Monday, October 31, 2011

The Future

So, I am pretty stoked, excited and scared about my life right now. I have a lot of great things going for me and I have no idea where my life is headed. At the beginning of this semester I had wanted to transfer to University of Texas, but I have since decided to stay where I am. I am content at ONU. I am in a phenomenal, awarding winning and rewarding public relations program. I am a member in tons of clubs and get to be super involved on campus. I can still perform, even though I am not a musical theatre major anymore. I still get to take piano and voice lessons. My professors know me by name and are willing to help me in any way they can. This is a great environment for my to be in at this stage in my career. However, there have been some pretty crazy surprises in my schedule for the next year. It turns out I'll be graduating after three years of college. I am not doing this on purpose, why would I try to speed up growing up? But it is virtually pointless for me to stay here a fourth year, unless I decided to pick up a minor or another major. So, I will graduate in the Spring of 2013 and hopefully, be attending law school soon after. Yep, you heard right, law school. I honestly just decided on law school this summer. I want to be able to provide for myself and for my family. I don't want to depend on my husband (if I ever get one) for money. I want to use my brain power for the rest of my life. I know that I can excel in whatever I try to do, but this change is going to be a scary one. Life seems to be moving so fast and I can't believe that the end of school is so close. I know I'll still have law school for a few years, but after that it's real life! I am excited and scared and worried and elated that all of this is happening right now. I just have to keep my eyes on the goal, keep making good grades and hope for the best!


Lauren



food for thought: "When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge."- Tuli Kupferberg

woah, that's neat: www.loseit.com << A really neat weight-loss site!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Measurement Myths

So, measurement in social media is a big deal. How are we supposed to know if foraying into the Facebook world or starting up a Twitter account are benefiting our company? I recently started reading Katie Paine's book Measure What Matters and it is chock-ful of insight for the new ways we need to start measuring our online data. I love that Paine says that there are so many other ways to measure social media success besides ROI. Companies now need to set more specific and measurable goals to meet. A great part of Paine's first chapter is the many myths that surround measurement. I think this is a great topic to learn as a student, because I don't really use measurement much in my daily life. When I go to the workforce however, it's going to be extremely important that I use measurement correctly and know the bias's I will face when it comes to measurement in the future. Paine's list has seven myths that she has come across in her years as an evaluator:

#1: Measurement=Punishment
#2: Measurement Will Only Create More Work for Me
#3: Measurement is Expensive
#4: You Can't Measure the ROI, so Why Bother?
#5: Measurement is Strictly Quantitative
#6: Measurement is Something You Do When a Program is Over
#7: "I Know What's Happening: I Don't Need Research"

Some of these myths really made me angry because it amazes me that people actually think this way. Measuring the success or failure of a program will help in so many ways than one. Telling a manager that a program isn't working and showing them the results isn't going to get you punished. If anything it will help you get a raise because you are helping the company be more profitable. And in today's world full of technology measuring has become easier and cheaper than ever before. Just because measurement can be expensive, it's probably a better investment than wasting all of your money on unsuccessful programs. I think myth's five and six hit close to home for me. I have never been able to think of measurement as anything other than quantitative data, so that will definitely help in the future. And evaluation has seemed to be an end result for most people. In our RACE model, evaluation comes at the end of a project. Measuring is so important throughout the process of a campaign. It is important and beneficial that Paine dispelled these myths because they will help all of us future evaluators in the long run!


