Social Media and PR

Haley J. Higgs

Guest Blogger April 18, 2010

Filed under: TOW — hhiggs87 @ 8:03 pm

Once again, in my Social Media and PR class, we were asked to have a guest writer featured on our blog. So, the following blog post was written by James Kicklighter. I hope you enjoy!

Unpaid Internships and Ethics

Written by: James Kicklighter

PROpenMic posted an interesting blog on the emerging controversy regarding unpaid internships, gracing The New York Times and TIME Magazine. Of course, anyone who is a college student knows that there are many internships that are not paid, and finding one that is proves to be quite difficult.

According to The New York Times article:

“The Labor Department says it is cracking down on firms that fail to pay interns properly and expanding efforts to educate companies, colleges and students on the law regarding internships.

“If you’re a for-profit employer or you want to pursue an internship with a for-profit employer, there aren’t going to be many circumstances where you can have an internship and not be paid and still be in compliance with the law,” said Nancy J. Leppink, the acting director of the department’s wage and hour division.

Ms. Leppink said many employers failed to pay even though their internships did not comply with the six federal legal criteria that must be satisfied for internships to be unpaid.”

These criteria are:

  1. The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school;
  2. The training is for the benefit of the trainees or students;
  3. The trainees or students do not displace regular employees, but work under close supervision;
  4. The employer that provides the training receives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees or students and, on occasion, his operations may even be impeded;
  5. The trainees or students are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period; and
  6. The employer and the trainees or students understand that the trainees or students are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.

Just reading those regulations, I can think of many friends who have worked tirelessly for organizations who do not follow these guidelines.

Now, I can understand the challenges of hiring in a bad economy, but this doesn’t mean that individuals, companies, or organizations should take advantage of gullible, young college students looking to build their resume or portfolio.

They have bills to pay too, and it’s about time that we start looking into this matter.

Certainly, this could be a difficult Public Relations challenge for any organization who has unpaid interns. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t change their operations. Cutting available internship positions to pay interns might be a viable solution. Sure, it doesn’t present as much opportunity, but it also makes students work harder to get the spot.

I’ve always found a little competition makes people work harder; at least, that motivates me.

All of that said, what do you think?


Guest Blogger April 16, 2010

Filed under: TOW — hhiggs87 @ 3:39 pm

This week in my Social Media and PR class, we were asked to have a guest writer featured on our blog. So, the following blog post was written by Allie Schulmper. Allie is my classmate and fellow PRSSA Executive Board Member. The post I am featuring was originally written in January of this year but it was a blog post that really caught my attention. I hope you enjoy!

TOW #3 – Social Media Monitoring

Written by: Allie Schulmper

Is social media monitoring ethical? Provide commentary and discussion on both sides of the issue, and offer your personal viewpoint.

For my topic of the week for week #3 in Barbara Nixon’s Social Media and PR course, we were asked if social media monitoring is ethical or not. This is a difficult question because there so many view points about this topic.

In my opinion, it depends on how you are monitoring a company or brand and what your purposes are for monitoring them. For this course, we have to monitor a Fortune 500 company to see what is being said about them through various social media sites. I believe that if people are monitoring social media to benefit a company or brand or to better their products, than there is nothing ethically wrong with this. Domino’s has recently come out with a new campaign that shows how they have improved many of their products because of all the criticism that they have received about their company and their items. Below is a video showing what they have done:

Domino’s used what people were saying and writing on social media sites about their company to better their pizza and to hopefully better their company’s image.

Those are a few examples of how social media monitoring may be used positively and effectively. On the other hand, I believe that there are things that are unethical when monitoring social media. People have to realize that although everyone has a right to their own opinion, it is in my opinion, unethical to write derogatory or rude things about a company that are not true or factual. Danielle La Marca wrote a post, “Social Media Code of Ethics,” that I found to be true and interesting. It is important to always be respectful, honest, credible, and objective when monitoring various social media sites.


Viral Videos April 14, 2010

Filed under: TOW — hhiggs87 @ 10:27 pm

What is a viral video? The easiest way to answer this question is by showing an example. The following video is called “David after Dentist.” Take a look and then we can start answering some questions.

So, why is this a viral video? Well, Wikipedia defines a viral video as a video “that becomes popular through the process of internet sharing, typically through video sharing websites and email.” These videos are usually funny and appeal to a vast audience. Viral videos are typically spread via the internet. If one person sees the video and finds it funny/relatable, then typically they will forward it on to a friend; thus, a viral video.

The video above is a viral video because of the humor and the ability to relate to it. Everyone has been to the dentist and everyone loves a cute kid. If you put those two things together, it is the perfect recipe for a viral video.

This video is another example of a viral video. The cuteness factor plays a major role in why this video became a viral video. (The video is appropriately named “All My Single Babies.”) A baby in only a diaper, dancing to Beyonce has the humor and cuteness that people love. They watch it and enjoy it, and then they send it on to another person.

The last example of a viral video (above) is a different type of viral video. This started out as a commercial that aired during the 2010 Super Bowl. Not long after that, this commercial quickly found its way to YouTube and from there, into every e-mail in-box and Facebook page and Twitter post.  This commercial is a viral video. The way it spread is nothing short of viral. Nowadays, it would probably be difficult to find someone who hasn’t seen this video or at least heard of the “Betty White commercial.” To me, this is the best example of a viral video. It is funny, it is relatable and it is something people don’t get tired of watching.


