Saturday, September 29, 2007

Jack O'Dwyer published an article about me!

I just found out that Jack O'Dwyer published an article about me and my blog post on "Public Relations in Service to Society" earlier this week. I'd link to it, but it's for subscribers only.

I was a little surprised that Jack forgot to mention it in the many e-mails we've exchanged in the past few days.

I suppose the lesson Jack wants me to learn is not to pick on the guy who buys ink by the barrel. Luckily, in the age of blogging, I get to publish my own response. In general I thought the article provided a fair representation of my post on how PR should be taught. As I pointed out to Jack, he himself has often published criticism of the practice as well as public relations education, so I would think he would be among the first to endorse an approach that tries to emphasize public interest over personal profit.

However, a couple of things were unfair. Jack concluded his article with part of a comment to my post by Marcel Goldstein in reference to the poor quality of PR graduates he has encountered. But he left out the first three sentences: "this post reminds me of the best about blogging in that you provided a fresh perspective to an old issue. You have broadened my view and I am greatly appreciative. I think sometimes practitioners, such as myself, have lost sight of the larger picture about PR education in our frustration at the quality of basic entry-level hire skill sets." I think this makes it clear that Marcel was trying to find a solution, not criticizing me or my post as Jack's article implied.

I think Jack's characterization of my reasons for not wanting to discuss the recent discussion about PR education ("is too busy to take up a discussion of PR education with this website and is not qualified to act as the spokesperson for PR education") was a bit simplistic given the daily, sometimes lengthy but always sincere and honest e-mails I sent him this week. For example, one of my reasons for not wanting to comment is that I have not read his article on Don Wright's speech. It's difficult to comment on something about which you have no knowledge. (I have since read the interview with Don on Strumpette.) I did state that I don't have the authority to act as a spokesperson for PR education since I am only familiar with my own school's program, and I suggested that he contact a more appropriate spokesperson from one of the accrediting boards or the PRSA educators academy.

Finally, in one of his e-mails to me, Jack mentioned that several other PR educators also refused to talk to him. If he publishes a story about any of them, will someone please forward it to me?

On the bright side, a link from Jack's Web site is the most exposure this blog has ever received. If trying to embarrass me results in having people put some thought into public relations and its role in society, that's okay with me. Sadly, though, according to Feedburner, only 5 people have clicked through in two days.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Meet the Teacher: Heather Yaxley

It's Friday at 9:30 p.m. and I'm just now getting around to this week's Meet the Teacher (amazing what gets accomplished once the child is safely tucked in bed). Fortunately, this week's featured PR educator is evidently much better at time management than I am -- as you'll see when you read about everything Heather Yaxley does. Heather made the top five on my "best PR blogs for students" list because of her consistently great content, which draws on her perspective as both an educator and a professional.

Here's what Heather had to say.

Q. How and when did you first get interested in blogging? What is the purpose of your blog? Are you using any other social media?
About 18 months ago, it became obvious that blogging was something that needed to be understood if you are interested in public relations and its future. Consequently, I organised a workshop led by Antony Mayfield who was writing about blogging in the short-lived PR Business magazine. He made it clear how easy it is to monitor and create a blog. So I started reading and decided to have a go myself. The Greenbanana blog was intended as an experiment initially so that I could gain a better understanding of the medium. It soon became apparent that I could use the blog to assist my students engage with topical PR issues, draw theory into reflections, make connections with other bloggers, engage in conversations, and gain some really useful online skills. One year on, my blog continues to do all this, but also acts to reflect my personal and professional "brand", which has opened up new opportunities for me and enhanced my credibility in PR more widely. As well as my blog and online educational site,, you can find me on Facebook, and a few other social network sites. I also blog at the collaborative, international blog, -- and my avatar has been into SecondLife twice.

