Archive for February, 2011

Learning to use Facebook professionally

1. Want to learn about safe sex without being lectured or feeling awkward? Come to comedian Cindy Pierce’s presentation of “Ringing the Doorbell” on Mon., March 7 at 7 p.m. in Loeb Theater. The event is hosted by the Purdue Panhellenic Association and the Interfraternity Council. Will you be attending?

2. We all remember how awful that required sexual health class was in high school. Now, learn about healthy choices, safe sex, birth control and porn from a noted comedian! Join the Fraternity and Sorority Life at Loeb Theater March 7 at 7 p.m. as Cindy Pierce defuses sensitive topics in “Ringing the Doorbell” with unfiltered and frank humor. What topics or issues do you want covered?

Social Media Scavenger Hunt

Find a news release related to your beat.    

NIH – “Researchers indentify protein essential for embryo implantation”
http://www.nih.gov/news/health/feb2011/nichd-18.htm?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
Found via Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/NIHforHealth/status/38677180149932032

Find a blog on your beat.

A Trail Runner’s Blog – http://runtrails.blogspot.com/
Found via Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/FitnessDoc/status/38341541219016704

Identify an expert on your beat that has a Twitter account and follow them.

Jillian Michaels (fitness guru from The Biggest Loser)
http://twitter.com/#!/JillianMichaels

Using Facebook (not your friends), find three “real” people you could interview.

1. Kevin Isaac – College student who works at the Co-Rec
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Purdue-Rec-Sports/102183217462#!/Sac13

2. Sarah Hanson – Assistant Director of Operations at the Co-Rec
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Purdue-Rec-Sports/102183217462#!/profile.php?id=37601929

2. Scotty Carte – Student involved in lots of health and fitness activities, including the Air Force, Wakeboarding, Snowboarding, Purdue Free-Runners
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=587237687

Find a company related to your beat that has a Facebook account and become a fan.

Purdue Rec Sports
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Purdue-Rec-Sports/102183217462?ref=ts&sk=wall

Identify an organization related to your beat and find their social media pages.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/stjude
Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/stjude
YouTubehttp://www.youtube.com/mystjude
RSS feed – http://www.stjude.org/rss

Using hashtags only on Twitter, find what people are saying about a current event.

The new health care reform bill (includes positive and negative opinions)
Hashtag = #hcr
http://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23hcr

Requesting Sources via Social Media

Last week, I put a call out for people who have participated in the Learn to Play classes at the Co-Rec. I was hoping to get some sources I could interview for an upcoming blog. I posted this request on my Twitter account, Facebook account and my J&C blog. I got one response total. It was my roommate’s boyfriend that responded, and he said “Spinning classes there are great.”

I think that it would be helpful to post these types of requests multiple times on Twitter and Facebook. One reason is that people will be more likely to see it. When I log on to Twitter, I don’t necessarily scroll down and look at every single tweet I’ve missed since I last logged on. I follow over 230 people; it would be nearly impossible to read every tweet with my full attention. Another reason this would be helpful is that I think people will be more likely to respond if they see the same request a couple times. For instance, the first time they see it, they are probably just browsing through posts quickly and don’t want to take the time to respond even if it applies to them. However, if they see the same post a couple times, the request is more likely to register in their minds and seem more important that they answer. Or maybe they will be so annoyed of seeing the same post over and over that they will reply. Either way will suffice!

I think this might be a little easier in professional situations. For example, if a journalist puts out a call for sources or story ideas, who doesn’t want their name or company publicized? Putting out a call is just another way of gathering 140-character press releases. With PR professionals dedicated to social media, hopefully they are catching on and will respond to these requests more quickly and with more information.

Blogging Advice for Liz

10 Tips for Writing a blog post:

1. Make your opinion known
I like how you insert yourself into posts. Instead of just saying, here’s this group, you really relate to it yourself and help the readers relate to it as well!

2. Link like crazy
When posting links, try to make it more subtle. Instead of saying “Here is a link to their website,” or “Check it out here,” try linking a word that is already in your writing. For example: I really regret not joining the Association for Women in Communication [link]. After checking their group out on Facebook [link] and Twitter [link],…”

On that note, try to post more links! One example is your post previewing the Miss Purdue Pageant; I really wanted to learn more about it! Even if there isn’t a real website, you can still link to Exponent articles previewing the event or Purdue news releases.

