The Common Sense Slam is a new website and facebook page dedicated to calling out instances where common sense was lacking. There is a forum where anyone can post their common sense slams or link to videos and other social media where someone has developed a great common sense slam. And, here is a video of the master common sense slammer at his best:

So, recently I had someone ask me for advice on how to sell herself as someone who could do social media for an organization. The job position said that the person would be doing some light blogging and then posting to facebook and twitter with possibility for more. So, I thought I would post what I told her here:

I think showing that interest, passion and clear cut goal will go far. if you are really interested in blogging and doing other social media work for them, that should show as you interview. There are some other things you should be at least familiar with and should even be able to comment on (but not necessarily know EVERYTHING). To start:

1. Do you at least have the basic accounts? I know you have facebook, but what about twitter, instagram, foursquare, youtube, linkedin, pinterest, reddit, tumblr, flickr (these are certainly the big ones)?

2. Do you understand what a hashtag is and how it is used? I suggest googling it to get a better explanation than I can give.

3. Do you understand the importance of a meme and how it is used? Same comment from me here, google it.

4. Do you know what SEO is? Search Engine Optimization. This is usually a big part of the social media director's (or whatever the position is called) job and purview. Once again, google it if you are not familiar.

4. Understand that social media goes beyond these kinds of sites and then blogging. They need to go together in a concerted effort. And, they will usually take on a life of their own.
    For instance, take this "binder" talk. Within minutes of Romney saying that he has "Binders full of Women," there were Bindersfullofwomen.com and .net, etc. websites, facebook pages, twitter sites and memes galore. Within one hour of Romney saying that, the Bindersfullofwomen facebook page had over 80,000 "likes." Talk about VERY successful!!! They now have 343,552 likes only 2 days after the debate. But, people are doing heir own thing with this phrase. If you go to Amazon and look up a basic binder to buy, you will see all the comments are about putting women in binders.

    Now, this is great for Obama, of course. But, look at this from a organizational standpoint.  For instance, take the Chick-fil-a CEO comments and how that SM spiraled out of control both positively and negatively. What if it had ONLY been a negative issue with folks like liberals boycotting the restaurants and the conservatives of the world did NOT rise up and go eat there en mass? The negative social media hits for Chick-fil-a would have been disastrous. The social media, PR, marketing folks for Chick-fil-a would have needed to do a major PR and community relations campaign to deal with revenue loss. But, luckily for them, conservatives basically took care of the problem for them.
     So, talk about examples like this to demonstrate that you see what happens in social media, you know the impact. Then, consider how it all comes around and works for the kind of organization you are interviewing at. In other places, social media, PR, marketing, it is all always about revenue. In the nonprofit sector (my friend was interviewing for the nonprofit sector), it can't be. The revenue for nonprofits is the number of people who become aware of an issue and get involved, or the number of people who are helped, etc. Your job is to recognize how social media can best be optimized to reach those goals. Certainly blogging helps to inform people of issues and facebook, twitter, reddit, etc. can get the information in a blog or article out to more people, but the person in the social media position for such an organization needs to think outside that box to create awareness, interest in the issue.
     This is where some silly things come in such as flashmobs. For instance, consider the flashmob where a group does a dance in a shopping mall in honor of breast cancer awareness and the flashmob goes viral on all the sites. This fun dance has nothing to do with breast cancer, but by adding a breast cancer awareness ribbon image or something to the beginning and end of the video? There you have your link. You tag the video with "breastcancerawarenessflashmob" and soon people are hashtagging the video as #breastcancerawarenessflashmob on twitter and facebook as they share. So, often, we do things physically (a dance, a slip of speech in a debate) and it goes viral on social media. The key is having the eye for what is going to get noticed (such as "BindersFullofWomen"--damn I would have LOVED to have thought of that!).
     The ultimate goal is really to get news media attention for your company, cause, product, or person. And, the other issue is that EVERYTHING, everything needs to be branded if you want the right type of hype. So, one key to social media is making sure the brand messages for the issue, product, company are consistent. You can't be doing one thing on twitter and something totally different and sending a different message on facebook. This does not mean that you don't word the messages differently so as to reach the right people in each social media sphere, but you have to make sure the messages do not in anyway contradict themselves. These are all things you should be saying that you think are important to know and practice when working with social media.