Q. Tell us a little about your school and how PR is taught there.
I have a portfolio of educational connections -- firstly in teaching the professional Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) qualifications. The students are all working in PR or, in the case of the Advanced Certificate, they may wish to move into the profession. Teaching for these qualifications is undertaken with day long teaching sessions over a 9 month period, supported by an online educational resource that I developed in 2006, That really helps in ensuring the course delegates are self-directed learners and enables connections to be made into the vast amount of discussion on PR available online. I also teach part-time at Bournemouth University, working with 4th year PR undergraduates on their dissertations and taking first year seminars. This year, my PR Theory and Practice seminars are actually with Advertising degree students. I think that is very exciting to be able to ensure they have a rounded perspective of PR -- and recognise it as much more than "free" publicity. We again support learning there with online and multi-media materials.

Q. In what ways do you incorporate social media into the classroom? What would you most like to do that you aren't already doing?
We’ve mainly be looking at the role of social media in PR terms -- so looking at case studies, exploring blogs and setting up monitoring using RSS feeds of particular brands or stories. We have looked at online petitions in respect of government relations and the use of YouTube in crisis management. I think Facebook will be a useful medium for communicating with the Advertising undergrads since they are pretty much guaranteed to be using it already -- and will be more comfortable with it than the University systems. I would like to investigate more the value of wikis as a learning resource and also gain skills to make better use of podcasts and video. What I would really like though is for the students to start challenging me rather than me having to introduce them to social media. As yet, there are few students who are active already in new media. Saying that, I had one CIPR Diploma student, Ellee Seymour, last year who was already an active blogger and very successful in using her site to campaign on issues that she cares about.

Q. Do you have any advice for other PR educators who are considering starting a blog or getting involved in social media?
I believe if you are going to start a blog, you need to be clear about its positioning and also committed to engaging in the wider blogosphere. As for anyone blogging, there are potential problems in respect of your personal and professional views compared to those of the institutes where you are employed. Having said that, I find the blog is a great way of giving students greater insight into PR and particularly, its wider relevance. For students, I think the social networks are more in tune with their lifestyles and this presents an opportunity to make a connection with them in a space where they are familiar. The problem potentially is maintaining a sense of distance -- there is a danger that they see the casual nature of the medium as appropriate for communicating matters that should not be done in that way.

Q. What are your thoughts on combining practice and education? What do you see as the pros and cons of having a foot in both worlds?
I believe we have to combine practice and education. I believe that if you are doing today, what you did yesterday, you won't be making a difference tomorrow. The world is changing so fast and the body of knowledge about PR is so vast, that if we aren't seeking to improve the way we practice PR, then we will be left behind. Practice that is informed by education means you avoid the obvious mistakes and can learn from others. Having said that, I believe there is also room for education that fundamentally challenges us regarding wider concepts in society. The benefits of having a foot in both worlds (boundary-spanning, I suppose), is that you can help students relate the models and theoretical concepts to their everyday life drawing on your own experiences. You can also challenge practice on the basis of principles and reflect on the value of theory in terms of whether it relates to real life experiences. The dangers are perhaps that you don't get the time to undertake your own reflection on theoretical concepts sufficiently -- although I'm hoping to start a PhD shortly, which will take me further into the academic world. Of course, my topic is intended to have application for practice too.

Q. You're the first educator I've interviewed who also writes for PR Conversations. How does that complement your own blog? How do you decide what to post to which blog?
I was very pleased to be asked by Toni Muzi Falconi to join the team at PR Conversations. My own blog reflects things that interest me and can be drawn from any source of inspiration. I see the posts on PR Conversations as a starting point to engage in discussing issues that are probably of wider interest in terms of public relations. I am particularly interested in the international collaborative process behind PR Conversations and the readers/commentators, who come from around the world. I learn as much from the conversation that ensues in the comments as from reading other posts -- and so I hope that my own posts will stimulate a good level of discussion that can be of value to readers. I generally think if it a topic is personal, local or quirky, it belongs on Greenbanana -- if it has greater international or PR dimensions, then could I take it to PR Conversations where others can participate in "chewing the fat".

Addition (October 2): I'm such an idiot! I just realized I failed to link to Heather's blog in my introducation. Sorry, Heather.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Grady's PRSA Outstanding Educator

My colleague Lynne Sallot has been named PRSA's Outstanding Educator for 2007. The Georgia Chapter of PRSA nominated her, and when you read PRSA's news release you'll see why.

