11 10 2009

serenityNearly four months after receiving my bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon, I’m still working part time and making barely enough to cover my living expenses.  Things are beginning to look-up however.  I’ve been talking with Public Affairs at Willamalane and have been accepted as their new social media intern.  Over the next few months I will be developing and maintaining a Facebook page and blog for the company.  I’m very excited to be given this experience.  If anyone has any suggestions or tips, feel free to send them my way!


The Beginning of The End . . . My last college term starts

3 04 2009

The cherry blossoms and bloo423509488_bb6b7f37afming, Spring Break is over, and I have just finished the first week of my last term.  It’s finally beginning to look more like spring.  I’m taking some great courses this term and am very excited about them.  One of the classes I’m taking is Kelli Matthews Social Media Marketing Class.
Kelli introduced me to much of the social media world with her Advanced PR Writing class.  And, I’m looking forward to learning more with this class.  If you are interested, Kelli is allowing us to tweet live during class and you can follow or join in the conversation Mondays and Wednesdays from noon to about 1:45 by searching (via Twitter) #j412.

Click here to subscribe to the class blog which will be creating new content almost every day for the next 8 weeks.

A Spring Break

26 03 2009
My Spring Break Vacation

This blog was originally set up as an assignment for my Advanced PR Writing class.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure about this whole blogging thing but now, I’m addicted.   Although I’m addicted and have all intentions of continuing to post in the future, right now I’m enjoying my last spring break.  So, I’ll be looking around for some interesting topics to blog on over the next few days but for now  . . .  I came across this great little site http://www.pomegranatephone.com/ Check this out.  And don’t forget to click the “release date” button for a twist!!

Graduating in an economy like this? Why me??

13 03 2009

I read Ryan Anderson’s post “Working the Bottom Rung” on his blog The New PR and found his tips and advice very helpfuhopel and hopeful in an economy that is neither.  Just to summarize some of his tips:

1.  Be reliable

2.  Be detail-oriented

3.  Search for answers before asking questions

4.  Strive to be a better writer

5.  Enjoy the grunt work

6.  Be patient

7.  Have fresh ideas

I’ll be graduating this June and although I am really excited to be finishing my degree, I am also very anxious about finding a job once I have my degree.  I’m 24.  Most of my classmates are two or three years younger than me.  I’ve worked full time throughout my college career which has left me with no time for the valuable internships some of my classmates have been fortunate enough to experience.  In many ways I’m graduating behind the pack.  But, in the context of this list, I can do this!

I’m smart enough to know that it’s going to be difficult to get the job I want in an economy like this but I take pride in having those seven skills listed above there.  Plus one.  Enthusiasm!  So thanks Ryan, this post is going to become a daily affirmation for me.  I can do this!

You said it. Now do it!

13 03 2009


I must be getting older because I went to the eye doctor earlier this month and was told I would be needing glasses.  Something about an irregular astigmatism in one eye.  I was ok with it.  I’ve always thought glasses were cool (braces too – I was disappointed to be born with good teeth when all my middle school friends started getting braces).  I know this seems like it doesn’t have anything to do with my title, but trust me, I’m getting there.

So, excited about getting my first pair of glasses, I went to LensCrafters to pick out my frames (which are really great by the way).  This is where things start going wrong.  The man who helped me told me that they would have to send away for my lenses because they didn’t have them in stock.  It took more than three weeks for me to finally get my glasses.  Over the course of that time I was told several things that no one delivered on.  When I did get my glasses (the second time) they fit correctly and the lenses were precisely as prescribed.  Unfortunately, this was not enough for me to forget the poor customer service and unfulfilled promises.

As I’ve gone through my college career, in class and in my current job, I strive to follow this piece of advice.  It’s important to try and go above and beyond for clients, customers, even friends and family, but it’s also important to do so with the knowledge that it can and will be done.  As always, there will be exceptions.  But, I feel those situations can be handled with professionalism and consideration.  I’ve been in that place before; here are some of things I’ve tried.

1.        Some people will be upset.  Be genuine and apologetic.

2.       Saying “sorry” isn’t always going to be enough.  Have an idea of what you CAN do to make things better.

3.       Know your role.  It’s important to know the limitations as well as the power of your position.  Knowing that can keep you from making promises you can’t fulfill.

4.       If people yell, don’t yell back.  In most cases, there’s a supervisor or colleague you can turn to for support. Don’t let people trample you, but ALWAYS be polite.

