Category Archives: PR

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet?

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Last Thursday I went to a really fantastic conference, Bright One’s Impress London.  And I’m not just saying that because I was a speaker.  Aimed at students and graduates looking to get into a career in PR.  There was a fabulous line up of speakers.

The strongest message of the day, repeated by every single speaker was “when we recruit grads, we expect them to be savvy in social media.”

And so, I was quite surprised that so few of the attendees tweeted during the event.  During his introduction, Ben Matthews told the audience that the hashtag for the day was #impress.

A few people got the hang of it, and very quickly I could form a view of who they were by viewing their Twitter profiles.  By the afternoon session on social media with Stephen Davies, Chris Reed and Rob Dyson I had give up tweeting on my BlackBerry and was brazenly tweeting on my netbook – in the front row.

On Friday, I mentioned on Twitter that I felt quite rude tapping away when others were speaking – which sparked a bit of debate.

When asked if they were bothered by people tweeting when they spoke the response from the speakers was unanimous – no one minded.

Nicola Jones:  “if anything I advocate it, it’s cool to hear what people agree with /don't agree with about what you are saying”.

Stefan Stern: “You can't beat feedback in real time.”

Jaz Cummins: “Agreed, instant feedback is fab. I think tweeters will like it more than non-tweeters though.”

Rob Hinchcliffe:  “not at all, enhances things I think.”

RobmDyson:  Good to tweet for others not present. I'm an advocate as I know how useful & transparent it can be to follow remotely. & spreads awareness / PR of speakers ;)  I'm v used to tweeting at confs. & it means I can 'virtually attend' confs outside England like #begoodbesocial 😉

 

And Stephen Davies raised an interesting point, he encourages tweeting at conferences but added that he  “Can understand why [people may be uncomfortable tweeting]. In non geek circles people are told to switch of their phones before a conference starts.”

But despite the acceptance of the practice among the speakers, some of the attendees had obviously felt uncomfortable about it. 

Carly Ann Smith, a student at Lincoln, said she felt slightly rude if she went on her phone and Rhian Burrell-Joseph commented she thought it was rude to tweet when someone’s talking to you and it would be helpful if the etiquette of what to do in that situation was more established.  And that seems to be at the crux of the issue, some students are not encouraged to tweet at University, so aren’t comfortable doing it outside of lectures. Amy Brunsdon, a student at the University of Gloucestershire, commented that it was nice to be able to tweet throughout as it’s frowned upon in her lectures and J’ara Ami  agreed “I think it was so cool that we were encouraged to tweet at #impress!  It’s all well learning social media but it’s another to engage.

 

Given that graduates are so strongly encouraged by industry professionals to be active on social networks in order to be employable, surely banning Twitter in lectures is short-sighted? David Phillips agrees.  He encourages students to tweet both in lectures and beyond.

Richard Bailey takes a different approach.  Email and Facebook are banned in lectures and so it’s easiest to ban social media tools across the board, including Twitter.

Phillip Young, lecturer at Sunderland University says tweeting has its place and it is important for academics to encourage social media engagement,   “Sunderland was one of the first universities in the UK to incorporate teaching social media into its PR programme and I know from many practitioners and graduates that this knowledge did and still does help them get jobs and, more importantly, make a real contribution from the day they start work.

 I think it is very difficult indeed to separate social media theory from practice! Also, there is quite a difference from being an enthusiastic personal user of Facebook and running a PR campaign with a social media dimension. Understading how you and your friends use social media to find out about the world can give very useful insights but building a strategic campaign that eets specific objective is  rather different, and making the linkages is should be part of any PR degree. (If the students could do it thelmselves why bother going to university!)

 It is my belief that today all PR is online PR. It is no longer a specialism but an integral part of any lecture, and lecturers and  academics who don't appreciate this need to think carefully about their own understanding of the discipline.”

I went on to ask him how he felt about attendees tweeting during conferences, or students during lectures.

“I am reasonably comfortable about tweeting during academic or practitioner conference presentations, which I often do for the benefit of those who cannot attend. Also, as a presenter I find it useful to see feedback and questions.

That said, it is not an easy skill – listening, understanding, then typing something worthwhile at speed in 140 characters is tricky and a lot of presentation tweets (including my own!) aren't of great value.

I can see advantages for students in crowdsourcing comment on lectures – "we are being told xxxxx – what do others think?" but I am not sure how useful general back channel chat is.

