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.