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Have you ever heard of the metaphor “river of information?” Well when explaining what it is that I do to people who do not live for communications, I sort of run with this analogy.

Communication is made up of messages. Consider these like droplets of water within a river. There are several different ways that water travels, messages are no different. Messages go through cycles just like water; they are sent down a stream, received, and turned into feedback just like the water cycle.

So messages are like water in a river. There many different types of waterways within which water travels, messages are no different. There are so many different channels of communication out there; consider these like different waterways. There are some large waterways, like rivers, and there are some that are only tributaries that sprout from larger rivers. Communications channels are no different; there are large channels like the web, television, print. And there are tributaries that flow from these large channels of communication. For example, Twitter is a tributary of the web; much like the NY Times is a stream stemming from Print.

So that sets up my world, a world in which I am a navigator. I help organizations pour their messages into streams in a method that will best help that message be received well.

The cool thing is that this analogy can be extended further; my colleagues and I are all essentially navigators, but some are better at guiding certain streams and rivers than others.

I happen to be a fairly good captain of the digital sea; I have experience in online communications thus that is where I can best help an organization send its message. However because I have fundamental skills in navigating one communications channel, that skill can be applied to other communication channels. It also means that because I have experience sending one kind of message, that skill can be translated to a different type of message. For example, I have experience in email marketing to external groups, however that navigation skill can be applied to internal communications as well.

In my role, I do more than just keep an organization afloat.

This is the best possible way I can explain what it is that I do. And the irony is that my role is much like the role of any sea-captain; you don’t know the name of the captain of the Titanic, do you? But you remember the blunder that happened because of the captain. My role is similar because I help enhance the way an organization is remembered; the only difference is that in my role I strive to do more than just keep the organization afloat.


Today I had the privilege to discuss social media with two PR students who have been studying the topic quite extensively. However I was really surprised to learn that neither of them had heard of Google Reader or Twitter clients like Hootsuite.

The blogosphere is extensively becoming the PR and Marketing – sphere and I fear that many young professionals are lagging behind because no one is teaching them.

This is not to derogate traditional PR instruction in any way. I think that classical conditioning is far more important. But I do think that there should be more exposure to these platforms so that students have a chance to understand how to use them.

Students are instructed to go and join just about everything on the web to gain exposure, but they are not instructed on what to do with any of it.

From the feedback I received today, students are instructed to go and join just about everything on the web to gain exposure, but they aren’t instructed on what to do with these platforms, or where to search for them.

So to all the communications professionals out there, share the little tools you use with those that follow in your footsteps. I feel so much more in tune with what is going on in the communications profession because Haila Yates, Greenlights’ Community Outreach Manager, took the time to show me the tools she uses on a day-to-day basis.

And to all those emerging communications professionals, make sure to ask about the little things when you get the chance. Because it is the little tools that make the big ideas possible to enact.

It seems that a lot of people perceive marketers and advertisers as money-grubbing evil-doers. They see them as an exploitation upon the capitalist system.

So my question is: Why aren’t more marketers and advertisers using this perception to their advantage?

Why the hell aren’t more marketers and advertisers using their perceived bad reputation to their advantage?

I pose this question because I believe that this marketing tactic could make Diaspora, a new Social Networking Platform, explode into something that could revolutionize the internet.

Diaspora is still under development so I figure I would give them a few suggestions:

  1. Don’t be afraid to piss Facebook fans off
  2. I cannot remember the last time an ad upset me because of its explicit content. For that matter, I cannot remember a time when my Grandmother was appalled by an ad. Isn’t that a problem? How are we stirring things up? Here is an opportunity for Diaspora.

  3. Revolt
  4. Facebook is everything new media marketers love. So that means that Diaspora has the opportunity to brand themselves as everything marketers would hate.

I know a lot of people would not appreciate this but I think that is the key advantage that could make a new social platform successful. And not only successful, but the best.

Facebook took from MySpace and MySpace took from AOL so Diaspora has a great opportunity

Even if Diaspora falls flat on their face, I still like theie idea. Because they have the chance to frame themselves as David where Facebook is already a well know Goliath. One must remember that Facebook took from MySpace and even MySpace took from AOL. So perhaps it is Diaspora’s turn to take.

I want to leave with a related question, who is going to take from Apple? Who is going to make Google the Goliath?

I just read a defense of Facebook by Mashable’s Co-editor Ben Parr. He makes a valid argument about social media privacy:

Privacy is dead, and social media is holding the smoking gun

But this is not why people are really in uproar about Facebook’s Open Graph; people are upset because the implied uses of this new version of Facebook.

It’s not the what about what Facebook is doing, its why.

Every day popular culture is being infiltrated by marketing and advertising. Consumerism is entrenched into our culture these days. Just look at the ads for Iron Man 2. The opening of Facebook to other sites promotes a materialistic takeover of American ideology. A threat that consumers perceive they have no control over.

People fear the open graph will take over Facebook by overproducing “suggestions” for consumer crap that we don’t need. And thus creating a user experience that lacks control on behalf of the user; perceived control at least.

New media is about two-way communication made possible; not one-way marketing made uncontrollable

People do not fear the wrong person is going to see that they drink Keystone Light at a college party, it is the fear that Keystone Light will see them drinking and then shove 800 ads for beer onto their facebook page.

This fear may be irrational but new media marketing is real and products are already being placed on every Facebook page. In reality, the fears have already come to life; Facebook is no longer “a place for friends.” Instead it has becomes “a place for marketers” and that is the stigma that could be Facebook’s undoing.

Happo (Help a PR Pro Out Day) is a fun idea for me. I have seven more days till I am done with school and looking forward to the future. I have some job prospects in Washington D.C. and plan on moving there later this summer.

However prospects do not necessarily mean employment so I believe it is wise for me to participate in the #happo frenzy. In that light, here are some quick notes about me and where I see myself going:

  •  I am graduating from the University of Texas with a major in communication studies and a concentration in corporate communication.
  •  My strengths are in online communications; I have experience with website management , e-mail marketing, member/client management tools, communication plan development, and fostering social media conversations.
  • I have spent the last year interning for communication and pr departments of nonprofit organizations in Austin, Texas.
  • I am indeed in student debt but look to be debt free by the age of 28; thus my five-year plan heavily focuses on employment and gaining experience (however I reserve the right to re-assess my situation in two years to possibly consider grad-school).
  • I am active on Twitter and LinkedIn, I have my own blog and I know Google Analytics, and yes; I use it.
  • I am definitely willing to travel, do admin work, work long hours, and whatever else is brought upon me (No, I do not expect the corner office like some Millennials do).
  • Job seeking is fun to me; I find the experience valuable to me as I grow. If you don’t have a job opening I still would love to have an interview with you; even just a chat could be very enlightening.
  • In an entry-level job I look for two key things:
  1. The ability to question (tasks, methods, protocols, ideas, styles, rationale, etc.)
  2. The opportunity to work collaboratively (I want to work in the same room as you and others so that I can build and learn from your brains and be able to piggyback off of your great ideas).
  • My dream job:
    I walk into the office where I have a meeting discussing the company’s social media, websites, blog. I am in charge of monitoring the conversation in the company’s online presence. I utilize metrics and tracking to monitor that conversation, I communicate with key stakeholders and keep up with the trends going on with other professionals in the field. I network to broaden my horizon and knowledge, and have the flexibility to try some of the things my colleagues are discovering.

Thanks for listening and thanks for #happo. Cheers to all you employers and good luck to all you graduates.

Check out my resume if you get the chance!

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