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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Twitter or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tweet.

I’ll admit it. I’m a public relations major and I didn’t like Twitter. Get the pitchforks! We must kill Frankenstein’s monster!

I didn’t understand the reason for using something that was nothing more, in my opinion, than a glorified Facebook status update system. I vehemently refused to use it and thought everyone was odd who did. After spending time in my COM 509 class though, I’ve begun to see the light. Twitter is more than just a status update system for people to keep me alerted to the food they are eating. I’ve begun to see the multiple ways people use Twitter to keep in contact with one another or the way it is utilized to spread news.

I joined this semester out of pure curiosity. I figured, if I’m going to not like something, I might as well know my enemy. So, I joined and began following a few celebrities and friends to get a feel for what the system was like. I can’t say I was impressed at first.  I thought it was too busy and I didn’t understand what was going on. So, I stopped using Twitter and let it fall by the wayside. I then realized that I was acting like a bull-headed dope, rather than a college student. I was afraid of change and going outside of my comfort zone. There was nothing wrong with the social network, there was something wrong with my perspective.I suffered from the excuse, “I have nothing interesting to say.”

Now if you were to look at my Twitter account, you can probably tell there hasn’t been a huge change in the amount of tweeting I do.

I’m working on it.

I’ve decided to take a new perspective and begin using Twitter with purpose rather than seeing it as an outlet for people’s current state of mind. The original use of Twitter was actually to make it easier for individuals at a business to have communication with one another. Therefore, I’m going to try to find a subject or an idea of what I want to do with my Twitter. It could be public relations (original, I know) or possibly something more hobby related. This subject has made me realize a fundamental lesson, that I needed to learn again, which is to push myself outside of my comfort zone. Even when it’s for something like Twitter.

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3 Ways to Defeat Writer’s Block

Suffering from writer’s block, while maintaining a blog for a class, is a bad thing for a PR student. Sadly, this happened to me last week. I stared at the screen for a half hour and had nothing. Zilch, nada, not one thing to say about PR or blogging. You can see on from this post, I eventually overcame my writer’s block and assembled my required posts on schedule. I can tell you though, at the time, I felt like I was trying to dig my way to China with my bare hands.

To avoid this in future, I decided I would write this post for those suffering from writer’s block and as a reminder to myself.

1. Don’t Stare at the Screen.

I’m horribly guilty of this. My mindset becomes, “I’m writing this post even it takes me all night!” Unfortunately, this is not a healthy mindset to take before trying to write an essay or blog post. I realize we all have deadlines, but I feel the most important thing to do when faced with this dilemma, is to walk away from the screen. I’m not recommending that you give up responsibility of writing the paper or post, but rather to take at least ten minutes to clear your head.

2. Free Write

I know this is lame, but I picked up this hint from the film “Finding Forrester”. When I feel stuck, I just start writing whatever is in my head. Even if it comes out gibberish, I at least know that it possible for me to still write. Doing this, typically, helps to clear my head of whatever I’m thinking about. I also see it as a means of stretching my mind for the process of writing.

3. Write in something else besides your laptop.

Writing an entire draft of work on paper has become something of a lost art to me. I don’t like it because I can’t immediately go back or erase what I’ve written. I’ve noticed though, by writing on paper or in a different location, it’s easier to get the words out . The writing may not be organized or neat, but it gives me something. I imagine this is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy.

I don’t mean for these tips to be an end all to your writer’s block problems. As with everything, the important step is finding what works best for you and moving forward.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Blog, Public Relations

 

Monsters, MySpace, and Viral Movie Campaigns

With the advent of social media, movie marketing campaigns have become even larger and creative than before. It used to be enough to interview the actors on late night shows and release film trailers to the public to increase buzz about a film. Marketers are now having to find new, innovative ways to draw attention to blockbuster movies. The most interesting trend, I’ve noticed in recent years, is the viral movie marketing campaign. Many films have made worthy attempts into the field,such as “The Dark Knight”, but I don’t think any have perfected the art.

The best viral marketing campaign, I’ve seen done so far, is for the film “Cloverfield”. “Cloverfield” is a 2008 monster movie, produced by J.J. Abrams. The film had one of the best marketing campaigns in my opinion, because it was built upon mystery and seeking out clues. When the trailer was first released, no one knew what to expect.

The original movie website at the time even made for an eerie viewing.

Then, slowly, more details started to come out about the plot of the film. Fake websites were made for organizations featured in the film and even fake MySpace profiles for the main characters. The use of MySpace was great because the actors involved with the film were relatively unknown at the time, therefore, it gave a feeling of realism. Their profiles are still up if you want to check them out.

This marketing campaign was fantastic because it stimulated people to actively seek out more information about the film. My favorite part about this film was two people could watch it and come out with two different experiences about what they watched. If someone participated online, the story had even more twists and turns than it did for the average moviegoer. The use of social media and websites became as important to the story as the film was.

 
 

What is Public Relations?

I’m often asked by friends who have a different major, “What is public relations?” Usually the film,”Thank You for Smoking” (which I love by the way) pops into their head before I can give a proper explanation. Then, the conversation diverts to something about me being a spin doctor in training, and I wake up several hours later covered in nicotine patches with the song “Two Princes” playing in the background. My definition of public relations changes depending on the capacity an individual serves in,  but I typically define it as managing relationships between an organization and its public’s.

An agreed upon definition of public relations is often hard to find, but most have common themes. Rex Harlow, a public relations pioneer, researched 472 different definitions of public relations before he decided on his own definition.  I believe Harlow’s definition encompasses many of the facets, which make up public relations. Harlow defined public relations as a management function that “helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance, and cooperation between an organization and its public’s”.

