Public Relations For Peaceful People

The wild ramblings of an aspiring betterer of the world

Category: Uncategorized

Bald Tires, Movie Stars, and Volunteerism

So here I sit at the tire shop getting new front tires for the ride. Noticed the belt peeking through the rubber a few days ago, I guess that means it’s time.

Other than scary tires, things are really, really good! The internship is going exceedingly well. The staff at Jane Owen PR are getting to know me and I really feel like I’m fitting in. Somehow I seem to have found a potentially great match for who I am and what I do right off the bat. Knock on wood and all, but so far California hasn’t failed to exceed my expectations in every way imaginable (including how expensive everything is out here, lol).

So, what else is new? Well, I was in a movie

A friend of mine, Ashley Eberbach, lives in Los Angeles and just so happens to be a spectacular photographer and award winning filmmaker. Do yourself a favor and click her name right there above ‘n check out the awesome! Being the good Mid-westerner that I am I got in touch with her shortly after I arrived in LA. She came up to my grandparents’ house in Topanga where I’m staying, walked in the front door and said “I want this in my movie!” while referring to the seven foot diameter California Live Oak tree that grows through the living room.

The living room where I'm staying, featuring Sloan's Oak. So thankful for this place.

The living room where I’m staying, featuring Sloan’s Oak. So thankful for this place.

I was like “Let’s do it!” The plan was in motion.

Before making any commitment with Ashley I wisely consulted my Aunt Mirm. We discussed the idea and she sent me a filming contract and questions about insurance, etc. Long-story-short, on a Saturday morning several weeks ago there was a crew of 20+ people, the “Lights, camera, action!”-type people filming a movie in my grandparents’ beautiful home. And they even brought coffee. Score!

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Oh yea also, Ashley gave me a short speaking role with a friggin’ close-up in her film. Not bad for being in California for less than two months, huh? For never having acted in my life, I think I did well.

So in other news, the beach is nice. Pretty sure that’s a constant around these parts.

Lastly (for the moment), I got the opportunity to volunteer at the annual Topanga Film Festival last week. It was a really positive experience and showed me that while I love Ann Arbor dearly, what I love most is the warm sense of community and the synergy that comes with people acting positively as a group.

Many great things can only be accomplished this way.

Hope everyone is doing well! Thank you all for the love and support!

SETTLING INTO PARADISE

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I just finished week two of my internship a few days ago, arriving about 10 minutes early every morning.

Punctuality is fairly important to me.

If you say you’re going to be somewhere at a certain time, be there. I understand that car accidents happen, babies are born, and emergencies occur but I’m pretty sure that’s not what’s causing the majority of people to be late. I think that most of the time, tardiness is simply the result of laziness, disorganization, and a diminished understanding of professional behavior. Getting to a party a half-hour late is one thing, but in the professional world I have little tolerance for that kind of behavior and find it fairly disrespectful.

Everyone gets a mulligan of course, but that’s beside the point.

So, last weekend was pretty awesome. On Sunday I decided to have a few friends up to the pad in Topanga for an afternoon of grilling and relaxing. People are busy out here. Like, everybody. I’ll admit I was nervous that people would cancel or get lost or what-have-you.

That was not an issue.

My friend and former Ace-Deucer Brian Robinson showed up right on time around 3 o’clock. With him was his buddy John Boonin who also transplanted from The Deuce a few years ago. Brian is a computer genius for a living and John is an up-and-coming actor, both all-around cool dudes. My neighbor Vinda found her way over shortly thereafter so I made the introductions and we sat and talked for a while.

Very appreciative to be from here. Photo courtesy of http://www.med.umich.edu

Very appreciative to be from here. Photo courtesy of http://www.med.umich.edu

I’d also invited my friend Kolin Bernard (another Ann-Arborite who lives here), and he invited his buddy Mike Lynch (ALSO from Ann Arbor) and wife Krissie as well as their close friend Sara. They’d been visiting Malibu earlier in the day and brought their friend whose beach they were visiting, actor and film producer Cristo Dimassis, up to Topanga with them as well as fellow producer Kamron Saraye and friend Conor Sutton.

The networking was glorious.

