Monday, December 24, 2012

Gossip Girl: A show dependent on social media

Photo edited by me via Textually

I hope this post finds everyone filled with Christmas cheer! I know the holidays are a stressful time, but remember to be thankful for everything that you have and enjoy your time with family and friends. 

Having said that, my post today focuses on a show that has been with us for many holidays over the past five and a half years - Gossip Girl. Now I know this show may seem a little juvenile to be discussed in a blog for college age students, but I'm sure many of you have followed this show from its first season back in 2007 just like I have and were very upset when the show had its series finale last Monday. It had been entertaining to watch the cast go through situations similar to my life and see their triumphs as well as failures. They cried over relationships, they stressed over college acceptance letters, they landed their first jobs, and they pioneered social media on television. 

I was not always aware of this last fact, but when I stumbled upon a Mashable article, it made perfect sense. After all, Gossip Girl held all of her power via a blog and received tips from users who followed her and used their phones to send her pictures and videos. The characters always kept up with the times and the most up-to-date phones. From flip phones to blackberries and finally, iPhones, Blair and Serena had them all. These product placements were clever, as I always remember looking at their phones in envy if I was still using an outdated model ( I always wanted the Sidekick). 

This show was indeed the first show one to focus on the "connected generation". That is, the generation that sees the internet as an essential element of life rather than a novelty, are dependent on their cell phones, and share content for people, including friends as well as strangers, to see.

Now of course, Gossip Girl's Blog would probably not have as much influence as it did back in 2007. As journalists are now witnessing, everyone is Gossip Girl and has the ability to post scandalous photos and information to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for the world to see. 

Gossip Girl epitomized millennials' feelings that being talked about, positively or negatively, by your peers makes you "special". Dan Humphrey emphasizes this in his final speech during the finale when he discusses the power the internet has in strengthening or weakening a person's reputation.

Gossip Girl evolved simultaneously with the growth of technology. Back when it started, you were lucky if your Motorola flip phone got pictures. By the time it saw its final episode, the iPhone 5 was out and you were carefully glued to your Twitter stream reading your friends opinions about the newly disclosed Gossip Girl. 

Ultimately, this show had quite the impact. Whether it be its effect on social media and technology or its effect on your lonely heart for Chuck and Blair's romance, Gossip Girl will go down in history as a significant and cleverly produced CW11 production.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tips for after an interview

Picture via Youtern

Winter break is a popular time for interviews. Some of us will be searching for spring or summer internships, while seniors may be securing jobs for right after graduation. Whatever the case, a particular Youtern article written by Glassdoor caught my eye because it gave great tips on what to and not to do after your next interview. Some of the tips were rather basic, but a refresher course is never necessarily a bad thing.

  • Send a thank you note
    • Immediately follow up after any interview. A personal, handwritten note looks the best. This will show that you really do care and see their company as having a worthwhile position for you. It will also put a lasting impression in their mind. If you come into contact with anyone else at any point of the interview, it may be beneficial to send them an e-mail thanking them for their time.
  • Connect on LinkedIn
    • If a connection was present, it will be propitious to take this step. Although they may not hire you for this particular position, another opportunity may come along that makes them think of you. If you are connected on a social network, they can easily access your information and contact you.
  • Don't be impatient
    • The job hiring process is a complex and time consuming one. If an interviewer did not give you any indication of when you would hear back, do not pester them.
  • Follow up
    • Having said that, if the interviewer did allocate a certain time as to when you should have heard back, there is nothing wrong with following up. The interviewer may have forgotten to let you know and it is not fair if you are waiting around when a decision has already been made.
  • Don't quit your search
    • This is crucial. Even if you feel that an interview went flawlessly, the company still may come across candidates with more potential than you. Do not cease your search to find another job until you have learned that you have officially been hired.
  • Don't be too aggressive
    • Tact is key. An employer will appreciate a follow up e-mail or a thank you note. They will be frightened by an overeager interviewee who keeps e-mailing or calling them. 
  • Review the entire experience
    • Regard every job interview as a learning experience. I would even suggest going to job interviews that you are iffy about. It may surprise you and be exactly what you wanted. If this is not the case, it will at the least help you to better prepare for an interview at a company you are passionate about. The job interview process is a scary one for anyone, no matter how experienced they are or calm they appear. Just remember to be yourself!

Here is a helpful infographic on interview etiquette:

Picture via

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December Issue of esPResso Out Today!

Need to take your mind off studying? Look no further than our latest issue of the Marist PRSSA Chapter newsletter, esPResso. You'll find 11 articles within the issue covering major current events from the past few months including the 2012 presidential election, Hurricane Sandy and news from your fellow PRSSA members.

If any members are interested in writing for esPResso next semester, contact Director of PR, Meredith Lowe for more information.

Enjoy your shot of PR industry insight with esPResso! Good luck on the rest of finals week!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Twitter vs. Instagram: Changes you can expect to see

Picture via CNET

According to Mashable, Twitter will be adding a variety of photo filters to its official app within the near future. The company is hoping that this will refrain people from logging onto Instagram to edit their photos before they tweet them to all of their followers. All Things Digital has received information that the photo filters will be out before the end of 2012.  

Consequently, Instagram has come out with a statement that they will be removing the option of Twitter to embed photos because they want people to come straight to their application to see photo content, rather than have the option so see it on Twitter. 