5.       Don’t be defensive.  Own up to any mistakes you’ve made.  Taking responsibility for your actions shows maturity and professionalism and may ease the situation.

I’ve worked in customer service since I started working in high school.  I understand that there are things out of the control of the salesperson but I am a firm believer that if someone says they’re going to do something, they need to do it.  And someone should never say they will do something they can’t do.

3 03 2009


I’m a lover of Twitter.  I’ll admit it, I’m not ashamed.  Sharing links and tidbits in 140 characters or less has become a favorite past time of mine.  But, I do think that if things were to get any more micro, there would be a lot lost.  I’m still getting the hang of Twitter (sort of a newbie) and even with 140 characters I find it hard to say everything the way I want to say it.  I can’t image if I were held to even less characters.

This is one of the questions addressed on the blog Socialized last week:

“How much more “micro” will content get? Can we get by with fewer than 140 characters? Can you communicate anything of substance in a 12-second video (by using 12seconds.tv)? What other examples of the microsizing of content are there?”

To an extent I think we could potentially communicate with less than 140 characters, but as addressed in the question, I’m not sure there would be much substance to it.  Essentially, I feel like it would come down posting links more than sharing advice.  I try to imagine this post in 140 characters and I don’t know if I could do it (anyone wanting to try, I’d love to read it – hint hint).

My attempt:  Worried about how microsizing may impact content and substance in social media.

Not too shabby if I do say so myself (92 characters, thanks Tweetdeck).  But how much insight does it offer.  And, what if you were communicating to an audience of worried consumers?  Personally, I don’t think I would let many people off the hook with 140 character (or less) explanation if I were upset or worried.

What do you think?  Can you effectively drive a point home in 140 characters or less?

Measuring Social Media

3 03 2009
photo courtesy flickr http://bit.ly/FyuPH

photo courtesy flickr http://bit.ly/FyuPH

This is a sticky topic and many people differ in their idea of how to measure social media in regards to return on investment.  I searched around various public relations blogs and found some very different opinions on reasons for using social media and how to measure social media.  But, there was one common factor throughout all the sites I visited.  Every post I read offered one stitch of advice over and over again.


Outside of that valuable piece of wisdom, there are many suggestions about measuring social media success.  Of the sites that I visited, Peter Kim’s post on his blog beingpeterkim.com had a very succinct and simple framework for measuring social media in a quantative manner.

1.       Attention – The amount of traffic to your content for a given period of time.

2.       Participation – The extent to which users engage with your content.  Such as, blog comments, social network wall posts, YouTube ratings, or widget interactions.

3.       Authority – The number of inbound links to your content – like trackbacks.

4.       Influence – The size of the user base subscribed to your content. Such as, subscribers, friends, or followers.

Peter also emphasizes that there is what he calls an “x-factor” that comes into play.  Sentiment – the spirit that drives user participation.  Add these factors up and you have a good idea of your social media engagement score or success.

Many argue that social media cannot be measured in a simply quantative manner but that it must also be measured in quality.  PR pros like Chris Brogan, Jason Falls, and KD Paine all argue that social media should be used to allow a business or individual to add to the conversation in a meaningful way and develop deeper relationships with people.  They maintain that companies who engage in social media to accomplish this objective may have a harder time measuring their success in terms of dollars but they have the opportunity to leave a lasting and priceless impression on customers.

I really liked this quote by Jason Falls, “The problem with trying to determine ROI for social media is you are trying to put numeric quantities around human interactions and conversations which are not quantifiable.”

As a consumer, at least for me, it’s nice to feel like we have more than a monetary connection to the businesses we like.  On the other hand, businesses sometimes lose sight of people and nearly always think about how their actions may impact their bottom line.

Luckily, there are some businesses that have found a way to seemingly make the two meet.

This is a list I found on www.sitepoint.com.  The list is taken from a report compiled by Forrester Research.