I couldn’t have asked for a more positive, intelligent, and enjoyable group of people to spend an afternoon in Topanga with. Everyone was happy, friendly, and genuine. Of course there were the obligatory, slightly awkward “Hello, my name is _____”’s, but within a few beers we were all good friends. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that alcohol maintains a continuous potential to be a highly detrimental concoction, but with the right people and circumstances, its reputation of being an effective social lubricant holds true.

The shindig was very enjoyable for me and if my intuition is as on-point as I believe it to be, everyone else had as fabulous a time as I.

Anyway, in addition to having a really fun weekend, I had some cool weekday stuff happen as well. While settling into my internship over the past week I’ve been continuously impressed with the work environment at Jane Owen PR. All throughout the day people are smiling, laughing, and joking with one another. Don’t get me wrong, these people WORK. Efficiency, motivation, enthusiasm, organization. I’m seeing perfect examples of these qualities every day. It also doesn’t hurt that everyone there seems cool as F.

Did some hard labor at Balinese art importing company Jalan Jalan Imports on Wednesday which resulted in me getting the opportunity to hang out with Mike Campbell, lead guitarist for Tom Petty. So cool! Nice guy. Friendly, unassuming, and all-around normal.

This whole “California thing” seems to be working out really well so far. I’m staying enthusiastic, motivated, and dedicated to achieving what I came out here to do, and if what’s happened up till now is any indication, I’m gonna be alright.
I do miss my Michigan people, I’m occasionally a tad lonely, and things aren’t perfect but perfection is not the goal. Success (as defined by inner-happiness and personal satisfaction) is, and I’m on my way.

Thank you all for the love and support. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.

Talk soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Across The Country In Two Weeks

So first off, I apologize for not writing a single blog post from Chicago to Los Angeles. I am not one to fall short of goals I set for myself.

However, I made an executive decision shortly after leaving Chicago. I decided that ensuring I have an amazing experience during my journey far surpassed my need to keep a daily blog about it. This trip was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing and I wasn’t about to allow myself to be tied to technology the entire time.

So here I am in California, Made It! I’m currently sitting outside Café Mimosa across from a very talented, uniquely interesting, and strikingly beautiful young woman named Misty Lawrence. She was one of the first people I met upon arriving in Topanga, and has so far proven to be one of the coolest characters in the canyon. I am very appreciative to have her as a friend.

The Trip:

Awesome. Exciting. Breathtaking. I could write 10,000 words about it purely off the top of my head, but that might be a bit much. Instead, I will break the trip down and explain some of the highlights. Hope you enjoy!

Chicago to Omaha.

Drove and drove and drove. Got to Omaha, Nebraska. While definitely beautiful in its own right, but not necessarily my cup of tea.

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park.

After parking to stretch my legs in Omaha I hopped online and found myself a place to stay, a cozy little campsite for 20 bucks at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park. This gorgeous wooded spot was just around the corner from a small, picturesque pond and was flanked on both sides by neighbors.

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About 50 yards to my left, a polite older couple staying in what looked to be a well-appointed RV. About 100 yards to my right, four grey haired women staying in a chrome trailer being pulled by a large SUV were drinking cocktails and telling what surely were phenomenal stories. I made camp, had a beer, cooked dinner, and went to sleep. Woke up the next morning, packed up and headed to Colorado.

Denver, Colorado Is Freaking Awesome.

Yea, Denver is freaking awesome. I arrived in the early evening and arranged to meet with an old friend of mine from Ann Arbor, Elin Neat. We had a drink at a friendly neighborhood bar, caught up for a bit and then parted ways. I think the bartender had a crush on me.

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I then met up with another Ann Arbor pal, Evan Feezel, at his place of business. We had a few drinks and laughs and then crashed at his place for the night. I woke up the next morning and accompanied Evan and a few of his friends to a secret outdoor basketball court on the roof of a parking structure located smack-dab in the middle of downtown Denver. It was so cool to watch an outdoor basketball game surrounded by skyscrapers in a city I’ve never been.

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After the BBall I went and met up with ANOTHER friend from high school, Jason Gouin. He’s got a great pad in a wonderful chunk of the city where he has a good career and is doing a wonderful job raising his awesome son.