What was even more shocking to me is that Twitter's photos will be offered in a higher resolution than those on Instagram. This will come as a tremendous blow to Instagram, as their application focuses solely on the sharing of photos. Twitter's reasoning behind the big change stems from the fact that Instagram recently adjusted their settings to not allow its own photos to show up correctly when tweeted by users. Therefore, Instagram may be to blame in this social media throw-down. 

If Twitter does go through with this photo filter addition, the two companies will directly compete against one another. This competition has been underway since Facebook purchased Instagram back in April. In all honesty, I can not really see myself using Twitter solely to upload photos, as I am a huge advocate of Instagram. It will be interesting, however, to see what successes or losses the two companies will see if this is actually carried through. To read the full Mashable article, click here.

I want to hear your thoughts and comments. What do you think will happen? Do you think you will use Twitter more and Instagram less if these photo filters are created? 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Social media marketing

According to Mashable, social media marketing is a waste of time. In an article written this past week, the highly established website which focuses on social media topics, determined advertisers should stop paying for fans not yet acquired and work harder to make their already established fans happy. 

The reasoning behind this determination stems from the fact that Facebook is by far the most visited social network and the fact that they have recently changed their algorithm, reducing the amount of brand posts their users see. Ultimately, Facebook remains the powerhouse among social networking sites and marketers need to adapt to this ever-changing social network. 

According to the Socially Aware Blog, the average amount of time a Facebook user spends on the site every month is seven hours. Here are how other social networking sites compare:
  • Tumblr - 1.5 hours
  • Pinterest - 1.5 hours
  • Twitter - 21 minutes
  • LinkedIn- 17 minutes
  • Google+ - 3 minutes
At first, I disagreed due to the amount of time allotted to Twitter. However, the study did not allocate for mobile usage. I feel that that most people check Twitter from their smart-phones, rather than on their computers, which is why these numbers look the way they do. Ultimately, all of the amounts would have been higher, including Facebook, if the study had included smart-phones.

It is undeniable that the amount of time people spend on social networks will only continue to rise, while the amount of time people spend socializing face to face and on the phone will continue to decline. This means that advertisers will need to adapt in the future, or will face severely falling behind more technologically savvy companies. 

Conclusively, Facebook has the right to change its algorithm whichever way it deems fit, as it is attempting to make money for itself. Marketers will simply have to adapt and discern the fact that if they do put out the extra money, the amount of users who will view their ads will be monumental to their business. After all, social media is a force to be reckoned with and is changing the very way marketers and advertisers will function forever. 

Here is the Socially Aware Blog's infographic regarding time spent on social media:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Record-breaking Black Friday

Although the "biggest holiday shopping weekend" still has one day left, retailers are already dubbing it their most successful one yet. Some shoppers rushed to stores as early as Thanksgiving night to make their holiday purchases, while many others shopped from home. No matter where you stand regarding Black Friday, it is undeniable that this weekend extravaganza of shopping was one for the books.

A survey released by the National Retail Federation calculated that a record breaking 247 million shoppers shopped online and in stores over the Black Friday weekend, as opposed to 226 million in 2011. The average customer individually spent $423 and total sales were estimated at $59.1 billion. The National Federation concluded that the reason this Black Friday was more successful than past ones was due to the fact that it was much more convenient for customers to shop. This year, many stores opened on Thursday night instead of Friday morning, made their shipping and layaway options much more convenient, and updated their mobile Black Friday applications for smartphones and tablets. 

According to Reuters, this was the first year that online sales topped $1 billion. Additionally, online sales increased 26% from last year on Black Friday and it was estimated that $1.04 billion was spent. The most popular website shoppers visited was

Most interesting to me, however, were the apps specifically tailored to Black Friday shoppers. These apps were created to aid customers in the mapping out their plans of action and allowing them to decipher which stores were worth taking a trip to. 

Two of the most helpful apps I was able to find were the Black Friday Survival Guide and Shop Savvy. The Black Friday Survival Guide exhibits the latest deals from major retailers, which are updated up to the minute. To me, its simplicity is what makes it the most enjoyable. Time is no longer wasted flipping through circulars and deals you wish to go back to can easily be added to a "favorites" list. 

Consequently, Shop Savvy comes in handy when you are actually in the middle of a store's madness. It has a special feature that allows you to use your iPhone camera to scan a product's barcode. You are then able to view the item and compare prices at other locations. Once an item is scanned, websites are given that you can purchase the item on and the GPS locator in your phone allows it to suggest nearby stores to buy the item at a lesser price. Shop Savvy enables the posting of your information to social media outlets or into a "favorites" folder for you to go back to.

Black Friday Survival Guide via CNET

Shop Savvy via CNET

Monday, November 19, 2012

Victoria's Secret's PR nightmare

Photo via Fashionista

Victoria's Secret recently found themselves in the middle of a PR firestorm. According to Ragan's PR Daily article, one of the company's models, Karlie Kloss, flounced down the runway in a racy, Native American Runway outfit at their annual fashion show last week. Immediately after pictures aired from the fashion show, people flocked to the Victoria's Secret Facebook page and expressed their anger and shock. The company has apologized and decided not to air the outfit during the televised broadcast December 4 on CBS.

