Tag Archives: LinkedIn

Will SOPA curtail creativity?

by Megan Reichenbach

The Stop Online Piracy Act (also known as the Protect IP Act in the Senate) is a new initiative copyright owners are taking to “isolate and shut down websites or online services found with infringing content.”

Should we be worried?

SOPA’s primary goals seem to be legitimate, giving those artists the money they deserve for work that is being displayed online by others. The problem is that this bill has been reworked and now includes a requirement for pre-screening all user-contributed content.

In essence, we are looking at a future of broad Internet censorship . . . aka, changing the entire nature of what the Internet has become. Some even believe this act to be the “Great Firewall of America.”

The beginning

In late October 2011, the House of Representatives introduced a bill that would extend our federal government’s ability to stop foreign sites from using pirated content developed by U.S. businesses. This includes websites that steal music, videos and software from U.S. corporations.

As I noted, the initial purpose of the bill seemed reasonable. Many people illegally download music, films and television series rather than paying the 99 cents to download from iTunes. In reality, such stinginess is leaving those music producers and filmmakers with empty pockets.

It’s estimated that Hollywood studios and record labels are losing up to a $135 billion a year from piracy alone.

But, eradicating domain names all together may “disrupt the way the Internet is designed to work today and put too much of a burden on search engines and Internet service providers in blocking suspected sites.”

The SOPA buzz

It’s no secret that SOPA has been the ongoing gossip in the cyber world. The bill suggests that those individuals and companies that publish about or link to others’ works may be accused of piracy.

This would include all of us who retweet, post or even write about another person’s publication. According to an infographic on Mashable.com, “sites you visit may be blocked, email providers may be forced to censor certain links you send or receive” and “the links and content you share on social networks will be carefully monitored and possibly censored.”

I just have one question . . . where are my privacy rights?

A threat to our future?

SOPA also threatens the future of job searching and innovation through online techniques. Sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have recently been job searchers’ platforms for getting their names into the industry market.

Unlike traditional resume builders, LinkedIn, a professional social media site, allows individuals to offer links to personal sites such as Twitter and Facebook accounts, upload professional résumés and add photos to your profile.

Are we all going to have to resort back to the simple résumés built on Microsoft Word? This limit on creativity could be the catalyst for never getting that dream job.

Those of us searching for a job in this ever-so-difficult market need to have the ability to put our names out there in ways that show off our individuality. The sites Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have given us that opportunity.

In retaliation to the serious risk the bill is imposing, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo and Zynga sent a letter to the U.S. Congress voicing their concerns.

These companies respect the goal of enforcing additional tactics to combat illegitimate copyright and counterfeit sites. But, they urge the legislators to “preserv[e] the innovation and dynamism that [have] made the Internet such an important driver of economic growth and job creation.”

Instead of tweeting about Kourtney Kardashian’s recent pregnancy announcement or who will play in the national college football championship, maybe we should all be concerned with the direction the Internet is going. Are all of our posts, tweets and blog postings going to be accused of counterfeit?

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The New and Improved PR Practitioner

by: Alex Reichenbach

PR practitioners have always been expected to have impressive writing and communication skills to show on their résumés. Although these skills are important, they are only the beginning of what is expected of PR practitioners during these technologically savvy days.

Recent changes in the World Wide Web have forced a new professional standard — healthy online presence. For some of you, the first thing that comes to mind is social media. While social media has become an essential component in creating online presence, it is a very small part.

There are certain criteria PR practitioners should follow that go beyond the simplicity of creating a Facebook or Twitter page. Following these steps will ultimately change you from the average PR practitioner to a professional who has mastered the new standards of public relations.

LinkedIn: Claiming Your Professional Name

LinkedIn can be considered the professional spin off from Facebook. Instead of using this social media outlet to converse with friends and family, LinkedIn is used to establish connections with thousands of companies and to find potential clients or jobs.

In the article, “The Anti-Social Enterprise” by Gary Steele, CEO of Proofpoint, provider of cloud-based security software, the rising popularity of LinkedIn is proven through statistics:

Sixty-nine percent of Fortune 100 companies have company profiles on LinkedIn, compared to 54 percent with Facebook fan pages and 65 percent with Twitter accounts.

