Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

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April 16, 2014

Snapchat in the Classroom: 7 ways professors can use visual mobile platform for social media classes

One of the things I have tried to do as a professor is to explore not only new topics in my classes, but also new platforms. One that seems to come up a lot right now is Snapchat.

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While I do have an account, this is one platform I have not used as much as others. However, it appears that we are seeing more brands, agencies, and people using the platform more strategically to engage their audiences in new and innovative ways. It is a platform where you can share visual sharing app with friends and colleagues and have them deleted in a certain amount of time.

So, what are some ways that professors possibly could use Snapchat for personal and even professional uses? Here are some ideas we can look at possibly implementing both in and outside of the classroom:

  • Creating entertaining experiences from every day tasks: Whether it is grading or creating lectures – showcasing a little creativity and fun to share with others creates an interactive and entertaining experience. It is about showcasing your personality as well as your point of view in a visual and creative manner.
  • Case studies and share examples of campaigns that used Snapchat: It is always good to look at cases and campaigns that have used Snapchat and learn what were the message strategies, audiences considered in this campaign, and main takeaways from the experience. Here are a few that came up as good ones to look at along with these from AdWeek.
  • Meeting your students in their new space to spark conversations: First, we saw professors use Facebook and then Twitter for engaging their students in and out of the classroom. There have only been a few professors who have utilized Instagram for their classes, and I would imagine even fewer who are on Snapchat. As professors, we need to be adaptive and test out these new platforms to see if they work and to communicate and build a community on these sites. More businesses are learning this as well when it comes to Snapchat.
  • Behind the scenes and exclusive announcements for class: Whether it is announcing clients, guest speakers, or even assignments for class – professors could use Snapchat potentially for these actions. For behind the scenes – looking at presentations and networking events as opportunities to share this experience with students would also be beneficial as well.
  • Discussing the opportunities and challenges with the new platform: Like all social media platforms, Snapchat does have their risks and challenges to them as a social media outlet. This is a perfect opportunity to build this discussion for classes on these various topics as well as for businesses. Creating a strategic brief for a business in a social media class to provide resources on how to use Snapchat professionally or even incorporate this platform into the managing online reputation reflection paper for social media would be good to share with your students as well.
  • Creating films of experiences: While brands like Taco Bell have been innovative with Snapchat by creating films, professors could potentially create films of presentations, guest speakers, and other lectures to share with others.
  • Sharing fun experiences with friends: There are times where you do want to use Snapchat for fun with colleagues and friends. This is one of the main characteristics of social media.

In summary, while there are a lot of possibilities here for Snapchat and brands, we as professors have to discuss the benefits and challenges of this platform and determine if this is one that we could potentially use both in and outside of the classroom. I think there is a lot of potential here – especially when connecting with students. However, it may not always work in every classroom – so this has to be evaluated case by case, or class by class.

Personally, I think any new platform opens the window to new opportunities to create engaging and interactive dialogue and conversations with students to help build a dynamic learning community. I would be interested in hearing what you all think about this as well.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,
Karen

April 13, 2014

Understanding the strategies and trends involving selfies for brands & professors

I have had this discussion in most of the classes I have taught this semester on the phenomenon we all know as “selfies.” Selfies have been of course incorporated into various events, conferences, and even recently the March Madness tournament. It was exciting to see UofL featured as one of the universities that did a trendy campaign using social media and selfies for the tournament.

However, one of the things we have to consider here when it comes to this trend is to see how this is both applied and can be explored further. We have seen many discussions on this and what selfies represent and risks associated with them. I do believe it is key to understand both the opportunities and risks associated with every trend, new platform, and issue happening in society. Another trend we are also seeing is who can top the best selfie – which was a discussion and topic of conversation on Hootsuite’s blog the other day as well.

Selfies are even in campaigns – look at this campaign that features Messi and Kobe for Turkish Airlines. This is one of the things we as social media and PR professionals have to look at and see being implemented not only in social circles, but also for businesses as well. I shared this with my classes and we talked about how brands are trying to engage and interact with audiences using initiatives such as this to be current and relatable.

