photo credit: Wronghands1.wordpress.com
A few days ago, I had to write a letter to my former roommate who is now in the Boot Camp. It never occurred to me that writing a casual letter could so much work, especially given the long disconnect from offline (using a pen and writing pad) to online (social media) communication. We shouldn’t be too quick to equate this online reliance to a downside of social media, but maintaining different social networking platforms can truly weakens interpersonal communication.
Talking about social networking sites, I just found WeChat, a platform I had no prior knowledge about. Similar to Whatsapp on mobile, WeChat provides users with a host of interesting options, ranging from group chat to video calls, and much more. With the ever-growing popularity of these social networking sites, there has been a paradigm shift from what can now be referred to as “vintage media,” to the new media. A look at some of these platforms may help paint a better picture in your mind.
YOUTUBE – A “window to view the world.” The platform is a video sharing website that allows users upload and share videos with others. Long before YouTube, most people learnt about other places and cultures from books, movies, and personal experiences through travels.
FOURSQUARE – A location-based social networking platform. Foursquare, provides users with the opportunity to share location with friends via mobile devices, by way of geo-tags. People using this media can check into places like bars and restaurants, and share their visits.
LINKEDIN – A shift from the traditional business card holders to an online professional profile. LinkedIn is a social networking site mainly used for professional networking. Users can create profiles that showcase their professional skills, and work experiences. Continue reading
photo from: empowernetwork.com
Social media, as you may know is no longer a new concept as many of us probably belong to an online community, sharing and absorbing information. These various social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, RenRen, all provide an opportunity to network with people across broad distances, at any given time. These platforms also provide an opportunity to build new relationships or simply kindle the flames of existing ones.
A host of reasons can be attributed to the use of social media; these may be the ease of information sharing, the ability to reach a wider audience, or simply the speed at which information is shared across various platforms. Whatever the case, most people focus only on the positive aspects, neglecting the disadvantages of these media. Nonetheless, it is worthy of mention that there are also downsides to the use of these social media platforms. Hence the saying “everything that has an advantage also has a disadvantage.”
This is perhaps the biggest challenge on social media. Because most people update their profiles across various platforms with real information of their names, photos, age, date of birth etc., strangers can easily get access to such vital information. This information, especially private photos, can be used to blackmail or demean the personality of such individuals.
I like to refer to spam as “Stop Sending Annoying Messages.” These messages, mostly generic, may contain viruses by hackers. These spam messages are multi-casted to various social networking accounts. A typical example of this is the Twitter account of Justin Bieber which was hacked and his tweets erased.
Photo from: neatorama.com
Change has always been said to be the only constant thing in life. When change comes around, you either accept it or get thrown under the bus. Less than a century ago, who could have imagined Facebook as the largest social networking site, now hosting over 1 billion monthly active users worldwide?
Before the inception of Facebook in 2004, social media, a relatively new phenomenon was unequivocally equated with MySpace. Many early social media elites had a MySpace profile, and it was common to think of MySpace (just like people do of Facebook now) when referring to social media sites or social networking.
Despite the growing popularity of Facebook, I have sometimes wondered if it may someday in the future, just like MySpace, lose its glory and get overtaken by another social networking site. I wonder!
With adoptions made possible by the internet, everything in society has become even more intertwined. Politics and business, computing and robotics, science and nature, all overlap. There is a plethora of mobile apps readily available to check vote ratings, business stocks, news and so much more. With advancements in technology, people can only but imagine what tomorrow’s world holds in 10 years, 20, or even 50 years from now. Thought provoking right? Continue reading
Photo from: ereleases.com
Storytelling is at the heart of every public relations outreach. Be it through informal conversations or formal structures like press releases and news pitches, PR professionals are always trying to tell a story one way or the other. There are a lot of storytelling tips available to help young professionals hone their storytelling techniques; however, the most beneficial approach towards developing this skill is to study materials on storytelling.
After reading Annette Simmons’ The Story Factor, I must confess that I got hipped to the idea that storytelling is a strength that should be cultivated by public relations professionals in order to be successful in the field of practice. One part that resonates from the book is the notion that “facts are boring, banal, and hard to swallow”. To be better expressed, they have to be clothed in stories. This can be likened to a rose flower, with facts as thorns and stories as the petals. Standing alone, the thorns are meaningless, but with the petals, it becomes a symbol for the expression of meaning (love, friendship, affection… the list goes on).
