Using the c-word

7 Nov

When does teenage chatter turn into a business skill? Somewhere in the spectrum of social media networks from MySpace to Facebook to Blogger and others there’s a change of emphasis between making friends – to influencing people.

A group of second year PR students didn’t believe it when I said that their MySpace sites could be turned into PR practice examples. But isn’t networking a PR skill? Aren’t these sites about communication (that’s the c-word)?

So here’s the challenge: use your blogging and other social media presence to build your ‘Google juice’. (The gold standard has been set by Stephen Davies; a recent graduate with a very common name in the Anglo-Saxon world, who is nonetheless first and foremost in a global Google search on his name. The same test works for Chloe Chaplin.) And use your social media skills to build your network. Start making friends and influencing people – and then you’re demonstrating your public relations skills.

Of course there are big problems with the overlap between private dialogue and public relations, between teenage chatter and business networking. Education Guardian explores the problem of frank Facebook discussions for the reputations of universities, academics – and the students themselves. This uncomfortable blurring of the private and the public is another reason why public relations skills are in demand, and social media experience is being sought by employers. So stop lurking and start participating.

5 Responses to “Using the c-word”

  1. Chloe 08/11/2006 at 2:13 am #

    I read something interesting in the Financial Times today. The new controversial Borat movie has been supported by communication on MySpace where all the ‘friends’ of the actor were invited to a special preview showing of the film!
    This is definitely a new and exciting form of PR, making fans feel as though they can communicate with such people on a more personal level! It’s got to be a bonus if you get involved early rather than being a ‘lurker’!

  2. sam wilcox 08/11/2006 at 1:48 pm #

    Social media seems to be expanding and changing on a weekly basis. Phil has set us an essay for our weblogging class and I’m seriously considering not writing it until the week before for fear of it being no longer relevant! The sooner you can start riding the ‘new media’ wave the better, I just hope I can keep up with it!

  3. Simonsays 08/11/2006 at 8:53 pm #

    PR students well prepared for a social media world without realising it

    Leeds Met university lecturer Richard Bailey’s blogging sweatshop tactics seem to be paying dividends for his PR students. Alumnus Alex Pullin posted the other day about a couple of new PR bloggers from her alma mater (I’ll stop the latin

  4. Laura Lithgow 20/11/2006 at 12:17 pm #

    I believe I was one the students that was shocked at the fact that my myspace could be used as a PR tool. At the moment I simply use my space to communicate with my friends, show my pictures and make new friends. I am contemplating creating a blog on myspace, however I’d like your opinions on whether this is a suitable place to write one. Do I really want prospective employers reading my blog alongside pictures of nights out and personal comments from my friends? Or will they be impressed at my networking skills and initiative to create a blog attracting a readership throuhout the myspace community?

  5. Richard Bailey 20/11/2006 at 12:42 pm #

    On reflection, Laura, you would be better advised to make a separation between having a space for friends (eg MySpace) and a space for business blogging. Be aware, though, that a search for your name might present an employer with both. There are risks as well as rewards to an online presence…

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