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There are apps out there now that are dedicated just to selfies, including one that has garnered a lot of news and discussion (along with investment) called Shots. Compared to other apps, one of the changes and features that is integrated into this particular app addresses the issue of preventing cyber bullying, which is another key challenge and risk we are seeing not just with selfies, but all social media platforms as well.

However, I think there are some elements to it that we can note as being notable changes and strategies being implemented by both individuals as well as brands and campaigns proactively. So, how can we use selfies strategically – even for professors? Here are a few ways:

  • Showcasing the importance of time and place for selfies: Of course, there are times and places for taking selfies – and it is always good to make sure to get permission first or let someone know that a selfie is part of a branded and sponsored move like what happened with the Samsung and President Obama selfie case.
  • Sharing an experience: Whether it is at a conference, meeting guest speakers, or even showing your school spirit – there are many reasons why you may want to take a selfie to share with your respective communities and even classes.
  • Encourage engagement with students outside of the classroom: One way you can go about in using selfies to build a sense of community with your students is to lead by example and say – I’m cheering for the team in the upcoming game or here’s my picture with my coffee as we prepare for finals. It’s about sharing the experience while making it interactive and visual. Also, it may be good to showcase the experience with other students. One of my good friends and fellow colleagues, Ralph Merkel, shared a selfie on the football field at the spring game with fellow students who invited him to be honored as a mentor at the Red and Black banquet. These are the type of selfies professors can share with others so they can feel like they are part of the experience as well.
  • Making announcements: We have seen selfies being used to document points of view, showcase experiences with others, and even endorsements and major announcements like Star Wars did with the launch of their Instagram account. When I found out that I got my pair of Google Glasses, of course I had to take a selfie to share this news with everyone! :)

Will this be effective later this year or a year from now? Who knows – we will have to wait and see what comes up next. But first.. let me take a selfie. :)

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,
Karen

April 5, 2014

Reflection of #Freberg14: My students rock! #proudprof

One of the things I have tried to do as a professor teaching a social media class is to lead by example – be active on social media, engage in conversations with fellow professors and professionals, etc. I also try to lead by example and blog along with the students.

This was the last week of blogging assignments I had #Freberg14 to do for the semester. We have two full weeks left before finals start (AMAZING!) and this semester has just flown by! For the last week, I asked the students to write a reflection post about the class. I wanted to see what the students liked, remembered, and what their suggestions were for the class.

After reading the posts, I was truly honored and amazed. There were a lot of students who talked about what they have learned this semester along with their favorite assignments, guest speakers, and what they want to do after the class.

Here are some of the reflection posts by students in #Freberg14:

So, here’s my reflection post for #Freberg14. In summary, my students in class this semester rock. :) I have found that with every class, there is a different culture and personality to it – which makes up a very interesting community. #Freberg14 is the third group of students who have taken my social media class at UofL.I have found that with this group, there are some unique differences that separates them from the two other classes.

First, #Freberg14 is the biggest class I’ve taught in social media. Compared to 20 and then 24 students in #Freberg13, this class has 30 students, and seven of them are graduate students. Second, this is the first group where I had clients that were off campus. Third, this was the first class where I tried out the Google Glass strategic brief assignment. So, as you can see – there are some unique differences from this group compared to the other classes I’ve taught here at UofL.

I have to give shout outs to all of my students who have taken my social media class – it’s a lot of work! However, I think with today’s economy and the way the job market is, you have to work hard to achieve your goals in life. The work I am giving my students in class will help prepare them for not only being a better social media professional, but will make them students of life. By learning these skills and working together on projects and papers, this will all add up to a better understanding of what social media is to help brainstorm new ideas, perspectives, and campaigns for clients.

I have been very fortunate to have some amazing individuals in all of my classes at UofL, especially my social media class. All of the students have inspired and motivated me to be a better professor in the classroom. Their dedication, questions, and hard work ethic to become the best social media professional they can be is what makes me excited for them. They have a lot of opportunities out there and it’s exciting to see students go on to great jobs, internships, and blogging opportunities.

