Musings of a PR Professional

Journal Entry 2 (Written on 3/8)

One of the things I am very excited about regarding the promotion of this event is the opportunity it gives myself and my group members to utilize social media. I consider this symposium, at least in part, an opportunity to put into effect everything I have learned from my previous public relations courses and Public Relations Student Society of America meetings. I have learned a lot about the role of social media in the public relations field and believe that it is the way of the future. Event promotion especially, can benefit from the immediacy and personalization of social media, so I am glad that we are using it for the symposium.

Another reason why I feel that it is appropriate to use social media to promote our project and event is that social media are very relevant to our target audience. The largest group that we are targeting for this event is students. Young adults are huge social media users. I know more people with a Facebook than without one. Of the people that I know who are on Twitter, each is an avid user that is constantly connected to the site. If I have learned anything from PR classes and meetings, it is that the best way to contact someone is to do so through the medium they wish to be contacted/that they most frequently use. Because social media is such an integral part of almost every student’s life, I think it is best way to promote this event to the people we want to come.

The two social media sites that we have chosen to use for this project are Facebook and Twitter. We chose these first, because they are currently the most prevalent social networking sites, and second, because they are easy to use. We chose two people within our group, one for Facebook and one for Twitter, to monitor the sites. However, each one of us has access to each account and is free to update and add things as we wish. I believe that it is very important for us to closely monitor these two accounts because we are dealing with a potentially volatile issue. Because we are asking people to share very personal and oftentimes confrontational beliefs about identity, there is the chance that conversations on these sites may become less than productive. In order to make sure that doesn’t happen, we are committed to not only updating consistently to keep the sites alive, but also to making sure things stay calm, constructive, and inoffensive.

Overall, we have two goals for utilizing these sites. The first is to provide people with a place that they can always turn to, to find out pertinent and accurate information about our event. It is extremely important to be useful to people and give them the information they need in order to participate in our project. Social media is an effective way to do so for our particular audience, as discussed above. The second goal is to create conversations. We want to post things on our Facebook page and Twitter account that make people really think and want to respond. I think a good way to do this is to look at current events and pop culture and see what is going on right now that has to do with identity issues. For example, I showed the class something I tweeted that I think is a good example of this. It reads, “I am a woman but not a sandwich-maker RT @CharlieSheen Allow your woman to be creative, there is more than 1 way to wash a dish.” By piggy-backing on what people are already talking about, such a Charlie Sheen, it will be easier for us to get people interested in our project and it gives us the opportunity to create conversation before the event even starts.

Hopefully I will be able to use what I have learned about social media in the past few years to make this event successful. Personally, I consider this project a test of my abilities before I go out into the “real world” to put these skills to the test in a professional setting. I know it won’t be easy, as people aren’t generally compelled to become involved with seemingly random projects on Facebook and Twitter. But, if we follow the best practices I have learned over the past few years and are committed to pushing the envelope to get people interested in what we are doing, I think we will do well and be able to generate a lot of interest.

One of the shirts we made from an anonymous student suggestion.

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