Lauren



food for thought: "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."- Eleanor Roosevelt

woah, that's neat: http://www.fredflare.com/ << One of my favorite stores for buying cute gifts and unique knick knacks.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Social Breakdown

So, I haven't had internet access on my phone for about two weeks. I can't get on Facebook. I can't get on Twitter. I can't check in on my FourSquare. Life is pretty rough right now. But, in reality, I can't tell if this is such a bad coincidence at all. I always seem to be on Twitter when I'm bored in class, or replying to Facebook messages. I find myself being more productive and getting more things done. True, I can't reply to the funny tweet that my friend posted about something relevant that day. I can't get my daily fix of Disney quotes, but this break from social media has been wonderful. Sometimes the amount of information that you receive in one day can be tough. Not only that, but sometimes I feel almost forced to make sure I tweet enough in one day, or make sure my Facebook status is updated regularly or that I am checked in everywhere I go on FourSquare. It is taxing to keep up with all of my social networks at one time! Now I see why it is so important for companies to keep up with their networks as often and as much as possible. If I was my own company, with my phone broken down I couldn't see what my friends are saying about me or to me at this moment. I wouldn't be able to update my Facebook as regularly as possible. I am also really surprised at how much my phone is a part of my life. I do so much on it and always have it on me. I feel naked without my phone in my hand or close by. As humans I think we feel the need to be in constant contact with people, but sometimes we truly need a break. I'm glad that my phone isn't working at the moment. Yes, sometimes it's annoying when I get on my computer and have 50 new tweets, but I'll get back on the social media train soon. For now I'm gonna kick back and relax and finally finish reading that book I've always wanted to instead of reading my Twitter feed.


Lauren


food for thought: "If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies." - Anonymous

woah, that's neat: www.studyblue.com << A great website for making online flashcards and study tools!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

All Hallow's Eve

So, Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday. Notice the all caps? That was on purpose, because I am so obsessed with Halloween. You're probably thinking something along the lines of Mean Girls. "Oh Lauren, you just like Halloween because you can dress is slutty clothes and get away with it." I mean, there is some appeal to this aspect of Halloween but that isn't just it. Halloween has so many really neat traditions and history. Like candy corn, pumpkin carving, trick or treating and all of the ghouls and monsters we associate with Halloween. Halloween even has other counterparts in other parts of the world. El dia de los muertos in most Latin American countries is very similar to our Halloween. Halloween always has a sense of mystery and mischief. You get to be someone else for a night, whether you're a ghost, or a power ranger or a character from Alice in Wonderland. You get to partake in all of the things that you normally can't do during the year. You can hoard candy. You can be a masked character that no one knows. You can throw eggs or toilet paper peoples houses (although I do not advise doing this I feel like this has been in every Halloween movie I've ever seen). Monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula come from the dead to haunt us and scare us for one night a year. We take so much pleasure in being frightened this one night and then the next morning all the monsters are gone from view. I can't wait for Halloween. I can't wait for the little kids to come to my dorm room door for candy. I can't wait to dress up. This year I'm going to be a day of the dead doll and a vampire. I got custom fangs to put in. I also bought a Halloween vest for Monday. Halloween is my one time to go all out, and I'm definitely ready to howl at the moon this weekend!


Lauren


food for thought: "When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers, 'tis near Halloween." - Anonymous

woah, that's neat: www.favim.com/image/60503/<< This is my Friday night Halloween costume. Told you I went all out!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The ROI Problem

So, I just had the opportunity to watch a really great webinar. It posed 15 questions to 30 social media thought leaders. A topic that really interests me has been how to measure the ROI of social media integration. This seems to be a problem that everyone faces when using social media. It's difficult to physically measure how much  money a single tweet can rake in or how that Facebook "like" really affected your sales. In the webinar, Heather Wholing pointed out that you need to measure your social media successes based on bigger business goals. You can't use a one size fits all metric system because it is so difficult to really measure the specific impact of only a few tweets or facebook posts. She does point out however, that it is easier than ever to track results of a campaign.  Analytics tools are essential to figuring out how many viewers or followers you have. This is a difficult way to measure however because views doesn't always mean that you're making money back. I however feel that we shouldn't take such a literal minded approach to the ROI from social media. If you are using social media in a creative way and using it to reach your key publics, you are always making a good investment. A company is based on making money, but they should also value social media's ability to harbor conversations. These conversations increase customer relations and the ability to create future consumers. I love that social media is bringing back a social science approach to analytics. Because it is so hard to figure out the actual ROI of social media I think that new and cooler technologies will come around to track customers spending habits. I'm excited to see where researchers and software developers take the ROI problem.