If I'm not mistaken, she's the third UGA faculty member to be recognized for this award, following in the footsteps of Scott Cutlip and Frazier Moore.

I'm incredibly happy for Lynne for this well-deserved honor.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Word-of-mouth communication class

I've been assigned a special topics course for undergraduates next spring and decided to focus on word-of-mouth communication. The class is open to both PR and advertising majors, and I've ordered two books to use: Chris Anderson's The Long Tail and David Meerman Scott's The New Rules of Advertising and PR (thanks to those of you who compiled a reading list on Facebook last summer -- I found them both there).

Beyond that, it's wide open at this point. Any suggestions on topics, readings, or assignments? I'm thinking of having them do a campaign for a real client, perhaps as a class with different teams working on different elements -- a video for YouTube, a blog or blogger relations, a podcast, etc.

I welcome your ideas. And volunteers to be the client. :-)

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Why I'm not returning Jack O'Dwyer's phone call

Jack O'Dwyer called this morning while I was in class to ask my opinion about the current debate about the worthiness (or wastefulness) of an education in public relations. I've decided not to return that call.

I'm proud of my work. I think my students are great and I'd recommend them -- at least the vast majority of them -- to anyone. Last year's graduates got PR jobs at Coca-Cola Enterprises, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fleishman Hillard, and many other organizations large and small. Anyone who reads this blog knows I'm happy to brag about them (remember Leigh, and Kaitlyn and Lauren?) and knows that our program produced last year's PRSSA Bateman Case Study Competition winners, selected by professionals, not other educators, and one of our faculty members was part of a team to win a Silver Anvil. Like anything else, our program could be improved, but I think it's pretty darn good, and we've got the external validation to prove it.

It's not my job to defend PR education. I can't speak for other schools or educators, although I'm sure they're doing the best they can in whatever circumstances they find themselves. So rather than returning Jack's call, I'm going to my 2:00 class -- 3 hours on PR writing.

Update: ...but I did return his e-mail, reiterating my point that I have neither the authority nor the knowledge to speak on behalf of all PR educators, but I'd be happy to tell him about our program.

Update: my response to Jack's article about me.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

The Week's Best, 24 September 2007

A busy week left me with not much time to look beyond my aggregator for good posts for PR students. But, here are a few worth reading:

Tact and Diplomacy: Occupational Hazards for New Practitioners, Gary Schlee
Forward Podcast #31: Managing Your Voice in the Office and Beyond, Paull Young and Erin Caldwell
Public Relations Needs a Clean Up, Heather Yaxley
PR Blunders!?, Bob Batchelor
Does Telling Someone to "Click Here" Actually Matter?, Brian Clark
100 Blog Topics I Hope YOU Write, Chris Brogan and 55 More Blog Posts I Hope You Write, Darren Barefoot

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Register for Connect -- early

After less than one business week, Connect is already at 20% of capacity for registration. Although the deadline isn't until October 8, if you're interested in attending, I suggest you register sooner rather than later.

I took a peek at the list of those who've registered and found some familiar names, but since I haven't asked permission I won't mention them. There are educators from South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida, as well as PR pros from Atlanta and Athens. I can't wait to meet them all!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Meet the (former) Teacher: David Phillips

This week's Meet the Teacher features David Phillips, formerly an instructor at Bournemouth University and, as he says, "now focusing on my PhD at Leeds Metropolitan University, leavened with consulting." I especially wanted to interview David because of a comment he made on one of my posts last summer, which made it very clear that Bournemouth is doing a lot more than most U.S. schools in terms of integrating social media into the curriculum. Here's what David had to say:

Q. How and when did you first get interested in blogging? What are the purposes of your blogs?
I go back a long way with the Internet. In 1995, I spoke to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations about the significance of the Internet. Most people did not have cell phones, or e-mail at the time. They were sceptical, it has to be said.

At that time interactivity online included chat and Usenet and pointed to where the Internet was heading.

The interruption came with Web sites and the dot-com bubble but all the evidence pointed towards improved interactivity. The marketers wanted to transpose their paradigm to the Internet and saw it as a channel and not a 'place'.

