February 21, 2009
What if during all of that time you spend on Facebook and using “the” Google (thanks, McCain) you were actually developing skills you could use in your career? What if you could actually earn credit by using them and the rest of the Internet even more than you do now? Well wipe the drool from your laptops and dream no longer, my friends (ibid, the Maverick). Michigan State University, always a forerunner in the field of communications, is once again ahead of the game with their latest course offering entitled, “New Media Drivers License.” Taught by leaders of the old and new schools of communications, Dr. Richard Cole and Ingenex CEO Derek Mehraban (sort of like the Butch and Sundance of cool teachers), NMDL takes you on a journey through what you thought you already knew and makes you realize you didn’t know much at all.
NMDL Instructors: Butch Cole & The Ingenex Kid
You’ll learn how to use social networks like Facebook and Twitter, search engines like Google and Yahoo, YouTube, blogs, and podcasts to advance yourself academically and professionally. This is one of those classes that you tell your friends that you’re taking and they can’t believe you’re actually getting credit for it. The only difference being you’re actually going to use every single thing you learn from Day 1 in class to your last day on the job…and love every minute of it. So what are you waiting for? Sign on, sign in, and sign up. Then again, if you don’t know how do to that yet, you need much more than a New Media Drivers License.
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.