3. Write less

4. 250 words is enough

5.     No block of text more than 5 lines
Sometimes the blocks of text are a little too long. For example, in your latest, “Want Professional Work Experience?” I would recommend splitting the paragraph up into at least two different sections.

6. Make headlines snappy
Good catchy titles. Make sure you give a little bit of preview as to what you’ll be talking about. One example is your LinkedIn post where the title is simply “advice.” It works how it is because the LinkedIn logo is showing, but it might be helpful to have a more descriptive title such as “Use LinkedIn to Your Advantage” or “Get LinkedIn.”

7. Write with passion

I really like when you include what the clubs’ current projects are or what events are coming up next. It’s a great way to show what the clubs are really about and how they can benefit future members.

8. Include bullet point lists

Great lists in your posts about Women in Communication and the LinkedIn advice. They are a great way to show off the most important information while making it easy for readers to follow and read quickly.

9. Edit your post

10. Make your posts easy to scan

One other random point: try using the bold, italic and underline features to make certain words or phrases stand out. It makes the blogs easier for people to scan and understand your main points!

11. Be consistent with your style

12. Litter the post with keywords

 

Other random point: I like when you engage your readers and ask for help. One example of this is your snow day post when you ask for readers to add to your list of things to do during a Purdue snow day!

Overall, great job! I like that you are including a wide variety of clubs on campus, not just ones that you would be interested in. I can also tell you’re very passionate about Purdue and want to help others succeed!

My not-so-perfect attempt to Tweet live

On Monday, Caitlin and I attended one of Purdue’s WorkLife Program sessions with lecturer Karen Hosterman-Sabel. When we arrived, only the woman taking attendance and the guest speaker were there. When asked to sign in, we explained why we there and that our professor had notified the program that we would be attending as a class assignment. However, neither woman had heard anything about this and both were very confused as to what we were saying. So we took the time to explain ourselves and our assignment and asked if it was okay that we tweeted from the event. Reluctantly, they agreed.

During the event, Caitlin twittered away on her phone as I sat (obnoxiously) behind my computer because my phone is slowly going out-of-commission, and I didn’t want it to malfunction during the event. Only about 10 other people showed up to the event, all arriving after Caitlin and me. Watching us multitask, unaware of our assignment, they gave us very rude looks. One of those “Ugh, college students are so unappreciative.” I think this is one of the main problems with Twitter. I first noticed this at Com Day, Purdue’s career and development fair for communication majors. We were sitting in a development session, listening to Patrick Nycz from Indiana Design Consortium, and the girl next to me (in the front row I might add) was texting on her phone the entire time. I’m pretty sure she was tweeting a majority of the time, but it came across as though she was simply uninterested and was being extremely rude. I’m interested to see how this issue develops in the future. Personally, I think there is a time and place for it.

Back to issue at hand. Tweeting live from this event presented new difficulties as a reporter. For instance, I had to figure out “the big picture” during the presentation, not after. Also, sometimes it was difficult to fit everything I wanted to say into the 140 character limit, so I spent more time editing than listening to what the speaker was saying next. One of the main things I realized is that research beforehand is much more crucial when covering an event live. You don’t have time to sit there and research the speaker, double-check a fact or read more about something you didn’t understand. I also had trouble thinking in a “Twitter mindset” as opposed to a traditional reporter mindset. I’m so used to focusing on the main ideas, the facts and the relevant quotes, that I had trouble figuring out how to incorporate the little fun details that Twitter allows for. For example, the speaker made a couple of funny jokes, but I couldn’t find a way to portray them via 140 characters without them sounding lame or rude. I think humor is something that is very touchy over Twitter.

Personally, I would rather read a news story in the newspaper or online as opposed to Twitter. I have tried to follow events via Twitter, but the stories come across jumbled and tend to skip around a lot. However, I think as we learn and develop, this is a form of news that will improve greatly.

Twitter: Friend or Foe?

Reaction to NYTimes’ Article: “Spotlight Again Falls on Web Tools and Change”

           The world is changing. We are transitioning to online, immediate and personalized news. And not just in the United States. I think the harder people try to fight the popularity and strengths of social media, the harder it is going to backfire. The recent uprising in Egypt and eventual resignation of Mubarak is just one example of this.

