Monthly Archives: April 2008

Social media platforms on facebook

Let’s face it, social media is in and everyone wants a piece of it. Big companies are taking stabs at using social media as a way to connect with audiences, but few are being successful at doing so.

Facebook is one of the most popular web 2.0 tools, which only makes sense as to why so many organizations are using it to sell products, raise awareness, build brand recognition, etc, etc. Facebook has over 70 million active users, is the 6th most-trafficked website in the world and is the 2nd most-trafficked social media site in the world (comScore). 

What is the purpose of facebook? Is it to keep in touch with friends or is it an online marketing tool just like everything else is the world is becoming? Facebook was a seemingly harmless and fun way to connect with friends, until applications began to take over my profile page. Applications exsist as marketing tools used to attack users. Get this, there are over 20,000 applications which have been built on the Facebook Platform. There are 140 new applications added per day and more than 95 per cent of Facebook members have used at least one of these applications. Sounds like a pretty extensive audience outreach to me.

I am just a victim as I have signed up for many of these applications falling into the trap of curiousity. My facebook page has games, horoscopes, maps of where I’ve travelled, my blog, a zombie war, surveys and even a social profile which tells me how I am ranked among my friends. Go facebook.

Don’t even get me started on those gifts. Who would pay $1 for something so ridiculous!

Now although I have lost my train of thought and carried on about how facebook is really an outlet to sell me crap I don’t need, there are some companies who are using it successfully. I recently clicked on a sponsored link by Subway (the sanwiches) and was pleasantly surprised.

Subway has a sponsored ad on facebook and when you click on it a small video pops up and you can watch a 20 second or so ad from Subway. It is not the best ad but is similar to what they have showing on TV right now with the monkey not fitting into a healthy lifestyle.

If you then click on the actual link (not the sponsored video), it takes you to a memory game. Now who doesn’t love memory?

The game only has 20 or so cards which have pictures of vegetables on them that you match up and then get points. However, there are also two monkeys in the mix and if you match them you lose points. I don’t think the points get you anything (even though it would be better if you did), but you can register for promotions and coupons and stuff and then if you play enough, you name will get added on the high scores list. The page also contains links to Subway locations and other crap., but focuses on how eating subway is a part of a healthy lifestyle (like Cheerios is part of a complete breakfast).

I mean, its not overly innovative or original, but a neat concept to get the idea across. Check it out and let me know what you think. In the meantime, next time you log into facebook, take a look at all the subliminal ads and marketing gizmos that are targeting you. It’s sad and scary.

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Me since school. What did I learn and how did it help.

Week four in PR career and I finally feel like I am settling in and getting used to things. My first week was spent reading and doing orientations. My office is huge and there are too many people to remember. I love my team and although I probably have a bias I think they are the best bunch in the group.

There is quite an adjustment between school and work that really takes getting used to. Firstly, the whole 9-5 thing. Most people my age have worked at least one 9-5er in their life, but not me. I find that some nights I am going to bed at 10, and sometimes earlier (like last Thursday, after a few drinks after work). I’m exhausted much of the time, and even on weekends it’s hard to sleep in. I have to dress up, which isn’t a big deal, but owning one pair of dress pants is. I really have to go shopping. But really, everything else is a learning process just like every other big step in my life.

To be honest, I was weary and unsure about how prepared I was for this job after leaving school. I think everyone is nervous coming into a new job, but this is something I am meant to have the skills to do, and what if I wasn’t good enough?

Well, thankfully I am. I find that even if I don’t understand something all I have to do is ask and someone will explain. I often get complimented for asking so many questions. A lot of the words and tools are the same as we were taught in school. Communications plan’s are WAY different (and not as complicated, thank God) and although I am doing basic level tasks, I am given more responsibility each day and am learning so much.

So how did school help? My social media experience definitely gives me an advantage. I love del.icio.us and use it for everything. I know how to ask questions and to make sure I am asking the right ones. I always take the assertive approach and will e-mail my colleagues and ask them for stuff to do when I have finished my work. My CP books sit on my desk at all times and I am very careful when writing anything (except my blog).

Most importantly, I mesh well with my team. Everyone likes me (I hope) and the fact that we all get along makes it much easier to approach people when I need help.

There are also lots of other exciting things that take place that are totally not school or PR related. Things that make me feel special and important. The exciting first big job perks:

I get business cards. Very professional
My outlook invites me to meetings and stuff, and then reminds me of them! (hotmail lifetime user here)
I am having a bio photo and write up done
I have my own cubicle with a name plate thing and all the office supplies I want
Beercart (need I say more?)
Coffee, pop, juice, snacks; it’s like a buffet in here (It’s called the H&K 10 for a reason)
My own phone and extension, oh and e-mail signature
Responsibility, people tell me to do things and I get them done
Confidentially, people trust me, great feeling
Training sessions
My desk can be as messy as I’d like and no one can say anything

So there is no message to be told or lesson to be learn in this post. Just an update of me and how exciting my job is.

