Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Yup, It's That Time of the Year..AGAIN!

Well you guessed it! Second semester has finally started and you all know what that means..


Well you get my point..

For those who have never had an internship. GET ON IT. And for those of you who have, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Getting an internship can be a very taxing and tedious task, but have no fear! I have come up with some guidelines to get you excited about the long and annoying hours you will spend updating your resume, sending your cover letter to your mom so she can make the proper edits, and emailing those bosses from 2 summers ago (who probably don't remember your name) for a recommendation later.

So here it goes..

1. Start early - It's never too early to start thinking about your summer internships or summer plans. During my freshman year at college, I was nervous about getting stuck working at the local pool for yet another summer so I began my search for an internship in early October. As a result, I had my internship locked and loaded by January and got to enjoy the rest of my freshman year instead of fretting about the summer.

2. Apply ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE (well not literally) - For those of you who are reading this and saying "Internships!? I barely know what I want to be when I grow up!" Well, that's the best part! Doing an internship allows you the opportunity to find out your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. It took me THREE internships to realize what I wanted to do with my life, well sort of, but that was only because I applied to as many different and obscure internships as I could possibly find on Google.

3. It's Not About WHAT You Know, But WHO You Know - Look back at emails and contacts from High School, family friends, or even relatives. Chances are one of those people knows someone that knows someone (who is writing this blog--jk!) that can get you a job or at the very least connect you with someone who is looking to hire some interns.

4. Get That PAPERRRR - let's be real, if you're a college student chances are you're paying a lot for your education, or your parents are and you should be rewarded for that. In searching for internships try and find a job that is going to pay your for your time. As someone who has had 4 paid internships, I promise they're out there, you just have to look.

I hope these tips have been somewhat helpful and that you find success in all your endeavours. Good luck!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Importance of Strong Written and Oral Communication Skills in the field of Public Relations

The Importance of Strong Written and Oral Communication Skills in the field of Public Relations 

Students entering the workforce must establish a competitive advantage in order to standout from their peers. According to the AACU, among the 10 top qualities employers are looking for in a college graduate is the ability to write and communicate well. While important in any industry, strong written and oral communication skills are particularly important in public relations due to the nature of the field. At its core, public relations, is the strategic communication process that develops and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their key publics according to PRSA

PR professionals’ main weapon is to writing and releasing, favorable or unfavorable information about an organization to the public. This can only be accomplished through strong written skills and effective communication skills both internally and externally. 

The Real Meaning of Effective Communication 

There are numerous definitions of an effective communicator: someone who shares thoughts and ideas with their peers, someone who informs, someone who persuades others to accept their ideas, and someone who communicates so that their ideas create a common perception amongst others resulting in a change of behavior. Being an effective communicator is one of the key ingredients to success in any business or field, but particularly important in public relations. As professionals who majored in "Communication," it is their job to affectively convey messages to their co-workers and clients in a timely and organized manner. Effective communication can be portrayed in several ways:

1. Ability to communicate an important message or memo in as little
    messages as possible 
     2. Require less explanation or clarification on proposals, final
         projects and proposals
     3. Make sure your voice is heard, in a respectful manner 
     4. Get the message across in as little as 140 characters (Twitter) 

It is also important to remember that while these are the templates for effective communication, the world we live in and way in which we communicate is rapidly changing. Just this past week the text message celebrated its 20-year anniversary. That's 20 years of "Hey, What's up?" or, "TTYL", and "Love U’s!” I'm sure most of us cannot even imagine a time when Internet was not available on our phones, let alone text messaging. With the growing importance of accessible Internet and available information, social media and social networking sites have become exponentially essential in the past decade.

What's Social Media Got To Do With It? 

So how does this all tie-in together? What does social media and social networking have to do with the importance of strong written and oral communication skills in public relations? 

One story, multiple platforms
Photo Credit: macguru.biz
Stellar writing skills are important in public relations because writing accounts for about 75% of the profession’s daily tasks, jobs and projects. PR professionals must understand the value of their company or clients content and know how to most effectively convey that information to the public. In 2012, with the ever-growing importance of social media and social networking sites, PR professionals now have a plethora of platforms where they are expected to display their information. Even trickier is that not all platforms are the same; some require different formats, different character limits, and often heavily rely on graphics as opposed to words or visa-versa. Having strong writing skills allows public relation’s professionals to successfully perform their jobs: communicate the correct message and be able to mold that message to suit multiple platforms.

