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The Top 10 things I have learned in PRCA 2330!

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For my Intro. to Public Relations class, we have been using Twitter to explore another social media outlet.  My Twitter page is at @ktlntlr. The first time I used it at the beginning of the semester, it was difficult to get used to. I began tweeting again 48 hours ago – this time, it was a little easier, since i had done it before. I was able to reply to other tweets more quickly and follow conversations a little better.

SURPRISE!!

It has surprised me how helpful Twitter can be. When I learned about the 140 character limit, I was a bit skeptical. But the limit  just makes people be brief and to the point – lets you know if it’s something you’re interested in at a glance. Also, the networking is great. It allows one to learn about professionals and experts in specific fields regarding issues that affect their professional lives.

I would like to know if there is any way to filter what tweets you see in Twitter. For example, you may have 100 people you are following but you may only want to see updates from 50 of them. Also, I wonder if there are categories you could place people in, such as “business” or “hobbies”. Since we’ve been using Twitter to follow PR professionals, it made me think it could be useful to have different groups of people.

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Wag the Dog

The PR practitioner in Wag the Dog most embodies the situational value orientation. He makes decisions based on the outcome they will cause. If the outcome is favorable to his interests, he considers the decision to be good. If the outcome does not serve his overall purpose, the decision is bad. For example, at the end of the movie his long-time friend who has helped him throughout the movie says he wants to be recognized for his production of the lies that resulted in the re-election of the president. The PR practitioner authorizes his death because that is the only way to keep the secret. A lot of people would argue that killing someone is never right, but his value orientation dictates that, since this decision served the practitioner’s best interests, it was justified.

The PR practitioner is unethical in several ways. He is dishonest in basically everthing he does. He does whatever necessary to get the public to do what he wants. He creates a whole fake war to sway public opinion. He does not have integrity when communicating with the public.

The term “wag the dog” signifies a reversal in traditional roles of power. In this movie, there can be several situations that emobdy the meaning of this phrase. One of those is the democratic political process. It is set up so that the general public is in charge of electing who they think is the best candidate for political office. In the movie, people working for the incumbent president influence the American people to get them to do what they want. Therefore, instead of the people being in charge, those in politics are really in charge.

The PR practitioner embodies several negative stereotypes that people have of PR professionals. He is a very smooth talker, manipulating people to say and do what he wants. He uses people for his own purposes and then disposes of them at his discretion. He seems to have no conscience, considering the success of his assignment more important than human life – an exaggeration for real life, but nonetheless demonstrating how guiltless PR professionals are viewed as being. A few positive stereotypes are that he is able to adapt to any new developments, using surprises to his client’s advantage. He has great connections and uses them to get his job accomplished.

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  1. Turn off cell phone
  2. Research company
  3. Ask what type of interview you will be having and prepare accordingly
  4. Plan ahead for possible mess-ups
  5. Send thank you notes to everyone with whom you speak
  6. Think of questions to ask the interviewer
  7. Dress appropriately
  8. Have resume ready
  9. Be well rested and alert
  10. Be early!!!

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PR Then & Now

Public Relations has certainly changed a lot over the years. However, it seems as though the mediums are what have changed the most. PR probably began as a verbal profession: people trying to convince others to do or think a certain way. When writing was invented, these conversations were spread to print.

The motivations for engaging in Public Relations have always been relatively the same. PR began as ways to gain support for political leaders, such as Julius Ceasar. Even the Pope used PR to convince church-goers to be more religious and pay their tithes. Progressively, businesses stared using PR as a way to gain more customers. For example, American railroads used PR to bring people to the Southeast. U.S. Presidents have used PR to spread news about national and international events.

The demographics of Public Relations have certainly changed over time. Whereas PR was originally dominated by men, women have become the majority. Today, about 70% of PR professionals are female. Interestingly, these women mainly hold positions outside of management capacities – a secion of PR that may be changing as well soon.

I learned a lot about Public Relations through this exercise – mainly that it is constantly changing. New technologies certainly play a role in this and PR has evolved to adapt to every new genre of communication. Social media is perhaps one of the newest venues for PR to utilize. MySpace, Facebook, and let’s not forget Twitter 🙂 are excellent mediums through which one may reach niche audiences and receive quick feedback. PR will undoubtedly continue to morph into whatever the client demands – it will be interesting to observe this process over my lifetime. I may even be one of those who affects some of that change.

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Twitter…..

It seems as though some very important people use twitter as a great resource to network with others in their field.  However, the limited space makes it seem that it would be difficult to really get to know a person well enough to network.  Do people provide links to their blogs/websites for this purpose?

I have found twitter to be useful for getting quick answers to simple questions.  Some of the updates are interesting, but many use abbreviations (due, again, to the limited space of 140 characters) that don’t make sense to those not involved in the conversation. True, you can keep following the tweets back to find the source, but this process seems to leave some confusion, at least so far as I have tried.  Maybe these abbreviations had to do with things in Public Relations or other fields with which I am unfamilar.  But i’m pretty sure many of them were just there to save space.

It seems that Twitter is a means to an end.  I mean, Facebook has many features that include long conversations, short messages, and lots of other things.  I think that Twitter may be more of  a way to meet people with whom you may have something in common, and who you would use other methods to really communicate with.

Overall, I remain neutral about Twitter.  I guess I would have to use it a lot more to start really liking it.  When I get deeper in my major, perhaps there will be some people in my area of study I would like to follow – that might make it more interesting.  Obviously, it is a great way to find internships, if one is willing to take time to explore. I will definitely keep my account on Twitter, though it may be awhile before I really use it. A good experience overall. 🙂

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