Image Credit: "Desert Island" from Esquire Magazine

In COMM 4363 and SPC 4350 (Social Media for PR), we’ll all blog about the same general topic each week during the semester. Your TOWs should be posted by Saturday 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?


Which types of social media you currently participate in (such as blogging, podcasting, social networking, etc.), which platforms you use, and why.


Why are comments such an integral part of blogs? What advice would you offer on writing effective blog comments?


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


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.


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 or at the publisher’s website/blog.)


Which Super Bowl ad was either your favorite OR least favorite? 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.) If you missed the ads during the big game, no worries. I will embed them in this blog when they are available.


After reading Search Engine Visibility, an Edelman Insights paper by Steve Rubel and others at Edelman Digital, react to it using the three-pronged approach (discussed earlier in this blog post).


“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).


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


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, 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).


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 publics, the importance of shownotes, technology you can use for podcasting or how PR majors can benefit from listening to PR podcasts.


Create a profile at PR OpenMic, a social network developed by Auburn University’s Robert French. Connect with me there as a friend so that I know you have joined (do this before Spring Break). Then for your topic of the week, describe what PR OpenMic has to offer to PR students and recent grads. Be sure to discuss at least three or four things you encounter at the site, and provide hyperlinks to the specific areas in the site for your readers.


Watch my interview with Martin Waxman. Use the three-pronged approach to react to the interview. What does Martin have to say about the need for traditional PR skills?


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 Delicious 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?


Watch my interview with Kneale Mann. Use the three-pronged approach to react to the interview.


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.


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.


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.


Be My Guest Part 2: Post something from a different guest blogger. (See Week 14)


2 Responses to Topics of the Week :: #COMM4633 #SPC4350 Social Media for PR

  1. Barbara, I don’t know which I’m more thrilled about, that you used one of my posts for an assignment, or that you’re encouraging your students to participate in a Twitter chat. Probably both. Thank you!

    Fyi for any students interested, #measurepr (which is on Petya’s list of Twitter chats that Prof. Nixon mentioned) is bi-weekly on Tuesdays, 12-1 pm ET. We often have different guests who work in the measurement field and next week, we’ll be talking with Seth Duncan aka @PRResearch. He’s extremely smart – almost frighteningly so – and I’d love you to stop by if you can.

    Thanks again, Barbara.

  2. […] TOW: Topic of the Week – Each week this semester, we will have a specific topic that all students will blog about. […]