Many experts and professionals in the field, including Professor Pamela Grant, of the University of Maryland, have made the argument that tweeting and texting are actually beneficial to young PR professionals.  Having become accustomed to a limit of 140 characters, blogging and Facebook, “Millenials” and recent college graduates have been put at an advantage and optimal position in the workforce.

The Future of Public Relations

Bob Dylan once said, “The times they are a-changin’”, and boy was he right. In 2012, technology, the environment and the way we communicate are changing more rapidly than ever before. These changes have already begun to affect the modern business world and will only continue to change it and help it grow.

So what is the future of public relations? As a communication major with a focus in public relations, this matter is very concerning to me. It is important for students, like myself, to understand where public relations is headed towards, in order to properly prepare for our future in the workplace.

In my COMM350: PR Theory class I have learned about the importance of public relations and the growing importance it holds as it relates to social media. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics public relations is expected to grow by 24% through 2018 as a result of the social media boom. More and more organizations and firms are going to need the assistance of PR professionals to maintain their image, keep up on trends and effectively communicate in the digital world.

As a junior Communication major with a focus in public relations, I am eager to master my writing and communication skills over the next two years. The road ahead seems full of possibilities and I cannot wait for the future. 

Mariel Rothman, a junior Communication major also sees the importance of strong written and oral communication skills in the field of public relations: 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Practice Interview with Audioboo Clips

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New hope for a decrease in the "Digital Divide" and "Participation Gap"

After reading Kevin Guidry's descriptions I can undoubtedly say that there is a digital divide. When I was reading the article on “Mobile Phone Problems” I was most shocked by the discrepancy and findings that researches had recorded stating that Hispanics and African American’s were among those whose primary Internet browser’s were their phones. They allotted these findings to the fact there the Hispanics and African American’s came from lower income families and therefore didn’t have the means to buy a computer or laptop. Their main way of getting information from the Internet was via their phone. After reading Kevin’s descriptions I definitely believe in the digital divide and participation gap. If people do not have the means, or cannot afford to get internet access or have the chance to train themselves in the same ways that everyone else can the gap and divide will only continue to grow.The digital divide will continue to grow because of the limited nature of Internet access. At the University of Maryland for example, Internet access on campus, in the library’s and in the various computer labs located around campus, are only accessible by University of Maryland students. Not everyone can gain access to the  Internet. You either need a password, or Wifi that someone is paying for. I do believe that Internet access should be granted to everyone and that pays for it, but that costs should sometimes be altered or considered on a case-by-case situation. Everyone deserves access to the Internet in some form or another. The participation gap is something that will also continue to grow if changes are not made. While people need to spend more time on the Internet to become more versed in the various techniques there are other ways of doing it. For example in New York City, and the NYC Public Library, computers are accessible to anyone who knows how to turn on a computer, as I am sure the situation is at other public libraries. People need to be in charge of their own destiny, and help themselves first.

As we have seen in the last 2 years, tablets and iPad’s, is a devise that gives people access to the Internet at a more reasonable price. With the growth of tablets and the like I believe that there may be hope for the digital divide and participation gap to shrink. Because the Internet plays such a prominent and dominant role in our daily lives it is becoming less of a novelty and more of a necessity. Instead of having to pay $1,000 for a Macbook Pro or $900 for a Dell laptop, people can now buy tablets made by Samsung, Sony, and Apple for about $200-$500. As more and more products come to the market, each one is going to contain to and improved technology and perks. Because the gadgets and technology industry is always growing there will always be new products and new opportunities for people to gain access to the Internet. Instead of having to buy your child a new laptop when they go to college, on top of the tuition money you are already spending, now you have the option to buy them an iPad or tablet that will give them a very similar experience at half the cost.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Japan's Climb to the Top Cut Short

For the past 21 years, or at least since I've been alive, the United States has been at the forefront of cutting edge technology for mobile devices and the life. The notion that a cellphone or smart phone is much more than a telephone is common place and the bar has been raised. According to a U.S. data survey consumers use their phones for seven things: 1. calls, 2. texting, 3. mobile, 4. applications, 5. games, 6. social networking and 7. music. With the release of the iPhone 5 and iPad2 it's no wonder that people in the United States expect so much so fast. "Industry estimates indicate that by 2013 the U.S. will top 100% per capita penetration of mobile phone use".

