March 6, 2009
What began as a simple blog about the deeds of our 44th President for a class assignment morphed into an exercise of personal digital growth for your humble narrator. Having slipped a bit from its original intent of commenting on Barack Obama, (hence the title of this blog The Obama Comment) this weekly narrative became more geared to class expectations, but opened the door for a truly constructive editorial in the future. The following is a tentative outline for how I plan to tell you all (at least my classmates and instructors…or fellow NMDL passengers as I like to call you (starting now)) the story of how I went from a naive Internet adolescent to a confident digital young man (or man-child):
1) “The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Man Often Go Awry”
To begin with I’ll give a rundown of my original intentions for this blog, how I plan to resume those plans following completion of this course, and why it’s better that I waited anyway.
2) “The Shortest Answer Is Doing The Thing.”
Here I will give an outline of what I knew, what I didn’t know, what I did with this blog, and what it taught me.
3) “Why, Then The World’s Mine Oyster. Which I With Sword Will Open.”
I’ll conclude by explaining why I think New Media Drivers License is not only a great course, but why I believe it’s necessary for anyone entering public relations, and the field of communications as a whole. I will also describe how I see what we’ve learned as giving us an advantage upon entering the world of employment and a leg-up on those we with whom we will be competing.
4) “”My Advice Is, Never Do Tomorrow What You Can Do Today. Procrastination Is The Thief Of Time.”
This has nothing to do with my presentation…I just wanted to point out that I finished this week’s assignment ahead of time.
February 14, 2009
When I first heard about SEO, or Search Engine Optimization for long, a few years ago, I thought it was something only the super techie nerds were supposed to how to use and be concerned with…kind of like the finer points of Star Wars. I accepted it as something I knew existed, but needn’t worry myself with because I would never understand it…kind of like stem-cells and my ex-girlfriend (I’m actually starting to understand stem-cells). However, after recently delving a little deeper I realized after breaking it down, it’s not as scary as it sounds.
SEARCH: Well that’s just looking for something. I know how to do that.
ENGINE: Engines are what make things go…know that one too.
OPTIMIZATION: That’s all about getting the most of something with an -ATION at the end…three for three I am.
So when you add it all up, it’s all about getting the most out of the engine that does your searching. To give it a little structure, it’s simply maximizing the likelihood that your site will come up in the results of Google, Yahoo, and the like when people search for related terms. Whether your a small-time blogger or a retail juggernaut, SEO is all about implementing a strategy to make sure when people are looking for something that you happen to offer, it’s you they happen to find. Different SEO tools do different different things, but in the end it’s all about increasing the relevance of your site to search engines like Google through precise, targeted key words, searchable tags, related inbound links, and the structure and content of your actual site. Improve these areas accordingly and the volume and quality of traffic to your site will improve, your page rank will go up, and the process becomes cyclical…this is search engine optimization, and it is here to help.
Now consider that explanation the fun, quick cartoon version to give you lay folk an idea of what search engine optimization is all about…however, for the Mona Lisa of SEO explanations click on the old lady below to see what she’s smiling about.
January 31, 2009
Well this week I have been attempting to learn Google AdWords, with what I thought were reasonably successful results. Boy was I wrong. It seems so simple and I feel like I really understand the strategy and use of AdWords, but after compiling several campaigns, and subsequently launching them, I have yet to be able to see them…and isn’t that really the point of an ad? For people to see them? I’m starting to get pretty, pretty, pretty (in Larry David voice) pissed off. However, I will not give up, give in, or lose hope. I’ll continue to tinker with this beast until I’m it’s master.
For now, this is what one of my ads would have looked like if you can picture it off to the right of some Google search results:
So you see, the devil is in the details, and that particular detail is actually getting the ad to show up and lead people here, instead of people coming here and then seeing the ad. I’m sure with a little help from my friends I’ll get this figured out though.
I’ll leave you with a funny video of how creepy Dick Cheney was…whatta weirdo.