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Jason showed me some really cool parts of Denver including the REI store, several interesting neighborhoods, a bunch of radical nature, and a legal pot store (had to do it!).

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This is how cool Denver is: I planned out my trip to include two days in Colorado, spent four days exploring Denver alone, and would have stayed longer if California wasn’t calling my name. I left Denver and headed west.

Over the Rockies!

I had my phone hooked up to record video through my front windshield and within a half-hour I’d exhausted my phone’s entire internal memory. I had to pull over and delete a bunch of awesome stuff to make room for more awesome-er stuff. Don’t worry, I drove safely through the Rockies and stopped for the night in Grand Junction. Everyone should drive through the Rocky Mountains at least once in their life, it is an experience I will never forget. I can’t figure out how to get video on the blog yet, but as soon as I do there’s a whole blog post waiting to be written about the Rockies.

Grand Junction…

Is boring.

Utah is secretly beautiful.

I never knew it, but Utah is amazing! After descending out of the Rockies I drove towards Zion National Park and when I got close I went inside a random grocery store and searched out the tannest employee there. It was getting dark outside so I asked him where I should go to camp where I would wake up to beautiful scenery. He pointed me in the direction of a dirt road and said “Go that way about two miles and turn off onto a side road and you’ll find a spot.” Off I went. I drove in the dark till I was in the middle of nowhere, parked, and hiked about a ¼ mile. I set up my tent in the dark, cooked dinner on a portable stove and went to bed. This is what I woke up to:

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I did the same thing the next afternoon after driving about 40 miles north to escape the heat. I found a road winding up into the mountains and took it for about twenty minutes. Pulling off the road I discovered an amazing place with one of the most glorious views I’ve ever seen. I went to bed that night listening to coyotes barking and what sounded like a decently large stream which was gushing and bubbling just out of view about 500 yards below me. The next morning I woke up to this:

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I decided to spend the morning hiking down to the creek I’d heard the night before. It was wonderful.

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I finished my hike and left early that afternoon for Las Vegas.

Vegas with Silas and Mahalia.

Got to Las Vegas and called my cousin Silas. He was out to eat and told me to drive around for an hour. I drove through the Vegas Strip and saw all the fancy stuff, then decided to cruise around the city for a while.

I made the mistake (or was it?) of driving into North Las Vegas. Seriously, it looks like a post-apocalyptic wasteland. People lying on public sidewalks and leaning hopelessly on chain-link fences, the looks on their unwashed faces so full of sorrow and helplessness. All the yards were brown and unkempt and covered in junk, more windows boarded up than not. It wasn’t even scary or intimidating or anything like that, just really, really sad. Seeing these people with absolutely NOTHING who, every day, are forced to view the billions of dollars of excess, extravagance, and indulgence that is downtown Las Vegas. Seriously, you can look south and see all the shiny hotels from this place, one of the most visibly impoverished areas I have ever seen. And I’ve explored a fair amount of Detroit so that’s saying a lot. As sad as it was, I am glad I saw North Las Vegas.

I met up with Silas and his girlfriend Mahalia. They showed me a nice time that evening, going down to Fremont Street for a drink and the sights.

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Spent the night at their place. The next day Silas and I went disc golfing, had a beer, met a few fellow frolfers and had an all-around good time. Mahalia and my cousin were wonderfully gracious hosts. They gave me my own bedroom and the use of their shower which was a nice change from the tent and outdoor bathtubs (lakes and streams) I’d been making good use of. I slept well and left for Los Angeles the next day.

Best First Day In Los Angeles Story EVER.

Ok, I made it from Michigan to California and my car performed perfectly the whole way. At about 11 o’clock at night, 30 miles from my final destination, my car died on the highway. The power totally shut off and I was forced to pull off to the side of the 101 freeway with no idea where exactly I was. I sat there for a half-hour intensely pondering this new situation. I took this photograph of downtown Los Angeles from the side of the highway:

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An LAPD police cruiser saw me and pulled in behind my car. After determining I was not a gang member or other despicable individual, they put their front bumper against mine and slowly pushed my car off the highway into a spot on a surface street. “Don’t get out of your car and call AAA right now.” Was the police officer’s advice. I heeded it.

