Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Coaching for Careers

Especially toward the end, one of the things most looked forward to with graduation is the fact that for the most part, your evenings will be your evenings and your weekends will be your weekends. There's no longer a little voice in the back of your head reminding you of that assignment that's due, or that you could be studying for an upcoming midterm. I was definitely looking forward to this, but when it actually came I found it kind of odd and didn't really know what to do with myself. After all those years of having homework and events and meetings-- I felt like I needed to be doing something. I've told myself I will regret it if I start booking myself every evening of the week, but I wanted to find some sort of extracurricular activity to fill some of my newfound free time. I finally decided since I have extra time to give, I should think about volunteering, and found the Career Clinic and Career Network at the Vineyard Community Center. This sounded perfect because I had taken a preparatory course in writing and learning, and worked in the Ohio State Mansfield writing center as a consultant, so I had experience in resume and cover letter writing. Not to mention I've been on the job hunt myself for months, so I'm fairly well-acquainted with the conventional process, and have been exploring other means as well such as using social media. After speaking with the coordinator I realized that this was a great fit-- not only did they need career coaches for the clinic, but they also were having issues with awareness and were needing assistance with promotion. I came up with some ideas involving social media, and a couple involving events to raise awareness among the Vineyard community as well as the outside community.

This conversation and the early implementation stage has really brought to light for me the impact social media can have. Yes, I realized before how influential it can be, and how helpful it can be in promoting a business, event, campaign, or individual; what I didn't really see was how powerful it could be when being used to help people with something such as obtaining jobs. The unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, and so many people are needing assistance right now. Finding a job is difficult enough, and not having a solid resume and cover letter, or not knowing how to carry yourself in an interview only adds to the stress and decreases the likelihood of securing a position. The Career Clinic is a great resource and can really help people get their materials in order and become familiar with the application and interview process.

Not only is social media a great help to the clinic in trying to promote the services it offers, but it also can be an incredibly useful tool to job-seekers. Online presence increases exposure, and is one of the fastest ways to network with people. Also, LinkedIn allows you to display your resume online, network with people you know and people they know, and also allows employers to research you. Additionally, it can be used as a preparatory tool prior to an interview. You can use it to research the company you are applying to, the person you would be working directly for, or the hiring manager you will be meeting with. You can also use it to introduce yourself to the hiring manager when you are applying for a position so that your name resonates with the hiring manager more than other applicants. The job search on LinkedIn is a great place to look for open positions, and the results are taylored to your profile and network.

Though we're still in the early stages of implementing new marketing techniques for Vineyard Columbus Career Network and Career Clinic,  I'm interested to see the growth that takes place. The goal is to continuously increase awareness in order to boost attendance, and to improve the success rate of those who are using the Vineyard resources. These resources are available to anyone, and we hope to branch out deeper into the community as well as the church.

If you or someone you know is currently searching for a job, check out VCCN on:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Attain a Position, or Create a Position?

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately on non-traditional jobs and entrepreneurship, partly because of articles I've come across recently, and mainly because of my ongoing job hunt. After reading articles like this one: This 21-Year-Old Just Sold Her Startup for $100 Million, it makes me wonder, could I go the entrepreneurial route? It's risky, it's a long shot, and it may not pay off, but I think everyone should at least try it at some point in their lives. Why not now? I really don't have anything to lose while I'm still looking, and what if it did take off? Almost every communications-related role model I have is someone who started their own successful business. Something about building a passion from the ground up into a viable business or organization is amazing to me and would be unbelievably satisfying. This is becoming more an more common among college grads given the current state of the job market and the forward-thinking nature of our generation.