            I agree with Evgeny Morozov’s opinion that new media, if used correctly or innovatively, can be a very powerful and successful tool. Just look at the latest presidential election. Pres. Obama was the underdog, but by utilizing new media to reach young, passionate citizens of Gen Y, he was able to raise an enormous following, raise millions of dollars in donations, and eventually win the presidency. Although we do not necessarily want the power of social media in the wrong hands, it’s hard to deny its power.

            On the other hand, it will be interesting to see where censoring comes into play among new media in the coming years. As the article states, Iran already utilized Twitter to arrest thousands of political activists who posted in opposition of the government. I wonder if this concept will come into play in the United States. To some extent, it already has with reporters and employees being fired for posting inappropriate or slandering statements.

           With the Internet and the prominence of social media comes a certain level of easiness in everyday life: an easy way to connect, an easy way to share ideas, an easy way to get news. But with this huge connection comes consequences. I constantly have to question every 140 character tweet before posting – could this offend someone? Will a future employer throw my resume in the trash if they see this? I love Twitter and new media, but it’s getting harder and harder to have a personal life. Every thing I do is public. Even this blog, which is just for in-class assignments, comes up when I Google my name. How much is too much?

Analyzing Professional Twitter Accounts

This week, I decided to follow the twitter account of Indiana University Health. IU Health recently changed their name from Clarian Health and consequently, has been upping their PR tactics to get the news out there and to make sure customers know IU Health will uphold the same, if not better, standards of Clarian. On average, the company tweets around five to seven times a day. IU Health’s tweets fall under three main categories: health help, PR and advertising, and job postings.

             The ‘health help’ tweets offer quick tips and links to healthy information. For example, how to prevent a heart attack or the dangers of energy drinks. The information they link to is often times associated with the company, such as a link to one of its videos on its YouTube channel. Other times, the tweet will link to an article from an outside source, such as the Journal and Courier. The main thing I like about this company’s twitter is that they don’t just post links to outside sources. There is always an introduction about the link or a teaser, if you will, to accompany the link. This is much more beneficial, because I’m a lot more likely to click on the link if I know what it’s about or if there is a witty saying that pulls me in as opposed to simply posting a link and having no idea what it is.

            The company also posts tweets that will make the company look good and lead followers to the website. Some examples are:

       – Don’t miss IU Health Bariatrics support groups this week… & other upcoming events! http://bit.ly/f6cVez
      – @jocewally The changeover happened last month. All our hospitals are now “IU Health” – research showed ppl liked that name more.
      –  Are you on the fast-track to child birth preparation? @IU_Health Arnett can help: http://bit.ly/gaGRlh

And finally, the company posts current job openings with the company.

For the most part, the company’s twitter is a professional source for health information and information concerning the company itself. But even the “PR and advertising” tweets usually incorporate some sort of helpful information, which I really like. It doesn’t come off as advertising, which seems like a very professional way of employing these PR tactics.

Concerning followers, IU Health responds to questions and also retweets words of praise from patients. (e.g. “RT @pRHOfesinalDiva #shoutout 2 the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners at @IU_Health in the ER observation area at Methodist for takin such good care of me!”) Also, I directed a question to @IU_Health about applying to their company and they sent me a direct message within 30 minutes! With a thorough response, might I add! I was very impressed.

When compared to “4 ways Social Media is Changing Business,” I think IU Health is doing a great job!

  1. From “Trying to Sell” to “Making Connections” – IU Health posts information that is relevant to readers. Information that will interest them and benefit their health. Yes, they post links to their website, but it goes far beyond just “check out my site.”
  2. From “Large Campaigns” to “Small Acts” – IU Health responds to users, especially their concerns/interest/curiosity about the recent name change. And from my personal experience, I am willing to bet they also send direct messages to patients posting concern or complaints.
  3. From “Controlling Our Image” to “Being Ourselves” – The company retweets information relevant to the local community, which is unrelated to the company itself, but is still something followers may be interested in.
  4. From “Hard to Reach” to “Available Everywhere” – I think IU Health will greatly benefit from its use on Twitter. For example, because the company is so big, they simply cannot post all information on the website. Having a quick and easy way to contact the company really improves customer service, loyalty and trust!