An hour later the friendliest tow-truck driver ever, Shawn from Inner-City Towing, pulled up with a flatbed. After explaining my situation to him he mentioned that at least it didn’t happen in Nebraska or Utah or something. I felt much better after thinking about that for a moment. Shawn towed my car to a gas station parking lot in South Central Los Angeles that his company patrols. He parked the car for me and told me to call someone for a ride and that the car would be safe till tomorrow. It was past midnight by that time so I decided to just sleep there.

I put my camping blankets up in my windows forming a nice curtain which prevented anyone from seeing in and dozed off. At about 3:30 that morning I was jolted awake by a “POP, POP POP POP!” Gunshots going off literally not more than a few hundred feet down the street. I did not look out the window. Somehow I got back to sleep and woke up around 8am to the sound of LA rush hour. I got the car towed to a mechanic close by, and they had it fixed by that afternoon. Stupid crankshaft sensor. At least it was fairly inexpensive. I thanked the mechanic profusely then hopped in my car and took off, determined to get to the coast.

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When I made it to the coastline I stopped for a few minutes, the smile on my face growing wider by the moment. After taking it all in for a while I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway towards Malibu and made the familiar right turn into Topanga Canyon. Arriving at my new summer home I got out and immediately laid on the front porch while looking up at the majestic stand of old-growth California Live Oaks that inhabit this magical piece of land. “This is worth a week behind a gas station in South Central,” I thought to myself.

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So now I’m here. A lot has happened since then, but I’ll save it for the next post. Life is beautiful.

 

PR in the age of flying cars

So I just cracked open chapter 20 in Share This: The Social Media Handbook For PR Professionals which is titled “Skilling Up For The Future.”

I was expecting laser guns, flying cars, and Philip K. Dick-esque ninja cyborg women and whatnot. (You can thank the Writing about Literature course I took a few years ago for that).

What I got from the chapter was, while maybe a bit less exciting than watching Indiana Jones battle a robot clown woman, something much more valuable. Knowledge.

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A point is made in the book that (in the author’s opinion) in today’s world the ‘ideal’ PR professional, while being unique (like a beautiful snowflake), will also exhibit a “commonality of structure” (like beautiful snowflakes) that should be instantly recognizable. This commonality of structure includes a few things and is referred to as the “Y-Shaped PR Professional.”

Why Y?

Well, this is Why:

According to the book I keep mentioning, this second-to-last-letter-of-the-alphabet-shaped PR professional will have “breadth and depth across three broad areas of expertize,” those areas being:

1. Storytelling- The “Trunk” of the Y-shaped tree. Totally super-important to be good at it if you want to succeed in PR. No longer a one-way street, it is important to recognize that “getting your audiences to co-create your story is the future,” and that this is made quite easy (compared to years past) through social media.

2. Content- After the stories have been created we need to then ask “what will be the best ways to bring them to life, have them shared and allow audiences to shape how they develop?” Good question which I’m not going to answer, buy the book if you’re interested. However, I will say this: Make sure your writing skills are as good or better than mine and you shouldn’t have problems creating good content. Good writing skills never go out of style, Imho. lol, rotflmao <– (It’s ok, this is a blog.)

3. Technology platforms- I like how the book says “Now, don’t panic. This doesn’t mean we all need to rush out and get a degree in IT to continue working in PR, but it does mean investing time in using and understanding key online platforms.” Good thing I check my Facebook before I get out of bed in the morning I guess. The book mentions learning about Real-time tools such as Radian6, TweetDeck, and Conversocial, understanding the data and analytics portion of social media (shudder!), as well as being insatiably-skeptically-curious when it comes to staying informed about social media and what things happening on the forefront of internet technology.

So that’s the rundown, in a proverbial nutshell, of a few ways that PR professionals can “skill up” for the future. I hope that you all found some worth in this post, if only because of my creative linking practices and mentions of the author of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep.

Like always, here’s a bit of awesome for ya. One of my favorites:

 

 

Can social media be a full time job?

I sure hope so because I friggin’ love it.