This thought process started with things I like to do, strengths I have, experience I have, and also what the needs of businesses and organizations are. At first I thought about being a go-to for businesses or organizations to contract out to for social media assistance. I love doing social media campaigns, and thoroughly enjoy conducting research and planning to find how to best utilize social media for the goal and audience of the client. This is something I have experience in as well. However, I also really enjoy writing and editing. I minored in English, worked in the campus writing center, and am currently the writer/editor for the OSU College of Dentistry. Additionally, I enjoy non-traditional marketing, market research, and event planning. Combining all of these passions into the above mentioned contractor-type position ends up sounding a lot like cramming an advertising or PR agency into one individual person. The difference I think, is cost, which would be a lot lower than hiring an agency to step in, and also the amount of and type of attention each client received. Obviously the volume would have to be fairly low unless others were eventually brought on, but it would be more spontaneous and wouldn't have to be for any set amount of time. I guess it could also be compared to a freelance or contributor type position, but with more research involved, with more specification from the requester, and with a wider variety of services.

So the real question is, would anyone be interested in hiring a freelance/contributor/social media manager/consultant? When someone realizes they really need an extra person to help with an upcoming event, but doesn't have enough time to hire an intern and can't find a volunteer; when someone has 12 writing assignment requests and only enough time to finish nine of them; when a business has heard social media can boost sales and engage their audience but they don't know where to start and can't afford to hire another employee... I can think of several businesses and organizations off the top of my head that could definitely utilize it because they are either just getting off the ground and don't have the funds to hire someone full time for these tasks yet, or are established but need extra help in a particular area without having to create a new position.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


It's been a month since graduation and though I'm currently holding a full-time temp position that I am really enjoying, nothing is secure as of yet, so I've been continuing to look. Other than screening the typical job sites like Career Builder, (which I feel at little more than a shot in the dark), I really have been reaching out to my personal and professional networks to see if I could make any progress by establishing connections that way. I've had a few leads so I would definitely recommend that method to any recent grads who are still on the prowl. It's always better to have a mutual contact to use as reference, to introduce you, or to connect you on LinkedIn. I'm interested to know how my fellow Communication graduates are fairing. I've heard from several young professionals that it took 6 months or longer in recent years to find a job, and many of them grew frustrated and took post-grad internships. I'm not opposed to this as I feel it is a great opportunity to grow and learn in the profession you're in, and also enables you to remain in practice and keep an updated portfolio for future interviews.

It's amazing how much you learn once your out of school and no longer juggling classes and homework, a job and student organizations, events and fundraisers; now rather than practicing what I'm studying for a few hours per day while at my internship, I'm doing what I went to school for 40 hours per week and loving every minute of it. I'm studying social media campaigns and university marketing techniques, writing press releases and news articles, managing social media-- all the things I liked to do before but was constrained time-wise because of school. Though I don't know what the future holds and have no idea where I'll be in a year or even in the next few months, I needed a job like this to confirm the fact that I chose the right educational path for me, and to ensure no mater where I'm headed, I will enjoy what I'm doing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Buckeye to B.A.

I can't take it anymore! I'm blogging. Since May 20 I've been feeling a ping in the back of my head reminding me that it is social media malpractice to skip more than a week of posting. Well it's been a month so shame on me. I went from studying for finals and writing papers to taking finals, then jumped right into celebrating my last days as a Buckeye with friends and classmates. Graduation weekend flew by with rehearsal and a three-hour ceremony, a trip to Lake Erie, and finally I came back for my last two days at my old job. I took the first step into post-grad life on Thursday when I was hired on as the writer/editor for the marketing and communications department of the Ohio State University College of Dentistry. So, no excuses, but this resulted in zero blogging.

Graduation was absolute chaos. The whole morning was a big rush, and once my family was there and my boyfriend Dan was ready to take pictures, my jaw dropped. My tassel was not on my cap and I had absolutely no idea where it would be. Mind you this is 15 minutes before I had to be in line. Trying my best not to hyperventilate (it's only one of the symbols of graduation) I tried to come up with a quick plan (this mainly consisted of me fanning myself-- I overreact slightly) but realized I now had only 10 minutes to get in line about three blocks away. Dan and my dad jumped into the car and took off while I ran for the French Field House where everyone was already lining up. I looked around trying to find someone else without a tassel and was unsuccessful.