Lauren Tennet


food for thought: "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." - Pablo Picasso

woah, that's neat: www.swiss-miss.com/2010/02/rainbow-pancakes.html << I want to make these SO bad!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Twitter Bird

So, I found this article on theNextWeb.com detailing a contest of ugly twitter birds. These birds are hilarious illustrations of all of the ways the twitter bird could've gone wrong. I think this is a great way to show how much this social media site has changed out lives and how even social media platforms need to be branded. Had the twitter bird icon been different, would we have reacted to the site differently? I feel like we could have! I honestly can not think of the facebook logo not being in that boxy type with a blue background and I can't imagine my blogger icon not being that weird-fonted orange thing. How did they even go about picking a bird as their icon? Branding for websites seems to encompass so many of the same things that businesses must worry about. They have to pick a catchy url, a really great layout and cool features. Just like a business these sites have help centers for customer service and constantly update to keep modernized.I have never really thought of social media sites needing branding because they seem to help with the branding of so many other businesses. It is so necessary to keep these sites updated and modernized so that fans of these sites stick around. Who wants to be using the interface of yesterday?


Lauren Tennet


food for thought: "Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun."- George Scialabra

woah, that's neat: www.weartodaygonetomorrow.com << A neat site like "bag borrow or steal" but for clothes! Just rent for a week and send back... pretty cool idea.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Missing Home

So, I never thought this day would come, but I seriously miss Ada, Ohio. I miss the biting cold wind. I miss the non-stop chatter in the sorority house. I miss walking to class with friends. I miss rehearsals. I miss meetings. I miss fraternity parties. I miss waking up in the morning dreading to go to my 8 AM lab. I miss the groggy car rides to my 8 AM lab. I miss eating lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with my sisters. I miss going to my friend Derek's house to goof around on a school night. I miss late night White Bear runs. I miss quick trips to the convenience store when I have no time to eat a meal. I miss staying up later and talking with my room mate to all hours of the morning. I miss laying in bed and reading my book with my side lamp. I miss my bill boards. I miss my mini-fridge. I miss Internet that actually works. I miss the quiet nights where the stars shine brightly. I miss the black swans, the geese, the ducks and the new white farm ducks. I miss my professors. I even miss my classes. It is really funny that only being away for two weeks has made me so "home sick." I never thought that I could call Ada, Ohio my home, but for these next four years it will be. I will have so much in common with the people that I meet there. I will learn so much from the classes that I take. I can't wait to go home tomorrow. It is really, really true that absence makes the heart grow fonder.



Lauren


food for thought: "Steve Iseman, the Dumbledore of the public relations field."- My dear friend, Joseph Sasak

woah, that's neat: www.gethuman.com <<  A really sweet website that takes you through all the automated voice systems so you can actually talk to a REAL person.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Social Media Etiquette

So, I think our generation is becoming ruined by social media. Nowadays we tweet at whomever we feel like we have any sort of connection with. I recently had a conversation with a peer who stated that he hated when people direct message him whenever they have just had a handshake, and I can't agree more. Facebook and Twitter have desensitized our relationships. We feel like any person we have spoken to once warrants a Facebook friend request or a Twitter follow. I am completely at fault about this as well. I think that we are so eager to be friends with everyone and not really strengthen or deepen relationships with people. We judge them from their profile pictures or get annoyed by their over sharing tweets. I think that the best way to get around this subject is the new social media "circles" being introduced. If I add someone on Facebook or Google+ I think that I will start to place them in a category labeled "professional." I think the use of these filters will really help with my interactions with these people. I can share the things that I think are considered professional or pertinent to the field of public relations. Not everyone needs to know that I am going to a concert over the weekend or that I will be at home over break. I just wish that Twitter would institute this circle tactic. I would love it if I could have filters labeled, "PR", "News," "Celebrities", and "Friends." So when does adding or following go to far? I think that a direct message or chat is too personal for someone I have only had a brief conversation with. A mention on Twitter is completely fine for a presentational speaker, a celebrity or even a shout out to a new acquaintance. I think that we just have to be careful to not go too far and consider new people best friends on social media right off the bat. We need to have just as much concern with exposure as ever before. Who knows who these people have connections to or who they are friends with? I need to get on reorganizing my Facebook and Twitter settings to make sure that I'm not over sharing or annoying people who could be new professional connections!



