However, are you aware of what is being said about you online, and if so – what are the sources you use yourself in managing your reputation? These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself, because employers are using not only these sites, but other professional services as well. For example, Social Intelligence is a service in which employers can search for information on a particular candidate for the last seven years. So, this includes all forum posts, discussion updates and comments, videos and pictures, and any commentary available online through social media. So, in other words, the background checks are evolving into more like forensic social media background checks. Here is an interesting segment that appeared on Fox News in which discusses the role of privacy through the Internet and social media with the heads of Reputation.com and Social Intelligence:
So, how can you proactively manage your reputation with your various social media profiles and handles? Here are a few ideas and strategies you might want to consider:
- Be consistent across platforms: Be aware that while you may have different audiences on these platforms, your reputation and how you present yourself should stay the same. Be engaging, enthusiastic, and aware that what you post online stays online – and will be viewed and shared with others.
- Think before you post: Take a moment and think about how this update, post, commentary, or response may be viewed by others, and determine if this would be something that would hinder or damage your reputation. A reputation takes years to establish, but only one mistake to ruin it.
- Set metrics for measurement: Like companies and brands engaged in reputation management, you are your own personal brand, so the same principles and metrics apply to you as well. It is key to be aware of what others are saying about you based on mentions, impressions, sentiment analysis, and overall presentation on where this information is being presented.
- Take ownership of your domain name, blog name, and social media profiles: While it may be at times hard to manage all of these profiles, it is key to make sure that you take ownership of these names – or else someone else will. As soon as a new social media platform comes along – make sure you get on board with this.
- Have one set of manners, one reputation: The thing about reputation management is if you have one set of manners and you are consistent with positive behavior and actions – you will be fine. It is when you have two separate lives or reputations that this can raise some issues and challenges.
- Lead by example when it comes to online reputation management: If you want your co-workers, friends, colleagues, or others around you to be proactive in managing their online reputation – you can take the lead and set an example. Sharing your experiences and insights with what you have done with others not only helps you establish yourself as a good resource on the topic, but you are able to build relationships as well. It is one thing to read about online reputation management, but it is another to see one person show how to do it as a real-life example.
Overall, reputation management across various digital platforms is going to be the way of life. We have to be aware of what is being said about us in various communities and sites online – and recognize both the opportunities and challenges this raises for young and established professionals in public relations.
Hope you all are having a wonderful day!
Staying ahead of the curve has become very competitive and challenging for many businesses and professionals in the 21st century. The current status of the economy has created an environment where everyone is looking to see how to establish themselves as a leader and separating themselves from everyone else.
Whether it is pitching to a client for an account or interviewing for potential jobs, understanding where you stand in terms of your own creativity, strategic nature, and understanding of your current status is key. In other words, we all have to be aware of where we stand in our own personal “S Curve.”
S curve image from Indiana University
So, what exactly is a “S curve?” I had the opportunity to chat with and hear Doug Lipp give his keynote speech at the Colorado Ski Country annual meeting, and this was one of the points that he communicated regarding his experience working with Walt Disney. It was a very interesting and relevant presentation with some great key summary points to take away from – thanks Doug!
There are times where professionals and businesses have to be constantly working on managing their reputation, products and services, and creatively in order to maintain their innovation and presence in the field. There are many companies that have really worked hard over time to be the best of the best in the business – Under Armour and Apple are two that come to mind for me.
However, when you are looking at universities – there are examples here as well. USC has been one of the leaders in setting the standard for public relations education and practice both in the classroom and providing students with real-world experiences in working with leading PR firms and giving graduate students the opportunity to do an internship in PR abroad. The IMC program at WVU just announced a partnership with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), which is an indicator of the trend to focus on Integrated Marketing Communications for PR professionals in the future.
This got me thinking – what would be some of the recommendations I would give for PR professionals (and upcoming PhD students) in maintaining their relevance and creativity, while being marketable in this tough economy? Here are a few suggestions that come to mind that I would like to share with you all:
- Think 360 degrees: Professors today have to be strong in research, teaching, service, and in the professional field. We have to wear many hats and be able to work across areas in our profession.
- Be a student for life: Explore what other disciplines are doing, branch out to other researchers for ideas and collaborations. Take every opportunity to learn and grow as a professional in the field.
- Don’t be afraid of doing something unique: and going against the curve: While it is key to make sure that you fulfill the traditional expectations of what it means to be a professor or PhD student, you have to be willing to explore other possibilities that are relevant to what you are interested in. Whether it is online teaching or having a blog to name a few – it really all depends on how you see your overall reputation.
- Have your own voice: While it is key to have a mentor or individuals in which you have done work with (professionally or with research) – you will eventually have to be on your own. Collaborations are great – but you are also expected to work independently as well.
- Be a forward thinker: Make sure to take breaks in your research and teaching opportunities to do something fun – whether it is working out or traveling or hanging out with friends. Creativity comes in many forms, and some of the best ideas come from taking these mini breaks. Keeping up with the latest technology on a daily basis is absolutely key as well – look at what is coming out and look at its potential from a critical standpoint.
- Work hard, win easy – train yourself like you are in the Olympics: The day of getting tagged on articles or projects without putting an ounce of work are over. Working hard on multiple projects is the way of the future – whether it is in research or teaching or consulting – you have to work hard consistently and keep your eyes on the prize. Doing a bit each day helps – and having the focus, determination, and commitment of an Olympic athlete is absolutely necessary in today’s economy.
- Shift the professor image paradigm: One thing that will get you recognized is if you go against a traditional image or perception of your role slightly. There are of course certain images of what constitutes as a professor – but I say that in order to be relevant and innovative in the field, you do have to be active in activities and projects that does separate yourself from the rest of the crowd. Get active in professional conferences and organizations in specific industries as well as in other disciplines.
Hope you all are having a great day!
Reverse-Engineering Leadership: Deconstructing Perceptions of Personality in Generals and CEOs CLICK on picture to read more about Sunday's presentation
What do Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, and retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal have in common? A Q-sort technique was used to identify audience perceptions of personality characteristics of CEOs and generals, and results indicate more similarities than differences.
Come join us at APS!