Author Archives: youthleadershipacademyforgirls

Social Media and My Graduate School Life

Technology has changed so much since finishing undergrad in 2007. Although, it doesn’t seem like so long ago, when I arrived to graduate school my communication experiences didn’t resemble anything from 5 years before. From being friends with my professors on Facebook and Twitter to establishing multiple blog sites to publish work and establish a voice, my digital presence greatly increased. Now as graduation approaches and I pursue my post graduate plans I found some great pointers at for maximizing your social media presence. 

1. Know your audiences

  • Know your audience – What segmentation are you talking to and who are you targeting? Identifying the stakeholders in your business environment and understanding what they want to hear from you will ensure that not only your social media presence is successful but also help across your entire marketing communications.
  • Reach more audiences – Social media can help you tap into audiences which previously were at a great distance away; you can monitor activity or become part of the community.

2. Plan your content

Planning your content across a period of time can save a great deal of time and resource. Consider some of the following simple steps:

Create a theme or subject
Instead of writing copy or developing communications for one marketing activity, why not create a theme or subject which can be used across a multitude of media? Traditional communications activities and promotions can also be integrated into the social media presence – it’s simply another way of getting a targeted message to your audience.

Collect a content library

Content is definitely the hardest component of social media presence. It’s a constant, ongoing demand on an organisation’s resource so having ‘timeless’ content or snippets of content to hand can fill in those gaps of information.
Publish 3rd party material
Contact other parties to publish their materials. The web is all about collaboration and sharing – gone are the days of shielding content to/from the outside.

3. Use readily available tools

Use one or more of the freely available social media tools. There are many, many tools and applications that make using social media a great deal easier. Such tools help you to:

  • Ensure your content is coordinated and give your marketing communications an integrated approach
  • Measure effectiveness and monitor your presence (instant notification of your organisation being discussed on social media opens your eyes to a whole new intelligence gathering mechanism)

So social media is a great platform for measuring and monitoring but what exactly are you looking to measure and monitor?

Don’t measure and monitor for the sake of it. Make it meaningful to your business or your campaign objective. For example, do you want to get a certain amount of followers on Twitter? If so, make it in for a particular audience instead of across the board.

4. Don’t use in isolation

Be sure to integrate social media with your other marketing & PR activity. Your social media presence is a bit like your own TV channel or billboard, but instant. It goes out to a mass audience straightaway and often on a personal 1-2-1 level. For those used to a B2B market this can, in some cases, be daunting and difficult to comprehend. Don’t forget to:

  • Plan your social media inline with your marketing and PR activity. When one campaign or activity is planned this should be combined with social media as it lends itself perfectly to integrated communications.
  • Make sure your communications across your other marketing activities and media match your social media or are the same.
  • Use the freely available social media tools. The tools available also aid integration. One tool for diffusing your communications across a multitude of platforms. How cool is that? Yes, but also how dangerous is that? It needs thought, planning and resource. Watching some companies hand over their social media presence without a clear strategy or thought is certainly an eye opener.




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Association of Health Care Journalists, Master the Conversation

The health and medical journalism program recently attended the Association of Health Care Journalists 2012 conference held in Atlanta, GA. The University of Georgia (UGA), along with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University were conference hosts. Children’s Healthcare and Emory University provided participants with field trips and UGA sponsored a high-tech workshop designed to help improve video skills, social media engagement, and master Google. 

The main point I took home came from NPR’s Matt Thompson and that is “master the conversation.” By master the conversation, Thompson is referring to the online conversation. Whether it’s happening on Twitter, Facebook, or blogs, journalists need to master and engage their followers. Too often journalists write their stories or blogs, read the comments section and never bother to respond to readers. Thompson argues that their is tremendous value in using the comments section to further the conversation. So the next time you see someone wrote a comment in response to your blog or tweet, engage them, asks questions, and most of all create interest!

The highlight of the conference had to be the Bio-curious flashmob. Hmj’ers performed a flashmob version of the official “Let’s Move” dance. Check it out,



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South by Southwest, My Interactive Experience!

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. From workshops covering social media privacy policies to learning what journalism can from science this conference had it all.  I learned so much great information I thought I would share, enjoy!


Blogger Outreach

This semester we have discussed the role and influence bloggers have on their followers.So I was delighted to attend the, “How to Raise Awareness Through Blogger Outreach” session facilitated by Beverly Robertson, Debbie Bookstabber, Katherine Stone, and Kristine Brite McCormick. It’s no secret that mommy bloggers dominate the blogsphere, so here are their top tips for maximizing your blog potential.