I wouldn’t call myself an expert in social media just yet (key word: yet), but then again who can really say something like that? I’m aware that some people are way ahead of the curve in terms of the vast wealth of social media knowledge they possess, but we’re talking about being an “expert” in Facebook, a master Tweeter, or a humorously eloquent  blogger, not to mention knowing this-and-that about all the other emerging and changing social media platforms. Keep in mind that’s not a complete list.

This is just a tad different than being a doctor or an accountant or something more respectable like  “Professor of Thermodynamics” or some other lofty-sounding title. I may be highly proficient in “#StraightFlexin” on Instagram,” but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Whatever.

Actually, scratch that. I AM an expert.

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Maybe not to a person like Brian Solis but hey gimme a break, I’m working on it. I guess what I’m saying is that while I might not be an expert when compared to the likes of Solis, if you ask my dad I’m a freaking computer genius! In fact, I even write a blog about social media. BAM, expert.

Perspective is everything.

I think that one of the most important ways to get considered an expert in social media is pretty straightforward: You have to use social media well. When people check you out online they should finish the experience thinking “Wow, they really have a handle on all of this social media stuff.” When people talk to you about social media, what do you have to say about it? Is it insightful? Is it interesting? Is it helpful? These are all good questions to ask yourself. Social media questions come up in job interviews all the time nowadays.

When online, don’t just post. Strategize. Think. Listen. Consider as many different perspectives that exist out there in the virtual world as you can. Think about what is likely best for the people you communicate with on the internet just as much (if not more) as you do for yourself.

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. If you’re a downer online, change that REAL quick. It feels nice to vent, yes. But the whole world is seeing this stuff and nobody likes a party pooper. I strongly recommend finding a healthy outlet for anger, depression, frustration, angst, sadness, and the like but trust me, if you ever want to have someone look at you as a social media pro/expert/amazingmagicalgenius, don’t post all that stuff about your personal life online.

There are so many other ways you can portray yourself as an expert on social media but if I wrote everything I know in one post, no one would read to the end.

A few parting tips:

Be kind, it goes farther than you think.

Be honest because nobody likes a liar.

Be helpful. It pays off.

Learn as much as you can.

Explore and be creative.

And most of all, have fun! people can usually tell when you are enjoying yourself and personally speaking, I want to be around fun people, both online and off.

Social media is a great big brilliant and expansive communication playground, open for anyone to become an expert in. Your learning starts here.

Enjoy the week everyone! Here’s some awesome for ya:

I’m ‘bout to go all-out touting the clout of Tout: A video-sharing site that no doubt, I’m all about. You Heard it Here First!

Check it out. Not to brag buuuut…. I wrote this. Yup.

Gina Luttrell

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of guest posts from my social media students at Eastern Michigan University. Follow the conversations at #sm379 and @ginaluttrell.

By Joe Sloan

Besides being easy to understand, fun, and a quite useful video-sharing social media website, the word tout is also super easy to rhyme.

I could go on for days:

Tout is about shout outs, reaching out, and developing your professional clout. If you’re a lout you might not have figured out why Tout is the coolest thing since Bell’s Stout.  But don’t pout ‘cause you’re not out and about like a social media scout. You will no doubt soon become a devout Tout standout by reading this free knockout virtual handout about the new video-sharing route known simply as “Tout.”

Sauerkraut.

Seriously though…

I was introduced to Tout a few months ago through a wonderful public relations-based internship…

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Which blogging techniques get my motor runnin’?

What makes a good blog? Well if you’re asking me, a good blog is made up of a few things.

First off, it can’t be fake. I think I’m pretty perceptive and if I get the sense that the person writing the blog isn’t invested in what they’re writing about then I’m gonna be hitting that little X on the top of my screen.

Ya gotta have a voice. Don’t focus too much on grammar and overly technical wording. I want you to write to me like we would talk after two drinks.

I’d say that lastly, for me at least, you have to be positive. I don’t want to hear about how the world sucks, what’s wrong with this or that, or how your bff did that thing that pissed you off. Not to say there isn’t a place for all that, but I’m not gonna be reading it.

Just my thoughts. Enjoy the week y’all.

Are You Friends With Your College?

If you’re like me (and about a gazillion other people) you have at least some sort of presence on the internet and social media. Be it a Facebook page, Twitter account, Linkedin profile, or what have you; everyone is online in some shape or form and if you’re not, you’re totally missing out.