According to Fashionista, the fact that Victoria's Secret did not foresee this debacle is rather unfortunate. Just a few days before the fashion show, Gwen Stefani and No Doubt were forced to pull down their latest music video due to the fact that she was wearing "sexy Native American garb".

Native American women currently experience the highest rate of sexual murder and they saw this outfit as further promotion of the violent act against them. Both Victoria's Secret and Karlie Kloss tweeted regarding the matter and expressed their most sincerest apologies:

Although Victoria's Secret can not change the fact that they messed up, I feel that the company handled the PR crisis in an adequate fashion. They admitted that they had made a mistake and apologized immediately. There will forever be pictures of the outfit, but the fact that it will not appear in the televised segment demonstrates that they do care about their fans, listen to their complaints, and do not wish to offend anyone. Additionally, the usage of Twitter indicates that they are mindful of all forms of communication and strive to not neglect any form of social media, which is extremely beneficial to one's reputation.

To read the full article, click here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Online media and public relations

Online media is taking the world by storm. A study conducted by Pew Research Center regarding print verses online media determined that more than half of America receives its news through online sources rather than print media. Additionally, the number of Americans who depend entirely on social media for their news has doubled in the past two years. Certain publications, including Newsweek and Smartmoney Magazine, have made their content solely available online. Currently, the main concern for public relations professionals is how to communicate this change to their clients and guide them in the direction of adequately using these tools.

First of all, it is important to understand that earned media will now lead to owned media. This is because the media tools used by professionals in the fields of marketing, public relations, and social media are blending together. Only now is it possible to effortlessly turn earned media, such as Facebook likes and comments, into owned media, including client blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts. The presence of both earned media and owned media ensures a consumer that a brand or product is a respectable one and that they should try it.

Second, the tracking of a PR campaign has become much easier through the invention of Google Analytics. It is now possible to quickly and efficiently see who visited one's page and saw the print hit. Also, referring sites can now also be investigated which will allow one to see the PR hits which were most successful at bringing people to a specific page. This entire process can only benefit one's company because it will allow them to adequately plan their campaign. 

Online publications receive much more viewings than public publications. Furthermore, a story that is printed in a magazine or newspaper will be in the recycling perhaps the day after it is read, while online stories live on forever. People will have easy access to these stories through links and it will be forever searchable to them. Companies' assets are more easily attainable and may include various slideshows and videos, whereas print media can really only include a picture. 

Finally, online media has the ability to be published constantly. This allows breaking news to be written and accessed immediately. With all of this taken into consideration, it is evident that the popularity of online media versus print media will allow consumers as well as companies to remain much more up to date on various topics and products. 

To read the full PR Daily article, click here.

More info on paid, owned, and earned media:

Picture via LeaderLab.

Monday, November 5, 2012

#Instacane: Instagram's role in Hurricane Sandy

Picture via Mashable

Hurricane Sandy brought destruction and devastation to millions of people along the East Coast. The aftermath of the storm is still being felt by many and will unfortunately affect people for awhile. Being that I am in Italy, I have not seen the damage in person, but have heard from both my family and friends that the storm was monumental and unlike anything they have ever seen before in the area. Additionally, I have been kept up to date on the storm through the usage of Instagram. From the sight of the very first dark cloud in the distance, I have had access to coverage of the storm through people I follow or the browsing of hashtags.

According to Mashable, Instagram was the main social media outlet people used to share their pictures of the storm. It was approximated that about ten were sent per second. These pictures were used by CNN, Time Magazine, and other major media outlets in order to display the intensity of the powerful storm to the general public. It was calculated that by noon on October 30, over 300,000 photos were posted with the #sandy hashtag, 144,000 with the #hurricanesandy hashtag, and 23,000 with the #frankenstorm hashtag.

Also notable was the hiring of five professional photographers by Time Magazine solely to take pictures of the storm and post them to Instagram. Time even decided to use an Instagram photo as their picture for the "Hurricane Sandy" cover

Instagram's place in this natural disaster was obviously tremendous. This seemingly simple social media app has proved itself to be a force to be reckoned with. It is not only easy to use, but emerged just as people became infatuated with the visual-social trend. Instagram remains a vital tool in the distribution of information and has proven to be beneficial to both professionals and regular people who wish to remain up to date on the latest world news.

To read the full Mashable article, click here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The future of PR

Yet again, it is time to choose classes for the upcoming semester. As I read through the descriptions of classes in the catalog, I find myself wondering which skills I have obtained that will have the biggest impact on my job seeking process and future career. An article by Youtern, one of my favorite websites to seek career advice from, recently emphasized particular college skills that they claim really make a difference when it comes to acquiring your first job:

  • Communication Skills
    • All types of communication are important. Whether it be face to face, over e-mail, or via texting, communication with peers, teachers, and parents are all beneficial to your future career. The art of communicating with others is an invaluable skill which you will utilize each and every day in the workplace. It is important to understand which type of language is needed in a particular situation, such as informal communication with co-workers or formal communication with a potential employer. On your resume, this skill should be evident through the layout and the wording on your document.
  • Writing Skills
    • Every college paper that you write is beneficial to your future. These writing skills can be acquired through the composition of papers, resumes, press releases, blog posts, and even e-mails. Your resume has the ability to be the epitome of your writing skill, so make sure it is perfectly executed and all in the same tense.
  • Time Management
    • This skill is essential in the Public Relations industry. Juggling extracurricular activities, leadership positions, part-time jobs, internships, and classes will most definitely come in handy when you are in the workplace. Often, you will be assigned many different projects at once and organization, as well as adequate usage of time are essential. Emphasize activities and positions which required you to use your time management skills on your resume and explain them in detail.
  • Networking
    • You may be surprised to know that your networking skills at this point in your life are already top-notch. You have already built rewarding relationships with peers in your major, professors, and internship supervisors. These relationships will undoubtedly play some role in your future and may even get you your first career. 
  • Software Skills
    • The technological skills you have acquired since high school are important. However, college is the first time that the technology you use will be more specific to your future career path. On your resume, list the technologies specific to your career and make sure that you are actually proficient in them.
  • Integrity
    • Remaining true to yourself, accepting your faults, and being transparent will get you very far in life. College is a place to grow up and become the person you have always wanted to be. Although you may have stumbled once or twice, whether it be a bad grade or bad decision, everything you experience makes you stronger and will allow you to prosper both in the workplace and as an adult.
To complement this list of skills, I wanted to include an infographic regarding the "Future of Public Relations". I found this Press Index post especially interesting and hope that you will also!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Man jumps from space

As many of you probably know, a man jumped from space on Sunday and broke many world records. As I am leaving for a ten day adventure to Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Paris tonight, I wanted to do a less serious post regarding Felix Baumgartner's "24 mile skydive boon". First of all, do you guys think that it was legitimate or was it a well executed project by photoshop and other media video technologies? Whatever the case, Baumgartner caused quite a stir on the social media front:

  • His jump was watched by approximately 8 million Youtube viewers. Many tuned in to watch the live stream of his video. My housemates and I were among the many because I saw a few people's tweets and Facebook statuses about it.
  • The picture of Baumgartner on his knees when he finally reached earth was shared by over 29,000 people and liked by about 216,000 people. Additionally, Red Bull promised to ask Baumgartner three questions created by Facebook and Twitter users.
  • Half the worldwide trending topics on Twitter were regarding Baumgartner's jump. Athletes and celebrities weighed in on the event and gave their two cents. 
All in all, history was made and anyone who tuned into it was apart of it. Whether or not the jump was legitimate, it will go down in social media history.

To read the full article, click here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Twitter's effect on television series

If I told you that Twitter users had an effect on television show's scripts, would you believe me? Although it is hard to imagine, the answer is yes, they do. A limited number of shows have actually edited or added to their later episodes because of tweets posted by fans. According to Bluefin Labs, the increase in comments posted on various social media platforms has skyrocketed from 8.8 million in July 2011 to 75.5 million this past July. This is a monumental increase, indicating that television producers will have no choice but to adapt to the ever growing influence of social media.

"Covert Affairs", a USA Network drama, adapted its finale episode in order to respond to fans' somewhat romantic desire for a main character to get his eyesight back. Although the character was told he would not be eligible for surgery, producers still recorded the scene and added it into the episode even after the episode was already finalized. Many shows, including "Vampire Diaries", continue to use Twitter solely to gauge reactions and responses of their fans. However, the producers of "Vampire Diaries" were forced to respond to Twitter when they created somewhat of a blunder in one of their episodes. In the series, it is known that vampires are not to enter into a human's house unless they are given permission to do so, but in May 2011, a vampire named Katherine broke the rule. Twitter users were so adamant with their tweets that the producers of the show finally explained the phenomenon in a later episode, indicating that the house was once under the ownership of vampires. 

The reason so many television series are hesitant to respond is because only about 8 million people were responsible for the 75 million social media comments Bluefin calculated last July. This indicates that it is only coming from a small percentage of the entire population of viewers. Whether the producers decide to adapt their shows to what is being discussed on social media or not, there is no denying the influence social media has acquired in the world of television. It is a powerful tool and people are learning to utilize it successfully to get what they want.

To read the full Wall Street Journal article, click here.

Photo Taken From: Wall Street Journal

Monday, October 8, 2012

Social media and the presidential debate

When I awoke Thursday morning in Florence, both my Twitter and Facebook feeds were filled with posts and tweets regarding the presidential debate. Despite the final outcome of the debate, one thing was blatantly evident and that was the fact that all political events will never be the same due to the rise of social media. 

Before the current popularity of social media platforms, people would simply watch the debate and then listen to their favorite newscasters comment and analyze it afterwards. Now, however, people can comment on the debate in real time, allowing for others to respond and share their opinions as well. The entire communication surrounding presidential debates has changed- people watch the debates in old media and respond to it on new forms of media. Now, unlike ever before, normal people have a voice in something that they never had a say in. 

Another interesting aspect to consider is the fact that television analysts now use user's tweets and posts as a guideline to topics they will discuss in their commentaries. Wednesday's debate was the most tweeted about political event to date. The event mustered up over 10.3 million tweets. The tweets also indicated that most people felt that Romney had been the "winner" of the debate. Additionally, it has been determined that Wednesday's debate was the fourth most tweeted about telecast of all time, falling only behind the Grammy's, MTV's Video Music Awards, and the Super Bowl. It will be interesting to see how social media affects the remainder of the election, especially after Obama's successful utilization of it in the past.

