Edelman Digital Bootcamp hosted by the University of Georgia March 1, 2008

I’m looking forward to this event and I hope PR students and educators from the Southeast will attend:
The University of Georgia is hosting the Edelman Digital Bootcamp for students and educators throughout the Southeast March 1.

Edelman, the world’s leading independent public relations firm, seeks to provide both students and educators hands-on skills integration training about the professional use of new media.

Students will break into teams, and then Edelman practitioners will direct them in a mock campaign. Students will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with Edelman facilitators to research, design and implement a social media solution for the assigned client. This approach will allow students to network with professionals while
gaining valuable hands-on experience.

An additional track will be available to educators, with more of a focus on sharing ideas and encouraging the adoption of new media in more communication curriculums throughout the Southeast.  Educators will have the opportunity to discuss the practicalities of teaching new media, share lesson plans and more.

Social media continues to grow, making this event a valuable opportunity. The registration fee is $20 [correction: $25] for students and includes refreshments and lunch during the event. A casual reception for discussion and networking will conclude the conference.

EdelmanDigitalBootcamp.com, the official Web site for the event, will go live a few weeks before the event and feature online registration information, photos, blog posts and other new media elements.

For more information, please contact Cindy Schnably at schnably@uga.edu or (304) 283-6825.

Making of “A Vision of Students Today”

If you haven’t seen the video A Vision of Students Today, it’s not too late. You’ll certainly enjoy it and it will make you think. If you’re a student, I’d love to know how you relate to the video and what it means to you. Moreover, I’d like you to tell me what you think it should mean to me, as an instructor.

The video’s author, professor Wesch from Kansas State University, explains here the step-by-step process of making the video. I thought students who are thinking about an alternative project for their senior theses would like to see how you can use a video to report research results.

good things come in 3’s

It’s been raining advice for students, here’s the third installment:

Todd Defren (@TDefren), principal at PR agency Shift Communications recently wrote excellent advice in this blog post: What I Wish My New Employee Knew.

See also good advice from PRSA on preparing a PR portfolio.

So, students, what do you think? Feeling more motivated? What will you do this semester to invest in yourself and your future?

Interview with Jeremiah Owyang

 Following up on a post in which Jeremiah Owyang, (@jowyang) Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, describes his job responsibilities, I asked him a few questions about valuable skills in the analyst industry. Clemson communication students learn excellent research skills, and Jeremiah’s job is an example of putting those skills to work.

Read his blog post first, then this Q&A:

Dr. V’s comment: Thank you for explaining the nature of your job. I’ll share this with my students, who often find it hard to believe that the research and writing skills we teach them in college will ever come in handy :)

JO’s response: The Research job is laborious, but important in making decisions. Every day analysts and researchers influence how millions of dollars are spent and managed. As a result, they’re well compensated, and are one of the top non executive earners in the industry.

Dr. V: What are the top 3 most useful/important skills for your job?

JO: Seeing the big picture. Numbers and facts are useless without insight, analysis, and perspective. Students need to first get real world experience before becoming a researcher or analyst, I’ve served my time working up the corporate ladder for 7 years (which is considered very fast), I’m 31, and haven’t even reached the mid-point in my career, so work hard and stay focused. When I first started to focus on social computing, people laughed at me, they thought blogs and social networks were silly and for kids, now it’s a major industry.

Dr. V: What are some things college students should focus on/try to learn well if they hope to work as a researcher/analyst someday?

JO: Think strategic, think about the large scope of things. Be very aware and absorb lots of information, including info outside of school, teachers, and class. I read materials online, and made a vow to learn one new skill everyday at my internship.

Dr. V: If/When you interview for a new position or an internship, what are the most important things you look for in a candidate? What are the deal breakers?

JO: Ambition, ability to communicate effectively, and I’ll be checking out their Facebook and MySpace page to understand what they’re really like. The good news is, we want to see the human side of a candidate, but the party pics should probably be in a private folder. Ironically, I was a poor student in High School and College (but I did graduate). I did well in the creative arts, and was never great at math or business classes like accounting or Finance. Fortunately, in the workplace, one can find their true comfort area.

Interview with Phil Gomes

Dear PR & Communication students,

I’ve been saving the interview I did with Phil Gomes for the beginning of the semester, when you’re either more motivated to listen or you’ll listen because you need some motivation.

Phil Gomes, (@philgomes) is vice president of the me2revolution group within Edelman Public Relations. I interviewed him in November 2007 and asked him how you can succeed. One of Phil’s most interesting ideas is that of future-proofing your education – learning things that will still be useful in 10, 15, or 20 years from now. I think both students and educators will find this interview informative and motivational. Enjoy and let me know: How are you future-proofing your or your students’ education?

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Social media and marketing

Shel Israel explains it beautifully:

The essence of social media is that it is humans. Humans connect to humans and they form communities. They own their communities, brands don’t. The perspective of traditional marketing is to take a message and find delivery channels to inseminate into people’s foreheads. This is not social. Social is for a marketing executive to start a blog and ask people why they hate his marketing efforts–then listen–really listen to what people say the way Dell has done and a few others are trying to do.

I can’t wait to share this quote with my PR students. I love it because it explains something that I’ve been thinking about… what happens to cultures and communities when corporate interests intervene (or try to own communities/conversations). This quote explains that one of the things that happens is that the conversation loses its humanity and authenticity. It becomes hollow. It ends.

Silly, what comes to mind is Suze Orman’s line: “People first, then money, then things.” – what a good lesson to teach my PR students!

Related post: The only real social networks are personal ones 

Cover Letters for PR job applications

Students often ask me about how to write a cover letter, so I thought I’d compile some tips & info:

A word of advice for students:

  • don’t ask professors how to write a cover letter. There’s so much information out there, show me you can teach yourself. You’ll ask me later to write a recommendation letter, and all I’ll be able to think about is how you couldn’t figure out something as simple as how to write a cover letter…
  • it’s OK to make an appointment and ask a trusted professor to look over your letter.
  • do make an appointment with Career Services and ask them to critique your resume and cover letter. They’re much more tuned in to the market than professors.

For faculty: here’s a guide on how to write a letter of recommendation.