I have to give special thanks to the clients for this semester (Joey Wagner and Sheryl Boddie) along with the great list of guests who have come to my class to speak to my students this semester. We really appreciated you stopping by and sharing your insights with us! Thanks Jeff Rushton (UofL), Lizelle Lauron (Dallas Mavericks), Diana Riesenberg, Amanda Roberson, Rachel Cleary, Jessica Bledsoe, Rich Miller, Nick Stover (UofL Athletics), Scott Adkins (WAVE3 News), Dennis Yu and Alex Houg (BlitzMetrics), Melissa Agnes, Mark Murdock (BCH Agency),  Jonathan and Erik Bernstein (will be in class this week), and Elle Raiser (last guest speaker for the semester!).

In summary, this semester teaching the social media class has been great. This will be the only #Freberg14 class this year since my fellow social media professor and colleague Scott Sanders at UofL will be teaching the social media class during the Fall 2014 semester. Scott will do a great job teaching the course in the fall and make sure to follow him on Twitter as well! We are going to be teaching the class and hopefully have several sections of the course going on at the same time. However, I will be teaching the class again in 2015, so stay tuned for next year for #Freberg15!

Have a great day everyone!

Best Wishes,
Karen

April 3, 2014

Presenting at UT Social Media Week

I had the chance to go back to one of my former schools, the University of Tennessee, this week for the UT Social Media Week. This event has been going on for several years at UT (after I graduated back in 2011), but it is a great overall event to engage students, faculty, and professionals together to talk about a range of social media topics and experiences from different industries.

I was invited to be part of the higher ed and social media panel session. Along with Carolyn (Tennessee) and Nick (West Virginia University), we discussed how social media is incorporated into the classroom. While Carolyn and Nick focused on how they have used social media in their research as well as in their respective classes, I decided to take a little bit of a different approach to this presentation.

My presentation actually was based on something I have experienced over the years as someone that studies, teaches, and consults in social media. People have asked me a range of questions over the years as well as point out some things that I consider to be “myths.”

What I liked about doing this presentation was the fact that the points I made in my presentation would have been elements and tips I would have liked to have heard myself when I was a doctoral student or a newly minted PhD. There are so many opportunities to share resources, brainstorm ideas, and connect with both professors and students online – that’s the beauty and power of social media. In my presentation, I was able to share what I was doing at UofL in my social media classes with my students and how I have had the chance to help others, brainstorm on some cool campaigns, and make a difference in student’s lives at UofL.

Another factor I realized in this presentation was the fact that I was both energized and passionate about this subject. I realized this when I was preparing the notes and realized – wow! This is WHY I am doing what I am doing. I have never considered social media research, teaching, or practice “work” – it is something that interests me and makes me be a student always. So, as you can see, this is what sparked my presentation for the UT Social Media Week, and you can see my slidedeck here if you are interested.

Major thanks to Courtney Childers and her 490ADV Social Media class for hosting such a great event focusing on social media. It was an honor to be part of this event – thank you. :) Really had a wonderful time and was very good to see everyone and spend some time at good ole Rocky Top again! :) Keep up the great work!

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,
Karen

March 31, 2014

UofL Students guests on The Social Network Show to discuss Hootsuite University

One of the things I try to do as  a professor is not only help students with study abroad experiences, internships, and networking opportunities, but I also try to consider what I can do to help them establish themselves in the field with opportunities they may not have had a chance to do before. So, when it came up that I could invite two students to participate in a radio show guest slot, I thought – what an awesome experience!

Diana and Amanda were two students I had this past fall semester in my social media class, and they were two guests on the popular radio show called “The Social Network Show“With Jim Nico and Dr. J. I had the pleasure of being a guest of the show a few months ago and it was a lot of fun!I was very excited to hear the show wanted to interview and highlight students and talk about Hootsuite University.

I’ve been using Hootsuite University for the last year, and it has been such a great program and resource for my students and classes. A key part to incorporate into your social media curriculum for sure! Highly recommend Also, in case you are interested, here is the link to the show so you can see what we talked about. Great level of conversation and dialogue here on the subject of social media education and classes.

Both Diana and Amanda did an amazing job – so proud of them! They were professional, answered the questions with energy and excitement, and both represented UofL very well. Congrats on a great show, ladies! This is one proud professor here! :) This interview is great to save and include in your online portfolio for sure. Along with writing samples and work, it’s key to also showcase mentions and press featuring your point of view and expertise on a subject, which this would be considered to be a key example.

Special thanks again to Jim and Dr. J for this wonderful opportunity!

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,
Karen

 

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