I have something to admit. I have a crush. A big one.
I’m completely smitten with the camera that’s built into my Samsung Epic 4g “cell phone.” “Cell phone” is in quotation marks because to me, what I have is a camera that also happens to function as a cell phone and run Android apps.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog or Food for Thought (my Posterous account), you’ll know that I enjoy taking photos of things I run across as I experience my days. I especially like taking extreme closeups of flowers.
Today was a day for experimentation. I chose to venture out on a floral photo safari with only my “cell phone” camera; my Canon PowerShot stayed at home. I wanted to see how far I could push the macro setting on my Samsung Epic. Could it take the same kind of floral photos I usually take?
So I decided to go visit Hollis Garden in my community of Lakeland, FL. It was supposed to open at 10 a.m., but no one showed up to open the gates. I gave up and left at 10:30, but I spent a few minutes with the roses outside the locked gates before I went into my office at Southeastern University. Actually, I probably spent longer with the roses than I normally would have. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise?
After a few hours in my office, I returned to Hollis Garden and was able to go in to explore. I wandered around for an hour and took about 85 photos. In the slideshow below, you can see 30 of my favorite photos taken today. Which ones do you like best?
Bottom Line: The Samsung Epic 5-megapixel camera is stellar for my floral photography. With the macro setting, I can take closeups at least as crisp and clear as on my Canon PowerShot. My one wish is that it would be a little quicker to take several photos in a row. But I can live with that, knowing that since I will always have my Samsung Epic in my pocket or purse, anytime a beautiful bloom beckons me, I’ll be able to capture it.
The Line Below the Bottom Line: Many, many thanks to the MobilePhotoVideo blog for sharing a thorough tutorial on using the many settings of the Samsung Epic. I never even realized that it had a macro setting until I read its review.
First, Learn a Bit About Twitter
- Listen to Laura Fitton discuss Twitter for Business.
- Listen to my Twitter: What’s in it for me? presentation.
- Read 10.5 Ways for PR Students to Get the Most Out of Twitter.
Setting Up Your Twitter Account
- Go to Twitter. Click Get Started, and sign up. I prefer it if you use some version of your first and last name as your Twitter ID. (Avoid putting numbers in your Twitter ID, or you may appear like a spammer.)
- Upload a photo or avatar.
- Write a brief (160-character or fewer) bio. It’s good to mention that you’re a PR student. Consider mentioning your university.
- Send a tweet saying “I’m a student in @barbaranixon’s #COMM2322 /#COMM4333 / #COMM4363 /#PRCA3330 class”. (Use the correct number for your class.) Be sure to include the #xxx1234 indicator, with no spaces between the hashtag (#), letters and numbers.
- If you haven’t already done so, complete my form that tells me your Twitter username before midnight on Tuesday, September 21.
Setting Up Your Following List
- Follow me plus at least 20 (why not all?) of the people or organizations in my Twitter Starter Pack for PR Students.
- Visit your class’ list at TweepML: PRCA 3330, COMM 2322, COMM 4333, COMM 4363 (I will activate these links as soon as I have your class’ Twitter usernames.)
- For the purposes of this assignment, you will need to be following at least 40 people.
- Over the course of the next week, send at least twenty tweets (Twitter messages of 140 characters or less). Tip: Rather than tweeting that you’re having ramen for lunch, instead consider what might be of interest to your classmates and followers. Perhaps point others to something interesting or funny you read online. Share a fact you learned in a class. Maybe you could even pose a question that you’d like others to answer. (UPDATE: The tweets cannot all be ones automatically generated from your WordPress blog. The point of this assignment is to engage with others on Twitter, not simply announce.)
- If you already have a Twitter account that you use primarily for social (not educational or professional) reasons, you may wish to create a fresh, new account for this exercise.
- Review my tips on how college students can use Twitter to their advantage and Choosing Whom to Follow on Twitter: My Strategy.
- Review Prof. Sam Bradley’s College Student’s Guide: Twitter 101.
- I find using the web interface for Twitter to be clunky. I prefer using TweetDeck, a free Adobe Air app that works great on PCs and Macs. TweetDeck makes it really easy to send URLs via Twitter, as it automatically shortens them for you.
- I’ll occasionally post information on Twitter and use the hashtag for your class (#COMM2322, #COMM4333, #COMM4363 or #PRCA3330).By using this hashtag, I’m indicating that I want students in this class to pay special attention to the tweet.
- OPTIONAL: If you’d like to publicize your blog posts via Twitter, you can it automatically in WordPress.
Blog About Your Experience
After the week is over, add a 300-word (minimum) post to your blog about the experience and what you got out of it. Include a link to your Twitter profile (here’s mine). Be sure to include at least one way you might find value in continuing your account in Twitter. Your blog post about this experience count as your Topic of the Week for the appropriate week.
Questions? Just send me a DM (direct message) or an @ (reply) in Twitter!
