Cara Mitchell

November 11, 2008

A Perfect Blend

Filed under: Responses — by caramitchell @ 5:56 am
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This semester my professor (Dr. V) introduced me to the blogosphere for pretty much the first time. Yes, I knew what blogging was and yes, I had read a few posts before, but this semester is the first time I’ve learned about how to blog, what makes a good blog, and about the power of blogging.

When learning about how to blog one of the first things my professor and other in-class guest speakers suggested was: READ. We learned that a crucial part of being a blogger is reading. You must know what’s out there and what other bloggers are talking about on a topic. You must know who has valuable info to bring to the table. Reading may be more important than actually writing a blog when trying to become a part of the world of blogging.

This first step of reading has been hard for me to get into. So many blogs that my professor has suggested are so useful. They are full of information and issues that I should know about and understand, but BeingCheryl offers a perfect blend of useful information and a style of writing that keeps the reader scrolling.

A few things I’m learning and that I appreciate about the BeingCheryl blog:

  • Honesty: In class we’ve learned about developing our writing style and about being honest and true to who we are while writing. This concept is at work in this blog. The [brutal] honesty used in this blog works 🙂 . For example, I was reading the blog and talking to my roommates at the same time about how I didn’t want to pay $1200 for an internship class this summer at Clemson. I’d just said that I’d rather do an internship during the fall, but I felt like I didn’t have time…When I looked down at BeingCheryl’s post on Career Building for College students in the section about “Fitting it into Your Schedule” my excuses about this matter were confronted with the truth- I do have time…I just need to manage my time better.
  • Humanity: This blog definitely has the ‘human feel’ that we are always discussing in class. Don’t fill up your blog with jargon, technical language, and big words that mean nothing- just be human and be yourself. Everyone can’t ‘BeCheryl’ but everyone does have their own voice, so from this I learn how much being yourself adds to your blog. Being yourself is what makes you different from everyone else and it can be the difference in what makes your blog the one to read.
  • Helpful: Write about things that are helpful. What have I learned that will help out someone who might be reading my blog? BeingCheryl discusses things that are helpful to readers.

Lesson: The 3 H’s of blogging from BeingCheryl–> Be honest. Be human. Be helpful. These are things that I’ve learned after thinking about what it is that makes BeingCheryl a must read!

The blog includes topics that are relevant to me as a student and someone interested in learning about PR AND it is fun to read. I have to say that it is definitely one of a kind…so check it out!

November 6, 2008

Response to “Still on Hold? Twitter Can Rescue You From Customer Service Line Waits”

Filed under: PR Connections,Responses — by caramitchell @ 6:08 am
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A post on ABC News: “Still on Hold? Twitter Can Rescue You From Customer Service Line Waits” discusses a Comcast customer’s story of salvation from 3 days with no Comcast service (phone, cable, or internet) through the power of Twitter.  After getting the typical run around from customer service reps that we have all probably received, this woman decided to tweet about her issues w/ Comcast…

I personally think that it is a great thing that Comcast has a task force to seek out customers who are taking their frustrations to the Internet. It’s a very smart thing and it shows that Comcast understands how serious and damaging customer frustrations can be when unleashed online, however there is something a little fishy about this to me.

It’s similar to a model of PR we studied in class called Stakeholder Theory. The model compares publics in a situation- (for this purpose let’s say a customer service issue) and is a type of rating system on how you should deal with each public. Publics are rated as to what degree they possess power, urgency, and legitimacy. The more characteristics a public possesses, the more important they are in the situation. For example you may choose to deal with a legitimate public who has a lot of power before you deal with a public who solely has a legitimate issue in the situation. In a way this model is unethical- and I see how when it is applied to a real life example such as this ‘Twitter rescue’.

The problem is (and I’m looking from a customer’s perspective): All customers should be treated equally important- especially when they all call in to the customer service line. I understand that each customer wants to feel special and significant (which is why the woman who used Twitter and received help is now completely loyal to Comcast), but it is like you have to take your complaint to the Net to get help- and this should not be. Your call and need for these services should be enough motivation to companies like Comcast.