Dan had been texting me and calling me with updates on the tassel situation, and during one of these phone calls I zipped up my gown, which promptly split down the middle. You have got to be kidding me. Promising safety pins and a tassel he got off the phone. I'm trying not to cry because it's already an emotional day with my family in town and graduating from college. I sniffle as we walk toward the stadium, sure I was going to walk across the field with a gown split up the middle and no tassel. They most certainly withhold your degree if you're in that bad of shape, right?

Just before we walked in to the stadium Dan comes running at the stadium with a tassel in hand, attaches it to my cap, and says, "Don't freak out, they didn't have safety pins..." He whips out a pile of paper clips (yes, paper clips) and starts shoving them through both sides of the zipper and twists each in place. Meanwhile my dad is standing up on a ledge laughing at the scene and shaking his head. As if I wasn't a mess as it was, before heading in to find a seat my dad gives me a hug and says, "Hey don't worry about it, you'll be fine. We are so proud of you." So I start tearing up one last time before I walk in. Luckily that was the end of the excitement-- everything else went smoothly and it felt amazing to walk across the field of the Shoe to receive my Bachelor of Arts degree.

The job search is proving more difficult than I thought. Openings are few and far between, and interviews are even fewer. Luckily I have a temp job that I'm enjoying and will have until fall, so I have an extended period of time. I've reached out to many people in my personal network, and taking the advice of an old co-worker, I'm being more direct and utilizing all the resources I can. I'm submitting resumes and asking for informational interviews where there are no current openings, am asking my friends, family and mentors to keep an eye out for me, and am exploring my LinkedIn network to check for connections to companies which are hiring. Hopefully this route proves successful by fall, and I will have a full-time job. For now I am building my portfolio and am happy with my job as a writer/editor for the College of Dentistry. I've been working on interesting stories and have a folder full of things to write about and work on. I'm mainly writing and editing for the homepage and e-newsletter, will be working on the annual magazine, submit press releases to local media and have random side projects along the way.

Especially for all of my fellow recent-graduates and for those of you graduating in the near future, I'll keep posting my status on the job search process.

Friday, May 20, 2011


22 days to graduation. Mr. Anxiety is creeping in like a plague. At first he would just kind of poke me every now and then, then at two months out he would randomly punch me. Now I'm being attacked daily. I tried to tell him to go away and he responded with, "Get a job loser."

I might be a complete nerd, but I actually have a working spreadsheet in Google Docs of every job I've applied to, when I applied, when the application deadline is, and if the employer has responded yet. The list is growing daily which makes me feel productive on one hand, and like I'm shooting aimlessly in the dark on the other. I do feel much better every time I add another line to the list-- it's the only thing that makes my daily beating subside a little.

Although stress is running extremely high right now, I know everything will turn out even if it's not within my ideal time frame. And I cannot wait until I'm finally there! All anxiety aside I am seriously excited to graduate and love the prospect of going out into the real world and doing what I enjoy most. There are so many things I would like to do; I'm curious to see where I end up. It could be public relations, marketing, social media, event planning, writing, or something I don't even expect. I keep visualizing myself starting my new job and looking back at the months I was freaking out and thinking, that was such a small span of time compared to the big picture, and it all turned out to be okay. It may be a couple of weeks, a month, or even a few months after graduation, but I will continue working hard so I will get to where I want to be. The emotional roller coaster that comes with the coming weeks will only make beginning my career that much sweeter.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Just Facebook Me"

In my Communication Industry Research Methods course we're working on an assignment on quantitative research design. We are to work in small groups to explore survey and sampling methods using a research question relevant to OSU students' social media use. Our group has decided to look at the correlation between a student's time spent utilizing social media and time spent on face-to-face interaction. We are hypothesizing that as social media time increases, face-to-face time will decrease. We have created a 20-question survey using Zoomerang that will be sent out to OSU students via Facebook or email.