Lauren


food for thought: "It is not enough for a man to know how to ride; he must know how to fall"- Mexican Proverb

woah, that's neat: www.straightupheadlines.com << An amazing news site that accumulates many news sites top stories onto one site

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Social Media Movements

So, today I went to the most amazing session at PRSSA National Conference. There was a wonderful speaker from Brains of Fire named Geno Church. I went into the session thinking it would be your typical social media talk. "Well, Facebook is really neat for these reasons: blah blah blah and you know Twitter is a really cool interface too. Foursquare is a great way to....blah blah blah etc." I already know enough about Social Media. I'm a Generation Y baby for crying out loud! Geno Church however, blew me away. He barely even reference social media. The only real time he spoke about using it was when he wrote the acronym "WTF" in the Wordpress, Twitter and Facebook logos. Church encouraged us aspiring practitioners to create movements. Campaigns have an end, they're sort of like an off and on switch. Campaigns are wars with our customers, trying to change their perceptions of us by force and with useless and impersonal tactics. A movement however, inspires change. It encourages our followers to take it upon themselves to spread our message. A movement is like a volume dial, sometimes it is just a hum in the background while at other times it is as loud as possible. I loved this way of thinking. So many times in PR we do things because we're told to and because it is the "norm." We are encouraged to make a Facebook and a Twitter and a blog because we are "PR people" and that is just what we do. I want to make a difference and a change in this profession. We need to start crafting REALLY compelling and personal messages with our customers. We truly need to have conversations with them. They are the ones crafting our messages, we just need to set up the basic principles and let our customers run with it. They are the ones who will help to advocate us in the long run and who will be the ones promoting us through word of mouth. It we can make a movement sexy or life-changing or just worth sharing I think that is a step in the right direction. Mr. Church's talk today really made me realize why I am so excited to be in this field. We are creating and truly maintaining conversations. I am so excited to see where my profession takes me.



Lauren Tennet


food for thought: "One must never look for happiness: one meets it by the way"- Isabelle Eberhardt

woah, that's neat: http://wonderopolis.org/ << a movement that Mr. Church set up to encourage literacy and connect teachers, parents and students

Friday, October 14, 2011

Where Dreams Really Do Come True

So, I'm currently in Orlando, Florida for our National PRSSA conference. I am so excited to be here and I am so excited for what this week is going to hold. I love to learn, and the conference presentations look really great. I can't wait to attend the Fashion and Entertainment seminars, because we don't really discuss these PR careers at my school. Yesterday we went to Disneyworld, a.k.a the most wonderful place on Earth. It was my sixth time to go to the park and it never ever loses its magic. This was the first time I have gone without any sort of family or chaperone around. It was great to pick whatever attractions I wanted to go to or park hop wherever I wanted. We went to three out of the four parks yesterday: Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and, my personal favorite, Epcot. Disneyworld never ceases to amaze me. The staff there is always courteous and the atmosphere is always so welcoming. I never feel rushed or pushed around at Disneyworld. They have truly built an atmosphere of pleasing and helping people. What I love the most about Disneyworld is that they care so much about inviting there audiences to play. Whenever you walk through a line for a ride, the decorations always reflect what's instore for your ride. On Star Tours there are robots that interact with you, before Toy Story Midway Mania Mr. Potato head picks out kids to chat with and before you get on Tower of Terror videos explain the past to you. At the Epcot world pavilions they hire people from the native countries and encourage them to speak in their native languages. Disney is all about the experience. They care so much about their reputation as a company and care about their customers. They have built up a brand that will live on for generations because of their great customer service and fantasy worlds. I love Disney more than anything and I can not wait until I have children that I can take there!!