  • Dell – Though Dell’s corporate blog rarely strays from Dell-centric news, the company posts with a great conversational voice, often breaks news on their blog (which keeps people coming back), and listens and responds to customers. Dell also posts regularly (1-2 posts per day at least) which keeps content fresh and encourages repeat visits.
  • Lenovo – The great collection of blogs from computer maker Lenovo demonstrate that the company really understands blogging. Lenovo intersperses posts about its product line with musings about business, design, life, and technology. Definitely don’t miss the Design Matters blog, which should be a must-read for any designer.
  • 37signals – 37signals is kind of the poster child for corporate blogging. Their “Signal vs. Noise” blog has almost 100,000 RSS subscribers and there’s a good reason: 37signals rarely blogs about their products anymore (they split off a separate product-only blog for that), but instead shares advice and insights about business, design, editorial, and other topics.
  • Adobe – Adobe offers a huge collection of employee blogs, many of which are great reads. By allowing employees to blog, Adobe has empowered them to evangelize their products for them – many post tutorials, advice, reviews, and other great tid-bits promoting Adobe products – while not pigeon holing them into talking only about Adobe.
  • BBC – In addition to their news blogs, the BBC publishes a series of behind-the-scenes blogs. They’re tremendously interesting, especially The Editors blog, in which BBC News editorial staff dissect the broadcaster’s news coverage and the media industry in general.
  • Southwest Airlines – Southwest Airlines’ “Nuts About Southwest” blog doesn’t take itself too seriously – and that’s a good thing. The company blogs about itself and the airline industry with a personal touch and has been producing a series of fun, behind-the-scenes videos that are both interesting and engaging.
  • Sun Microsystems – Like Adobe, Sun allows their employees to blog. They’ve been doing it for a long time, and their blog portal has over 4,500 bloggers covering over 110,000 posts. Some of their blogs, such as that of Web 2.0 and Web Services Evangelist Arun Gupta, have become quite popular on their own. That’s 110,000 posts of promotional gold for Sun and they know it.
  • Freshbooks – Taking a page from 37signals, the team at Freshbooks uses their corporate blog to share advice and insights into their way of doing things. Slowly, and in large part due to their blog, Freshbooks is turning their users into true fans.
  • Marriott International – Marriott on the Move is the official blog of Marriott Hotels, Resorts, and Suites Chairman and CEO Bill Marriott. Though a self-described technophobe, Marriott uses the blog to talk about his thoughts and opinions on all sorts of things related to being a hotelier. Marriott, who was recently featured on NBC Nightly News for a story on corporate blogging, says he blogs because it is “a great way to communicate with [your] customers and stakeholders in this day and age.” We agree.
  • Seagate – Penned by Seagate Global Marketing Manager Pete Steege, Storage Effect is a must-read blog for anyone in the computer storage industry. Beyond first looks at upcoming Seagate products, Steege mixes it up with musings about the industry and fun posts like a recent one about Batman’s storage requirements.
  • General Motors – The GM Fastlane Blog is a great example of corporate blogging because GM has clearly realized that regurgitating press releases is not what blogs are made for. GM talks a lot on their blog about their cars and trucks and the design choices they make while creating them, but they also throw in interesting treatises on current hot-button issues, such as alternative energy.
  • Quicken Loans – Quicken Loans publishes a handful of unique blogs – unique among corporate blogs in that they’re not overly self-referential. Their What’s the Diff? blog, for example, publishes stories about “things that make the difference in business and in life.” The Quizzle blog, on the other hand, posts advice about how to understand the home loan market. It is all subtle marketing for Quicken Loans, but it is done in an informative and useful manner that will win points among customers.
  • FiveRuns – FiveRuns, who create products aimed at Ruby on Rails developers, also publish an excellent blog. Along with regular tutorials about how to do things with Rails and use their products, the FiveRuns team also posts weekly five question interviews with prominent members of the Rails community. Brilliant stuff.
  • Accenture – Consulting firm Accenture publishes 8 blogs that are definitely worth checking out. Rather than just blog about what Accenture can do for your business, the company has tapped some of its smartest employees to share insights on business, communications, technology, consulting, and hiring. A sample of recent posts: how to balance work and life, thoughts about Twitter’s downtime, and musings on GTD theories.
  • Amazon Web Services – Amazon’s Web Services blog is truly one of the great corporate blogs because it reads like a fan blog. You’d never know that Jeff Barr, the scribe behind the AWS blog, is a Web Services Evangelist at Amazon just by reading his posts. That’s because Barr doesn’t write like a corporate flak. Instead he writes with the voice of someone who is truly amazed each day by the stuff that people build on Amazon’s suite of web services, and that makes reading the blog a pleasure.

Any other advice on measuing social media?  Or how it should be used by businesses and corporations?  Feel free to leave a comment.