Many of the questions are obvious ones regarding hours spent per week using social media and having face-to-face interaction with friends, and the same question for weekends. We also asked if students have ever created a friendship/relationship via Facebook, if they've used social media to collaborate on group projects instead of meeting in person, and what mode of communication they use to communicate with friends (email, phone call, text message or social media).
Once all of the responses are in (20-40 students) we will analyze the data to determine the descriptive results, such as frequency and percentage, and also will report the correlation or inference statistics if applicable.

So how does this affect social interaction, particularly that of Gen Y? Personally I know I put off visits to friends who are not in Columbus much longer than I would if I did not have access to them via social media. We keep in touch fairly regularly on Facebook, so there's no fear of losing contact. Because I came into social media during my senior year of high school, I'm not sure how contact with friends may have changed or ceased when I moved away for college had I not used it. However, looking at my parents (part of Gen X) I see that they lost contact with nearly all people from their high school save for a select few. For Gen X it is a unique situation though, because through watching their children and other gen-Yers utilize social media to keep in touch with people, many of them have started to create social media accounts. So though they lost contact because of a lack of social media, they are now reconnected with old friends and acquaintences. After my mom had me log onto my Facebook on several occasions so she could try to find people to see what they were up to, I created an account for her so she could reconnect with people and actually interact with them. While updates on classmates and family members previously has been held to class reunions and family gatherings, gen-Xers are now finding this can be done online in a more impersonal but easy way.

I think gen-Yers see social media in a different and generally more positive way than gen-Xers because we grew up with it and are used to the way it works. Does this go beyond the regular interaction we have with friends and even bleed into class reunion attendance? For me, I don't think attending my 5 year reunion is necessary because I still see all the people I want to see, and for anyone I've missed I can always contact them via Facebook. I know what most of the people I graduated with are doing because keeping up is as easy as reading my news feed. Did more gen-Xers attend their 5 year reunion than gen-Yers? What about 10 year reunions?
Social media also creates a mode of communication that is easier and less intimidating for more superficial relationships. Though it may reduce face-to-face interaction in deeper relationships which is widely viewed as negative, it increases interaction in brief acquantences and networking. There are people I may have never interacted with that I can follow, correspond and network with, and establish connections to via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Cbusr and other sites. I would never ask an industry expert, speaker, or well known person for their phone number, but I can find them on LinkedIn and establish a connection with them. This is a great way to re-introduce yourself, thank someone, or even just to create name recognition for yourself. I think professional use of social media is an invaluable tool for college students to take advantage of during school to establish a substantial network that can be drawn upon when it comes time to search for a job. It also allows individuals to create a personal brand for themselves so they are more than a resume and cover letter when going into an interview.

I'll post my group's findings once we've conducted our survey and anaylze the results. I definitely think there will be a correlation between time spent utilizing social media and time spent on face-to-face interaction, and am interested to see how much of a difference there is.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Inside My Head: Pet Peeves and Little Things I Love

Things that make me cringe:
  • Spit
  • Soaking wet bath mats (I know it's weird)
  • People jiggling their leg/desk
  • Gum being chomped on
  • People texting in the middle of a conversation
  • Love-professing/spiteful Facebook statuses
  • Misuse of their and there; too, two and too; less and fewer; good and well (What? I'm a Comm major and an English minor.)
  • Shuffling feet (especially in Uggs)
  • Incessantly flushing toilets
  • People talking on their cell phones in a public bathroom stall
  • When people put the roll of toilet paper on backwards
  • This 5 Hour Energy Commercial
  • Using eating utensils like a shovel