Lauren


food for thought: "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."- Walt Disney

woah, that's neat: http://www.dubstepeden.com/2011/06/08/skrillex-the-mothership-download-mediafire-zshare-zippyshare/ <<  A sweet Skrillex download for all you fans out there :]

Friday, October 7, 2011

Changing Times

So, it is amazing how much social media has affected Public Relations practices in these past few years. I can't believe all of the advances that have happened in only a short time. Twitter, FourSquare and a ton of other Social Media sites seem to have just sprung into being. What is the coolest part though is that all of these sites are about forging relationships. Twitter is used to follow friends and see what they're thinking or doing. Facebook helps you keep in touch. FourSquare allows you to be a creeper and see every move your friends make. What I love most is how social media has affected PR. Public Relations has always been about getting in touch with people. As PR practicioners we seek to have relationships with our target publics, and social media is a great way to keep in touch! Brian Solis puts it greatly when he says, "...it was also an opportunity for those who didn't buy into this process of PR, to find a new channel to connect with people and get back to the basixs, which was all about cultivating relationships.' PR has and always will be about relationships." It is convenient for people to use technology. It is fun for people to use technology.  People have now gained back the voice that they once lost. We directly get to contact those who love our brands or hate them. Social media provides with so many great opportunities to contact all of those in the great open market that is the internet!


Lauren Tennet



food for thought: "Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all."- Stanley Horowitz

woah, that's neat: www.livingsocial.com << If you don't already use Living Social START!! It's such an awesome website for getting deals all around your town!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Weather in Ada

So, this may seem like a really lame post, but I am seriously in love with this weather we are having. For the past few days the sun has been out and the grass has been so green. The leaves are all starting to turn. This is totally my favorite time of the year. Fall always brings back so many memories. It remind me of apple cider, hay rides, Halloween and snuggling. You can smell fall on the air and hear it in every crunch of a leaf that you step on. It makes me miss my old convertible, because on days when the sun was shining and the wind was just right I would go ride around Houston with the top down. I've been making sure to keep my blinds open these past few days, because I know that winter is coming soon. I really wish it could stay like this forever. Then again, if it was this nice all the time, I don't think I would appreciate it as much. I think that's why God made the Fall and the Spring. They're the most wonderful times of the year and I appreciate them so much.

I'm really excited for these next couple of weeks of my life too. This weekend I get to go home to see all of my wonderful friends and family. I've really missed Texas, and it will be nice to get to see everyone, even if it's only for a few days. Then next week I'm going to be attending the PRSSA National Conference in Orlando Florida. I am SUPER pumped to go and learn so many wonderful new things about PR. Then when I return I'm going to dayglow, the weekend after that is homecoming and the weekend after that I'm going to see one of my favorite DJs- Skrillex. My life is jam packed full of wonderful things right now, but lets just hope I can stay on top of my school work!



Lauren



Food for thought: "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower."- Steve Jobs

woah, that's neat: http://i.imgur.com/0Vv1j.jpg << a hilarious comic in honor of the late and great Steve Jobs :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Twitter Rampage

So, today I retweeted an article that sounded interesting to me on Twitter. It was called "The 5 Most Annoying Things People do on Twitter." It sounded like a great article, because sometimes people truly do some very annoying things on Twitter. I couldn't access the article through my Blackberry, but when I got to my computer I checked it out. Upon reading the article I realized that a lot of the things the author was saying were "annoying" were actually the opposite of the case. Here is my take on Dave LeClair's article.

