Exploring the Tweetup

Although it has been a little while since I have last posted, I have continued to be an active Twitterer. One of the things that I continue to see on Twitter that has me intrigued are Tweetups. It seems that most major cities have people that organize them. I am interested in hosting one in my home town of Portland, Oregon but I need some help! If you know answers to any of my questions I’d love your help!

1. What is a Tweetup? Is it as simple as it seems- a way for a community on Twitter to meet in person?

2. What brings people to a Tweetup?

3. What makes a successful Tweetup?

Thank you already for any advice!

Smart Social Networking

I saw this commercial from IBM and loved it. It makes a great point about the relationship of social networking and business.

As a college student, it is easy to get caught up in your small circle of friends on different social networking sites. I’m not saying this is wrong, but to truly understand the potential power of social networking I think this commercial raises some good points. The challenge is to connect to people that can help you in all sorts of different ways, this could be for potential jobs, people to collaborate with or even experts in a particular field.

Sometimes the challenge is also how to find “those kind of friends,” you know the ones that a boss might want or would help you down the road. Here are some tips to help you start reaching outside of just your small bubble:

1. Number one rule of social networking: LISTEN and LEARN! Before just friending every professional or big hot shot make sure you have done your homework and know about them. Just because they have a big title doesn’t mean you should immediately talk to them. Then learn what their preferences are and decide if its still a networking opportunity you want to pursue. Bottom line, networking is all about building relationships. No one likes fake people, period.

2. Use blog search engines to check out topics that interest you. See what you think about them and the author. Chances are if they have a fairly in-depth blog you will easily be able to find them on several social networks.

3. Talk to your current or old teachers about industry people or peers who they know are involved in social media. Check to see if you can find them on these sites as well.

4. When you start making more contacts, use the social networking bubble, in other words see who your new contacts are connected to and if they interest you, try to expand your relationships.

5. Lastly, building a good social network takes time. Be patient and realize that the relationships you have with your best friends now weren’t like that the first day you met. Continue to try to network even if you feel a little like you’re just shouting out into the huge world wide web. I promise it will pay off!  

Fantasy Sports vs. Social Media

From kermittheblog.wordpress.comVS.  

For those of you who have been living under a rock, fantasy sports have been growing exponentially over the past few years. Many of my good guy friends (and a few girls) are, as this t-shirt says, “Fantasy Sports Junkies.” I have never really been that interested in fantasy sports until a couple nights ago. After a discussion between myself, Jessica Lomelin, and our boyfriends, who do not understand our obsession with social media, but are Fantasy Sports Junkies it got me thinking: Are Fantasy Sports a type of social media? Or are they their own breed of web interaction? 

Wikipedia defines social media as “an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words and pictures. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and “building” of shared meaning, as people share their stories, and understandings.” 

I have no doubt that Fantasy Sports is a form of social networking, but does it as a medium itself qualify as part of the social media family? I would argue that yes, Fantasy Sports are a form of social media. I believe this for several  reasons:

1. Online gaming is considered a form of social media. Yes there is more discussion during these games; however, in Fantasy Sports you can send messages and “smack talk” other players. This is naturally a form of social networking. Friends can keep in touch through their love of sports, and they can meet new people with their similar sports interests.

2. Fantasy Sports are starting to incorporate more “traditional” forms of social media such as blogging, photo sharing and community groups. With the addition of these features Fantasy Sports are moving closer to what most believe are considered as social media.

3. According to the Wikipedia definition, social media incorporates technology, social interaction and the construction of pictures and words. Obviously technology and social interaction occur in Fantasy Sports, but the construction of pictures and words is hard to prove. But I do believe that the messages, trades and teams that users create form as their type of networking and communicating. 

The reason I think this topic is so interesting is that these same Fantasy Sports Junkies often are doubters or the importance or relevance of social media. If we, as PR practitioners, can help this large audience understand the power of social media through their connection to Fantasy Sports we will have another way to help others, not in our field, understand what we do and why. Many of my good guy friends, who are Fantasy Sports Junkies, are majoring in business and will be the people deciding the real ROI on PR campaigns, or if they should even attempt a PR campaign. Finding ways to identify with them, such as through Fantasy Sports could be a common platform to launch from.

Campaign Time!

students1.jpg

This term is my last in college and so I am finishing up with the PR Campaigns course, which is basically the capstone class for the PR focus. Yesterday we got to choose from five potential clients and pick our groups. I am thrilled to get to be working with RideAble. RideAble’s mission is to “provide horsemanship instruction for the special needs community in a safe and interactive environment.” Myself, Katy Spaulding and Dustin Ferguson will be working together this term to create a PR campaign for RideAble.
 