I chaired the joint Chartered Institute of Public Relations/Public Relations Consultant's Association Internet Commission in 1999 which really set the agenda and was heavily biased towards online relationship opportunities. We got it right - thank goodness. Most of the findings are in my books 'Managing Your reputation in Cyberspace' (Thorogood) and the CIPR book 'Online Public Relations' (Kogan Page). The latter coincided with Shel Holtz excellent book (Public Relations on the Net) in the USA - which is how I met him.

My first blog was about 5 years ago - I just wanted to try it out and really forgot about it until two years ago mostly because my web sites had discussion lists.

Tell us a little about your school and how PR is taught there. What would you most like to do with social media that you aren't already doing?
I am no longer with Bournemouth University but it has excellent Public Relations degree courses (MA and BA) and is one of the premier Universities for PR in the UK.

The BA course is a four year course with a year out in a placement with a consultancy or in-house department. The quality of placement is good so that in the final year, students come back with good practical knowledge to add to theory.

The BA course includes a number of compulsory and elective modules. Online PR is a compulsory, year long, module and is really about Internet mediated PR. Last year the cohort was 50, so its quite a big class!

I cannot speak for the course this year but this is what we did last year:

The course is taught using a (closed) wiki, and a lot of Internet driven technologies as well as a range of communication platforms (PC's, Mobile, Games consoles etc). Students are introduced to communications channels and, mostly, try them out inside the wiki.:
1. Blogs (and, now, microblogs)
2. Chat
3. E-mail
4. File Hosting
5. Games
6. Instant messaging
7. Message Boards
8. Monitoring, measuring, evaluation and reporting
9. Mobile
10. New Media Release
11. Newspapers Online
12. Online community portals/social networks
13. Online conferencing
14. Podcasts
15. RSS
16. Search engines
17. Surveys online
18. Tagging/folksonomies
19. TV to mobile
20. Usenet(Google Groups)
21. Videos
22. Virtual environments
23. vlogs
24. Web 2.0 media relations
25. Websites
26. Widgets
27. Wikis
28. VoIP

In groups, they are tasked to write a comprehensive description of each and have to collect enough information (I have a set of rules) to enable a PR practitioner to use these channels using the information provided. It's a tough call. This is all maintained on the student wiki and is available to all students during and after their time at Bournemouth.

In addition we identify case studies of each type of channel being used in practice and each student has to select a channel/case study and write it up, once again, on the wiki.

We spend a lot of time on value systems and planning and management and I insist on rigorous understanding of risk management as part of the plan.

Midway through the year they have an assignment. It is the same organisation for all the students and (with attribution) they can use each other's work to develop an Internet campaign beginning with analysis of the value systems of the organization and audit of their online presence. They are encouraged to use McQuail's 'Uses and Gratification' theory for online evaluation. Student just can't believe that each assignment will be different with all this visibility and transparency - its a very good lesson to learn.

Additionally there are lectures and seminars on: Motivation, meaning and use of interactivity; The internet as a social medium; Virtual communities; Monitoring, measuring, segmentation (and an introduction to user created social segments); evaluating and reporting; Value systems; The law; psychology of Internet use and application and future proofing (how the practice of PR can stay up to date with the evolution of the Internet).

Of course, a lot of the information they need is scattered across the Internet (some provided by me but mostly from the best online expertise I can find - e.g. the nature of Internet Transparency Agency and Porosity by me can be found at The New PR Wiki or the debates on Network Neutrality will come from Jonathan Zittrain at Oxford. This is added by both me and students to a bibliography (again on the wiki) which in a year becomes very extensive. Even then, I find that in assignments some students find new references requiring reading an evaluation as I mark their scripts - it's a tough life teaching online PR!

It is a very intensive 20 week module with a written (yes - dead trees and pens) 2 hour end of course exam.

One of the real problems is that this has heavy practical stuff and a high theoretical element (and, of course is controversial because much of it runs counter to a lot of PR theory - and so a lot of critical analysis). There is also a need for much more research and we need more PR students doing MA and PhD online PR research (I guess I could keep a cohort of post degree students of 50 going most of the time).