1. LeClair first says that it is annoying when people constantly hashtag. He also thinks that when people do extremely long hashtags that it is annoying. I have to disagree with LeClair. Hashtags are one of the most important facets of Twitter. It is how companies track their brand name. It is how journalists find information about breaking news.  Hashtags allow the community of twitter to trend topics that are important or even funny. Although long hashtags may be annoying, I agree with LeClair on this point, they still have their place on twitter. I personally use hashtags in almost all of my tweets. Sometimes the are jokes, but a lot of times they are used to partake in conversations in the twitter-verse.

2. LeClair next says that people who follow thousands of people are in the wrong. He thinks that this is some weird ploy that if you follow thousands of people, they will follow you in return. I think this is bogus. Sometimes you like to follow a lot of people. My ratio of followers to following is almost equal. It's important to me to know what my followers are saying so that I can participate in conversations with them and react to what they have to say about me. Also, not all of the people I follow are the people following me, in fact, I would say most of the people I follow are not following me. Just because some follows thousands of people does not make them an "annoying" tweeter. Why does that even matter to LeClair anyways? It's not like people are flaunting the people they follow, they are flaunting the number of people that follow them.

3. OK, I have to agree with this next point. I absolutely hate it when people have discussions on Twitter... or any other social medium for that matter. People do not need to know your entire conversation with your best friend. Two or three witty tweets are fine, but seriously, if you are making dinner plans via Twitter, I really don't care.

4. I think that LeClair's statement in this has some validation. People are pretty annoying if all they do it retweet. However, I don't think retweeting all the time is necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes I like to retweet a lot of things about a certain news story or event I'm going to. Maybe it is annoying to my followers... but they can just skip my tweet. A tweet is less than 130 characters. It does not take that much energy or time to read a little blurb. Who knows? Maybe amidst the many retweets someone does there is an amazing story hidden in there.

5. LeClair's last point is that it is annoying when someone uses Twitter purely for advertising. He backs it up by saying if someone is following this person going in knowing that that's what the Twitter is used for then it is OK. I think this is a great statement. Twitter is not just an advertising tool. If you want people to look at your stuff, then you better interact with them. If you retweet a link to a cool tool or a neat product, tell people what you think about it. Don't just blindly post links. But, on the other hand, Twitter is a great promotion tool. You can reach thousands of people by putting in the correct hashtags or links.


Overall, I did have a few problems with this article. LeClair seems to attack many of the fundamental principles of what Twitter is. I also think that it is bogus for someone to tell you how to use your Twitter. If you are doing stuff that people don't like then you won't have followers. If you have interesting tweets, they can have a million hashtags or be only retweets for all I care. I follow people on twitter for their individual content, whether or not they are doing some of LeClair's supposedly "annoying" methods.



Lauren


food for thought: "Breathe.  Let go.  And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure." Oprah Winfrey


woah, that's neat: http://www.c3presents.com/ << I haven't really been able to find any cool websites or web-junk lately... but this is a company I would LOVE to get an internship with in the future!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

How Social Media will Change the World

So, we just finished Real Time Marketing & PR by David Scott. I found this book to be very influential and insightful into how companies should be using social media and online tools. These real-time tools are essential to the growth of a company's brand name and reputation. The book ended with a big bang too, telling readers many success stories of how real-time tools have helped many people. I think businesses would be surprised how well online tools can help them. People are doing amazing things with social media and a great example from the book is Amanda Palmer. Palmer is a singer and was stuck in Iceland during the volcano a few years ago. Instead of whining and moping in the airport, Palmer went straight to her social media following- asking for rides and places to stay. She set up a concert in only a few hours and got free drinks to boot. If companies took every opportunity they could to use real-time media, the corporate world would change rapidly. I think that consumers would become more well-informed. Not only that, but consumers would have more allegiance to their brands because of the statements and interaction companies have with them. In a world that is moving a hundred miles a minute, it is important for companies to keep up the pace. The corporations must realize that we are moving back to the days of old where interactions are essential. People are saying things online about companies and these companies need to take notice!


Lauren


food for thought: "Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away."- Arthur Helps

woah, that's neat: http://rcrdlbl.com/ << A really cool site with free music downloads!