Chocolate: The New Food Group

Tomorrow, Feb. 14, I will be attending a session hosted by Purdue’s WorkLife Programs titled “Chocolate: The New Food Group” The event will be held in Stewart Center, Room 322 from 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. Here is a brief summary on this event:

“We have all heard and desperately wanted to believe the rumor that chocolate is good for us. But what’s the truth? Learn about the history of chocolate and how it has earned a reputation as a health food. Get the lowdown on what kind (and amount) people really should be eating.”

These WorkLife discussions are meant to increase the health and wellness of Purdue faculty and staff, who receive “points” for attending sessions. By holding these sessions and thus improving health of staff, insurance costs may consequently decrease. (Unable to access WorkLife Programs site because I am a student. Source: Jane Natt.) Other services offered by Purdue WorkLife include childcare, confidential financial counseling, nutrition counseling, smoking cessation assistance, alcohol and drug information and more! Other sessions have discussed sleep, preventive dentistry, Weight Watchers and a positive attitude. You can follow these events on Twitter @PurdueWorkLife.

A similar session, “Health Benefits of Chocolate,” was held Jan. 6, 2010 with Karen Hosterman, RD. Perhaps this session will also be hosted by her. Karen Hosterman (now Karen Hosterman-Sabel) is a registered dietitian and diabetes educator. She is the first fulltime registered dietitian to join the WorkLife staff. One of her specialties is chocolate. She gives public talks on diet and nutrition as well as one-on-one consultations.

Here is some information on chocolate I found that might be covered at this session:

  • Dark chocolate (not milk or white) is healthy
  • Dark chocolate lowers high blood pressure if you’ve reached a certain age and have mild to high blood pressure
  • This is not an excuse to binge – you need to balance out these extra calories by eating less of other things
  • Dark chocolate is a potent antioxidant which rids the body of free radicals
  • Free radicals are implicated in heart disease
  • Milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate
  • Moderation is key

According to Smithsonian Magazine, chocolate comes from the “cacao” plant and beans. Before the Spaniards arrived in modern day Latin America, the Aztec’s brewed a bitter drink from the beans (think hot chocolate – sort of). Historians estimate that chocolate has been around for over 2,000 years. Back in the day, these cacao beans were also used as currency. The Mayans and the Aztecs believed the bean had magical and divine powers and were used in sacred rituals. Then the Europeans came along and added honey or sugar cane to the drink in order to sweeten it. In Europe, it was believed to be nutritious and medicinal.

The Exponent and the Rights of Journalists

Concerning the Exponent incident, Michael Carney was well within his rights to film the incident he encountered. However, I think this issue comes down to respect. This incident was not a hard-hitting news story, although Carney might have been unaware of that at the time. It was simply a woman who had fainted and was in need of assistance. This is not news. For Carney to cause such a big fuss when the incident is hardly newsworthy is simply annoying. The press endures its fair share of legal issues, but I think it’s important to pick your battles. In this case, the police officer, although he may have been intimidating, did not physically hurt Carney nor did he make a big scene. In my opinion, the Exponent had no reason to file formal complaints with both departments. This matter could have been resolved through conversation.

I think the Exponent tried to be impartial when covering this story by addressing both sides of the issue and taking comments from people who thought Carney was right and was wrong. However, the reporter doesn’t mention the other side (the side that indicates Carney may have been in the wrong) until the 13th paragraph. I think the fact that there is a debate arising over what happened should have been addressed earlier in the article. Since most people will only read the first couple paragraphs of this story because it is so long, most will walk away assuming that the story simply confirmed Carney’s right to film in a public place and that the police officer was in the wrong in this situation. Also, the reporter designates three paragraphs to the statement made by the Exponent while the statement from the police is only allotted a few sentences.

The second article does a better job acknowledging the debate upfront, however, it only reports on Carney’s “side.” Only in the very last paragraph does the reporter mention someone else’s opinion saying Carney may have acted poorly in the situation. I think the quotes the reporters chose to include and the organization of both articles prove the Exponent’s inability to be impartial in this situation although it was well-attempted.

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February 2011
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