This point brought me to my next thought; "If the U.S. is doing so well in the mobile technology sector, I wonder how it compares to the rest of the world"? According to Gartner, Inc. the worldwide sales of smart phones increased 24% to 172.4 million units in 2009 and is rapidly growing.  Being that mobile phones and mobile technology is a "given" in our day and age, especially in the U.S. it has only grown in other parts of the world. A U.N. report found that the number of mobile phone users has exploded in the last 10 years and that the number of global subscriptions quadrupled from about 1 billion in 2002 to about 4.1 billion at the end of 2009; and more specifically, in Africa 28% of the population now has a mobile phone, compared to just 2% in 2000. They also noted that the reason for such surges in uptake of mobile phones was marked in developing countries where "they are now an invaluable tool among the world's poor".
However, there are still other countries that are lagging behind. Let's take Japan for example. In Tokyo, Japan cell phones are ready for Internet and email, they double as credit cards, boarding passes and even body-fat calculators, however, it stops with Japan. While Japan has been said to be "years ahead in any innovation", according to the NY Times, it has been unsuccessful in getting business out of it. In 2009 Mr. Natsuno, who developed a popular wireless Internet service, along with a team of the best minds in the field, set out to figure out how Japanese cellphones could go global. Despite the fact that Japanese phones are designed so that even the most average person can have a super-advanced phone, the problem could not be solved. Mr. Natsuno and his team had come to the sad realization that Japan's lack of global clout was the reason behind their lack of expansion. 

When it comes to global expansion in the realm of mobile technology, Japan may be the innovators and spear-headers, but they still have a lot to learn. When it comes to expansion, among the many things that are important for countries to understand is the costs associated with opening and expanding into global markets. One of the reasons that I think Japan has failed is because of the cultural differences that exist in different countries. Many of the people that live in Japan are accustomed to a specific way of life, communication and technology, that does not necessarily mirror that of ours. When entering new markets manufacturers and developers must consider customizing their programs and software to fit that of the country they are trying to penetrate. While costs may be steeper because of the change in the product, in the long run, they will yield a high and profitable return for those countries that chose to specialize their programs and products. Another aspect to consider is the size of these mobile technology companies. In Japan where there are hundreds of different mobile technology companies it is even more difficult to compete. In the U.S. I feel that there is less competition, which is why it has been easier for many companies to grow and expand.



Friday, September 21, 2012

If only Hamlet had an Iphone

        During Katie Couric's interview with author of Hamlet's Blackberry William Powers there were many points Bill made that struck me as truthful and some points that I downright disagreed with. First I will go through the points I agreed with.

        According to Bill, we as human beings, are missing out on the emotional gaps and pauses that occur in regular conversation and discussion because of the use of "screens". I believe that I have fallen victim to this myself on more than a few occasions. Often times, we are so concerned with answering an email, or commenting on someone's Facebook picture that we don't take the time to reflect on what it is that we are actually interacting with; and sometimes, this impulsive attitude, and lack of pauses can have terrible consequences.  I also agree with his comment and comparison of technology to olden times. Before there was technology, people relied on information from others in order to survive, and therefore would act immediately, as the information was imperative. Because of the way we are wired, we now think that every bit of information sent our way is essential to our survival and that if it not checked we are going to suffer; like Powers, I strongly disagree with this notion.

       The second point I agreed with was Powers' on was the mention of being self-sufficient. As someone who often struggles with being alone, with the internet access on my phone, I often have an easier time settling for a technological way of being alone, rather than actually trying to be by myself. Instead of being content and being by ourselves we don't have to, "we can look at our tweets all day" and this is something that I think has fueled the success of technology and these "screens". People who used to feel alone or never liked being alone, now can avoid that.

       The last point I agreed with was his comparison to Plato’s idea of “distancing oneself”; Plato could only survive in the city where he was constantly conversing with people. However, after coming across an issue that he could not speak about in public, a colleague of his suggested talking a walk to sort out the issue. After leaving the city, the hustle and bustle, Plato realized that all it took for him to understand his dilemma was distance. Like Powers I believe that is what we must do in our day and age. Sometimes is it so easy to accept what we are told and move on with life. But other times, we must question the information we are given, and take a step back, distance ourselves from the “screens” and the information.

       One of the main points I disagreed with Powers on, was his idea that technology is causing communication between families to decrease, and that technology is causing an interpersonal problem. As a student who attends university outside of her home state and a 5-hour drive away from home, technology is what keeps my family closer. Powers talked about a lack of eye contact between his family and a lack of connection, I negate this by saying that while my family is mainly connected via “screens” we make sure to spend as much time together as possible, when we can.

      Technology is what allows me to call my grandmother who lives in Chicago and ask her how her day was going, or check in on my parents to see how work is. I can FaceTime with my sister and see my dog at home. Thanks to technology I can be in contact with anyone in my family anytime, anywhere, and for that I am so grateful.