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.