I’m preaching to the choir I suppose, seeing as chances are you’re reading this internet blog on a computer screen, but the message is still important. The ability to discover information about things that interest you and to meaningfully connect to what you care about has become so easy. I would venture to make the assertion that it is easier than ever before. Learning is going on at an unprecedented rate and scale and it’s only going to grow from here. there are a lot of smart people doing a lot of smart things online.

Did I mention that like every college student everywhere is on social media? According to Erin Chapman, a news staff writer with Collegiatetimes.com, “Between 85 percent and 99 percent of college students use Facebook.” And that was waaaay back in 2011.

This is why it’s so important for colleges and universities to develop comprehensive social media strategies, and why I chose to develop a Personal Learning Network to teach me how to develop a comprehensive social media strategy for an institution of higher learning, specifically community colleges. This blog will serve both as a justification of why community colleges should be on social media, and also as my initial step towards my PLN goal, a place that myself and others can refer back to as a kind of starting point in the search for insight about the successful social media strategies of colleges and universities.

One of the first things I noticed was this video:

While it offers no solutions, it does provide solid statements that evidence the need for community colleges specifically to be on social media because of the differing composition of students. Many more community college students commute which makes it harder to meaningfully connect to college life. Social media may be able to help with this.

Another place where I discovered some possibly useful information was in USATODAY.com’s college section. While not focusing on community colleges, this site summarizes how some of the most successful colleges across America utilize social media in new and interesting ways and can certainly offer some insight into possible techniques, tips, and strategies that could be implemented in the community college setting.

Lastly, there is this article from USnews.com that says that during a recent survey of over 7000 high school students “68 percent of respondents noted that they used social media to research schools” and that “66 percent of prospective college students said that schools should have a social media presence.”

Honestly I’m surprised it isn’t more, but we all know how apathetic high school kids can be.

While this is by no means anything more than a very basic starting point, hopefully this blog can help people who want to know a bit more about social media for higher education, and why it is important for all colleges to understand the importance of utilizing social media. I know it has piqued my interest.

Hopefully next week I’ll have my copy of “Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals”  and I’ll be able to begin referencing it in my blogs as I have been told it is an amazing resource for all things social media and PR. Still, I hope you all enjoy seeing the beginnings of my path on the quest for this knowledge.

Till next time.

I’m About To Instagram All Up In This, Straight Flexin’!

It definitely took me awhile to get interested in Instagram, but lately I’ve been #straightflexin like nobody’s business.

At first I didn’t see the appeal; wasn’t it just kind of a mixture between Facebook’s pictures and Twitter’s hashtag function? I already had a profile on both of these sites. Why would I want to waste more time on the internet on Instagram doing something I already do on Facebook? I post my pictures there for my friends to look at and comment on, so I really didn’t see the point.

It took a bit of prodding but eventually one of my buddies got me to make a profile and do a little, shall we say, flexin’. At first I used it very sporadically, not yet understanding how to utilize the hash tag feature and just taking random photos like this little beauty right here:

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This was the third photo I posted on Instagram, and it’s still one of my favorites. The picture is of Eastern Michigan University’s Student Center building in Ypsi during the evening and although I don’t have the original anymore, it looked nothing like the vibrant and colorful photograph you see here.

Instagram has all sorts of cool (and very easy to navigate) filters and effects that you can apply to your photos before publishing them. There are an innumerable amount of ways you can alter your photo to get the desired effects and honestly it’s a bit addicting. I could spend the entire blog post explaining the ins and outs of how to use Instagram, but I’d rather just let this guy do it. Work smarter, not harder right?

So the hashtag function is (in my humble opinion) one of the most important components of Instagram, especially when taking a public relations perspective into consideration. When you post your photo you get the option to give it a title/label/comment. It is at this time that the usefulness of the hashtag becomes evident. See, when you put one of these in front of a word on instagram it acts in the same way as it does on twitter, effectively linking you to everything that has the same hashtag.

I didn’t know about this function when I posted the photo that I showed you above, but if I had I would have tagged it with #EasternMichiganUniversity #EMUeagles #Ypsilanti #Ypsi and various other words and topics that I feel relate in some way to my photo, kinda like this.