What is interesting teaching this module is how fast it changes. Last year we had the rise and rise of Facebook (why?) and Twitter (what?) and the huge shift from traditional Web sites to social media (when?) which called for analysis of the motivations for use and all the information needed to be able to us channel in PR practice and research.

Do you have any advice for other PR educators who are considering starting a blog or getting involved in social media?
I could not possibly advise other tutors about online PR. So many are so good.

It is fun to follow the exchange of Q&A on Facebook as students come to terms with Internet Mediated relationship management and I do make myself available in Facebook and IM (and Skype and inside the wiki using a number of channels as we experiment with them) at any time just to bring home the immediacy of the Internet and its range of channels.

I think the golden rule is 'never ask a tutor or student to use social media if they do not want to'. The cross over from personal and professional is all to narrow. This is why the student wiki is closed. You can make mistakes there that would not be helpful elsewhere.

The mantra I use to all students is that 'All you and say do online is cached by someone somewhere and potentially available for all time - so handle with care' and, yes, when I include it in an early lecture, a lot of them blush when they think about IM conversations with girl/boyfriends in the past - but they get over it.

I saw that your blog enables audio comments. Why do you think this is important, and do you think it changes how people interact with your blog?
There are few books, so each of us has to try or confirm the other's experiments. Over time I have had all manner of devices and widgets on one or other blog just to try them out. The outcome for the course is very satisfying.

With this background most students get jobs easily (it's a great talking point at interview, I'm told) and about a third get online PR responsibilities in agencies and in-house in the first three months.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Blog Dawgs

Columns, the UGA faculty-staff newsletter, features the Grady Blog Dawgs this week -- "a loose confederation of 11 Grady College faculty blogs." I think we have about 50 faculty, so basically one in 5 are now blogging, three of us in public relations (Kaye and Carolina plus me).

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The Week's Best, 17 September 2007

This week, the Week's Best features some top-flight posts from some of the presenters who'll be speaking at Connect., Grady's PR and social media conference. If you needed any encouragement to register, reading a few of these oughtta do it:

Ready to Pitch a Blog? Take This Quiz First, Kevin Dugan
Young PR's-- Know Your Place, Paull Young
I'm Shocked, Shocked to Learn that Marketing and Finance See Metrics Differently, Katie Paine
Rules for Contacting Bloggers, Kaye Sweetser
Corporate Social Media: The Corporation's Dependence on Individuals, Part One and The Individual's Dependence on the Corporation, Part Two, Josh Hallett
NewPRBlogs, Twitter updates on new blogs, Constantin Basturea
Memory and Mismemory, Barry Hollander
What Honey Bees Have in Common with RSS and Tags, Sherry Heyl
Some Surge Thoughts, Jonathan McGinty

Of course, they aren't the only ones sharing great content. Check these out:
Microsoft's Blog Filter, Peter Himler
A Time for Learning, Chris Clarke
Case Studies: Social Media Done Right, Kami Huyse
PR Firm Hill & Knowlton editing Wikis (via Wikiscanner), Gerry McCusker
New Influencer Study, John Cass

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

PR and social media conference update

The Web site for Connect: Public relations and social media conference is up and running, and we're ready to accept registrations. The conference will be held Oct. 19-20 in Athens.

My Campaigns students came up with the name and designed the logo, worked with Grady staff on the Web site and registration process, and are now working on getting the word out. They're also conducting a survey about current knowledge and interest in various forms of social media, so do 'em a favor and take 5 minutes to fill one out.

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The "weeding out my blogroll" meme

I noticed in the last few days that the Friendly Ghost and Gerry McCusker both posted about dropping blogs from their blogrolls, FG because he thought it was a cheap way to get included in other peoples' statistics and Gerry, if I understood him right, because other people hadn't linked to his blog. This got me to thinking about why I spent so much time working on my blogroll last summer (beyond pure procrastination).

Last year Mike Sansone described a number of purposes for a blogroll: listing others who are part of your community, indicating commonality, extending your conversation outward. "Let your blogroll be a benefit to your audience," he suggests. I do recall when I first started reading blogs, whenever I found one I liked I always clicked through the blogroll in hopes of finding others I liked. Certainly a benefit.