We need to change the general consensus of what public relations is in the public’s eye, or get some better representations in film. I researched to see how movies have presented the PR industry and the results were interesting. I can’t say the profession is generally viewed in a positive light, as far as Hollywood is concerned. The closest I came to a positive representation of public relations was “Jerry Maguire” and possibly, “Hancock”. Then we have our other films, such as “Wag the Dog” and “Network”, which don’t necessarily paint the prettiest picture of what the public relations profession can be.

The picture I think people need to put in their heads for this profession, is most of us are not the bad people represented in the media. Most PR professionals are normal, stressed, employees. Public relations practitioners are trying to represent themselves or an organization as accurately as possible to the public. Moral of the story: don’t let a few bad PR media representations make you distrust an entire profession.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Blog, Public Relations

 

The Future of Interactive Technology

I’m a complete nerd when it comes to reading and learning about futuristic computer technology. When I watched the movie Iron Man, I was more impressed with the holographic computer system than his lame tin suit. I’ve also been known to daydream about having the interactive computer system from Minority Report. So, when I read about this news presentation through Poynter, I was definitely interested. The video is called “The Storm Collection”, and it comes from Matt Thompson and Robin Sloan.

According to the Poynter article, Robin and Matt presented this video at the annual convention of the Society of News Design in St. Louis. The subject of the article and the video fascinate me, because of the predictions they make on how news will be presented in the future. I created my own iGoogle homepage this semester, and I can’t believe the amount of time it saves me to look up news information. The way technology is becoming integrated though, that’s no longer efficient enough. It reminds me of the presentation in my COM 509 class, when a KSPR news reporter discussed tweeting a news story as new information became available. The reporter was tweeting updates, while simultaneously uploading photos of the news story. That story shows where our news system is headed.

The article discusses how our news could be moving towards a more personalized system. People will no longer read the news, rather the news will be explained to them, in context of what they’re reading. Because of the technological advancements in news, a explanation will be necessary, due to the speed and amount of information being presented.

The video also touches on the idea of augmented reality. According to Dictionary.com, augmented reality is “an artificial environment created through the combination of real-world and computer-generated data”. Some magazines, such as Esquire, have already made moves into augmented reality with their publications.

I’m more interested though, in how augmented reality will affect technology the public doesn’t use yet. For example, will there one day be augmented reality glasses, which can be tailored to keep us connected to the Internet at all times? There is a slightly eerie line at the end of the “The Storm Collection” video. Thompson describes not being able to turn off the flow of information. Sloan responds “Well, you never could”.

 

Taking a Tour of Downtown Ozark

I wasn’t sure where to start on our required blog post for this week to take pictures of a subject. As I was driving home from class and thinking about the post, I decided to stop and explore downtown Ozark. I’ve been living in Ozark for the past year and hadn’t really taken the time to see what the town had to offer. I parked in the square and started walking around, looking at the different buildings. I soon realized that downtown Ozark is quite small. I enjoyed that aspect, as it was easy to walk around the entirety of downtown snapping pictures. As I was exploring, I noticed a strange monument by the town center. According to this article, a group of vigilantes, known as the Bald Knobbers, were hanged in the square after three of their group assaulted and killed two men in the region.I didn’t realize until writing this that the Bald Knobbers are featured on the Silver Dollar City Ride, Fire in the Hole.

www.flickr.com

A building I wish I could have explored more was the Ozark Mill. I’ve seen many people having their senior photos taken by it, but I’ve never stopped to take a look. The building resides beside the Finley river and has an interesting layout. I would’ve taken more pictures, but many of the sections were blocked off by no trespassing signs. I considered ignoring them, but barb wire convinced me otherwise. I peeked in through windows and there was construction equipment inside. I wonder if someone is planning to renovate the building.

My favorite picture is of the orange Volkswagen. When I look at it, I get this Fall feeling inside. I also like the pictures of the building with the flower garden, but I can’t seem to remember what the building was for. I’m a sucker for old mills and exploring abandoned buildings.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2011 in Blog

 

Review of Audacity

After the presentation in my social media class on podcasts, I decided to download the program Audacity to see if I could teach myself a few things with the audio editing program. I’ve used the video-editing program, Final Cut Pro, in the past, so I assumed the learning curve for using an audio-editing program wouldn’t be too dreadfully steep.

The installation process is easy, along with knowing how to access the different areas of the program. I read through the FAQ on the Audacity website to get a grasp on what exactly the entire system is. At first glance, the system reminds me of the other freeware program Gimp. Gimp is a photo-editing tool, similar to Photoshop, that is unique for offering an intricate program that rivals high dollar photo programs. Audacity strikes me as having that same high quality at no cost.

A simple Google search for Audacity tutorials provided me with a great how-to video on Audacity for recording podcasts. My MacBook has also made a recording setup easy, as it already features a built-in microphone. Here is an example of what the main screen looks like after I uploaded an MP3 file from my iTunes.

After fiddling around for an hour or so, I found the system easy to use. I can’t do any complex tasks yet, but tasks, such as cutting audio files and restructuring, are simple to learn. Using Audacity is much easier to learn than using Final Cut Pro, simply because I don’t have to make sure the audio syncs with any other data information.  I would include an example of my audio work, but I don’t think my skills are good enough yet for it to be worth anyone’s time to listen. For anyone looking for more information on the tutorial, I would examine this website and download the Audacity program. I highly recommend at least giving the program a try. It costs nothing, is easy to learn and you will learn a beneficial skill to add to your public relations toolbox.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Blog, News, Public Relations, ROI