Clearly, Comcast had the power to help this woman , but they did not do so until she got on the Internet and increased her POWER factor by speaking up…I can relate to this woman (because I have Comcast at home, and worked from home during the summer and had Internet issues). Getting the run around is frustrating enough to customers. What this situation tells me is that Comcast has the power to help customers in a more timely manner than they may schedule- it just depends on how important of a customer they think you are (are you talking bad about their services to the masses?).

Wrap-up: Basically I think it’s a great thing that Comcast is getting involved online and takes their internet-saavy customers seriously, but I don’t think it should have to come to this to get timely help. From a PR perspective: this is a great way to better relations with customers. It makes them feel special and like their business is valuable when they get help from an exclusive group from within the company. I think that Comcast would do even better just being more effective in the customer service department that they already have.

October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day ’08: POVERTY

Filed under: Personal,Responses — by caramitchell @ 11:07 pm
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Yesterday my professor told our class we were invited to participate in Blog Action Day and that the topic this year is Poverty. The idea is to raise awareness about Poverty and for people everywhere to call attention to the same topic. Our instructions were to blog from the heart, and if our hearts have nothing to say, keep quiet. So I had to write something.

Poverty is definitely a serious problem- as most people would agree. But the problem comes in when we say it’s a serious problem, and silently think – but it’s not my problem. This relates to the idea of Poverty and the Other. The way that I realized I can avoid thinking like this is by this Bible verse: Proverbs 22:2 “The rich and the poor have a common bond; the Lord is the maker of them all.” We are all fellow human beings – regardless of why we are facing poverty or how we get into situations- we are our brother’s keepers.

This Blog Action Day has been successful in making me realize that I’m not doing enough to help. If you’re not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem, right? Just reading other posts on the Blog Action Day site are inspiring to me- they affirm that the effort of every person- My effort- is significant.

Writing this post is my first step in being a part of the solution.

October 9, 2008

Exploring Social Media (Comment on Chris Brogan’s “50 Applications and Sites to Consider”)

Filed under: Responses — by caramitchell @ 1:59 pm
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Since we are learning the odds and ends of social media in class, this post by Chris Brogan: 50 Applications and Sites to Consider is perfect for getting an idea of what exactly is out there in the blogosphere.

In this post (before he begins listing sites) I noticed that fact that Chris Brogan has an account on each of these sites, even though he might not use it; this echoes the advice of Dr. V in class: if you are looking to work in PR, even if you don’t use all of these Web sites, you at least need to stay on top of what’s out there.

Comments on the 50 Applications & Sites List:

  • For free blogging and hosting Blogger seems cool. Just from taking a quick look at it, it seems to be very educational. For example the first thing you see on the home page is the question: What is a blog?(Maybe if we had used this in class, Dr. V wouldn’t have had to do so many tutorials on her class blog. It explains very clearly what blogging is and several terms related to blogging as well).
    • After looking at all of the blogging sites listed, they all focus on how easy it is to create a blog. Especially Tumblr which highlights the words: “Sign up in 10 seconds”. 🙂
  • For microblogging BrightKite looks cool. Its theme as a Web site really focuses on community and meeting friends. Instead of saying “Join Now” like many other sites do, it uses the phrase “Get an invite”.
    • Friendfeed has this same appeal to community and meeting friends (hence the name Friendfeed), but I don’t like the design on the home page. It does not make me want to be a part of this community…
    • Identi.ca looks cool too. It seems to keep it simple. I like the tag feature it uses. You can read recent posts on particular topics by selecting a tag.
    • Learned something new about microblogging while on Jaiku – the short posts that people type on these microblogging sites about what they are doing or whatever are called activity streams. (Didn’t know that). Something funny on Jaiku: while I was looking at the map feature a woman said: I still wish Jaiku was as nice as Twitter.
    • Posterous looks very interesting – different from the others. I might have to explore this one a little further. It again stresses the ease of creating an account (it crosses out the words “Create an account”).
  • As far as bookmarking sites go: Ma.gnolia has a list of tutorials to watch (I could appreciate that) to get to know the site.  StumbleUpon makes me want to try out one of these bookmarking sites for sure (great name, too 🙂 )
  • Social media news sites: After browsing over these, I see that they are worth being acquainted with- these appear to come in with the listening factor that so many class guests and other people talk about when they discuss how to be a part of this online world. Digg, Mixx – I’m definitely coming back to these sites.