To read the full article, click here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The "new" and improved Myspace.. Seriously

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the launch of a completely new Myspace. As a past Myspace enthusiast and an avid user of social media, this story immediately caught my attention. Apparently, Justin Timberlake is behind the new site, and has been heavily promoting it. He tweeted: "THIS IS MYSPACE #thenewmyspace" with a link to the following video:

This is, of course, not the first time Myspace has attempted to make a comeback. However, after watching the teaser video equipped with a clever song entitled Heartbeat by JJAMZ, I have to admit that my interest is there and I am willing to give it a try. If you go to Myspace's main page, you can submit your e-mail in order to receive an invitation to join the site once it is complete.

The new Myspace allows users to scroll horizontally rather than vertically in a layout similar to that of Pinterest's. New features also allow users to post on Facebook and Twitter from the site, as well as transfer their photos and videos onto their new Myspace page. This indicates that Myspace does not intend to compete with these networks and will instead remain with its focus on music and artists. Myspace desires to be a platform where users are able to listen to music and connect with artists who share posts and songs with their fans. 

Although Specific Media and Timberlake have worked very hard to transform the outdated website into something catchy and entertaining since the purchase of it back in 2011, a successful comeback is still questionable. The answer will come when the site is officially launched and people decide whether or not to embrace it. To read the full ABC News article, click here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ensure your cover letter stands out in the PR world

Photo from Careerealism

When it comes to writing cover letters, some processes simply come easier than others. It is painless to write an amazing cover letter for a company you are passionate about. However, what happens when you know little about a company but are eager for the relevant experience? It becomes a little more difficult. Whatever the case, cover letters allow you to stand out and get your resume to the top of the hiring agent's desk. That is why it is essential to put your best foot forward in the process and follow the succeeding tips from The Hoohirewire:

  • Structure and communicative skills are important, however, content is critical.
  • Do research on the company beforehand. Address the letter to a specific person, find out about their clients, investigate their industry, and discuss at least one of their goals. 
  • Read a recent post and find out the tone of the company, so you know whether to concoct a professional vs a creative cover letter.
  • Devise an argument in which the hiring agent sees the addition of you to their team as the answer to one of their problems. Are they searching for someone with Sports PR experience or do they need someone with a knack for Twitter? Find this information out and put yourself out there. 
  • Next, explain a specific strategy or plan you would follow to solve their current problem. Use specific numbers or percentages. Also, explain why you chose PR in relevancy of this job and be enthusiastic about your future at their company.
  • Finally, make sure there are no grammatical errors and that it is less than one page in length. Personalize it somehow to make it really stand out.
Ultimately, your cover letter is the best way to get your foot in the door at a particular company. Be sure to make it personal, relevant, and catchy. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Communication Revolution

Photo taken from here

Although I am studying abroad this semester, I am taking two Communication classes which I am very excited for. I have found Communication Revolution to be particularly intriguing simply because I am taking it abroad. This is due to the fact that many of the students in my class live all over the world, including places like Italy, America, Japan, and Mexico. It is interesting to hear everyone's differing thoughts and feelings on the revolution of communication. It is often hard for us to all come to a conclusion, but one thing last class we were all able to agree on is the importance of social media in the business world.

This consensus drew my attention to a particular  Fox News article regarding a New York City restaurant owner, Sean Connolly, who was able to open three successful restaurants despite the struggling economy. He claims to have "majored in babes and minored in booze", yet is adamant that, "social media is as much a part of the job as anything else, and you'd be a fool to ignore it or fight it". 

Resources such as Yelp and Angie's List have always been seen as reliable sources of restaurant and venue reviews. However, recently even these sites have been accused of false reviews compiled by restaurant owners to make their establishment appear flawless.  

Connolly is aware of the impact Twitter can have from a particular instance in which Kanye West tweeted about Eatery's brunch, causing the establishment to go viral. However, he sees greater importance in outlets such as, where Connolly is able to send specials and menu changes to them. They then update his social media platforms automatically while sending the same updated information to websites such as and Urbanspoon. The revolutionary aspect surrounding social media is that it allows smaller restaurants to compete with their bigger counterparts, as long as they are able to keep a strong following. Ultimately, social media is a solid way to expand one's business because at this present moment, it is all about social word of mouth.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Would you wear these?

Photo via Mashable

New York Fashion Week consistently displays the most cutting-edge, fashion forward trends and styles for  all of the the fashion world to see. This week's past show was no different, yet it may have set a precedent for future collaboration between technology companies and fashion designers.

Google Glass made its fashion debut at the Dianne von Fustenberg's show in Lincoln Center. Models wore the newly devloped headset/eyeware products called "Glass" down the runway. The product is designed with capabilities similar to that of a smartphone including picture taking, message receiving, and other various functions. 

Google customized the glasses' color in order to complement Diane von Furstenberg's line. Additionally, action shots were taken by models on the runway, thus allowing for a perspective never experienced before, directly from the models themselves. 

To conclude the show, a celebratory runway lap was taken by Diane von Furstenberg and Yvan Mispelaere, creative director of DVF, both donning Glass. Sergey Brin, Google Glass and Google co-founder, also accompanied them. The collaboration appeared to be a huge success.

