Social Media Top 5: Twitter Shrinkage, Digital Grown-Ups & Bad (Mrs.) Santa

The social media follower-counter’s nightmare: Twitter decided to purge deleted and suspended accounts from the system, sending users’ “followers” totals plummeting overnight. The good news– if you passed a “round number” milestone, you get to pass it again. Shiny!

Did social media kill the PR star? No, I agree with Shannon Cherry that PR needs to adopt social media tools and methods (or continue to) in order to adapt to changing media. On the one hand I could file that under “no duh” but Shannon makes a very good point about PR people practicing “the way they learned it in college or from their first mentor.” This begs the question, “is our PR children learning?” Two years ago, I observed that some schools were just starting to catch on to social media in Pr. I can only assume that has gotten more prevalent since then. Certainly, Boston has seen more social media-savvy PR grads in the last two years. We also have some high-profile Pr profs such as Robert French at Auburn and Mihaela Vorvoreanu at Clemson.

What do you say, students and professors?

Recommended Interviews I: A lively interview on the “For Immediate Release” podcast of Michael Cherenson, incoming chair of the Public Relations Society of America. In the US at least, I feel this organization, and particularly its local chapters, could be the place where social media integration messages finally get through to people who aren’t immersed in social media yet. Why? Precisely because the association encompasses all PR, not just the social media fishbowl. That’s not necessarily what this interview is about, but that’s all I could think about while listening.

Recommended Interviews II: Don Tapscott interviewed on the “Net@Night” podcast. Tapscott’s latest book, “Grown Up Digital,” seems ot be working to dispel the myth of the Internet destroying the younger generation’s collective mind. Important is that the thought turns to working with a new generation’s new methods rather than conforming them to the old. I am looking forward to reading the book, and to the debates it starts through the new year.

Bad Santa viral video: Not as good as the “Obama lost by one vote because of you” video, but the “North Pole Sex Scandal” personalized viral video was still funny. Unfortunately, no embed link (what?) so I can’t put the video in this post for you to see. That’s what the kids call a “fail.” Well, here’s a link in case that works.

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  1. I’m definitely a unique PR person…I majored in English, know quite a few journalists and bloggers (just as friends mainly) and also focus in marketing. Thing is…people love the human blend and friendly attitude I bring to pitches…I actually try to build a relationship before straight pitching (amazing I know). It will be interesting to see how much blending the customer service, PR, and marketing depts. undergo over the course of the next 5 years.

  2. Stuart– thanks– I was actually a broadcast (radio) major and spent my first few years in PR being suspicious of people with Pr degrees- I got over that.

    “Relationships” are important, and that puts you ahead of a lot of practitioners– though a good pitch overcomes all other factors.

  3. Doug, we’re trying to do our best. My suspicion is that more and more faculty are seeking ways to embrace all forms of emerging digital media. PROpenMic, for instance, has 280 faculty members out of the <3,100 population, to-date. Anecdotal, I know, but a fair example. The process is always slow, but progress is being made.

    I try to include some form of social media interaction / project in every course I teach, by the way. It isn’t something that necessarily needs to be taught in a separate course. It needs to be interwoven into all PR practice, when applicable.

    One of the best aspects of all these new avenues for PR discussion is the exposure our students (and the faculty) have to practitioners from around the world. Perhaps we can do a phone or video interview with you during the coming semester, for example. Students learn so much from these interviews. And, prior to the tools available today, when/how could I have provided these opportunities for students? Rarely, if ever.

    An aside for you. Regarding the interview with PRSA’s Michael Cherenson, you state that “the association encompasses all PR”. Actually, PRSA is open to all aspects, but the membership is agency and student heavy. They do not have great reach into the largest areas of PR practice in the US (or elsewhere, I hasten to guess). The largest populations of PR practitioners in the US are in single practitioner in-house, state/local governments, and nonprofits. Yes, PRSA has members from some of those areas, but that membership doesn’t come close to the total of agency & student members (when you combine PRSA & PRSSA – as they do when promoting their total membership).

    That said, I too believe they should embrace all forms of emerging digital media. When William Murray first became COO, I interviewed him and encouraged them to embrace it. They’ve been slow to act. Their first effort at the recent convention was held in a venue without wifi. Sigh. Well, everyone has to learn. Like I said above, the process is slow (and, at times, frustrating).

  4. Robert,

    Wow, thanks for the great comment.

    The current real-world experience– whether by the professors themselves or people they bring in– is probably one of the keys to making sure curricula are up-to-date. by the way– I’d be happy to speak with your class sometime.

    As for PRSA, I am betting that the chapters have more to do with direct development than the national organization. Boston is agency-heavy and I would agree they dominate the events I have been to. Perhaps boutiques and sole practitioners need to band together to stand out, because they could be there and we’re not hearing them.

    Outside of Boston, I spoke in front of a Yankee Chapter meeting in New Hampshire (thanks to chip Griffin of CustomScoop and Media Bullseye almost two years ago, and that group was not at all agency-focused. There were a lot more government and education-focused people that I noticed.

    Also, back to the Boston chapter, I noticed over the last two years a growing savvy about social media. I think the social media evolution we want now will come with patience.

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