Things that make me smile:
  • City skylines
  • Friendly people
  • Perky employees
  • A good photograph
  • A random sweet note, text or post
  • Sunny days
  • My boyfriend's dimples
  • Spur of the moment adventures
  • Seeing a friend I haven't seen in a while
  • A big hug
  • The perfect quote
  • A burst of energy during a run
  • Going to sleep during a storm
  • Elderly people waving at every car that goes by from their porch or mailbox
  • Getting an A on an assignment
  • Grandparents signing their name after a Facebook post
  • Being sang to
  • Decorating the Christmas tree to the Rat Pack or Bing Crosby
  • Walks around town
  • Ice cream cones
  • Old fashion shops, decor, objects and accessories
  • A really good meal
  • A dance in the living room
  • Sun tea
  • Throwing the helicopter seeds from Oak trees up in the air
  • Making black raspberry pie from scratch
  • Family picnics
  • Waking up thinking I need to go to work and realizing it's the weekend
  • A pretty sunrise/sunset
  • A new journal
  • Campfires & making s'mores
  • Fascinating architecture and interior design

I'm sure there are more. I'll edit as they come up. :) Please feel free to add your own to comments!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Imprezing Employers

My boyfriend was at a tech startup conference the other day where he learned of Prezi, "the zooming presentation editor". I watched some of the sample presentations on the website and I've been playing around with it for days now. This is a great way to spice up any kind of presentation whether it be for school or business, and it's great for unconventional portfolios and resumes as well. I'm currently working on creating a combination resume/portfolio in hopes of standing out from the crowd when applying to jobs. Graduation is five and a half weeks (WEEKS!) away so I've been racking my brain for creative ways to enter the competitive race for employment. Being a communication major looking for a career in public relations, marketing, event planning, or a related field, I though using a new and creative avenue would be appropriate.

This is a great tool for sales pitches for businesses. I'm sure clients see paper and PowerPoint pitches constantly, so seeing something fresh and eye-catching would be a relief. It also discourages those who tend to be text-happy with their presentations, because it's really all about the graphics and short snippets of information. Videos may be embedded as well. Check it out and see what you can do for upcoming presentations, applications and pitches. Here's an example of one that explains how to convert an existing PowerPoint presentation into Prezi: Turn a PowerPoint to Prezi. Enjoy!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Not Failure, Opportunity

A great deal of Easter weekend was devoted to the application for 10X, a competition through ONE Fund offering money and mentoring to tech startups. The Metropreneur explains the competition in more detail. The project team matched the set of criteria and could answer all of the questions thoroughly, so this seemed like the defining moment that was going to kick start the business. Not only did the ten chosen teams receive $20,000 in funding and a summer full of mentoring and aid from professionals, but they also had the chance to be placed in front of a panel of angel investors at the end of the summer. This was it-- this is what the team had been waiting for to really get the ball rolling. Everyone read the questions multiple times and had several brainstorming sessions before finally tackling every single question and getting the answers (in 125 words or less) to be concise and meaningful. This went on for about seven hours on Saturday and for another five hours on Sunday. Everyone was trying to get inside the heads of the judges and the mission of the competition to answer to the best of their abilities. After thorough editing the final submission went through with about half an hour to spare.

And so we wait...

The answer came through surprising soon. Less than four days after the submission the rejection letter came explaining the competitiveness of the competition-- of the 120 worldwide submissions just 25 were chosen. Luckily even to those not chosen advice is offered by the local experts, so the team is waiting to hear back from them to see what they need to improve or change. This was a major disappointment and blow to the team's steam, but everyone is trying to look at it as an opportunity. This apparently isn't the road the business is meant to take, and another one with come that better fits its needs and goals. It is extremely disheartening to put your heart and soul into something you're really passionate about only to be rejected, but it's no reason to quit or even slow down. Will it be a harder and longer road? Yes, but this gives the company a chance to regroup, find out what needs to be done, and find the opportunity that will lead to success.