Despite all of this, however, I remain skeptical about the success of Glass. Will people want to essentially wear smart-phones on their faces? Will marketers target those who do not wear glasses or simply those who depend on glasses for poor eyesight? It will be interesting to see where this advancement goes and whether or not it will in time be the next big thing. 

To read the full Mashable article, click here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Visuals are the New Content

With rising popularity of sites such as Pinterest and Instagram, it is evident that the appreciation of beautiful photography and breathtaking visuals has increased. Businesses are well aware of this fact and are in turn learning to "showcase" their products rather than simply talk about them. Personally, I follow various clothes stores and jewelry companies on Instagram. Numerous times, I have been prompted to go on their websites and purchase items after I have scrolled through something that caught my eye on my feed. I know that I am not alone and this seems to be the newest trend taking the marketing world by storm.

It is no secret that Social Media trends are constantly changing and evolving. However, I would say that this appears to be one that will be around for awhile. The exact revolution can be traced from lengthy blog posts, followed by brief Facebook statuses, to 140 character Twitter posts, and now finally Pinterest and Instagram posts. It is also much more convenient to simply snap a photo, rather than compose a detailed blog post when on the run. People are busier these days so they are more likely to look at a picture rather than read multiple paragraphs. In fact, a 2012 Study by ROI Research discovered that Social Media Users enjoy viewing their friends' or companies' photos more than any other posts and are more likely to respond in some way to these types of posts.

The evolution from content to visuals allows people to decide what they are interested in quickly and efficiently. Additionally, people can share companies' photos with their friends, increasing the traffic of the company's website while simultaneously encouraging engagement. Ultimately, this new trend is more convenient for both the consumer and the marketer. Companies that engage is this new type of communication will undoubtedly see success and improve their sales.

To read the full Fast Company article on the rise of visual social media, click here.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hey! I'm Marguerite.

My name is Marguerite and I am officially taking over the blog manager position this week. First, I just wanted to thank Kerianne for being so helpful and showing me the basics of blogging. You did an amazing job and I hope you have a great year in Spain!
I am a junior at Marist majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Business. Currently, I am in Florence studying abroad. It's only day three and I am already obsessed. Back at Marist, I work at Marist Institute for Public Opinion and an account representative for North Road Communications. I am also an active member in H<3art1 and Marist Ambassadors. I lived in Gartland last year and am so thankful to be a part of the Marist community. Just wanted to post a little about myself and let you all know that I look forward to being Blog Manager. Thanks!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Marist PRSSA Pinterest Debut

Pinterest has become an essential social media tactic in the past year for professional and personal use alike. For those who are not Pinterest savvy, the site is essentially a virtual pinboard where you put all of your favorite images in one central location. Popular "pins" are images of fashion, food, wedding inspiration and Do-It-Yourself creations. According to Forbes Magazine, Pinterest could be the next social media giant. With over 20 million users as of July, it's no wonder why the site is a front-runner in the social media world. 

As future professionals in the PR world, we should all recognize the importance of Pinterest in our field. With it's ever-growing popularity, clients at agencies everywhere will be interested in using Pinterest to market to their audiences. That is why the Marist Chapter of PRSSA has created our very own account! Our theme boards will be devoted to intern style, office design, Chapter events, career advice and even a board to cheer you up on those dreadful Monday mornings. We hope you use the boards for inspiration, fun and to learn a new social media skill! . Check out our Pinterest boards here and enjoy! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Shoulder Surfing: What to do if an employer asks for your Facebook password

I am sure many of you have heard warnings from both parents and teachers to "beware of what you post online because it will exist forever". That is indeed true and I do believe that you should be wary of your privacy settings and what exactly it is that you are posting on various social media websites. However, I am also an advocate for keeping business separate from pleasure. Therefore, it is no surprise that I was severely taken aback when I learned about a new practice going on called shoulder surfing.

Of course, precautions have been made to keep employers from seeing my full Facebook page. I have changed my last name to my middle name and have the privacy settings adhere anyone from seeing anything  unless I accept their friend request. However, if I was in an interview and an employer asked me to enter my password for them so that they could go through my entire page, I would feel trapped. It is not that there is anything questionable on my Facebook, but I just would not want a potential employer to have complete access to absolutely everything on my Facebook page. There could perhaps be things I have allowed only access to myself and a few friends or personal messages I would like to keep private. Whatever the case, it is an invasion of privacy and in violation of Facebook's privacy settings.

This may not be the most popular blog post with professors and employers but I felt that this was beneficial advice for those of us going on interviews in the future who do not wish to have their privacy invaded. Here are a few suggestions of what you can do if you are ever asked to divvy over your social media password:

  • Respectfully decline their request. Explain that you take Facebook's privacy policy very seriously and do not wish to share your password.
  • Put their request in perspective. Explain that just as their company most likely has a social media policy in place, yours is to only use it for personal reasons.
  • Explain that you do not wish to risk their company's well being in regards to OFCCP's regulations pertaining to protected private information.
  • Personally, I would explain that privacy means a lot to me and I would uphold their company's private matters just as sternly as I hold mine. I would then explain that I would like to keep my personal life separate from my work life.
Of course, it is essential to be cautious of posting things online. Facebook holds the rights to whatever it is that you put out there, even after you delete it. Also, it is important to keep in mind that if you are desperate for a job or very keen on a particular opportunity, it may not be advisable to refuse to give your password to an employer. If this is the case, make sure your Facebook and social media sites do not have anything you would not be proud of. For the full article and more information on the injustice behind shoulder surfing, click here.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

International internships: Challenges & benefits

A week from now, I will be studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. I most likely should be packing now, but instead I'm worried about completing my international internship application. I have quite a bit of time to finish it, but its completion is looming over me. I plan on interning during the spring semester in Madrid through an internship program offered by my abroad university.

