Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

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September 20, 2010

Embracing your Social Media Geek Chicness: How women professionals in PR can succeed with new technology

There have been many nicknames that I have been called over the last couple of years when it comes to describing to people how much I really like social media – both for my professional career and personal life.  From “Social Media Butterfly” to recently being referred to as being “Miss Geek” (a very high praise compliment – I not only think that this is true about me, I definitely embrace this!), it does show one aspect of my personality and character to the world. I have told my friends and family while there are some women that can get lost and spend all day in a place like Saks Fifth Avenue or Sephora.  Not to say that these stores are not absolutely fabulous – but I can say that I would be a very happy and content person if I spent all of my time in a technology store like the Apple Store.  It is indeed a happy place! :)

My Dad’s second cousin Shirley Marks wrote a book a few years ago titled “Geek to Chic,” which looks at this particular issue and how some of the stereotypes we had about those that were considered to be “geeks” were supposed to be like.  It is a very cute and fabulous book!  What I have noticed is that there is indeed a wave of women public relations professionals – both academic and professional – shaping social media in public relations. However, there are some people that have commented on how there are few women getting into the new technology fields of communication and public relations.  Women are one of the major stakeholder groups using social media in their professional and personal lives, and some are key social media influencers in the field.  I think that this is true in only certain areas of public relations and social media.  From researchers to practitioners to professors – everyone is coming into social media with a different background and range in experience, as well as a unique perspective with the new technology.  Women use social media to keep up to date with information related to health, entertainment, and cooking to name a few.  It is definitely interesting to see these trends and be aware of them not only to see their impact on social media, but how this influences how these individuals conduct themselves in their social media practices.

With this being said, the thing that I noticed is that there still is a lot of work that we need to do.  I think that it is important that both men and women work together in public relations – there are so many opportunities for everyone and it is a new world ahead of us – let us explore it together!  So, here are a few best practices that I have to embrace your inner geek chicness in social media:

  • Technology is hip and fashionable:  While you can still make sure that you are dressing professionally and representative of your personality, technology gadgets are the next big fashion statement.  Whether it is carrying around your iPad or iPhone, or having the latest new toy – this will provide a very important statement on others in the business and public relations community.
  • Know your technology:  If you say that you are a social media specialist or if you research social media, you better know your stuff!  Make sure that you are up-to-date on the latest trends and put this as a priority to other news outlets (and fun magazines like ESPN and Vogue).  Knowledge and understanding are what creates power and influence for you as a brand.
  • Understand the previous stereotypes, but know they are SO 20th century: Being one with the latest technology is hip and chic, and long gone are the days of pocket protectors or off-fashion statements.  These perceptions are so done and over with – what people are recognizing now is that technology brings opportunity, networks, and many benefits both personally and professionally.

I hope that this helps!  In summary, I think that it is important to understand that geek is indeed chic and absolutely fabulous – and definitely a quality that professionals (both in business and government) are looking for in social media professionals presently.  Hope you all are having a wonderful day!

Best Wishes,

Karen

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