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Posts Tagged ‘recession’

I’m about to start teaching my two seminars in social media and public relations again for Marylhurst University, and although I’m always really excited about these classes, they also take the most amount of research and preparation for just about any class that I teach.  The social media world changes so quickly that I’m generally in a small panic just before the first day of class, hoping that what I present is both timely and relevant.  Then I remember that in these particular seminars, we’ll all be teaching each other; my job is simply to present the road map for how to get where we’re going.

Nevertheless, here I am on New Year’s Day researching again, and grateful to fall back on some of the best social media minds out there.  For example, just before Christmas Deidre Breakenridge posted some tips on engaging with Twitter and Facebook: http://www.deirdrebreakenridge.com/2010/12/how-to-engage-on-facebook-and-twitter/.

And Brian Solis, who is not just brilliant but a lot of fun in his presentations, has written a post titled “Once More, with Feeling: Making Sense of Social Media:

http://www.briansolis.com/2010/07/once-more-with-feeling-making-sense-of-social-media/

I start to relax a little when I realize how many sources are out there, and how many more sources my students will no doubt contribute to the class.  Online learning becomes a team effort, and we all move forward together: that’s one of the best things about it.  Rather than serve as some kind of authoritarian instructor, which puts almost unbearable pressure on me, I can simply open a few doors for my students and encourage them to walk through; they get it almost immediately.  Empowered, they go beyond what I realized what possible in any given class.

I’m also re-doing a client’s web site, have plans to re-do my own web sites – one for my private consulting, one for my particular service to our troops and veterans – and I swear, this year, I’ll be more consistent about blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Plaxo.  I do find, as some of my colleagues do, that after and eight- or 10-hour stint on the computer each day, I’m not always amenable to chat time or computer games.

Meantime, I’m preparing to teach another Marylhurst seminar on the law and ethics of public relations and a class in public relations writing for the University of Montana.  My students range from traditional college-aged students (up to their early 30s or so) in Montana to mostly older working adults at Marylhurst, with a few younger exceptions.  Without fail, these students really want to learn – but they also have vastly different learning styles across the generations.   One of my over-arching goals is to help equip all of my students with some of the skills they’ll need to compete in today’s difficult economic climate.  That’s not an easy task, for any of us; I research and write, they read and write, we talk and discuss and collaborate and dig in.   But by the end of each term, there are those students whom you know are going to zoom for the stars.

And that keeps people like me chugging right along… so here’s to 2011 and the adventures that I know lie ahead!

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Let us count the ways:

  1. Public relations has always been more cost-effective than advertising; you’ll spend less and get longer-term results.  Public relations doesn’t offer an expensive quick fix; it offers long-range solutions.
  2. Public relations is more “holistic” than advertising; although it can support a sales function, it’s concerned with much wider concentric circles than just moving a product off the shelves.  Just think about employee relations, media relations, community relations, investor relations – these are the relationships which public relations works with, and these are just some of the relationships.
  3. Public relations will help you pull your head out of the muck of this recession depression because it will force you to plan for the future.  While a clever, witty ad is one thing, and might capture attention for a little while, a solid public relations plan will help you take care of this moment, this week, this month, and this year; it’ll get you through, empower you, and make you realize the true value of the relationships you have.

There’s a whole lot more, but that’s all for now.  Just don’t underestimate the power of public relations, or the need for it during these difficult days.

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I found myself, earlier this week, in a bit of a funk.  Certainly not the kind of funk that’s gripped people who have lost homes and jobs; I’ve lost neither and consider myself incredibly lucky.  But I was in a bit of a funk about ever-tightening finances: worried about clash flow, about the incredibly shrinking nest egg, about the bills; worried about things I’ve promised to others, promises I don’t know if I can still fulfill. 

It took me a few days to get a grip.  There is so much news out there that continues to be so grim.  Finally, slowly, I seemed to be able to lift my head out of the muck and remind myself of my own strengths: I’ve always, forever, been an entrepreneur, and a recession is the best time to continue being (or to start being) an entrepreur.  There are generally projects available even if there aren’t full-time jobs available; and I’ve always wanted to combine projects and private consulting with teaching anyway.  There are lots of companies which would love personalized, customized training in crisis, or community relations, or social media.  So what’s my problem?  Probably just inertia.  Probably just a big sigh about starting yet again… but that’s how life is when you hang out your own shingle.  You always start again.  You can’t look at how tiring that might be; you have to view it as discovering opportunities out there.  You have to visualize the people who need you, and what it might take to get in touch with them so you can be of genuine service. 

I have a flyer about attitude here on my desk.  The last sentence reads, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”  Yeah.  Why should any of us hide our light under a bushel?

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