I see an international internship as a challenging, yet exciting experience. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work and learn while living in an entirely different country, environment, culture and, in my case, language. Now, several international internships are offered in English-speaking countries--I'm just challenging myself that much more to practice and learn another language.

  • Obtain a student or work visa for the country in which you will be interning.
  • Complete the application process which can include, but is not limited to, a cover letter, resume, letter of intent, and language assessment. For my application, I completed a language ability test, received a letter of recommendation from one of my Spanish professors, created a European resume and wrote a Spanish cover letter.
  • Work while using and understanding another language, possibly.
  • Cost of airfare, transportation and housing, depending on the program you are in.
  • Develop a global perspective in an increasingly globalized marketplace.
  • Receive academic credit.
  • Meet new people from places you otherwise would not know.
  • Practice language skills to enhance proficiency with the hope of becoming fluent.
  • Adapt to a new culture, as well as work culture (i.e. the Spanish siesta).
  • Enhance your resume.
  • Live and work in an environment outside your comfort zone.
Having the chance to understand the world from a new perspective, with the ability to learn transferrable skills at an international company is incredible. The indepence and responsibility required to complete an international internship already stands out on one's resume. I personally am excited, though a bit nervous, to intern in Madrid--speaking Spanish in the workplace will definitely be a learning experience.

Marist offers a wide variety of study abroad programs, with several of them boasting international internships. Take advantage of endless possbilities to learn and grow as a person and a future PR professional by considering an international internship.

Visit Marist International Programs to find out more.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chick-Fil-A's Controversial Statement and PR Do's and Don't's

Picture via Melissa Agnes

Chick-Fil-A has been receiving a lot of media attention lately. The company has always publicly demonstrated their firmly-held Christian views. Whether it be through various donations to charities, such as the Marriage & Family Foundation, or being closed on Sundays, they have never denied their Christian values.  However, the following statement by Dan Cathy, president of the company, has received both negative and positive powerful responses:

Those that share Chick-Fil-A's strong Christian beliefs have stood behind the company. This past week an anti boycott event labeled "customer appreciation day" took place. Unfortunately, one can conclude that this day was less about an appreciation for customers and more about a public demonstration of opposition to gay marriage. 

Thankfully, however, not all responses have been positive. Many people publicly stated that they would now be boycotting the establishment on various websites including Chick-Fil-A's Facebook page. There have been protests such as "Kiss Day", in which both heterosexual and homosexual couples publicly kissed inside the Chick-Fil-A establishment and then posted the photos online in protest of the company's latest statements.

It is safe to say that Chick-Fil-A has put themselves in the middle of a publicly debated crossfire. What is particularly interesting in this story, however, is the influence Social Media has had on the situation. In the past, public protests would go on and be featured on the news. However, now anyone who has access to some form of social media can comment on the story and state their opinions. This causes the situation to spread like wildfire and go on longer than it normally would. Paul Root Wolpe, director of the Center for Ethics of Emory University, stated that, "social media is the great equalizer because it gives people who are otherwise voiceless an enormous advantage in communicating with the public". Social media has also allowed one to gain valuable PR lessons from Chick-Fil-A's debacle:

  • Never create a fake social media account to cover-up your mistakes or lies.
    • Chick-Fil-A has been accused of creating a fake Facebook account to disguise the real reason as to why they will no longer be carrying Jim Henson's toys.
    • Just as one should never delete negative comments on their Facebook page, one should never create a fake supporter to defend their statements.
    • It is foolish and easily detectable in this day and age.
  • Do not neglect a social media outlet.
    • Although Chick-Fil-A has been actively responding on their Facebook page, they have not shown much activity on Twitter. This is a big mistake because a lot of the debate is taking place there and they are not responding to it.
  •  Respond to all negative statements individually and truthfully.
    • Although many people may not agree with everything Chick-Fil-A has been saying, the company continues to voice their opinions and in turn, are receiving public support from their loyal customers.
    • This allows those in opposition to see that the company is attempting to handle the situation, even if it is not how they would like it to be dealt with.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

One week, three historical events unfolding

This week was major in terms of media. From the NCAA's Penn State ruling to the alleged theater shooting killer's first court appearance to the more recent opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics, media have been very, very busy.

It would, of course, seem as though worldwide Olympic games received the most media attention. And among the other controversial and tragic events, it truly has: the opening ceremony already set record-breaking viewership, totaling 40.7 million viewers and launching this summer's opening ceremony to the most viewed in Olympic history, surpassing the previous record of 39.8 million people that watched the 1996 games in Atlanta commence.

What I've noticed about each of these recent events is that they are all ongoing. They're hardly a one-time article read or fading Twitter trend; they'll be featured through countless media channels for a while. While the Olympic games last a short two weeks, the records set, metals won and countries honored will endure long after the closing ceremony.

