Image Credit: "Why Aren't You Blogging?" by Mike Licht

Students in my Social Media for PR & Journalism class at Southeastern University have started adding content to their blogs for the semester. Please take a look and see what they’re up to. And drop a comment or two! They’d love to hear from you.

 

 

Image Credit: "Keep up and blog on" by Alexander Baxevanis

Students in my Writing for PR and Advertising class at Southeastern University have started adding content to their blogs for the semester. Please take a look and see what they’re up to. And drop a comment or two! They’d love to hear from you.

 
21:365 :: Stack of Social Media Trade Books

Image Credit: "21:365 :: Stack of Social Media Trade Books" by Barbara B. Nixon

One of our assignments in our Social Media for PR & Journalism class this semester is for you to read and review a trade book on social media. In class, you will choose a Social Media Trade Book; it’s first come, first served, so if you know which book you want now, “claim” your book by providing a comment below. If there’s a trade book not on the list that you want to review, just let me know.

Due Week 10 (the week after Spring Break), your book review will take the form of a five-minute presentation in class. For your presentation, create a professional-looking PowerPoint presentation of no more than ten slides. Rely more on images to tell your story than bullet points. (We’ll discuss more in class about how not to create a “Death by PowerPoint” slidedeck.)

UPDATED 2-27-2012: The rubric for this assignment is available on rCampus.

Your presentation should include:

  • Opening slide should include an image of the book’s cover
  • Short bio of the author(s) of the book (perhaps with a photo of the author)
  • What did you learn by reading this book?
  • What surprised you in this book?
  • What do you want to learn more about, now that this book has piqued your interest?
  • Would you recommend other students to also read this book? Why or why not?

Optional:

  • Consider uploading your book review to SlideShare and embedding the slides in your blog.
  • If you’re using Twitter, search for the authors of your book there and connect with them. You may be surprised how willing most of them are to reply to you when you @ them.
  • Leave a comment about your thoughts on the book on the author’s blog.
  • Post a review of the book on the book’s page at Amazon.com.
Tips on Creating Your PowerPoint:

  • And “You Suck At PowerPoint!”

Questions about this assignment?

barbara_is_listening

(PS: If you prefer to listen to your book, rather than read it, you may be able to choose your title as a free option at the Audible website, thanks to Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty.)

 

Image Credit: "Owl #1" by Carosaurus

PERSONAL LEARNING PROJECT  (350 POINTS OF YOUR FINAL GRADE)

This project is designed to provide you with an opportunity to tailor an assignment to your own learning needs and course-related interests. For this assignment, you will identify an area of social media/PR you want to learn more about, outline a plan of study, and decide on appropriate learning deliverables to demonstrate your mastery of the material. You will then submit this plan to me for approval. Once your study plan has been approved, you will create a personal learning network to guide you in your learning. You may utilize any content you wish including books, web pages, video tutorials, library resources, open educational material, etc. to help you complete your deliverables by the deadline specified in your learning plan. In other words, you will be able to learn the material in the manner, and with the resources of your own choice.

My goal for this assignment is to prepare you for today’s highly competitive and rapidly changing workplace by allowing you to develop experience in directing your own learning. Today, knowledge has a very short shelf life, which means that one of the most important skills you can learn while in college is to become an independent learner. It is my hope that you take this project as an opportunity to help you enhance those skills. It should therefore go without saying that you shouldn’t pick a topic/area you already master for this assignment. Although it would be a way to an easy project and grade, you would simply be cheating yourself and your education.

Though you are welcome (even encouraged) to post any portion of your Personal Learning Project on your own blog, to earn credit for each Part, please use BlackBoard to submit your work.

PART 1 – THE LEARNING PLAN  (50 POINTS OF FINAL GRADE)

DUE: February 12, in BlackBoard

For this part of the assignment, you will identify an area of social media/PR you want to learn more about, outline a plan of study, and decide on appropriate learning deliverables to demonstrate your mastery of the material. Please use this template when designing your learning plan. You’ll be evaluated based on the thoroughness of your plan. To help you get started, I’ve listed a few examples of possible project ideas below.

  • Researching social media applications for nonprofits and designing a social media training session (the deliverable) for a local nonprofit interested in learning how to engage its stakeholders via social media. This would more than likely be a group project.
  • Researching how journalism has changed with the advent of social media, and offering suggestions / a workshop to the campus newspaper for how to benefit from social media.
  • Researching QR (quick response) applications for small businesses, offering your services to a local business and designing a concept for QR campaign tailored to their needs.