On reflection, I'd say my blogroll has a number of different purposes, but it's mostly geared toward students (mine and others, maybe those at schools where social media isn't being taught yet). The PR pros section highlights blogs I think students can especially benefit from reading. The New Voices section introduces them to blogs written by students and other young PRs--but I also want to promote the ones who aren't well-known in the blogosphere (yet). The educators section is more for the community-building side of things... there aren't very many of us. And the Grady Blog Dawgs section highlights other Grady faculty who are blogging -- some of the alumni who read my blog might be interested in these as well.

The problem is in keeping it updated -- so many times I've added a blog's RSS feed to my aggregator but forgotten to add it to my blogroll; Constantin's failure to update the PR list that I depend on to find new blogs; not deleting a link to someone who's not posting anymore. (You notice how I slipped in that it's really all Constantin's fault.) But it doesn't "benefit my readers" if it's not up-to-date. Maybe Friendly and Gerry will ignite a "weeding out my blogroll" meme!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Meet the Teacher: Ross Monaghan

This week's Meet the Teacher features Ross Monaghan, who teaches public relations at Deakin University in Australia. I think he makes an especially good point about social media allowing PR educators to connect--this has been one of the biggest benefits of my blog.

By the way, Ross, I would love to come to Australia one day, too. ;-)

How did you first get interested in blogging? What is the purpose of your blog?
It was soon after I became an academic in 2004. Deakin University makes extensive use of online teaching technology, so I thought I should quickly become familiar with what we now call "social media". I experimented with some anonymous Xanga and Livejournal blogs to get a feel for the blogging technology and how to write for blogs. James Farmer, the founder and CEO of, worked at Deakin at the time, and we had quite a few interesting discussions about the future of social media and education. James introduced me to and RSS feeds (I remember thinking at the time, what use are these?) and that’s when I really started my first public blog, PR Hits and Misses. It summarised some PR case studies I found online and allowed me to mention these cases in lectures, and refer students to my blog where they could find more information. In 2006 I received a grant to establish, which is a blog and podcast site.

Tell us a little about Deakin University and how PR is taught there.
Deakin is my Alma Mater. I was actually in the very first intake for our BA (Public Relations) degree back in 1985. It's great to have come full circle. The PR teaching discipline is in the Faculty of Arts. We offer a range of professional communication and media streams for undergraduate and postgraduate students including PR, journalism, literature and professional writing. We have campuses in Melbourne, Geelong and Warrnambool, and have an extensive "off campus" student population in regional and metropolitan Australia, and around the world.

I’m very proud of our PR degree. We have an excellent team with a variety of research and industry experience. The theme running through all PR units is the need to be open, honest and transparent, and most of the team are also members of the University's respected Corporate Citizenship Research Unit.

You’ve also experimented with podcasting. Can you describe that project?
I received a grant from Deakin to establish a podcasting and blogging site. With my journalism colleague Colleen Murrell, we established Whilst it is very much an experimental site, it does show what is possible on a limited budget. Teaching staff, working practitioners and students are able to contribute to the site, although it is primarily used to highlight outstanding student work, and case studies produced by teaching staff.

In what other ways do you incorporate social media into the classroom? What would you most like to do that you aren’t already doing?
If I can think of a way of using social media, I usually try it. I'm not afraid of pushing the boundaries, or of making mistakes for that matter. I'm not exactly shy either, so I don't worry too much about making a fool of myself on YouTube or my podcasts! As an example, I produced a podcast by pretending I was 10 years old and back in 1976. I found copies of magazines and newspapers from the time and talked about the stories, and what I thought might happen in the future. The Independent of London found it, and reviewed it as part of a feature they did on 1976.

I also have Facebook and MySpace profiles to keep in contact with current students and alumni, and of course I’m contactable on Skype and MSN messenger.

