Thursday, January 31, 2008

Links to your peers' blogs

To locate the list of PR student blogs from other universities (both in and outside the U.S.), check out the Teaching Social Media page of the New PR Wiki, or click on the links on this post from Dr. Russell at the University of Georgia.

You can also leave comments for your peers enrolled in the PR survey course since they are blogging this semester. Their blog posts can be found here.

Remember that you are supposed to leave 2 comments a week.

Guest speaker: Jackie Huba, co-author of Citizen Marketers

I'm delighted to announce that Jackie Huba, co-author of your textbook Citizen Marketers will come talk to us on Tuesday about social media and how it is changing the marketplace.

In addition to having published Citizen Marketers, Jackie also co-authored Creating Customer Evangelists with Ben McConnell and regularly blogs at the Church of the Customer Blog.

When she's not busy writing books, Jackie travels the country speaking at conferences and consults with companies such as Microsoft, Ulta, Discovery Education, Yahoo and Verio. Jackie has extensive marketing experience having led the business-to-business marketing efforts of IBM's software division for 12 years. She is a past board member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and a graduate of Penn State University.

Her work in researching passionate customer loyalty has been profiled by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Fortune, Businessweek, NPR, U.S. News & World Report, the Financial Times, Fast Company and several thousand blogs. You can access her full biography on the customer evangelist site.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

PBS Documentary shows the inadequacy of using number of friends as a measure of influence

PBS recently aired a Frontline Special named "Growing up Online" which looks at how the Internet is affecting youth and transforming the experience of childhood. You can watch the full program here.

The part that I found particularly interesting in light of our discussion of influencers and how to identify them, concerns a segment where they have three teenage girls talk about how befriending someone in a social network has evolved into a game that no longer testifies to the quality of the relationship. You can watch the one minute clip from the Frontline Special below:

I think this discussion shows some of the problems associated with relying on the number of friends or contacts as a metric of social media influence. Although I uderstand that Edelman is moving toward a new metric, their old model, the Social Media Index, derived a person's web influence at least partly from the size of that person's social network.

Lance Armstrong Foundation announces social media endeavor

I'm assuming many of you are familiar with the Austin-based Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) and some of you may have even interned there. The LAF made social media news yesterday by announcing plans to partner up with Demand Media, a new media company run by Richard Rosenblatt, the former head of in order to create a for-profit social media/networking site centered around personal wellness and fitness.

Here is the news release along with some stories that ran in the Austin and Houston press today:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

RSS as a research tool: Using RSS to subscribe to news and web search feeds

After our last class, some of you expressed an interest in using RSS and to help you with your research. Here are some ways to do so:
  • Subscribe to the RSS feed of a news search using GoogleNews (see slides below)

  • Subscribe to the RSS feed of a web search using GoogleAlerts (see slides below)

  • Subscribe to a particular tag on by entering the following URL into your feed aggregator:
I've put together a brief tutorial to show you how to do the first two. Click on each slide to navigate to the next.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Social bookmarks as a PR Tool Slideshow

I've uploaded the lecture notes on social bookmarking,, and their use as a PR tool. As before, you will need to click on the slide to move from one slide to the next.

Some of the ideas we discussed about using as a PR tool came from Todd Defren's Social Media Tactics Series. You may want to check out his original posts on his PR Squared blog:
Remember that your blogging assignment starts this week. Now that we've examined technologies such as blogs, RSS, and social bookmarks, and that you've read about and listened to podcasts about Web 2.0, you should think about posting a reaction to the readings and class discussions. How do you think these technologies will impact the PR profession? Do you have any examples of how they have changed the practice of PR? How can PR professionals use these technologies to communicate with their various publics? You don't necessarily need to answer these exact questions in your blog post, but you should engage the course material and examine it from a public relations perspective.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Video about StudiVZ, a German version of Facebook

Here's a fun video introducing StudiVZ, a German version of Facebook. StudiVZ recently changed its license agreement and forced its members to either accept it, or be kicked out of the community. Unsurprisingly, this move has angered lots of users who are now migrating over to alternative, noncommercial platforms such as Kaioo.

Note that the video is in German, but I figured some of you might be taking German as your foreign language and could use some practice.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hillary Clinton promises government blogs in an effort to entice voters

In a campaign speech in New Hampshire on Monday night, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton suggested that blogs could play a key role in making the U.S. government more transparent.

According to Clinton, "We should even have a government blogging team where people in the agencies are constantly telling all of you, the taxpayers, the citizens of America, everything that's going on so that you have up-to-the-minute information about what your government is doing, so that you too can be informed, and hold the government accountable."

If corporations can blog successfully, why not government? Would be interesting to see though if government blogs could convince the rest of the blogosphere of their authenticity and honesty. Judging by the current level of mistrust of all things government, that should prove to be a difficult task. Maybe comparable to Wal-Mart's trials and tribulations entering the social media scene?

Incidentally, the White House yesterday launched its first version of a blog - a travel blog designed to report about President Bush's trip to the Middle East. The Trip Notes from the Middle East seems more like an online diary than a real blog though since it lacks any interactive functions (there's no comments feature).

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Web 2.0 & Social Media Slideshow

Here are the slides from our class discussion of social media and web 2.0. You will need to click on the slide to move from one slide to the next. The embedded video clips show up as a still rather than a video since I don't think Keynote exports embedded video to a Flash file. If you need to review the videos, just google them - you should be able to find them easily.

If you are interested in learning more about specific social media technologies and/or Web 2.0 sites, check out this page which contains a self-running slide show of over 1,400 Web 2.0 sites.