PART 2 – THE PERSONAL LEARNING NETWORK  (100 POINTS  OF FINAL GRADE)

DUE: March 18, in BlackBoard

Your personal learning network (PLN) needs to include a Twitter, blog and social bookmarking component. We will discuss how to create a PLN in much more detail in class. You also need to identify blogs, web sites, and social bookmarks that are relevant to your project and subscribe to them. You may even want to subscribe to a Google Alert on your topic (optional). At the end of the semester, you will need to hand in a UPDATED description of your personal learning network along with your deliverables. You’ll be evaluated based on the depth and breadth of the personal learning network you built. In order to hand this in, create a list of people you follow on:

  • Twitter: list the people in your Twitter PLN with their Twitter UserId. Only list people that pertain to your project (i.e. don’t list your buddies here)
  • Blogs: list the bloggers you followed for this project. Identify them by a) name, b) blog URL, and c) blog name.
  • Social bookmarking sites: list the people you follow on Delicious, Diigo or any other social bookmarking site. Again, only list people you followed for this particular project. List them with their social bookmarking URL.
  • Any other social media sites/platforms

PART 3 – THE PLN PRESENTATION  (50 POINTS  OF FINAL GRADE)

DUE: March 22, in class

You will give a 5-minute presentation in which you will present the learning network you’ve created thus far. You should start off with a brief description of the project you’ve picked for your personal learning project before presenting your network. Please create a separate slide for your Twitter, social bookmarking, and blogging network and include the following information. You’ll be evaluated based on the progress made on your PLN and on your presentation overall.

  • Twitter network slide
    • How many experts on your project’s topic area are you following?
    • List at least five of those experts by their Twitter handle
      • During your presentation, give an example of useful info (related to your project’s topic area) each ONE of them has tweeted about.
  • Social Bookmarking network slide
    • How many experts on your project’s topic area are you following on Delicious, Diigo or another social bookmarking service?
    • List at least five of those experts by their Social Bookmarking UserID.
      • During your presentation, give an example of useful info (related to your project’s topic area) each ONE of them has bookmarked.
  • Blogging network slide
    • How many bloggers who are experts on your project’s topic area are you subscribing to with your feedreader?
    • List at least five of those bloggers (name the title of their blog)
      • During your presentation, give an example of useful info (related to your project’s topic area) each ONE of them has blogged about.  

As you listen to your classmates’ PLN presentations, take special note of members of their PLNs who might be useful for you to learn more about. Additionally, offer suggestions to your peers regarding members of your own PLN who might benefit them in their projects.

PART 4 –PROJECT DELIVERABLES  (100 POINTS  OF FINAL GRADE)

DUE: April 15, in BlackBoard

Your project deliverables are identified in your personal learning plan and approved in consultation with me. Remember to include an UPDATED version of your PLN that you submitted in Part 2; identify which people you have added to your network. If all of your deliverables are in digital form, simply submit (in BlackBoard) the URL(s) to those deliverables. Be sure to indicate what each URL refers to. You’ll be evaluated based on the quality of your final product.

PART 5 –PROJECT PRESENTATIONS  (50 POINTS OF FINAL GRADE)

DUE: April 17 & 19, in class

At the end of the semester you will present your personal learning project deliverables to the class. For this assignment, you will need to create a professional 10-minute presentation in which you will introduce the project you worked on, explain the process involved in creating your deliverable, discuss how your PLN helped you accomplish that process, and showcase your final project. You’ll be evaluated based on the extend to which you address those four areas and on the level of professionalism displayed in your presentation.

(NOTE: Many thanks to Dr. Corinne Weisgerber for permitting me to use, with very slight adaptation, the Personal Learning Project from her Spring 2011 Social Media for PR class at another SEU: St. Edwards University.)

 

The two short tutorials below will show you how to add impact to your blog posts with images and video.

Insert Image with Caption

Insert YouTube Clip

 

 

 

Image Credit: "Scania R500 Wrecker" by RiceCracker

In our PR Writing class, we’ll all blog about the same topic each week during the semester. Your TOWs of 300 words or longer should be posted by Sunday at midnight at the end of each week, unless otherwise notified in class. (Posts that appear past the deadline may not earn any credit, so be sure to stay on top of your blogging deadlines.)