While the engineers are working to improve the prototype and prepare for alpha testing, those on the business side are continuing to crunch numbers to prove the product is definitely a great investment. Also, we've created a spreadsheet to compile a running list of any personal contacts, educators, local experts, mentors and investors we can think of so we can get as much advice and guidance as possible. Though the 10X program would have been a huge asset, we're doing the best we can to attain some of the benefits of the program ourselves. We're continuing to look for networking and funding opportunities for tech startups to get the business of the ground.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Commencing Countdown

There haven't been many updates on the project lately other than the usual fine-tuning continuously being done on the hardware and software. There's now a team working on the software which should help somewhat distribute the workload. There was a meeting with a family friend who has invested in and aided startup businesses before, which boosted the confidence of those working on the project. It was great news for them to hear from someone who'd gone through similar endeavors that their product is marketable and the cost of start up and production is reasonable. The next step is to work out the kinks before sitting down with a patent lawyer. I haven't been working on it much lately either, but I've laid out a rough PR plan and definitely have some ideas for getting feedback before going to market as well as getting the company's name out there. I'm currently taking a communication research methods course which is giving me a lot of ideas for surveys relating to the company and the product to be distributed to upper level personnel within the industry.

Although there haven't been any major updates on this, another reason I haven't been working on side projects much lately is because I'm graduating in two months. Two. I'm trying to remain calm but wow-- I always imagined the end of my senior year as being totally laid back and fun, mainly used just for creating memories. I am so much more stressed than I was at this time last year. And so, the pressure is on and all free time must now be spent submitting applications to potential employers, and the eye strain begins from scouring the Arts and Sciences Career Services site, the PRSA job board and others. Once I've submitted applications for every job I could possible qualify for, I guess all I can do is cross my fingers and pray. Having a job lined up before the day I graduate will make the walk that much sweeter. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I'm fairly new to the PR campaign as a college student and so far have really only been presented with "Hey, here's our brand and our message, can you do this?" or "Well we branded ourselves like this and have been using this message, but aren't getting the results we wanted. We need help re-branding and developing a new message." So, as I'm helping come up with ideas for a PR campaign for this startup company, I feel as though I'm "preveloping". There is no brand, there is no message-- only an idea and a product. I think this is why I'm so interested in this venture because I've never had the opportunity to see a company actually be created. It's been really intriguing to listen to all those involved talk about the product, the business plan, the patenting process, etc. It makes me want to nerd out and research best PR practices for up and coming businesses, particularly in relation to social media and crowdsourcing. Wanting to learn everything I can about social media, I went to Barnes & Noble last night and bought Social Media Marketing For Dummies. I love it! It has everything you could possibly want to know about social media sites, liking multiple sites, how to utilize them for personal and/or business use, and explains all the ins and outs of functions I haven't nailed down yet. I can't wait until I have time to actually go through all of it. Helping to lay out a PR campaign plan for the product launch is going to be interesting and will definitely be a learning experience. Just from reading articles under the "startups" tab on Mashable and I've gotten a ton of ideas to pitch that will hopefully help make this a successful campaign.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Talking Logos