All we know for now, until we have our first meeting, is that they are looking for plan for a potentially large capital campaign.Currently, RideAble does not own their own space and must switch barns twice a year. They would love to be able to own their own property, which could range anywhere between half a million and a million dollars. I will update about the process as we get further along! 
 
Any suggestions or recommendations are gladly welcomed. I would love to get some good readings or best practices on capital campaigns if anyone has some!  

Event Planning at UO

picture-2.pngIdeally, at some point in my life I would like to have a career in event planning. I decided this was what I wanted to do my sophomore year in college. Unfortunately, the University of Oregon does not have a major in event planning so I settled on public relations. What I have found interesting in my public relations courses is how many of my peers also want to pursue event planning. This is especially demonstrated by the fact that the PR Campaigns course this spring for the Senior Experience is going to be centered around event planning. I have chosen to stay in Eugene for my last term, but am disappointed that this type of opportunity is not available here. 

The other thing I am disappointed in the School of Journalism and Communication, is that it does not encourage students to consider the University of Oregon Festival and Event Management program in addition to the public relations focus. I stumbled on this program by accident the summer before my junior year and decided to pursue my certificate immediately. The program offers a certificate program which requires you to attend workshops, take a ten week course, complete a project and do a practicum all centered around event planning. When I asked my advisor back sophomore year what my options were for event planning, this was never mentioned, which is a shame. I hope my public relations teachers learn about it so they can encourage their students who are passionate about event planning to look into this option. It would also be remarkable if teachers teamed with some of the lead lecturers and coordinators of the certificate program to present about event planning. 
 
The other great thing as well, is that the program is run through the Continuing Education center which means even if teachers don’t reach their students until senior year, if they are staying in the Portland/Eugene area, they can still consider this option. Also, many of the workshops I have taken were full of people whose companies paid for them to go. It is all around a good stepping stone for University of Oregon students to get some knowledge of event management, even if they can’t major in it. 
 

My New Friend in India

From Labnol.org

Today I had my first memorable conversation with an international call center. My roommate and I had not been able to get online because our Netgear Wireless Router was not working. So I decided to call Netgear’s support line. I was at first impressed to see all the different ways they allowed customers to contact them for help. They have a User Forum, which seems like a great way to offer feedback about products or for Netgear to see things that their customers don’t like. It reminds me of a blog simply focused on the feedback aspect. Because our problem was time sensitive, in other words my roommate and I had projects and neither of us enjoy going to the library, I decided to use the Regular Phone Support. After about 20 minutes on the phone with a very friendly agent, my problem was fixed with little frustration on my part. Yes, it was at times difficult to understand what he was saying, but he was always polite saying “yes ma’am” and “wonderful ma’am.” While we were waiting for my router to reboot, he asked what state I was from and I asked him where he was from. We small chatted about the time difference between Oregon and India and I told him about the beautiful spring day we were having here. It was a pleasant experience, and in no time my internet was back up and working.
 
I’m not only writing this post because The World is Flat 3.0 spends a great deal of time talking about call centers in India, but also because of the reactions so many American’s have about these call centers. So many people hate call centers because they hate not being able to understand someone when they have a problem. I know, it’s frustrating to repeat yourself and have someone not understand what you are trying to say. However, if you are patient and go into the phone call with enough time you might just have a pleasant experience.
 
I wonder if soon we will see a PR campaign to help American’s adjust to international call centers. I would be interested in what type of campaign would be effective? 

Blogging To Do List

Image from life.tutorialblog.orgMy learning how to blog to do list:

I have always been obsessed about being organized. I am that person who color codes her calendar, creates hourly time sheets for her days and yes, is completely addicted to To Do Lists. I have decided to create my Blogging To Do List in hopes to commit myself to learning how to improve my knowledge of blogging and skills with blogging. So here is what I would like to learn how to do before spring break in three weeks:

 1. How to make WordPress recognize my paragraphs, without having to type in the code. 

2. How to place pictures in different locations in my posts, as well as how to make them the size I want them. As you can see by my large picture, I could use some help with this one.

3. How to change the header picture of my blog to a personalized picture. This way it will be more personal to my blog, instead of just the widget form.

4. How to have my text wrap around the pictures that I place in blog.

5. How to put a Twitter update on the sidebar of my blog.

6. How to place a Recent Comments sidebar on my blog.

7. How to add a Search feature to my blog.

8. How to get FeedBurner to recognize my blog and keep track of its stats.

9. How to get pictures of a website that I can post in my blog. A lot of times other bloggers post about how something is formated or a particular website and they have the picture of the website which is a great way to show what they mean without having to link to it. 

10. How to add and manage additional pages on my blog. 

I know several of these items simply take time to sit down and play with WordPress. So that is why I have committed them to a To Do List and a time frame. If anyone has easy directions on any of the items, I would greatly appreciate the help!