Archive for the ‘Topics of the Week’ Category

TOW #16: Blog Comments

Blogging is a very important element of not only this class, but of a public relations practitioner’s tool kit. The following list is my top ten blogging tips for PR students.

1) Because most online classes don’t require you to be in a certain place at a certain time, it’s very easy to neglect your blogs. Set aside a specific time during the week to work on your blog and commit to it!

2) Keeping up with your blogs is a necessary component of this class. Be consistent!

3) Don’t make excuses. I have been working 50 hours a week this summer and it has been very easy for me to neglect my blog. Ultimately, though, I could have been working on my blogs in my spare time, rather than trying to catch up on sleep. Excuses equal poor grades.

4) Comment on at least one blog a week. It truly makes the blogging experience more interactive and enjoyable.

5) Take time to create a personal section in your blog. Blogging about subjects you’re interested in makes it seem less like work.

6) Add pictures! I came across a blog full of attention-grabbing pictures and it made the blog so much more interesting.

7) Include links to other helpful sites/blogs. When you do, it illustrates your interest in and knowledge of a topic.

8 ) Add classmates to your blogroll. It makes it easy to check out what your peers are saying without having to search for them.

9) Proofread! It is extremely important to check for errors. When you post a blog that has errors, it sends a message that you don’t care.

10) Comment on comments. Respond to those who comment on your blogs to let them know that you appreciate their input/feedback. That’s what makes blogging interactive.

TOW #10- WordPress Site Stats

The Site Stats page on my WordPress blog is quite interesting. It tells me how many all-time visits my blog has received (819), how many people visited on a certain day and what day was the busiest (July 12). It uses bar graphs to illustrate how many visited and when in days, weeks and months. Other features include search engine referrals, your top posts and pages and total link clicks from your blog. There is also a general section, which lists my total number of posts, categories and comments received. The stats tool is a great way for public relations practitioners to monitor the number of visits to their blogs. High numbers would likely indicate that the blog is attracting readers and reaching target audiences. Low numbers likely indicate that something needs to change, such as adjusting the site’s format/content or finding more ways to attract visitors to your blog.

TOW #9- PROpenMic

PROpenMic is a great way to connect to with public relations students, faculty and practicioners (site). Members can explore jobs and internships in the field, as wells as network with potential employers. It also serves as a place to share pictures, music, create discussions, or forums, and blogs. A member’s homepage includes the latest PR news and popular blog posts. Members can also join groups, such as entertainment PR or private groups, like UGA PR. In addition, you can post your resume, list jobs and internships, and view news releases and portfolios. A neat feature is the ability to create status updates and link it to your Twitter feed. Overall, PROpenMic is a helpful resource that allows current and upcoming practitioners to stay in touch and up-to-date in the field.

TOW #6- Newsworthiness

There are several components that can create a newsworthy story. They include timeliness, prominence, proximity, significance, unusualness, conflict, newness, and human interest (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques). Timeliness is considered one of the most important characteristics of news. By definition, news must be current. One can make a story timely by announcing something when it happens, providing information or story ideas related to current news stories, relate products or services to an event that has national recognition and interest, and by offering information linked to events and holidays that are already on the public agenda. A prominent story is one that uses a celebrity’s star power to gain attention. Proximity is a concept that uses a local angle to appeal to hometown papers and broadcast stations. Significance includes situations or events that can affect a substantial number of people, such as global warming. Unusualness includes anything out of the ordinary, like an 80-foot birthday cake. Conflict in the news occurs when two or more groups advocate different views on a topic of interest in a story. A human interest story discusses the lives and experiences of individuals and is successful because people like to read about other people. Something that’s new, or newness, is generally a hot topic that generates stories (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques). Each of these components can create a newsworthy story.

TOW #7: One Week of Twitter

I thoroughly enjoyed my one week of Twitter assignment. A friend convinced me to get a Twitter account last summer, so it was probably easier for me to do the assignment than others. However, it was challenging for me to create 20 tweets and respond to five of my classmates, as I mostly follow others rather than tweet. Visit my feed here!