One of my students did make an (almost!) plausible claim that being on Facebook during lectures helped her concentrate. Her argument was that  if she was just listening her mind might wander but if she was worried about being caught Facebooking she would then have to listen more carefully to what was being said to avoid being caught out.

I am (sort of) coming to believe that younger people genuinely are better than my generation at multi-tasking, but I am not sure they are that good!”

Jane Crofts, lecturer at Lincoln, takes a slightly different view.  “I find it irritating/distracting if students use their phones during my sessions and I always ask for them to be turned off in sessions. I think it is quite rude to use a phone and engage 'outside the room' during lectures and seminars. To me it is akin to holding private conversations in class and just plain rude.

It's a bit like if I was in a business meeting I would regard it as rude if other people started using their phones for a purpose other than if we had agreed in advance, say to check a point – such as the concept of 'phone a friend'. Now whether this will change as a younger generation take over the board room/lecture theatre I don't know.

Having said that if it is a debate/large lecture session I don't see why there cannot be an agreement at the start to tweet, but it should be done with prior agreement…bit of a Chatham House rules approach.

Now, as to using social media as a teaching/assessment tool that is different and I set blogs and tweets as assignmenets and have done a session just this week on the use of the hash tag, setting it in the context of #demo2010 which failed to trend. I am of the view that social media are just another channel for PR to use and should be used appropriately and selectively, one size does not fit all.”

 

As someone who spends a lot of time teaching graduates how they can make themselves more employable, I am always keen that academics in the field keep their fingers on the pulse of what the industry requires of graduate recruits.  I believe it is in the academic’s interest for their students to go on into glittering careers in communications.  What better advert for their course than successful graduates?  As social media becomes a necessity for every graduate recruit, it is a foolish university that ignores those tools completely.

But the question of etiquette is a good one – I would never tweet , text or email during a meeting, but I would tweet at a conference where it was invited and I think that’s the key – established boundaries and encouragement where appropriate.

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Filed under Careers, PR, Social Media, Students

PR Graduate Recruitment Schemes

Over the past couple of years I’ve spent a lot of time giving job hunting advice to recent graduates.  Given that they’ve graduated in the worst economic climate since the ’30s, they need all the help they can get I reckon.

We recently started investigating which PR agencies have graduate recruitment schemes and what their application criteria is.  Here’s what we came up with but I am pretty sure there are plenty more out there.  If your agency would like to be included in this list, let me know.

PR Graduate Recruitment Schemes

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Filed under Careers, Graduates, PR, Students

Social Media; The Death of Print?

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Well here I am again advertising something…. it will stop soon… However this may be of interest as it touches on social media and PR, both of which are meant to be featured regularly on this blog.

Unicorn Jobs in conjunction with our sister company, Taylor Bennett, is hosting a round table called, erm, "Social Media; The Death of Print?"  It’s on March 10th at the Charlotte Street Hotel.  If you’re a Facebook user you can see details here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=8541632674

If you’re not a Facebook user how do you ever get invites to anything?  Email me and I’ll send you something in plain text.

It should be a hotly debated topic.  If you know bugger all about social media then all the better, we will introduce you to the world of blogs, podcasts and virtual worlds.  (I saw Second Life on a CSI episode the other night…. that may be a whole other post).

Anyway, if you want to come send an email to socialmedia@unicornjobs.com and say you’d like to be there. 

What’s more, you get to meet me and have a beer.  What more could you want?

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PR Vlogs

Inspired by the Golin Harris vidos of their away days (as mentioned by Alex Pearmain), I had a quick scout around YouTube this morning for other PR vids.  Here’s a selection….

Golin Harris

Hill and Knowlton Graduates 2006
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jhPJlIAfRc
(Embedding of this vid is disabled by request apparently!)

Edelman
Recruitment ad

Weber Shandwick
Multicultural communications insights

Burson Marsteller
A minute with Robert Leaf

Fleishman Hillard
FH Away Day

Cohn & Wolfe
Promo Piece

Borkowski
Borkowski Movey

Mark Borkowski Virgin Megastore video blog

Cake
Cake Showreel

Cake – This is what we do

Waggener Edstrom
Lunatic Fringe 2007

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The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies

Indigo Red will be moving offices in the next couple of months.  My husband, who works for a removal firm, came with me to the office on Saturday to work out how much the move is going to cost us (his labour is free, but I’m not sure I could pay his work mates in kind). In a minor panic that he will realise my work life is not quite as organised as my home one, I had a bit of a tidy up of my desk on Friday.  Among the old interview notes and endless business cards I found a copy of The Sunday Times 100 best companies to work for, 2007.  It’s been lurking there since March as I had intended to blog about it, and somehow had slipped between an old pile of payslips and some HR trade mags.