P.S. I just heard my AD sing the words to Brittney Spears “I’m not a girl”. Ya, doesn’t get much better than this.

 

Blog shame

I’ve lately been struggling with the question “Why do I blog?”

If blogging was not trendy or a related part of my desired profession, would I still do it?

Let’s be honest. I am not really into my computer all that much. I would way rather watch a movie, go for a walk or hang out with friends then sit at home in front of my computer. I don’t really like meeting people over the internet, playing computer games or learning about new media tools.

Does that make me wannabe blogger?

The truth is, if I ended up in medical school as oppose to PR school, I probably wouldn’t really even know what blogging is. (Gasp!) Instead, I ended up at Centennial where I was introduced to the wonderful world of social media.

Some students were entirely opposed to the idea of blogging. I was excited and read, commented and even researched what I wanted to say. I would write twice a week and get butterflies as I hit ‘post’ worried that I had made some crucial error.

School is now over, and I’m lucky if I post once a week. I am seriously beginning to question my loyalty to my blog. In school I was learning new things every day, and could post about my discoveries and share ideas with students and professionals. Now, as an intern, I feel most of the things I am learning now I am not allowed to share. My day-to-day activities are new to me, but by no means worthy to discuss, not to mention confidential (well, not really, but you get the idea).

But anyways, my point is, blogging was my way in. My chance to get my name out there and build a reputation for myself as someone interested in social media and someone good at PR. Now that I’ve done that, is there really a need to continue?

This basically leads me back to the question, “Why do I blog?”

The simple answer, I want to be ahead of the PR game. I work at a big agency and I don’t have exact number but I beleive that there are 10 or less people who I work with that blog, and even less on Twitter. I’m not saying that these are things you need to be good at PR, but when the time comes to perhaps promote somebody, and I have the knowledge and experience with social media, it’s going to be me to excel.

So as shameful as it may seem, that is why I blog. I applaud people who do it for the satisfaction. I don’t dislike blogging, but to me its work.

A few questions to consider:

If no one read your blog would you still write it?

If you write about your profession, why?

What do you hope to achieve by blogging?

Why do you blog?

 

It’s a small, small world

Well to start, Mexico was a blast. We had almost perfect weather everyday, our resort was beautiful and we were able to take part in a lot of really great activities. We went to Coba for a day and were able to experience the Mayan ruins, we went to Xel-ha and went snorkeling and swam in cenotes, did a zip-line over the jungle and took part in a lot of fun stuff right at our resort.

Interestingly enough, on the bus from the airport to the resort, I saw a girl walk on who I thought I recognized. I said her name, and realized that we work together at East Sides. Totally random, but we were on the same flight and going to the same resort. It was great spending time with her and her boyfriend, but it just shows how small of a world it really is.

This leads into my topic of discussion for today which is networking. From day one of PR school it had been recommended to us students that we take part in as many networking events as we can, for the experience and the opportunities. In my head I thought this was great, as I am great at meeting new people, but by my first networking event I was actually pretty nervous. I am going to meet professionals! What if I make a bad impression or say the wrong thing? What if they think I am stupid and then they go and tell everyone that I’m a big loser and then I never get a job in PR? Things are the kind of things that I stress out about.

After my first event, Talk is Cheap, (where I spoke to no one), I decided try something a little more my pace and attend a Thirsty Thursday event. It’s held by and for young PR professionals, and it involves beer; sounds good to me.

To my surprise people were (and are) really nice. They did not drill my on my knowledge of PR, but instead offered ideas and insight. Sure we talked about PR, but we talked about a bunch of other things too. I made a lot of friends, gathered a few business cards and made some great connections.

The moral of the story is, go to networking events. They are put on for a reason. Don’t go to all of them (unless you want to) but making an appearance every now and then keeps you face out there. It’s also a great way to get people reading your blog and following you on Twitter, therefore making even more connections and increasing your online profile.

Tonight is Third Tuesday Toronto, another networking event that are also quite causal but focus on a key topic usually with a guest speaker. Tonight, I get to watch another live recording of Inside PR.  It’s like a triple whammy. I get to watch a production of a podcast, I get to network with a bunch of other PR professionals, and I get to hang out with some friends from school who I have not seen since we started internships, which coincidently, was just this week.

So like I said, it’s a small world, and you never know when or where your contacts may come in handy. Plus everyone likes making friends. 🙂