As for Penn State, the penalties announced have banned football from bowl games for the next four years, charged a fine of more money than I can fathom, stripped the Nittany Lions of winnings in the past 14 seasons, and reclaimed ten scholarships per season over the next four years. Fines can be paid, football can still be played and four years can fly by faster than imaginable. But the reputation of Penn State--not solely that of its football program, its board and its coaches who have been brought into the scandal limelight--is already generating long term predictions of recovery and if that is even a possibility. There is a core value system at stake here: a college culture that place football over core academic values of a higher education institution. And that is ultimately the basis for the NCAA's penalties, as explained by NCAA President Mark Emmert. These terms were accepted as a guiding compass by Penn State President Rodney Erickson, the first step of crisis communications.

The alleged theater shooter James Holmes appeared in court last Monday and is due to be formally charged tomorrow. It is rumored he will receive the death sentence, as he murdered 12 innocent people and injured dozens more during the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. As tragic as it was and continues to be, the backstory and possible motives behind his senseless act are being speculated. Personally, it surprised me to find endless articles focusing on the life and any supposed mishaps of James Holmes because people try to rationalize these types of events; they want to know exactly why. The timeline at this moment can not be determined, but it might be a year until he is put on trial.

This week marked events that will go down in history and, simultaneously, the history of public relations, as each situation offers opportunities to analyze strategic communication, relationships with audiences, and reputations. Though as we see each event unfold before us, we will further be able to learn something more, whether it may it be through the trial of a relentless murderer, the reputation rebuild at Penn State, or the buzz generated by the most social Olympic games we've ever had the technological luxury to witness.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Misinterpreted Trending Topic Leads to PR Nightmare

Many would agree that Twitter has became the quickest way for people to get wind of various news stories. It acts as an outlet for all people to come together and express both grievances and words of support regarding certain topics and occurrences. 

Evidently, the heartbreaking tragedy that occurred in Aurora, Colorado Thursday night was yet another heavily tweeted about topic. Friday afternoon, The Huffington Post called attention to a particular post that demonstrates the severity of a tasteless tweet:

When I initially saw this, I was shocked. When I awoke Friday morning, the story was already all over the news and various social media outlets. Could CelebBoutique have really been that clueless to the situation, or were they perhaps attempting to profit over this heart-wrenching catastrophe?

The Huffington Post article then goes on to discuss the removal of the tweet by CelebBoutique who responded with several regretful tweets. The apologies indicated that they were very remorseful for the "insensitive tweet" and misunderstood the trend because they had not been aware of the reasoning behind it. Finally, they tweeted that their "PR is not US based and had not checked the reason for the trend". 

Although this does appear to have been a very disastrous accident, is it possible companies and people do take advantage of opportunities similar to this one from time to time? Additionally, the fact of the matter is that social media posts contain whatever message the user decides to exhibit and once something is on the web, it will exist forever and can be detrimental to a company's reputation. CelebBoutique may have removed the Tweet within the hour, but people will remember this for a long time and it could possibly hurt their sales.

To avoid a similar situation, always check the trending topic beforehand if you are even a bit unsure as to why it is trending. Although most of our tweets are not being broadcast to thousands, an intelligent and carefully reasoned social media presence should always be maintained. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

CNN and Facebook Partner to Create an Interactive, Social Election

Photo via

Coverage of November's presidential election has already become a regularly reported topic for most news outlets. However, with the announcement of the partnering of CNN and Facebook to create the most "interactive and social" election experience the nation has ever seen, the excitement surrounding the campaign has sufficiently increased. This decision will undoubtedly get the nation more involved in the campaign and encourage those that do not normally pay much attention to tune in and voice their opinions on political matters.

In this agreement, both CNN and Facebook will benefit immensely. CNN has hit an all-time 21 year low in their ratings and have been awaiting the opportunity to converge their TV and digital presence for quite some time now. They have predicted that the 2012 Election will be both an efficient and seamless transition into this newly popular media outlet because it will unite CNN's on-air, mobile, and online audiences with Facebook's over 160 million US users. Facebook will see great profitability because they will now be equipped with sought-after date regarding the nation's political thoughts and feelings that political scientists and data collectors will be willing to attain for years to come.

The most influential aspect of this agreement is the new "I'm Voting" app that has been created. This application will allow users to show their support for certain candidates and voice opinions regarding various topics publicly on Facebook Timelines, news feeds, and the real-time ticker. CNN is hoping tht this will encourage others to participate that would not normally do so. 

Additionally, Facebook will soon begin to issue surveys to those users of voting-age in crucial US locations. These metrics will be measured and CNN will further break it down by specific state to state analysis. CNN hopes that this will increase the national exchange of ideas. Furthermore, they anticipate  that users will interact through the usage of  the "I'm Voting" app while various topics are being discussed on television which will ultimately make the election an entirely interactive experience for all.

Although I am not sure how I feel about having political surveys appear on my Facebook timeline, I can already foresee the heated discussions it will encourage among my outspoken Facebook friends. As a person who probably is not as in-tuned to the political world as I should be, this could be an extremely beneficial change. As Joel Kaplan, Facebook Vice President-U.S Public Policy stated, "Innovations like Facebook can help transform informational experience into a social one for the American people". With the impact social media has already proven to have on various campaigns, this partnership will indisputably change the way the nation regards political discussions leading up to a presidential election.