In PR Applications class today, we’ll be discussing the evolution of public relations. See the timeline below, created by Dr. Corinne Weisgerber’s Introduction to PR class at St. Edward’s University, for an interactive look at how public relations has changed and matured over the years.
NOTE: As Dr. Weisgerber’s class was a few years ago, the timeline stops at 2006. What would you add to the timeline?
Students in my COMM 2322 (Public Relations Applications) course at Southeastern University have started blogging. They will be adding to their blogs weekly throughout the Fall semester.
NOTE: If you are a student in this class and your name is NOT on the list, please contact me right away.
Students in my COMM 4333 (Public Relations Writing) course at Southeastern University have started blogging. They will be adding to their blogs weekly throughout the Fall semester.
NOTE: If you are a student in this class and your name is NOT on the list, please contact me right away.
The early adopter that I am, I just had to get my hands on the new Samsung Epic 4G when it became available at Sprint on August 31. And I am so glad I did. Though I was a Palm fan for more than a decade, I am definitely an Android convert now. The larger, super-clear screen and slide-out keyboard are fantastic. And the variety and amount of apps available through the Android Market can be overwhelming. Here’s a list of 15 apps I’d recommend for any professor, especially PR profs.
- Advanced Task Killer: To be sure that unneeded apps are not running and taking up precious battery power, try Advanced Task Killer. It will show you — at a glance — all the apps that are running, even those behind the scenes, and you can choose which ones to “kill.” You don’t want your Epic battery to die during your day on campus.
- doubleTwist: To sync my iTunes library, including music, video, pictures & podcasts, I’ve been using doubleTwist. Sometimes it seems like the podcasts don’t sync, but if I exit dT on my PC and open it again, the sync works well.
- Evernote: I listen to a lot of podcasts while take my morning walk every day. When I hear (or come up with) an idea that I need to capture, I use Evernote’s Audio Note feature. (Typing/texting and walking don’t work well for me. But I definitely can talk and walk.) I’ll be exploring more of Evernote’s capabilities in the coming months.
- TweetDeck: I confess. I am a tweetaholic. I use Twitter, for personal and professional reasons, several times a day. It’s a little tricky installing TweetDeck, since it’s not in the Android Market yet, but it’s worth it. (If you are not up for a beta app, try Seesmic instead.)
- Gesture Search: If I need to quickly find something (a contact, an app, a song, etc.) on my Samsung Epic, I like having the ability to search by moving my finger over the screen and not need to be as exact as when I an typing on either of the keyboards.
- Desk Home: In the computer lab where I teach, there is not a wall clock, and I haven’t worn a watch in almost four years. I use Desk Home to show a clean and easy-to-read clock. Don’t want to keep the students in class longer than my allotted time, don’t you know. (NOTE: This app may only work on the Samsung Epic. There are other clock apps, but this one is designed for my phone.)
- BlackBoard: Though the BlackBoard app doesn’t allow me to do everything that my desktop program will do, I can read discussion items, create announcements, e-mail students, and more.
- Kindle: My husband and I share one Kindle. By having the Kindle app on my Samsung Epic, I can read books in our collection even when it’s his “turn” to have the Kindle. And it’s great to show my students how many free classic books are available in the Kindle store.
- Barcode Scanner: This little app works with your Android camera. It will scan both barcodes and QR codes. It’s fun to show students what those little square codes are for, and equally fun to show them how to do price comparisons while shopping.
- Shazam: When I can quickly refer to songs my students also listen to, it helps me relate to them better. I cheat a little using Shazam. To find out what “that song” is, use Shazam. It will listen to the song and determine title and artist.
- Pandora: With Pandora as an Android app or on my computer, I can enter the name of a song I know my students like and create a playlist from it.
- Ringdroid: I wanted a ringtone that sounded like <gasp> a phone ringing. The Samsung Epic did not have a ringtone like this. So I found an mp3 that I liked, and used Ringdroid to create a ringtone for me. Please tell me, am I not the only one who despises other ringtones?
- Carr Matey: Have you ever forgotten where you parked your car? It’s happened to me before. Carr Matey is a fun little pirate-themed GPS app that will help me find my way back to my car. Backtracking in a parking lot in Florida is not only a little embarrassing, it’s downright hot.
- Instant Heart Rate: Ever have a rough class and wonder if your blood is really about to boil? Me either. But this app will still let you check your heart rate using, of all things, the camera. Don’t know how it works, but it does, and it’s cool.
- For Immediate Release: As an avid listener of the For Immediate Release: Hobson and Holtz Report for more than three years, I was very happy to see that there was an Android app for the podcast. You can find the app by searching in the Android Market, but I cannot find a link for it elsewhere. UPDATE: Though parts of this app work, I’ve recently learned that others don’t, so I am removing the FIR app from my list. I absolutely will continue listening to the FIR podcast, just not through this app.
So those are my favorite Android apps, based on the one week I’ve had my Samsung Epic 4G. Are there others you’d recommend?