There are several aspects of Twitter that I like. First, following celebrities is a neat experience. As people, we idolize individuals who possess unique talents, beauty, and fortune. Because of  the media and its gatekeepers, though, we often are unable to see celebrities as people. They eat, drink, sleep, and breathe just like everyone else. I think that many of us forget that. With Twitter, you are able to see what celebrities are thinking and doing. You have the opportunity to see who they are as people, rather than the commercialized versions we are fed via the media.

Second, I love quotes! I follow about five people/organizations that tweet inspirational and motivational quotes. I feed off of the wise words and encouragement of others. I think that when you’re not pursuing what you love and striving for personal growth, you’re wasting valuable time. The pictures below are of a few of the quote-tweeters I follow.

Great Minds Quotes  i heart quotes    Inspirational Quotes    Motivational Quotes

Third, I get the latest news via CNN and Breaking News on Twitter. I don’t have to turn on the television or log onto a website. I receive Twitter updates via my smart phone. This generally enables me to know the latest and greatest news before newspapers and news channels are even talking about it.

Next, receiving PR tips, advice, and updates is a useful aspect of Twitter. Prior to this assignment, I did not follow any practitioners or experts. I found that many of them offered insight into the field, which is something I did not expected to gain.

Lastly, I enjoy interacting with others on Twitter. It’s cool to see what others are doing, thinking, and sharing. Being able to respond to someone’s tweets enhances the experience. Twitter is similar to blogging in the respect that if no is reading your tweets/posts, your tweets/posts are pointless. When others comment on your tweets, it illustrates that others are interested in and relate to what you have to say.

Overall, I think Twitter is a form of social media that will continue to grow and flourish not only as a personal tool, but as a public relations tool also.

TOW #5: Plagiarism

Although many people don’t take plagiarism seriously, it is an act of fraud. It involves stealing someone else’s work and lying about it (Plagiarism.org). Intentional or not, it is a crime that can result in suspension from school or even the expulsion of a student. There are many ways to plagiarise, including:

1) Turning in someone else’s work as your own

2) Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit

3) Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks

4) Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation

5) Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit

6) Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (Plagiarism.org).

Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed, and providing your audience with the information necessary to find that source, is usually enough to prevent plagiarism (Plagiarism.org). Northwestern University offers some tips on its writing website to help writers avoid plagiarism. They include:

1) Cite every piece of information that is not (a) the result of your own research, or (b) common knowledge. This includes opinions, arguments, and speculations as well as facts, details, figures, and statistics.

2) Use quotation marks every time you use the author’s words. (For longer quotes, indenting the whole quotation has the same effect as quotation marks.)

3) At the beginning of the first sentence in which you quote, paraphrase, or summarize, make it clear that what comes next is someone else’s idea:

  • According to Smith…
  • Jones says…
  • In his 1987 study, Robinson proved…

4) At the end of the last sentence containing quoted, paraphrased, or summarized material, insert a parenthetical citation to show where the material came from (Northwestern).

 

NewsU Cleaning Your Copy TOW #4

I learned a great deal from the NewsU Cleaning Your Copy course. First, the pre-test allowed me to see my weak areas, which include punctuation and confusing words. It also answered many of the questions that I ask myself when writing, such as when to use lay and lie and who and whom. I learned the proper context in which to use semi-colons, punctuation that I stay away from for fear of improper use. I discovered several words that I had never heard of before, including biennial, flout, and loath. 

The course was not as treacherous as I expected, which surprised me. I was actually dreading it, simply because I tire of hearing about AP Style. However, the course is interesting and the way it’s presented is user-friendly. The format is much better than any other AP tutorials and quizzes I have seen. It allows the user to work at his or her own pace, which I appreciate. The practice at the end was helpful, but there were a few questions that were difficult. After several tries, I could not figure out what corrections needed to be made. An answer key would have been nice. The final test was a big challenge. A different format would have allowed for a better score. That way, test-takers can receive credit for the corrections they make, rather than only a completely correct sentence.

I’m not sure what I want to know more about in regards to AP Style. It is something that needs to be practiced in order to really learn it. I’m aware that it is a necessary skill in public relations, but I am not keen on many of the AP rules. It is highly likely that I will gain plenty of experience in this class with the assignments we have coming up.