Here are some important sites and info that might be of help to you to review and be thinking about:

http://www.pr-squared.com/   Pretty much every blog on this site will be helpful.

http://www.duarte.com    Great company, presentation gurus. Knowing and understanding presentation techniques is also key.

http://www.unconventionalbranding.com/about/      A ton of blog topics to bring you up to speed on branding.

http://www.personalizemedia.com/garys-social-media-count/      One of my favorite "infographic" type sites. 

     OH!!! The Inforgraphic!!! Very helpful for nonprofit issues, easy to share, fun to look at and get a point across. I have not yet found a free site that helps you make good infographics. If anyone knows of one, PLEASE share. I suppose you can do a pretty good job just using the Mac, but I know that Adobe Creative Suite programs are better. Likely Illustrator is the best. Ask the organization you are interviewing with if they have access to that software and will you be able to learn it!?!  Of course, going in knowing it would give you an edge.

     Also, everything is about telling the STORY. The brand has a story, the company has a story, the issue, product, etc. Social media is the most popular way to get the story out. Here is a guru's site for doing that:   http://www.chrisbrogan.com/

     Okay, I am afraid to give you too much more as I am sure I have already overwhelmed you! But, here is one more: http://mashable.com/2009/01/13/social-media-resume/
     Mashable.com is the big social media news blog. If it is happening on social media and involves branding, marketing, PR, advertizing, they will be writing about it. It is almost more of a journalism news source than a blog anymore. This particular article I thought would be important for you. You might want to start putting something together along these lines for future positions.

     But, I think if you can talk generally about some of the things I have discussed here, you can impress. Remember to show that you have a great interest and understand the importance of using social media and have some knowledge of how it all works in terms of branding and telling an organization's (or issue or person's) story.

     Hope this helps and is not too overwhelming! It is something I love and find fascinating and wish I still taught, but I don't have the time to really keep up on it all myself with my present job.
The good news is that I have a great new job where I will not have to commute 90 minutes each way to work anymore. I will be teaching totally online for Walden University. So, no commute whatsoever because I can work from home! The bad news is that I will not be teaching PR for Walden. Mostly I will be teaching a basic communication course. I enjoy the basic course as well, but I will miss teaching PR very much. The toll the commute was taking on my health and overall lifestyle was just too much. So, perhaps I will blog every so often about PR, but likely I will be far too busy with my new job to be doing PR stuff on the side. I do expect, however, that my new teaching role will have me keeping up on social media trends as there is a unit on communication with new technology. So perhaps this blog will turn into a social media specific blog. We shall see!
I must make a confession, one that probably is not good for someone who wants to be "all that" with the social media scene in public relations. Here is it: I don't get twitter. It is not that I don't want to get twitter, I have really tried, and I want to participate, but I just can't figure it out. When someone says they are having a twitter chat open to anyone following #PRStudChat, how do I participate? I really can't figure it out. How do I respond to someone's post? Right now, the only things I can figure out is how to post and how to retweet, and how to follow people. I also finally figured out what all the tinyurl's were and how/why to use them. But I don't know where to go from here. I want to be involved, but I also don't want to look like an idiot as I try to figure it all out.

Also, is it just me, or do only famous people and PR/advertising/marketing types use twitter? I follow friends and relatives and none of them EVER post a thing on twitter. But all the PR or branding folks I follow post all the time. I also do not post anything very often. I find that the things I want to post are more questions about PR, branding and social media and no one ever answers them. It seems to me that twitter really is just a tiny facebook. We all engage in facebook mostly for our own gratification. Most people who post statuses are posting about things that have made them happy or mad. It is just a way to get things off our chests and show off our pictures, etc. Totally self-gratifying.