The concept of storytelling in PR is probably not a new one. Elements of this can be traced back to the times of Edward Bernays, and his famous women’s cigarette smoking campaign in 1920s. Up until the time of the campaign, women were not allowed to smoke in public places. Bernays, however helped the Tobacco Company tell its story by showcasing models holding lit Lucky Strike cigarettes – “Torches of Freedom” – during the 1929 Easter parade in New York City. This revolutionized the tobacco industry. Continue reading
Photo from Mashable.com
I have been privileged to converse with people who know little or nothing about what public relations is all about. Some of these people confused PR with other disciplines like advertising or marketing, others totally misunderstood what it was all about.
So that we are on the same page, let me reiterate that public relations is all about building mutually beneficial relationships between and organizations and its publics. Although there are different models of public relations practice, in other to be successful in the field, there are applicable rules. These tenets may easily be referred to as the commandments of public relations.
Know your subject.
This concept embraces a bi-dimensional approach. On the one hand, practitioners should understand the intricacies of their trade – public relations; strong writing skills, social media application, excellent communication skills, a readiness to embrace change, are but a few. Conversely, a practitioner should understand his/her client’s needs in detail, taking into account their history, mission, goals, and objectives. Every public relations outreach must first begin with research.
Appeal to keen senses
Yes! Public relations practitioners are professionals too. As such, it is important to understand that the way you dress is how you will be addressed, because looking good is good business. PR is all about suave impressions, and the ability to not only build credible relationships, but also maintain them. PR practitioners must dress and speak professionally.
Credibility guides ego, remember that
Credibility is the essence of public relation practice. It is the quality of inspiring belief; this should be held in high standards. Because of the general notion that PR is evil, credibility is all the more needed to guide practice. Practitioners should strive to put integrity far above personal gains. It is only through credibility that reputation is built. Self-worth must be anchored around reliability. Continue reading
Undoubtedly the Internet has risen to become a part of our very existence. We live it, breathe it and even feel the impact it has on us either directly or indirectly. The web – made possible through the internet – has become a platform for the exchange of genuine conversations, providing individuals with tools for expressing personal thoughts. This ability to connect with people has been made even more evident through Social Media. People like myself, are now able to connect with others over a span of space; but probably not with Amish people though, who view technology as vile. Because of how easy it is to communicate and share information, a new form of information “mavens” known as Citizen Journalists have emerged over the years.
Citizen Journalism – also known as public, participatory, democratic, guerrilla or street journalism – unlike traditional journalism which involves trained, skilled or professional journalists, is the ability for people (anyone) to exchange ideas and share information deemed important or news-worthy. Unlike traditional journalism where reporters with “gadgets” generally gathered information and controlled what was fed to the media, this form of unconventional journalism is made possible through the use of any device, mostly one with a camera. IPads, mobile phones, IPods, laptops, are but a few of such tools. Continue reading
image from YNaija.com
Many may agree that it takes not only courage, but also determination for a person to leave his country of origin, fly for more than 4000 miles, solely in the quest for knowledge and self-development. Coming from Nigeria, a country in West Africa, with totally diverging cultural and societal values, it was interesting to be adopted into a new society, learning a foreign way of life.
Many noticeable differences exist between such complex societies as Nigeria and the United States, most of which are hinged on culture, language, food, and lifestyle.
Culture, which is simply the social make-up of any society, plays a pivotal role in shaping behavior. It is natural to experience a “culture shock” when introduced to a new culture. A typical example of culture shock in America for me was having to show an ID before buying alcohol at a liquor store. Ha! This is not to say that Nigeria is a lawless society, but unlike the atomistic culture of the American society, the web of interaction and social bond is much tighter. This serves as a sort of “safety valve” that checks behavior.
It is imperative to state that Nigeria has over 250 different tribes, each speaking its own unique language, but that not the direction of the gist. Although the educational curriculum is in English, there are still some hilarious differences between American and Nigerian English. It’s not strange to hear people in America ask questions like “are you mad?” when they think you are upset, or “you are so silly,” when they feel like you are being comical. These remarks in Nigeria are deemed insulting and will probably be met with a frown. This difference in language is perhaps incumbent on the fact that English remains a second language over there. Continue reading