Basically, this is a great post just to start getting an idea of what exists online. Most of these sites focus on how simple it is to get started and on becoming a part of a community. Some of them go on to teach you what the site does and how to use it (which is very helpful). I’m just getting started on exploring this list of 50 – which will probably lead to learning about more 🙂

October 2, 2008

Insight from PRinciples Class Guest Speaker @pistachio

Filed under: Responses — by caramitchell @ 6:23 pm
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I just learned so much in this class about the power of social networking! I almost feel like knowledge overload has taken place. We live-twittered in class, so I not only learned from my professor, but from other classmates who were twittering, and from @pistachio who spoke to our class via Skype. @pistachio- (Laura Fitton) who we learned is referred to as the “Twitter Queen” told us about how she learned how to use her voice online and how she got to where she is today (she is an expert microblogger and communications consultant who teaches her clients how to incorporate social media into their interactions). Today I learned that if someone can learn to use their voice the right way, then their voice can be louder and more influential than that of a large corporation.

More noteworthy points: @pistachio also talked to us about the best ways to use social media networks like twitter . One thing that stuck out to me on this topic was that if you are using a social network for business purposes, don’t always focus on promoting, but use that human voice that everyone has to relate to others. She shared her thoughts about how newspaper columnists’ jobs will change drastically in the future- in ways that we cannot even imagine- possibly to columns that are actually online communities.

Main Lesson: The overall theme of what I learned in from our speaker today in class and from our last reading of the Cluetrain Manifesto is not to fall into the cycle of continuing to build the “golden wall” that separates organizations from publics, but just be genuine in making those connections with others – regardless of what channel of communication is being used. It sounds like a simple lesson, but it also appears to be one that has been forgotten.

September 8, 2008

Ch. 3: What PR History Teaches Me

Filed under: Responses — by caramitchell @ 2:18 am

The most important idea that I think is presented in this chapter on PR history is the theme that the past is prologue. This is why it is so important to understand history and take notes on where and how others fell short or excelled.

Something that this chapter really made me think about was about representing clients that are controversial. It is definitely a personal and ethical choice, but there is so much truth in the saying “bad company corrupts good character” and the spin that the book puts on this saying, “you are judged by the company you keep”. It will be necessary to represent clients who have a negative reputation with the public and this is definitely a part of PR, but there is a line to be drawn between these clients and those who are completely up to no good (like the question in the book asking whether or not you would represent an exectuive who stole from his company).  This was the downfall of Ivy Ledbetter Lee – although he is credited with establishing ethics within the profession of PR, he is also noted as not walking the walk.

Another lesson to learn from this brief history of PR is from Mr. Edward Bernays. Our book talks about his success, the strides he made for the discipline of public relations, and how he is considered the father of PR. The book also mentions the way that he was very focused on self-promotion – to the point where he sometimes received more credit for an organization’s efforts than the company itself received. It’s definitely necessary to make yourself look good, that’s how you actually get clients, but it’s important to remember that it’s not all about you…

The main lesson I learned here is to pay attention to the history of PR and what people have done in the past because it is crucial to my future.

September 4, 2008

Breathing is to a Person what Blogging & Twittering is to a PR Pro

Filed under: Other,Responses — by caramitchell @ 5:38 pm
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Maybe the title is an overstatement, but it drives my 1st lesson of the day home.

In class today we watched “A Moment With Phil” and spoke with PR professional Kipp Bodnar. After watching this video, speaking to Mr. Bodnar, and listening to Dr. V talk about how she reads from 200-300 blog posts per day, and others read up to 4,000/ day, I was completely blown away!

I now realize that I need to make a real effort to make blogging as common as “drinking coffee” like Dr. V said, so that writing posts and commenting, and twittering won’t feel like a task or another homework assignment to cross off the list…especially since we are going to be engaging in these activities all semester long. I would like to incorporate blogging (and other online activities that I’m learning are extremely useful for upcoming PR professionals) into my lifestyle.

This is definitely one of my major goals for this class. Let the journey begin! 🙂

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