Sunday, January 20, 2008

How to become a social media junkie

Taking a class like Dr. Sweetser's Social Media or Dr. Russell's WOM class will help you on your way. Don't have time in your schedule? Try these easy steps:

1) Read what's out there. If you are interested in social media's influence on PR, the blogs are the best place to start. Kevin Dugan's prblog keeps up with new social media and links to tons more resources. Paull Young's Young PR gives great tips for students and young professionals alike. Media Bullseye has several contributors who provide news and commentary about current communications trends in media, marketing and PR. Dr. Russell also compiles a "best of" every week with some interesting links to check out.

Also, check out what your peers have to say. PRSSA members have blogs on tons of different topics. Lizzie Azzolino, Katherine Strate, Ashley Beebe and I all have blogs.

To keep up with the blogosphere, the easiest thing to do is get and RSS reader. Google, Yahoo and AOL all have them.

2) Start slow. Join Twitter, a microblogging site that is sort of like Facebook status meets chat room. It's a great way to share and follow links, connect with people with similar interests, and do some online networking. You might want to read up first so you get the jargon and etiquette before you jump in. (Thanks for the links Dr. Russell!)

3) Go for it! If still feel like you want to be a blogger, do it. Blogger and Wordpress are fairly easy (and free) platforms that will help you design the look of your blog. Once you have a few good posts, put the link on your Facebook profile, Twitter account and anywhere you can find. Plus, if you comment on others' blogs, they will be more likely to check yours out and comment back.

4) Keep trying new things. Post to YouTube. Subscribe to some podcasts. If you are a photographer, try Flickr. If you are looking for a job or internship, join LinkedIn. It's kind of like Facebook, but more professional. (You post your resume instead of your pictures from downtown.) If you're feeling really adventurous, check out Second Life. There are lots of articles about how to use Second Life in the blogosphere, but the best way to learn is to try it.

You don't have to follow all these steps. Some people would rather observe than participate. You will still have the knowledge of social media that many employers are looking for. 

Good luck! Maybe I will see you out there in the 'sphere.

Sydney Carroll


Kevin said...

Sydney - Thanks for the link. I would say your advice to try things out is the best part of this post.

Paull Young just noted on his blog that you can't learn the piano unless you start playing the keys.

If you are worried about your blogging efforts not being perfect, create one temporarily on a personal topic vs. professional until you feel like doing the blog for real.

And Slideshare and Flickr are also two sites that will inspire you in your efforts.

Thanks again for the link.

Paull said...

Sydney - this is a great post, I'll tweet a link to it.

The first step for getting involved in social media is reading. Luckily it's easy, and often fun.

Find some blogs you like, subscribe to them, then check out the blogs they point to.

Once you get more comfortable, start commenting.

My other advice would be - have fund with it. Find the spaces you enjoy and feel free to play with them. If you're into photography, get stuck into Flickr. If you're a Facebook fiend, think strategically about how business could best use it (few do now).

Nice work!

Sydney Carroll said...

Thanks for your expert opinions. I think a lot of students just don't know where to start.

Karen Russell said...

Yeah, what they said! Or, as Josh Hallett says, don't wait for your teachers to teach you (though I'm trying!), learn by doing.