Many believe Twitter serves as a great way to become familiar with various PR practitioners, but this statistic shows that the rise of LinkedIn may make it more essential in the professional world. Although Twitter is still used, LinkedIn gives PR practitioners more opportunities than simply following other professionals; it establishes your professional status through a detailed explanation of your experiences, as well as a brief professional summary about yourself.

Taking advantage of this professional database as a PR practitioner is a vital part of becoming involved in the online “networking” that is ultimately finding thousands of people jobs.

Electronic Résumé: Show Off

A few years ago, simply having a written résumé was enough to qualify for a job. With the recent boom of technology, however, the résumé qualifications have changed. PR practitioners need to upload their résumés online to allow easy access to their credentials. This may seem like a fairly minor task, but the results are huge.

According to the article “The Top Ten Things You Need To Know About E-resumes and Posting Your Resume Online,” 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies post jobs on their websites and expect potential employees to respond electronically. This statistic alone reveals the benefits that come from this simple download.

Your résumé is your chance to show off your skills and qualifications. What better way to do this than having it online for thousands of professionals to see?  This simple uploading process can be done through a résumé builder such as Résumé Improved or through a process offered at job sites like Monster.

Blogging: Voice Your Opinion

There are a variety of ways PR practitioners can become involved in the blogging aspect of personal online presence. The most effective way is for PR practitioners to express their own opinions through their personal blogs.

Peter Shankman, social media entrepreneur, has utilized this form of communication to effectively voice his opinion on a wide range of issues. PR practitioners worldwide refer to his blog, “P.S. Peter Shankman” to keep up with the current trends in public relations.

If the idea of creating a personal blog does not seem appealing, your online presence can improve simply by following and commenting on other PR practitioners’ blogs. Blogs were created to establish an informal two-way conversation between individuals. Therefore, anyone can publish a comment on a blog at any time they choose, according to the article, “Website Traffic Series Part 3: Leaving Comments on Other Blogs.”

PR practitioners need to take advantage of this free publishing to voice their opinions on current public relations issues. This is what sets blogging apart from the other criteria for online presence. Unlike LinkedIn and online résumés where professional status is key, blogging is a PR practitioner’s chance to express how they feel.

Wrap up: Establishing Your Official Online Title

PR practitioners who have successfully completed the above criteria have achieved the new standard of online presence. But there is one last step for those who wish to go above and beyond to set themselves apart from others – create an online portfolio.

Take all that you have accomplished and turn it into an online personal showcase that includes previous work collateral, blogs and professional experience.

By creating this portfolio alongside your LinkedIn profile and personal blog, you are showing the world that you are ahead in the PR field, and that you can make a difference.

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Staying Social Beyond Facebook

By Hannah McDaniel

A social networking panic recently arose when an article released by Weekly World News, reported that Facebook was shutting down. Mind you, this is a blog that regularly reports on aliens and mutants. That said, people panicked. Facebook representatives quickly squashed the rumors, and members’ blood pressure stabilized.

What if Facebook dissapeard forever? What would you do?

Lately, I have heard people say that social media is played out or that it is a passing fad. Yet I hear Twitter references in worship services. Students and faculty alike use the expression “Facebook me” on a regular basis; and “The Social Network,” the movie about the rise of Facebook, recently became a hit at the box office. These events lead me to believe that Facebook is, in fact, very important and not going anywhere.

So, why do some debate that social media isn’t here to stay? I think this can be answered with another question: is all social media fading, or is Facebook becoming less powerful?

I will be the first to say that Facebook is one of the most influential sites, not only for PR professionals, but also for anyone wanting to give or receive information – or just to kill time. There are some companies that rely solely on Facebook for their online presence, rather than having a website. Even with privacy settings, one can easily learn a lot about a person based on the information on their profile.

While Facebook is useful in many aspects, PR practitioners should also embrace the endless niche-specific social networking sites that can be used to our advantage.

