One of my favorite things about Newhouse is both the quantity and quality of guest speakers that visit various classes, all completely appropriate for the topic and with applicable professional experience. This semester, the case was no different for the “Advanced PR Writing for the Digital World” class I am currently enrolled in. This time, Christy Perry, web content manager for the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications was there with us at 8am to discuss social media and the impact it has on public relations.
Perry reinforced the principles that social media, specifically Twitter, should be used to widen one’s outreach, build relationships, get the audience to share information about you, and cut costs and increase revenue as a source of free advertising. Students contributed the examples of retail companies urging people to retweet pictures of their products for chances to win contests, and nonprofits asking people to “donate a tweet” and pledge a certain amount of money. I even brought up how my favorite TV shows (Pretty Little Liars, American Horror Story & Girls) and their actors tweet before, during, and after new episodes to interact with audience members like myself as well as ask for feedback and promote their own projects.
Just like one would never compromise her own academic integrity by plagiarizing, one should never compromise her professional or personal integrity online. Perry touched on the fact that social media can be used to increase awareness, share authority or expert opinion, or raise support for a brand or cause in the right way for the right audience. For example, to avoid sending offensive tweets in light of current events, or sending personal tweets from a professional account that would discredit one’s reputation.
Perry also gave advice about using MT for “modified tweet” and tailoring your message for different social media outlets. She discussed up-and-coming entities like Mashable and Likeable Media, and how transparency is key, relevance is essential, and consumers want to be approached as friends as opposed to corporate targets.
The thing I enjoyed most about Perry’s presentation is that when she asked if anyone had social media experience with a club or internship, I immediately reflected on my role as social media manager of the marketing campaign for Orange Seeds (first-year leadership program @OrangeSeeds44) last year. I realized the challenges I faced were similar to situations I will have to deal with when I enter the professional world shortly. Overall, Perry’s lecture was informative, entertaining, and inspiring to a student of public relations who has some experience with social media, but can’t wait to pursue it in a more professional way.