So anyway, only a mere 5 months late and here I am ready to write about it.

I thumbed through it once more and scanned the list for PR companies.  Only 1 PR agency made the top 100, Hill and Knowlton, who scraped in at number 91.  Scanning through the piece on them there are some things which are unsurprising; the male/female ratio is 36:64 – still a considerably better distribution of the sexes than some agencies, and the average age of an H&Ker is 32.  There is considerable attention given to the free scoff and booze you can get there – free breakfast and free food after quarterly meetings, plus an onsite bar.  However, they score some of the lowest scores in the 100 in terms of work life balance, as nearly half the staff said they felt they spent too much time working.

Still, I wonder what the 88% that said they have fun with their colleagues are up to?

On a slightly different tangent, I also looked for recruitment consultancies.  There are a whopping 14 recruitment companies in the top 100, with Hill McGlynn & Associates topping the list at number 12.  Impressive numbers from the recruitment industry.

As these Best Company rankings are voted for by the employees, it begs the question are recruitment companies better at their own employment PR than the PR experts?

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Filed under PR, Recruitment

Fullrun’s Blogger Roundtable

Fullrunlogowhite

I went off to the swish Soho Hotel last night as we sponsored Fullrun’s Consumer Blogger Roundtable.  The boss is  always up for sticking a bit of money behind a bar. 

The event kicked off with a panel of five, Michael Parsons from CNET, Chris Price and Katie Lee of Shiny Media, Mat Toor of Dennis Publishing and James Rivington from Tech.co.uk, and was hosted by Peter Kirwin of Fullrun.

There was a run down on how each of the sites likes to be pitched to (send an email, don’t phone them – especially if it’s just a standard pitch, include quotes and unique pictures, use an interesting subject header), followed by a lively discussion on whether there is a difference between bloggers and journos (some of the panel felt bloggers had more principles than journos…. they shall remain nameless) and how the immediacy of blogging requires a good wireless connection and the press releases to be held off until after a press launch.  Don’t forget to provide some food at a launch either, Michael Parsons is particularly keen to fill his tummy and stop that free champagne from sloshing around his insides.  His poor liver is suffering.  Of course, that’s assuming that you can get a blogger to a launch in the first place – they are self confessed un-socialites. 

"Is blogging dying?" was a question that reared its ugly head once more.  As the panellists work for blog sites, it was unlikely they’d say yes, but there was a general consensus that the blogosphere is platauing (80 million blogs – the vast majority not regularly updated) and as huge amounts of information hit our RSS feeds, as consumers we’ll become more selective about what we’re reading.

There was lots of nodding and muttering among the delegates when the subject of measurement came up.  "Clients aren’t convinced by the audience numbers, or how they’re measured" was the cry from the audience.  On the contrary, said the panel, metrics are now easier to measure than ever.  Unique users and page view stats can be made available to PRs and they can be much more reliable than some of the more measurements used by more traditonal media.  Can they be fiddled?  Probably.  Can traditional media stats be fiddled?  Most definitely. 

So off we trotted to the fabulous Swirl Room for drinks, courtesy of Indigo Red, and some light banter.  I bumped into one of my PR agency clients who is "new to this blogging stuff" and asked me to recommend some PR related blogs to have a look at, so off the top of my head came Drew Benvie, Simon Wakeman, Stephen Davies, The PR Monkey, Strumpette and The World’s Leading.  Those are the blogs that are obviously stuck in the forefront of my consciousness, so sod what Technorati says, they rank highest in my little world and don’t look to be dying any time soon.

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Vlogging

On Tuesdays, I work from home.  This means I don’t spend 3 hours of the day in my car (hurrah!) and getting work done in a quiet, uninterupted environment – unless you count the cats fighting for space on my lap.  My boss is convinced that I spend every Tuesday in the pub, but my local doesn’t move with the times enough to have a wifi broadband connection so alas, I’m sat at my dining room table with my laptop and a pile of paper. 

It’s a great place for me to work on my latest projects – all will be revealed soon – which has resulted in me spending hours trawling through the internet looking at how social media has been used for marketing initiatives and recruitment solutions.  I’ve seen some really really bad examples, and some really really good ones, but this in particular made me smile:

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=GooooTube

Well done Focus PR!  Engaging and light hearted, eyecatching vlogging at it’s best.

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Filed under PR, Social Media, Vlogging