Here is a list of some of my favorites:

Twitter
– Twitter is great for self-promotion. It has become the new status update and is useful for business networking. However, it is easy to get lost. If you still have trouble navigating around Twitter, then try out a website such as TwitTip.
– Example: A small town Chick-fil-A restaurant has more than 100,000 followers. How? It’s all about the incentives. With all the money it saves by using free promotions, it can afford to give out discounted products to its followers.

LinkedIn
– LinkedIn is another site that is great for business. However, you aren’t going to find someone talking about anything other than business. Use LinkedIn for your behind-the-scenes work. LinkedIn is great for networking, connections and, in some cases, self-promotion.
– Example: Skip Freeman, author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Change . . . Forever!, has more than 500 connections whom he uses to network and hire for his clients at the Hire to Win Group recruiting firm.

YouTube
– There’s nothing better than an addictive viral video that makes your publics laugh while delivering a message. However, too many times a creative team creates a video without ensuring the desired message is delivered. That’s where YouTube comes in.
– Example: Trigon Blue Cross Blue Shield’s series of commercials featuring two small children discussing health topics has gathered more than 10 million views. Consequently, Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the first health insurance companies I think of when I think about going to the doctor.

PROpenMic.com
– A growing hodge-podge of all things PR, this site is great for agency, in-house and consulting practitioners. PROpenMic is not new, but it is still gaining momentum. With 6,000+ members worldwide, it’s no small site. The social networking site is great for networking with other practitioners, as well as as keeping informed about some of the newest things happening in the field.
– Example: One of the main stories on the home page right now is called PR v. Marketing. Not only is there a video of two professors debating the subject, but there is also a blog with detailed information about each argument.

There are countless interest-focused and industry-focused social networking sites out there. The key is to remember that social media does not have to be the same as social networking. While the two are related, they are not always co-dependent.

So the next time you sit down and start planning your social media communications plan, remember: it’s not just Facebook anymore. And don’t be panicked about this either. This is a good thing — embrace it and try to keep up!

What are some of your favorite ways and places to use social media?

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Blogging: What’s in It for You?

We ask ourselves over and over: What’s the big deal about blogging? If you have an active Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter account, that should be all you need as far as this whole social media thing is concerned, right? Well, that may not necessarily be the case. College professors and PR professionals aren’t continuously buzzing about social media for nothing. While it’s important to know what PR pros are talking about in their blogs, it’s also important to join the conversation.

As you enter the blogosphere, here are a few points to keep in mind:

1) Be informative

We have hundreds of thoughts running through our minds every day. Our thoughts can be professional, industry-related, personal or just fun and random. Either way, these ideas can potentially be useful to someone else. Detailed discussions in class or professional seminars and meetings at work often trigger new ideas, strategies, goals and initiatives. Writing these ideas out and publishing them to a blog may boost your credibility and help other individuals better develop their own goals and skills.

2) Develop professionally

It’s imperative to stay on top of the social media movement. Although it’s called a trend, social media is more of a movement that continually forces users to engage and interact. It allows users to be as formal or informal as they please. A blog is a great professional development tool because it links professionals and those aspiring to be, connects businesses to consumers, associates people who have similar interests and also sharpens writing skills.

3) Get organized

Blogging is a productive way to organize your thoughts. Instead of writing on sticky notes, napkins and random scraps of paper every time you think of something cool or interesting, you could simply use your blog. Each post will be an electronic copy of everything you’ve thought on any particular day. Having a blog may help you with your job, school work or organizational affiliations as you refer back to things you’ve written or read.

4) Learn!

Taking on the responsibility of keeping an updated blog forces you to stay active; you have to stay on top of blog-worthy topics. Whether you’re finding your inspiration in the news, trade publications, entertainment media or someone else’s blog, blogging is a constant learning and growth experience. Soaking up loads of information and sharing your perspective takes a good bit of work, but the rewards make it worthwhile. Try it out!

If you have a blog or you’re just starting out, post the link and share your experiences.

By Miah Evans

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