As I started reviewing blogs for my Fall 2010 classes, a few things came to mind. Rather than just sharing them with individual students, I’ve chosen to write this post, so even more new bloggers can learn from these tips.
NOTE: Many of these tips apply to blogs in general, not just to blogs for my PR classes.
- Every post needs to be categorized. If you have had me for a course before, or if you have me for more than one course this semester, please rename your Fall 2010 blog categories to append your course name. For example, instead of “Reading Notes,” edit the category name to “Reading Notes COMM 4333.” For directions on how to rename your categories, see WordPress Support on Category Management.
- If your blog post titles are generic, edit your posts and change the titles to make them more descriptive. For example, instead of “TOW #2,” title the post with the actual topic you are discussing. Better titles will make your blog more reader-friendly. For directions on how to retitle your blog posts, see WordPress Support on Post Title and URL.
- Review the directions for Tracking Your Blog Comments. There should be just ONE post, and you will keep editing & adding to this post as the semester progresses. (Once you are done with this class, you’ll have no need to continue tracking your comments — this is simply to make it easier for your professor to read the comments you have written without lots of clicks.)
- Create a descriptive or interesting site title for your blog, different from the default of “Username’s Blog.” For directions, see WordPress Support on Settings >> General Settings.
- Remember the old commercial where we were admonished “never let them see you sweat”? The same goes for website addresses, or URLs. Never let your readers see a URL. Simply hyperlink from the relevant words in your post. And it’s best if your hyperlink opens a new window, so that your blog will remain open in the browser. For directions, see WordPress Support on Links.
- Make sure that your posts are thorough and “long enough.” Topics of the Week need to be a minimum of 300 words, and Blog Comments need to be 100 words each. Use your discretion on the PR Connections and Reading Notes. See Blogging Guidelines for more details.
- Always (ALWAYS) provide a citation of some kind when you are using content from another source. Not doing so is plagiarism, plain and simple. If the source is available online, hyperlink to it.
- Buddy up with another student blogger — either at your own university or at another — and proofread each other’s posts. Typos are never acceptable.
- Beef up your About page to provide your readers with a robust and professional profile of you, so they can know more about who you are. (Use common sense, though. No need to include e-mail, cell phone, residence address, etc.)
- To be sure your blog is easily readable by readers “of a certain age,” ask a professor from another class or another person over 35 to quickly review your blog. Some of the free WordPress themes are really difficult to read, especially the following:
So, those are 10 of my tips as we start our Fall Semester. What other tips would you offer?
For your final project, you will analyze a Fortune 500 or Inc. 500 company from a public relations perspective. The written portion of your project is due November 11, and your in-class presentation is due during Week 13.
This project is worth a total of 300 points of the 1000 available; the blog/paper portion is worth 250, and the class presentation is worth 50.
You will have the option of creating the written portion of the project as a traditional term paper or as a series of blog posts. Let your professor know your decision no later than Week Four.
If you choose to do this project as a traditional term paper:
- Use APA style for formatting and source citations
- Include a title page and table of contents
- Submit your paper [in the manner your professor requires]
- NOTE: Another option is to write a traditional term paper of at least 10 pages, on any topic discussed in our textbook Reputation Management. I will write a separate blog post with more details on this option.
If you choose to do this project as a series of blog posts:
- Create one page (not post, but page) on your blog with hyperlinks to all the posts. Submit the URL of your page [in the manner your professor requires]
- Cite your sources within the posts, and also provide hyperlinks to the original source if it’s available online
- Use tags on your posts
- An overview of the company and what it does
- A brief history or timeline of the company
- Based on Grunig & Hunt’s models of PR, which model is the company using? Provide examples.
- Describe the publics, including customers, of the company (or one of its subsidiaries)
- Top challenges facing the company (including the current financial market)
- Awards and honors the company has garnered in the past 10 years & how the company is using the awards/honors for promotion
- An analysis of how the company uses and benefits from (or could benefit from) social media
- An overview and critique of the company’s online newsroom
- Career opportunities in PR, corporate communication, marketing, etc., within the company
- Based on your research of this company, are you now MORE or LESS likely to want to work for the company? Why? Provide at least two paragraphs of a rationale for your decision.
Also, choose two from the following if you are working alone on the project. If you are working in a group, complete five of the following:
- For at least one news release, compare how the news release appears in the company’s online newsroom to how the story appeared when it was published in the media
- One crisis the company has faced and how it dealt with it
- Describe how the company is involved in its communities
- Interview (phone or e-mail) a public relations professional within the company
- Create your resume and cover letter as though you are applying for an entry-level PR position within the company
- Another section of your choice, as long as you clear it with your professor by Week 9
- Week 3: Choose a company.
- Week 4: Let me know your decision of whether you’ll do a traditional term paper or a series of blog posts.
- Week 9: Last date to pitch an idea for a section in your paper to me (if there’s something you would like to write about your company that is not on the list above)
- Week 12: Written portion of your project due
- Week 13: Presentations in class