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As you can see, I have learned a bit more about hashtags since my meager beginnings uploading photos to the internet. I’m no expert though, seeing as I still rely on iPhone screen shots to make copies of my instagram photos.

If any of you know of a better way to save my favorite Instagram pics, please let me know down there in the little ol’ comments.

With the hashtags attached, both my followers as well as anyone who goes on instagram looking for any of those topics will likely see my photo. It is in this way that, when done correctly and creatively, Instagram can be a very effective tool in terms of growing awareness of a brand, networking, and engaging the  public.

Not only are many well recognized organizations utilizing the heck out of the  photo-sharing capabilities the site offers, but with the recent addition of the ability to record, edit, and post video to Instagram some companies are choosing to fully embrace the various functions of the site to help them grow their brands and effectively communicate not just to, but WITH the public in a whole new way.

Did I mention that Instagram is owned by Facebook?

Well it is, and with the kind of money and creative thinking that is present within the Facebook organization, I would look forward to Instagram continuing to grow, evolve, and improve.

Also, If YOU are truly interested in straight flexin’ you can scoop the tee shirt right here. I hope this blog post has been informative, insightful, and super-duper-all-around-awesome.

And a funny video to play us out:

Until next time.

Guess Who Got An Internship?

This guy!

Yep that’s right. I now have a desk, a phone, and a private office with a big window. I’m not getting paid in the monetary sense just yet but I have a feeling that what I’m going to learn about public relations over the next 15 weeks is probably worth more than what they generally pay interns nowadays anyway.

Did I mention that I’m interning with an actual PR firm?

No?

Well I am, Martopia Public Relations Group to be exact. Martopia or MPRG for short.

I was driving home this afternoon after my second full day interning and decided that how this all came about might make a good first PR blog post. So here’s the story of how I got my first internship:

I was bartending recently for Fabulous Food Catering or as we like to call it- Fab, a company I occasionally work for while finishing my degree. I got the job a few years back because my little brother’s then-girlfriend’s aunt owns the company while her brother, who’s also a good buddy of mine is a cook there. Small world right?

Anyway, I was bartending this event a month or so ago because Fab has the WCC in-house catering contract and while pouring drinks was chatting with those in attendance. Occasionally my studies would arise as the topic of conversation and I never hesitate to demonstrate my interest and enthusiasm regarding the PR field when given the opportunity.

One of these conversations, unbeknownst to me at the time was with a woman named Susan Ferraro. Susan just so happens to not only be a Senior Account Executive at Martopia, but “a past president of the Detroit chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Detroit)” among so much more. You can see her biography here.

Well by the end of the evening I had her business card and she had the promise of a future email from me.

The next day I sent her a friendly email and shortly thereafter we made plans to meet at her office for an informational interview. I did my research and prepared as best I could (Thank you CTAC-357 Interviewing as Communication!) then sent her my résumé and a few writing samples. We met and had a wonderful conversation. She told me about Martopia, gave me all sorts of information about PR, and critiqued my documents. I listened well, spoke confidently, and asked her a bunch of questions I had thought up beforehand.

Not long after the interview I sent a follow-up email to thank her for the opportunity. I received a response from her informing me that they now had an opening for an intern and I was welcome to apply. Needless to say I was totally stoked!

We set up a time for me to come in to be interviewed for the internship. I met with Tausha Moore, Director of Agency Operations for Martopia which was a very pleasant experience, and left feeling positive and anxious about the potential to move forward.

I quickly sent a thank-you email to both Susan and Tausha and was elated when I got the response asking for additional references. I replied with the contact info of three people who know me well both personally and professionally and nervously waited to hear back.

I followed up once more a few days later while on vacation in Arizona and hoped for the best. I flew home from Phoenix on Tuesday, September 3rd, the day before classes start. I got in around midnight and promptly hit the sack.

I woke up the next day to a voicemail from Susan asking that I give her a ring. I called her back and she told me that I got the internship! Needless to say, it was a good day.

I’m two days in and learning by the minute. This semester is going to be tough but I heard somewhere that good things don’t come easy.

Wish me luck.