Now that the group has temporarily decided on a name, coming up with company logo concepts is next on the list. First they talked about what they wanted the logo to represent, what style they wanted to go with, and how complicated/simple they wanted it to be. They determined simple would be best, and we all started coming up with sketches of ideas. We tried different fonts, played with capitalization and color, and tried to come up with simple graphics to embody the concept of the product. We started doing research as well not only to find inspiration, but also to see what other notable companies have done and how they have evolved in recent years.  Simply Googling "technology company logos" was helpful in seeing what types of graphics and fonts other companies in the industry are using, and an article on the evolution of 20 corporate logos was a great place to see what format popular logos are going toward. After the group gets together to discuss the sketches everyone has come up with and decides what they like or don't like and want and don't want, I can send all of their information to my friend who's a great graphic designer. This way they can narrow down their ideas first, and then the designer can come up with a few designs that meet the criteria they come up with. Once the name and logo come together, the company will be looking less like a concept and more like an actual business.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Lately I've been trying to help my boyfriend come up with a name for the startup company he and a few of his family members are involved in. It's coming to the point where "the project" just isn't cutting it anymore, and they want to make it seem a little more tangible with an actual name. Okay, I'm a PR person, no big deal, right? I've come up with campaign names and concepts, team names and event names so it should just take a little brainstorming. Wow-- it is an entirely different story when you dive into something that is outside of your comfort zone, and for me computer hardware and programming is exactly that. I definitely had to be creative and get a little help from web articles and a thesaurus. Some articles I found really helpful were: How to Pick a Company Name: Tips From the Trenches and 10 Company Name Types on TechCrunch: Pros and Cons. From this I decided the best way to go about it would be to first generate a list of words. Next I took longer words and broke them into two pieces so I could see if two split words would go together, or if part of one word would fit with another whole word. This way I could include multiple concepts the group wanted in the name while also creating unique names that are not already in use. This was a lengthy process and out of a fairly long list I found through Google searching that about 75 percent were already in use. As frustrating as this was it forced me to get more creative and more specific to this group's ideas and product. After coming up with another lengthy list I weeded out the ones I wasn't happy with, pulled the couple that stuck out to me, and added a few I wasn't sure about to share with the group. The next step is to put all of our brainstorms together, cut it down to a manageable number of names, and then create a survey to get thoughts from potential clients. This will help ensure that the name of the company will be as effective and client-friendly as the product it represents.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blog Stalk

Assignment: Blog Review

Review five or more blogs from the list provided and write about two or three of the blogs you reviewed.

After visiting several blogs on the list provided, I decided to really take a look at three: Mashable, AdFreak and Fahlgren Mortine, all of which stood out to me and caught my interest. The commonalities I found among the three were things like simple design, user-friendly content, applicable information, catchy titles and subtitles, and a particularly conversational tone. This was one of the major weaknesses I found in some of the other blogs I visited; they didn't seem to quite get the idea of a blog and what it's used for. I understand a blogger may have a more targeted audience, but if I want to read a plain-Jane business article I'll go to the paper or the company's annual report. I'm going to a blog to take a break from traditional, straight-forward and professional writing and am looking to have a more relaxing yet still informative reading experience. A few of the blogs I did not choose to look further into also lacked graphics, unique topics and an aesthetically pleasing design.

I particularly liked the information found in the said chosen blogs because they are either applicable to me and my career or they were about something that sucked me in enough that I had to read it. I feel a blog post has definitely succeeded with me as a reader if I feel the need to re-tweet it, and particularly with Mashable, I did. I was actually familiar with Mashable prior to this assignment and find myself on it frequently while searching for social media tips and other bits of advice, and I've actually re-tweeted something I've stumbled on almost every time I visit. I was immediately attracted to AdFreak as I have always been intrigued by the world of advertising and find myself analyzing ads while watching TV, trying to figure out how the idea came to someone, what message the company was going for and how it relates to their overall brand experience, and who the message was targeted toward. Being a Strategic Communication major I'm sure I'm abnormally interested in ads, but either way the content on AdFreak is informative and entertaining and the blog is a great place to find noteworthy ads I may have missed. Fahlgren Mortine's blog doesn't seem to be on quite as grand of a scale as the other two, but the content again was pertinent to me and not too stuffy. They offer great advice to PR professionals, interns and students, and the titles really make readers stop and at least read the first few lines. I also liked that an image was paired with each post so that a simple design was maintained while also having some element of visual interest.

I think while at first glance one might write these blogs off as only being significant to PR, marketing and advertising professionals, they are actually pertainable and appealing to a much broader audience. For
example, one of the instances when I was searching for something and landed on Mashable, I was helping out a friend who is trying to increase sales at his family's hotels in a small town where most of the hotels are within the same radius of points of interest and are all at about the same price point. Mashable had great tips on utilizing social media to make a small business grow, and also had a fantastic article on a small hotel that broke through the clutter of New York City to become a hotel known
for social media. This shows that blogs like this can be of service not only to those in marketing-related fields, but also to businessmen and women and anyone looking for advice on improving sales, a brand, an event or a message. Even if one is only looking for entertainment, I know many people who are interesting in advertising and marketing topics who are in fairly unrelated fields. 

