Archives for posts with tag: social

I’ll never forget my first manager, Virginia. As a junior PR person, she would take me in her office and make me role-play various media pitches via a fake telephone conversation. There was something humiliating about it. Not to mention it didn’t work.  Still I had to make my way down a long phone list, bugging reporters when they were probably busy writing.

So one day, unbeknown to Virginia,  I ditched the phone for email pitches instead. Wouldn’t you know it, the responses started coming in. I was reaching reporters in a way that they wanted to be reached, on their time. Fast forward ten years and as a PR professional, frustrated with Vocus’ database tool, I decided to use social to research contacts as well as reach out to contacts.

Much like email in 2000, I found that social was a better tool for getting the job done. Here’s why:

  • Social often gives a fuller picture of the journalist. On LinkedIn you can see what jobs they’ve had in the past and where their interests may be. On Twitter you can read their mini bio, often much more reflective of their personality than anything you’d find on the newspaper website. You can also see what topics they’ve been tweeting about – what’s been pressing on their mind.
  • Social also gives you permission to jump into a conversation in a natural way. You can comment on things via Facebook or Twitter that may have nothing to do with your clients, but is more about relationship building.

From a journalist’s perspective social can be a really useful tool as well.

  • Social is great for finding sources.  I recently tweeted about my undying devotion to the Flip camera, and a journalist from the Associated Press found it, set up an interview and the next day my quote was in 100+ papers across the world. Pretty cool. Social allowed the reporter to cut out the middle man in terms of finding a source. As PR professionals, a.k.a professional middlemen, that’s something to think about.
  • Social is good for identifying what people are buzzing about.  It makes sense that a journalist would want to write about a topic that’s important to his/her readers. Again, Twitter is great as it lists Trending Topics. You can also see which topics are popular by looking at social share buttons on a blog or other sites. If a topic has been retweeted or shared on Facebook quite a few times, the public has essentially raised their hands and said they are interested.

As communication tools change so do the way communication professionals interact with one another, and that’s a good thing. I’m pleased to say my days of role-playing and mile long phone lists are long gone. Of course they’ve now been replaced by @’s, hashtags and likes….I wonder what will be next.

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My mother told me I would not be getting a Christmas card in the mail this year.  Despite the fact that they are financially sound she said they were cutting back because of the economy. As if to justify her position, she assured me that many people were cutting back on holiday cards. Which got me thinking, is it the economy or is it the fact that people are becoming so used to sending quick messages to a wide audience via social and mobile, that the thought of hand addressing a card becomes much too tedious?

My husband, for example, wanted to send an evite out for our wedding invitation. I squashed the idea despite the fact it was very tempting. As much as I love the holidays I also semi-dread handwriting the cards. My penmanship isn’t the greatest and I’m constantly searching  for stamps and people’s postal addresses.

Traditional companies like Hallmark, which have recognized online competition for years now, are forced to reinvent themselves. I just saw a commercial where Hallmark has incorporated augmented reality into their cards so you can actually play scenes from the Charlie Brown Christmas Movie by holding the card up to your web cam. Smart, but doesn’t solve the problem of making a trip to the mailbox or getting a hand cramp from writing. And of course, paper card companies also have e-cards, which are old hat now. There’s something acceptable about sending an e-card for a birthday but not as acceptable for the Holidays or for a thank you note. That is a completely imaginary rule I made up, but one which I have lived by in the past nonetheless.

I have no doubt that in time, sending “real” holiday cards will be replaced completely by virtual cards. Yes, it will be slightly sad, but in the end it will allow us more time to shop, bake and spend face-to-face time with our loved ones. So to my Family and Friends, I’ll be updating my Facebook status with a big old Merry Christmas on Dec. 25 and if you’re ready to make that leap,  I invite you to join.

There’s a new dotted line I spotted while using my Kindle the other day. It shows how many people have “highlighted” a certain passage. Perhaps it was a particularly inspirational passage, a nugget to talk about during book club or a clue in a murder mystery plot.

Either way, this highlighted sentence has made reading more social. I now know that 83 people before me found a passage interesting and it gives me cause to rethink and reread.

That’s the thing about going social. Acts that at one time were personal, made in a silo, have immediate context from people around the globe.