Be sure to check to see if you receive any comments on your posts, and respond to your commenters as appropriate.

If you are unsure how to get started writing these TOWs, many times you can use this three-pronged approach:

  1. What did you learn?
  2. What surprised you?
  3. What do you want to know more about?

WEEK ONE

  • Which types of social media do you currently participate in (such as blogging, podcasting, social networking, etc.), which platforms you use, and why/what for? [NOTE: Since you are creating your blog after after Week One, you will go back and add this post in.]

WEEK TWO

  • Why are comments such an integral part of blogs? What advice would you offer on writing effective blog comments? Be sure to link to at least three sources.

WEEK THREE

  • Visit Mignon Fogarty’s Grammar Girl’s website. Either read three of her blog posts or listen to three of her podcasts on areas of grammar that are troublesome to you. Write about what you learned (using the three-pronged approach above.) Remember to link back to Grammar Girl’s site.

WEEK FOUR

  • What is Associated Press Style and why is it so important for public relations writers? Also, what are some of the trickier parts of using AP Style for you?

WEEK FIVE

  • Imagine you are working in public relations for an organization, and you discover that someone has scraped/copied content from your organization’s blog. What approach would you take to remedy this situation?

WEEK SIX

  • In our class, we use News University courses from Poynter quite frequently. But NewsU is not all that the Poynter Institute has to offer public relations practitioners and journalists. How can Poynter’s resources aid you as you begin your career? Describe and link to at least three beneficial areas in the Poynter website.

WEEK SEVEN

WEEK EIGHT

  • Using the three-pronged approach described above, describe your reactions to one of the News University courses you have completed. Remember to include a  hyperlink to the course, too.

WEEK NINE

  • This week’s topic was inspired by Adam Vincenzini’s Be My Guest month: post something by a guest blogger. Connect with another blogger (it can, but doesn’t have to, be someone in your class) and exchange blog posts for the week. (You don’t have to write something new for the other blogger . . . share your favorite post you’ve written this semester.) In your own blog, make it really clear that the post is written by another person, and link to your guest’s blog.

WEEK TEN

  • Peter Shankman started a service called HARO: Help A Reporter Out. Briefly describe (and link) to this service. As a PR practitioner, how can you and your client(s) benefit from HARO?

WEEK ELEVEN

  • Address several of the following questions about infographics. What are they? How could one be useful in a story for your client? How do you go about creating one? Create one if you can, and embed it in your blog post this week.

WEEK 12

WEEK 13

  • When individuals are asked to be guest speakers, they often must provide their own introductions, written so that someone else can introduce them to the audience. So how do you write an engaging introduction? (TIP: Lisa B. Marshall, The Public Speaker, may have some advice for you on her website.)

WEEK 14

  • What advice would you offer PR students who are new to blogging? Come up with your own Top 10 list.
 

Image Credit: "WordPress Swag" by Elea Chang

Public relations practitioners are increasingly called upon to be well-versed in social media. This semester, you will blog as about one-third of your grade in our class.  You will add content to your blog weekly throughout the semester. Feel free to continue to use an existing blog of yours, unless you feel compelled to start fresh with a new blog for this course.

My WordPress 101 post will help you get started with your blog.

To make it easier for your readers to find what they are seeking at your blog, it’s important to use Categories. Please add a category for each type (listed below), and make sure each post is categorized appropriately. Each post for this class must have the category of “COMM 4333″  along with at least one additional category.

1. TOW: Topic of the Week – Each week this semester, we will have a specific topic that all students will blog about. You should have at least 13 of these before the end of the semester. At times, you will watch a video, listen to a podcast, or read a specific blog post, and provide your thoughtful reactions. These posts must be a minimum of 300 words. We’ll keep our running list of TOWs for your class here at my blog.

2. PR Connections – Provide commentary, reflections and opinions about PR issues/examples that were not addressed in class. These can be responses to other PR blogs you read, links to interesting posts or articles, embedded YouTube videos, etc. Some students like to choose a theme (such as entertainment or sports PR) and have each PR Connection be related to the theme. Though these don’t have a minimum word length, you will need to adequately discuss your subject in the post, rather than simply embedding a video with no commentary of your own. You should write at least 10 of these during the semester.