Widgets and Badges April 4, 2010

Filed under: TOW — hhiggs87 @ 9:48 pm

The terms widget and badge are two words being tossed around more and more these days. The social media world has turned these terms into everyday language. So, what are they? Wikipedia tells us:

  • Widget – a stand-alone application that can be embedded into third party sites by any user on a page where they have rights of authorship
  • Badge – a design used to grab the attention of the audience that can be used to display a big ‘Beta’ message on your website or emphasize a price or a promotion

Are we still a little fuzzy? If you’re like me, you probably understand the concept behind a badge but have no idea what a widget is. Am I right? Ok, so let’s spend a few more bullets on key ideas about a widget. Here we go:

  • Widgets are roughly the same concept as the RSS feed.
  • Widgets save you time because they bring the content you want to see directly to you.
  • Widgets can send content to your computer or directly to your mobile phone.
  • Widgets are interactive and can be customized.

And the analogy of the day (thanks to Wikipedia):

  • Widgets are to websites what applications are to iPhones

Is it making a little more sense now? I hope so! Now, the question is, how can businesses benefit from using badges and widgets?

  • Widgets can gather information you want/need and send it to one central location as opposed you having to search for it yourself.
  • Unlike RSS feed, widgets can send information directly to your mobile devise.
  • Having your own widgets and badges can help promote your website and attract an audience.
  • Badges can help entice an audience to use a widget for information generated from your website.
  • Widgets and badges are both ways of utilizing the sharing of information via social media as they both operate through interactivity.

Social Bookmarking March 31, 2010

Filed under: TOW — hhiggs87 @ 11:42 am

Social bookmarking is becoming more popular. It is a way for people to connect and interact together through sharing links. One of the more popular social bookmarking sites is Delicious. Delicious allows users to post links for professional or personal use and then makes those links available to others. It is similar to the “favorites” section on your personal computer. The difference though is the fact that unlike your favorites, bookmarks posted to Delicious are accessible from any computer.

I created an account to better understand Delicious. My account is mainly are current links I found in the favorites section on my computer. I don’t feel like my links contribute to the greater good of society or anything but at least they’re out there. I am strengthening my social media presence if nothing else.

I think college students could benefit from using social bookmarking sites. Group work would become less of a hassle if the group had a social bookmarking page that they could all tap into, rather than passing hard copies around. This could also help because each group member could read every article as opposed to each member reading different things. College students could also benefit because social bookmarks would cut down on having to carry a jump drive everywhere or having to worry about not being able to use your computer at a public location. Social bookmarking allows you to access all of your bookmarked links without having to remember them, have them written down or e-mailing yourself links. Sites like Delicious allow you to have access to everything you need without having to carry you laptop with you wherever you go.


PR OPEN MIC March 18, 2010

Filed under: TOW — hhiggs87 @ 1:54 pm

I created a profile on PR Open Mic almost three years ago. I have several friends, both students and professionals. I created the profile because it was a class requirement and haven’t devoted any effort to it outside of class. Sounds bad, I know, but up until now I haven’t really gotten what the site was all about. I got that it was a way to connect with PR students and professionals but I can do that on Facebook and Twitter, right? Wrong, PR Open Mic offers much more than Facebook or Twitter.

The main thing about PR Open Mic that I have come to love is the job and internship center available on the site. Professionals post jobs and internships on this site. It is a place where PR students and professionals looking for a job can look at different options all focusing on public relations. Many times, when we go to job fairs there are few jobs strictly pertaining to PR. By using this part of the site, I am able to keep my job and internship searching to PR and do it all from one site. New opportunities are being posted constantly.

Another feature of PR Open Mic that I really like is the chat feature. Through the site, students can chat with other students about projects they may be working on or anything at all. It is a place where students can bounce ideas off of each other while networking.

So, I may not being using PR Open Mic to its full potential yet but I’m getting there. Through the job/internship feature and the chat feature, I am getting more out of PR Open Mic than I have in the past few years. It is something I am going to have to devote time to but I’m getting there.


Podcasts and PR March 8, 2010

Filed under: TOW — hhiggs87 @ 3:34 pm

The first question we must answer is, “What is a podcast?” According to Wikipedia, a podcast is “a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and downloaded through web syndication.” In English, a podcast is simply an audio or video file that you can listen to or watch via the internet. One website described a podcast as nothing more than a blog on a personal level. Podcasts are becoming the alternative to traditional written blogs. Many podcasts can be accessed through ITunes or a podcast directory. Anyone can create a podcast by using websites such as PodOmatic and Hipcast.

The question now is, “What do podcasts have to do with public relation?” The answer is everything. Students can learn from them. Professors can teach using them. Professionals can promote their company through them. Podcasts are a way for students and average people to keep up-to-date on public relations issues. By following PR professionals’ podcasts, students can stay in the know on issues that may affect them after graduation. Many seminars and conferences now are producing a podcast version so those who are unable to attend can still benefit from the information.

Traditional written blogs are transitioning into podcasts. In many areas, people would rather listen to an audio or watch a video rather than sit down and read a blog. If following instructions or steps, audio and video can be more beneficial because they actually show the steps being done rather than just listing them out. I also agree that podcasts are more personal than blogs. It is one thing to read what a person wrote but when you hear their voices or watch them do something; it is as if you are there with them. People always say they want to be heard. Podcasts are the way to make that happen.