This year I received a fellowship to look at Second Life. So far I've initiated a project with Red Cross Australia, conducted a virtual tour of PR agencies online, and arranged some mentoring via Second Life. I also use YouTube to explain certain aspects of my courses. Naturally Deakin has internal resources for hosting audio and video, but for nonessential academic activities I try to use external social media sites so that students experience how they can be used.

I’ve also used blogs to assist students to reflect on their PR internship experience.

I guess another use of social media in my teaching is establishing contacts such as yourself. If it hadn’t been for our blogs, we would never have met. I recently met a fellow IABC member and author, Ron Shewchuk, online and I interviewed him for theMediaPod. Ron is based in Canada. After the interview we had a long chat, which concluded with Ron saying, "I’d love to come to Australia one day". I made a few phone calls, and arranged for Ron to speak at a conference, and conduct a workshop for IABC here in Australia -- both of which paid for his trip. Whilst here, Ron gave a lecture for my students, and is now an honorary staff member interacting with students online.

Do you have any advice for other PR educators who are considering starting a blog or getting involved in social media?
I understand that it can be daunting. Writing a blog is a completely different process to writing an academic paper. You need to quickly produce concise information, often without checking and rechecking facts. You open yourself up to criticism through work produced in a hurry. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are par for the course, too. That’s scary for someone who teaches communication at a tertiary level. It was one of the barriers I faced - I was very nervous about my first couple of posts. I saved them as drafts, asked someone to proof them for me, and carefully re-read them before posting them live. I’m over my hesitations now. The benefit it brings me and my students is worth the occasional red face I experience when I notice bad spelling or grammatical mistakes.

So my advice is: jump in. Perhaps try an anonymous blog to start with. Dabble. Get a MySpace or Facebook profile. Upload some photos to Photobucket. Get involved. Invest some time, and there will be some fantastic, and probably unexpected, positive returns.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

The Week's Best, 10 September 2007

This week, the Week's Best is all about hands-on, day-to-day, real-world PR. Enjoy!

How to Write Remarkably Creative Content, Brian Clark
Creating a Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics, Kaitlyn Wilkins
PR Jobs of the Future, Heather Yaxley
Eight Warning Signs that a Reporter Plans to Flip the Script, Scott Baradell
Open RFP's -- Is it Fair on the Agencies?, India PR Blog
Big List of Free Press Release Distribution Sites, Jennifer Mattern
My Social Media Toolkit, Chris Brogan
Influence Ripples + Social Media Fragmentation, David Armano (via Lauren Vargas)

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The PR of PR

The public reputation of public relations isn't improving.

Thanks to Constantin Basturea's Twitter update, I found this Gallup Poll report on U.S. ratings of business and industry sectors. The poll asked people to sort industries as positive, neutral or negative. Ad/PR got 35% positive, but also 34% negative for a net positive of +1. The poll also compared this year's results to 2003's results, showing that Ad/PR has dropped by 13 net points.

Well, at least we aren't oil and gas, down -40 and now at -48.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

The 5 best blogs for PR students

I've been posting "The Week's Best for PR Students" for 6 months now and keeping track of who's appeared each week. Based on that, I've selected five blogs that consistently post information useful to PR students. If you're a newbie, get yourself an RSS aggregator and subscribe to these blogs:

Common Sense PR, Eric Eggertson
Communication Overtones, Kami Huyse
Word Wise, Dan Santow
Scatterbox, Steven Silvers
Greenbanana Views of Public Relations and More, Heather Yaxley

I'm also awarding two honorable mentions-- I linked to these guys three times each, despite having only relatively recently started following them:

Young PR, Paull Young
PR Blogger, Stephen Davies

Of course there are many other blogs that I read and enjoy, but these are all great picks for students.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

The Week's Best for PR Students, 3 September 2007

Trademarks the Spot, Dan Santow
What Dasani Water Taught Me about Better Blogging, Rob May (via Steven Silvers)
Measuring Success: The Impact of Social Media and Viral Video, Kami Huyse
Perceptions, Adam Denison
Anne Truitt Zelinka and Steve Rubel on Web Friendship, Stowe Boyd
Wal-Mart on Facebook. Beginning of the End?, Darryl Ohrt

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"More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given" --Bertrand Russell

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