3. Blog comments – whenever you comment on someone’s PR blog (whether it’s a PR professional or a PR student), add the comment to a blog post (that you have created for this purpose) that you update throughout the semester so I can assess your online participation. Do this only for PR-related blogs. You should have a minimum of 12 comments by your Blog Checkpoint #2 and at least 20 (total) before the end of the semester. See Tracking Your Blog Comments for Nixon’s Classes for more information.

You may add other categories and sub-categories of your choice. Please keep in mind that when I evaluate your blog I will pay special attention to the categories listed above, but I will not ignore other posts. I will perform a holistic evaluation of your blog, looking for:

  • professionalism: Clear, correct, thoughtful writing
  • frequency: Sufficient posts in categories 1-3, posted throughout the semester. There will be at least two graded blog checkpoints during the semester. (See your syllabus for the specific Blog Checkpoint dates.)
  • linking: Identify other PR blogs (use PR Open Mic or my blogroll in my Diigo bookmarks as starting points) and link to them. Respond to others’ posts. Become a part of the blogosphere. Blogging should not be lonely.
  • readability: brief & concise writing style, use of white space, bold characters, images, bullet points
  • proper credit and use of images in all Topics of the Week and PR Connections. (Use Compfight to find your images; be sure they are licensed for Creative Commons use. I’ll show you how to do this in class.)

SUPER-IMPORTANT: In order for you to get credit for your blog, I need to know where it is. Tell me your blog address by completing this Google Form; I will provide time in class during Week 3 for you to do this.

Questions? Just let me know.

barbara_is_listening

NOTE: Many thanks to Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu at Purdue University, who allowed me to use her blogging guidelines from her PRinciples class; Dr. V knows that Blogs Matter.

 

Image Credit: "Historic Route 101" by Leo Reynolds

Students in most of my classes have blogging as a component of their grades. Many of them have rarely even read blogs, no less written one of their own. In this post, I am combining many posts I’ve previously written to help them get started in WordPress.

1

Review the slides in my “Getting Started in WordPress” presentation below. In this presentation, you’ll learn

  • Blogging Do’s & No-No’s
  • Signing Up for Your WordPress Account
  • Setting Up Your Account
  • Writing Posts & Pages
  • How to Display Your Blog Comments (that you write on others’ blogs)

2

Watch some of the many FAQ screencasts provided by WordPress to help you with the step-by-step instructions. (Though some of the videos are for previous versions of WordPress, most of the functionality remains the same.) Here are a few of the best ones to help you get started on the right foot:

3

Read the blogging tips I’ve provided in various posts here at Public Relations Matters.

4

And though you may have a good handle on the technical aspects of blogging, remember that the technical side is only part of the blogging equation. Corinne Weisgerber, a professor at St. Edward’s University and fellow PROpenMic member, created this presentation for her Social Media for PR class. The emphasis? How blogging can help you create your personal brand online. Take a look. It’s worth the time.

View more presentations or upload your own. (tags: commenting identity)

5

Remember to let me know your blog address by completing this Google Form. If I can’t find your blog, I can’t grade it. Hint, hint.

 

Image Credit: "Tow Truck" by Jzee

In COMM 4633 (Social Media for PR), we’ll all blog about the same topic each week during the semester. Your TOWs should be posted by Sunday midnight at the end of each week.

Some weeks have more than one topic listed; choose one of the available topics on those weeks.

If you have a topic to suggest, please add it as a comment to this blog post.

If you are unsure how to get started writing these TOWs, many times you can use this three-pronged approach:

  1. What did you learn?
  2. What surprised you?
  3. What do you want to know more about?

WEEK ONE

Which types of social media you currently participate in (such as blogging, podcasting, social networking, etc.), which platforms you use, and why? Which platforms have you considered, but haven’t yet tried?

WEEK TWO

Why is it important to include images in blog posts? What are some approaches to choosing effective images and ensuring that you have the right to use them in a post?

WEEK THREE

Is social media monitoring ethical? Provide commentary and discussion on both sides of the issue, and offer your personal viewpoint.

WEEK FOUR

Write a post related to your assigned chapter in Groundswell. Provide links to several of the examples mentioned in your chapter, or to new sites that relate to the chapter. See if you can find a YouTube video or SlideShare presentation and embed it in your post. (Remember to link to the book, either at Amazon.com or at the publisher’s website/blog.)