The contributors on Fahlgren Mortine, AdFreak and Mashable are all employees of their respective companies, but with Fahlgren it's a bit different because "employee" means they have an entirely different set of responsibilities outside of the blog as vice presidents and senior counselors of the advertising agency. Those who work for AdWeek and Mashable are writers and though they do things with other sites through their companies, they are primarily editors and writers.

Though I got a little more personality and fun from the contributors of Mashable and AdFreak, those of Fahlgren Mortine still did a nice job of keeping things light and conversational. This makes sense as Mashable and AdFreak are devoted to blogging and other media-based tasks, and Fahlgren is an agency that has a reputation aside from and greater than its blog. The bloggers of all three are apparently well informed and well-versed in the topics they write about.

I would visit all three of these blogs again. Though I am most likely to continue to revisit Mashable as I have already done so, I feel AdFreak is entertaining and would help me keep tabs on what's going on in the realm of advertising, and Fahlgren holds useful information in the industry I'm pursuing, and it comes from current public relations and advertising specialists.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Thinking About Twitter from a Personal & Professional Standpoint

Assignment: A Week of Twitter

For this assignment your job is to evaluate and participate in the Twitter-verse. At the end of the week, you will blog about the experience.

Follow at least 10 accounts in each: media, local business, local people/events/information & marketing/PR resources.

Prior to this assignment I had already been active on Twitter, and though I sometimes use it for personal use, I mainly use it as a professional and keep that in mind when posting Tweets. I was actually reluctant to use Twitter, but was asked to create an account last year when I joined the Ohio State public relations Firm, The PRactice, and have found it interesting. It's a really unique tool and it's amazing how quickly you get information on a wide variety of topics. I think it's particularly helpful for communication professionals because it's basically free marketing that's fairly effective and easy to use when put into practice properly.

Twitter can also be of value for individuals whether they are using it personally or professionally. This is a way to brand yourself and really let your personality and/or skills shine to whomever you choose too share your account with. Unlike a profile page or resume, this shows your interests and activity on a regular basis and is constantly providing your viewers with new and current information. It's also a great way to encourage feedback, advice and questions.

From the list we were asked to follow, I took interest in the way news personalities like @Kurt10TV communicate news in a more personal way. It's more like a friend is telling me about something they heard about than a TV station broadcasting a story. He is more relatable than the station itself. However, I am amazed at the responsiveness and frequency of Tweets by TV stations, and have actually used this to get more timely updates when I'm stuck in traffic for example.

When comparing businesses and individuals I found that although businesses don't mainly tweet to promote themselves and are fairly good about Tweeting a variety of topics, it still seemed as though individuals have more freedom with what they are Tweeting about and have less of an agenda. It makes sense that an individual would have more of a personality than a business, even via Twitter. I would say that media would fall under both individuals and media depending on whether it was the outlet itself or a personality from an outlet.

I find Twitter to be an incredibly useful tool from a professional individual standpoint, and also as someone going into the field of communication. This can be used to brand yourself, your business, a company, organization or event for free. It's a great way to raise awareness among followers and can be helpful in distributing information and news. There are many ways to use Twitter, but no matter how it is utilized, it can be a great marketing agent.

I would recommend following Mashable because it is one of the Kings of social media and always offers great tips and articles. I also recommend @RShotel because this hotel used social media to break through the hotel clutter in NYC and is a great example of successful social media marketing. News sources are great to follow because they send out news at lightning speed via Twitter, and also any local businesses and organizations are nice to keep tabs on because they are always Tweeting about contests, happy hours, specials and more sweet deals that shouldn't be missed out on.

I am definitely going to continue using Twitter, and will work to stay current on new and improved ways to use it effectively for personal and professional branding.