January 23, 2009
When I tell people that I’m studying for a career in public relations, I’m invariably asked the same question: “So what kind of job can you get with that?” My usual answer is, “Well, any kind of job.” That’s the great thing about PR. As Al Pacino, playing John Milton/Satan in the film The Devil’s Advocate, once so succinctly stated about being a lawyer, “Because the law, my boy, puts us into everything. It’s the ultimate backstage pass. It’s the new priesthood, baby.” To me, that’s PR. Every industry that’s worth its salt needs to communicate with its publics, and that’s where we come in…it’s the new priesthood, baby!
The thing about learning PR is that there is no right or wrong on answer on how to approach a problem. It’s all about having that common touch…either you got it or you don’t…and building upon it along the way. However, there are a few time-tested ground rules that every practitioner should have in their playbook.
In searching for a useful site about public relations that contained these standard rules, I came across Rohit Bhargava’s excellent (and pertinent) “Influential Marketing Blog“. In his two most recent posts he discusses what it is both PR practitioners and journalists (the PR man’s (and woman’s) most immediate and important audience), should know about themselves and one another. I think Bhargava’s most important lesson, however, is that reputation matters. If words are our stock-in-trade, then reputation is the quality of our goods. Your word is your bond and trust matters, or people won’t be buying whatever it is you’re selling. In this industry, a tarnished reputation is rarely resurrected. On the other hand, a good reputation will not only open doors, it will take you as far as you want, in whatever you want.
I guess maybe that’s the difference between us and lawyers.
January 22, 2009
For someone who considers them self fairly savvy in the ways of the Internet, I really don’t know too much about what Google can do for me outside of finding information on anything I could possibly imagine…oh and zooming in on any location on the planet (Google Earth). I occasionally use Google Docs, but that’s about it. I still don’t use Google Calendar, I just remember where I have to be. I don’t use Google Groups, just Facebook or mass texts/emails. I don’t even know what Google Analytics is (but I’m gonna find out, don’t worry).
This brings us to Google Reader. I had a vague idea of what it was all about. I knew that it essentially let you read what you wanted to read from all over the Internet in one place. That may sound like a simple explanation, but after checking it out, that’s really about what it boils down to…and I have to admit, IT’S FANTASTIC. As someone who tries to keep up with the news from around the world, sports (fantasy and reality), weather, various blogs, and a plethora of other things on a daily basis, Google Reader truly is a transformational tool. Instead of me trying to go into detail on the finer points of the application, here is a video that explains what Google Readers does and how to do it:
If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what would. But seriously, instead of having to individually type in every URL for the site you want, or scrolling through all of your bookmarks, you can wake up, turn on, and tune in to everything you want to know from everywhere you want to get it. I would say its only drawback is that it does take a bit away from the personalities of each individual site, but it surely makes up for it in the amount of information it allows you to cover with it’s organization and time-saving ability.
Sometimes I like to check out the New York Times for the latest news and editorials, The Daily Beast to get a mix of news and entertainment, ESPN.COM for my sports, and so on and on and on. Instead of having to go to each site individually and not knowing if I’d missed anything or forgetting if I’d read something, Google Reader takes care of all of that for you in one place. I’ve already added several new sites to my daily consumption since I began regularly using Google Reader this week. I am a permanent fan and I already feel smarter for it.
January 16, 2009
Without further ado, let’s get this blog rolling. So, overall the REASON for this blog is that it’s part of a sweet new course at Michigan State University called “New Media Drivers License” taught by Derek Mehraban and Dr. Rick Cole (two of the coolest conveyors of knowledge I’ve had the opportunity to meet). NMDL is all about learning the latest tools (and art) of the digital world and applying it to the advertising, marketing, public relations, business trades, everything trades. To me, this is the way of the future for all business, but particularly those in the communications industry.
Check it out for yourself at THE DIGITAL BUS.
The PURPOSE of this blog is, well, to promote myself – Paul Kanan. To me, public relations (my major) can be used from the highest of corporate levels on down to the individual himself (or herself). As an individual myself, I feel public relations is an art and a skill that can be practiced everyday by treating oneself of as brand as well as a person. What I’m selling are my thoughts and ideas – on Obama, on politics on culture, on you, on me, on life. Why those particular things you may ask? Well, that’s basically all I care about…and yes, I care about you.
OK, so here we go. Rock n’ roll. Let’s do this. Open up your mind and let me blow it away. YES WE CAN!