WEEK FIVE

Which Super Bowl ad was either your favorite OR least favorite? Embed the ad in your blog. And in your discussion of the ad, be sure to discuss the publics that were targeted in the ad. (Be sure your readers can tell if you liked or disliked the ad.)

OR

Adam Vincenzini asked on Twitter and on his blog for people to share their definitions of “social media” with him, in 140 characters or fewer. Read through the list of definitions that were shared with Adam. Pick a few that resonate with you and discuss why these definitions “work” for you. Develop your OWN 140-character definition of social media. Tweet your definition, and embed the tweet in your blog.

WEEK SIX

“Social Media: Friend or Foe?” :: Listen to Shel Holtz, Mark Ragan and others discuss “concerns and objections around the adoption of social media communication channel.” React to it using the three-pronged approach, discussed earlier in this blog post. (NOTE: Mark Ragan is playing the role of an executive who is unsure if social media is right for his organization.)

WEEK SEVEN

Participate in a public relations or social media Twitter chat. Petya Georgieva provides a list of 13 possibilities at her Higher & Higher blog. (I highly recommend #PRStudChat, which meets on January 18 and February 15, but you are free to chose from any of the 13 options.) Before you participate in the chat, be sure to read Shonali Burke’s tips for how to make the most of a Twitter chat. After the chat, briefly describe the purpose and intended audience of your chosen chat. React to your own participation in the chat using the three-pronged approach (discussed earlier in this blog post).

WEEK EIGHT

Since our focus for this week is podcasting, write this week’s TOW on something related to podcasting. Potential areas for discussion include: what would drive an organization to choose a podcast as a way of connecting with its internal or external publics, the importance of shownotes, technology you can use for podcasting or how PR majors can benefit from listening to PR podcasts.

WEEK NINE

This week’s topic was inspired by Adam Vincenzini’s Be My Guest month: post something by a guest blogger. Connect with another blogger (it can, but doesn’t have to, be someone in your class) and exchange blog posts for the week. (You don’t have to write something new . . . share your favorite post you’ve written this semester.) In your own blog, make it really clear that the post is written by another person, and link to your guest’s blog.

WEEK TEN

What is this Foursquare thing that we keep seeing in our Twitterstreams? How can companies benefit from it? And what are some of the potential dangers of using Foursquare (and other location-based services) for individual participants?

OR

Pinterest has taken the Internet by storm in the past few months. What is it, and how can (some) companies or organizations benefit from using Pinterest?

WEEK ELEVEN

Set up an account at Diigo, a social bookmarking site. Create social bookmarks to at least 20 sites; these could include classmates’ blogs, PR blogs, your university, your favorite musical artist or actor, etc. In your Topic of the Week, share a link to your Diigo account. Discuss how college students (especially those working in groups) could benefit from social bookmarks. Be sure to include a link to your Diigo bookmarks in your blog post. Optional: how could an association, like the Florida Public Relations Association or the International Listening Association, use social bookmarks to benefit its members?

WEEK 12

One of this week’s readings concerned widgets and badges. After briefly describing the difference between a widget and a badge, offer suggestions on how one specific organization you are a part of (or wish to become a part of) could benefit from using widgets or badges.

WEEK 13

Just what is it that makes a simple little video like “David After Dentist” become a Viral Video? Also, embed at least two of your favorite videos that went viral and explain why you chose them.

WEEK 14

Of all the professional and peer blogs you read (and commented on) this semester, which ones are your favorites? Pick at least one from each category (professional and peer), and explain why you chose them.

 

Social Media is 24/7, Even When YOU Aren’t

On January 7, 2012, in public relations, by Barbara Nixon

You’d think that businesses, especially large ones that have a social media presence, would realize by now that social media is 24/7. Apparently, Papa John’s didn’t get the memo.

 

Minhee Cho, Communication Manager at ProPublica, posted her receipt from her last night’s pizza order at about noon today. Retweets and comments about her treatment from this Papa John’s employee started swirling.

And they swirled for nearly seven hours before Papa John’s responded via Twitter. Luckily, the Papa John’s (tardy) response is an appropriate one, at least in my book.

But here’s the thing: I wonder how many people will continue to retweet Ms. Cho’s original tweet, and never even know that Papa John’s apologized and explained its course of action? Here’s a link to a Twitter search for #papajohns OR @papajohns.

Something to think about, especially for brands with broad name recognition.