I had thought twitter was more of an information exchange social media site. But, when no one answers my questions, and I see that others' questions go unanswered (I would answer many of them, but I can't figure out how to reply), I wonder about the real utility. I certainly don't begrudge people of that self-gratifying need to post things via facebook or twitter. But it just seems to me that twitter is not conducive to REAL information sharing. I get much more out of facebook.
This past weekend I was confronted with this fact. "The blog is dead," the former blog marketer--turned communication grad student--told me over lunch at the Central States Communication Association meeting in Cincinnati. Of course, as someone who just recently jumped on the blog bandwagon (admittedly way late), I was devastated to be told this by someone "in the know." It was as if I had joined a wagon train in the Old West, living the real adventure, only to find out it was really a movie set and everything was just a facade.

Are blogs dead? Are they just a facade? If so, what are they covering? It is ironic, yet apropos, that I write this in blog format. And that is my point. The blog really is in the eye of the beholder. Yes, some bloggers simply like to "see" themselves talk. In grad school, we called those who would talk just to hear themselves, "verbal masturbaters." The same can be said about many bloggers. If someone blogs just to blog, to see their own words, then no, those blogs are rarely worth anyone's time to read and the virtual web space they use. 

But consider the blog that teaches us something. As a PR professor who really learned everything I know by teaching myself from books and from taking on a "faculty internship" with a branding agency, I am now getting much helpful advice from PR, marketing and advertising professionals who write blogs. And yet, there are still many of those "professionals" who will also blog about mundane or off-topic items.

This is why I separate my blogs. I have a food blog for when I want to discuss my love for cooking, I have a blog for my cat, and I plan to blog about my travels elsewhere. Those topics do not belong on my blog about PR. And there are many bloggers who will give a short 2 paragraph blog about a new gadget or app. I say, save it for twitter or facebook. Don't make me weed through your blogs for important opinions and ideas about PR, marketing, branding, advertising and how social media is used in those disciplines.

Finally, don't rely on the blog. My fear about social media and blogging specifically, is that some PR practitioners are forgetting to practice the fundamentals of PR. As one wise-beyond-her-years-PR student at Rowan University blogged: Good PR starts with internal communication. I can never stress this enough in my classes. You have to have careful, internal strategic organizational planning to be able to even begin to think about how you can reach out to external publics. And that goes for whether using old-fashioned techniques or social media. In addition, we have to make sure our writing is still clear, concise, and grammatically correct. Twitter and its siblings tend to rely on brevity, but few other writing skills are employed. If we teach our PR, marketing, advertising, etc. students to blog, we must also make sure they are practicing keen writing and organizational skills.

So, is the blog dead? Perhaps for social marketing, it is losing ground. There are millions of bloggers out there who may blog positively about a product or service and may help sell that commodity. However, because there are millions of bloggers doing this, marketers can no longer target their consumer through blogging as well as before. They no longer can give out free items as much for bloggers to review, because there are too many bloggers. Thus bloggers begin to slack in reviews.

But for educational purposes? I believe the blog has not even reached its peak. The next wave for textbooks may not be online texts, but blog texts. I mean, if the students at my university, which happens to be in a small town and not real close to a big city, can't get out as often as we would like and into big-city branding agencies to hear from the experts, why wouldn't I have them read those experts' blogs? I am no saying we should use it instead of the textbook with their important theories and historical practices, but we would be remiss to neglect the blogosphere altogether.
As a PR professor, I would be remiss if I did not teach my students to use social media in their PR projects. I have assigned blogs in my PR classes, but students seem to have difficulty doing a traditional blog about PR events, campaigns, etc. Because I need them to demonstrate their understanding of PR theories and concepts, I require them to connect something in their blog back to something in our PR textbook. Perhaps this is the sticking point.

I have not yet blogged myself, so I certainly can't require my students to blog if I don't do it myself. Of course, I am not trying to get a job in the fast-paced, ever-changing social media-ized PR world either. I have a nice, cushy, tenured teaching position, thank you. 

In this blog you will find  my commentary on what is going on in the PR and Brand Communication industry. I will post interesting links and comment on those links as well. Likely, not much will be added here until I have more time in the summer ;-).