1. Blog often, blog well!

2. Routinely publish multimedia content, print stories related to your area of expertise.

3. Doesn’t have to be big production, just relevant, interesting or useful information.

4. Use Social Media and word of mouth to drive traffic to your online presence.

5. Tackle issues that are hot topics in the news.

Web Video

It’s no secret that journalists and media professionals are going to have to become more savy with video if they want to stay relevant in this climate. Whether you’re using video to supplement your print pieces or using it to make a short promotional video for a client, knowing how to shoot, edit, and produce video is a great skill to have. Here are the top ways to make your videos stand out!

  1. First, ask yourself why are you telling this story visually?
  2. Video should be complementary to print stories, but should also be compelling as stand alone pieces.
  3. Detail is key!
  4. Audio is IMPORTANT! Audiences will forgive anything but bad sound.
  5. Collaboration can be helpful. Find someone who cares about something different than you.
  6. People want longer content! People want to develop a deeper experience with video.
  7. Journalists should take on the introvert/extrovert stance to producing video.
Make the data count
Journalists and media professionals rely heavily on data to develop story ideas, as well as confirm facts, but that doesn’t mean audiences are readily convinced. Many are skeptical of numbers or simply don’t understand how the data affects them. In order to make your readers care, you better make sure you establish a connection! See how to engage readers with your data!
  1. When communicating science a huge misconception is that facts speak for themselves
  2. How we create and facilitate information is important!
  3. Visualize the facts to narrate the story!
  4. Visuals are easier to comprehend, allow you to convey more, and provide audiences with a deeper emotional connection!
  5. Discover the problem, before the facts!
  6. People need to know that you care, before they care what you know!!!!!!


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Think Ignorance is Bliss? Think Again

I recently came across David McMillan’s blog post  How to Ruin Your Life in 14 Minutes: Or Why We Need a Serious Conversation About the Ethics of Social Media on the Huffington Post and he addressed an issue I’ve been pondering for some time. In my previous blog post, I wrote about the consequences of social media for journalists and pr professionals. However, I didn’t talk about the consequences that uses of social media pose for individuals who don’t work in an media related field.

McMillan specifically addresses one of our previous discussions in class, teen use of social media. The general consensus in class was that teens were better equipped to use social media, however I would have to disagree. I think teens, as well as many young adults, aren’t aware of the long-term consequences that social media poses for individuals. Now, no one was given a guide about how to use social media when it first came out, and privacy policies and viewing preferences are ever changing in the social media world, but rarely is one given a pass for not being knowledgable of such things.

There has been a lot of conversation about what media literacy education should and shouldn’t consist of, as well as if it’s even relevant. I think media literacy is very relevant and that any media literacy  curriculum should focus extensively on social media and online identities.

Although some think ignorance is bliss, the repercussions of ignorance most certainly are not.


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Navigating Social Media: New Guidelines For Journalists

I was recently reviewing the SPJ Code of Ethics and in light of recent incidents such as Roland Martin’s suspension from CNN for tweets made during the super bowl, I think clearer social media guidelines should be established for journalists. The SPJ Code of Ethics doesn’t mention social media, as it was last updated in 1997 (prior to the social media boom of the 2000’s. However, I found a very interesting blog post from Steve Buttry, Director of Community Engagement & Social Media, Digital First Media, that speaks to this very topic.

If I were updating the SPJ Code of Ethics I would address the following:

Professional vs. Private

How should journalists handle their online identity? I think this is extremely important. Several journalists or commentators have been fired due to comments made via a personal social media platform. While some may argue that journalists shouldn’t make certain comments online, I think that’s extremely unfair. I don’t think journalists should have to live their lives as censored mute beans 24 hours a day/365 days of the year.


The current SPJ Code of Ethics doesn’t include a policy addressing objectivity and think that’s because objectivity is all but impossible in newsrooms. Don’t get me wrong I think journalists should follow guidelines and that reporting should be rooted truth. I think journalists should seek out facts and report it. With the use of social media for sources, fact checking has become even more important, but this idea of objectivity doesn’t serve us well.


I think what troubles me the most is that news organizations don’t seem to have a consistent policy for handling how journalists should use social media and what constitutes appropriate usage versus inappropriate usage. I think organizations need to have a clear and concise policies that outlines whether social media identities should be extensions of professional identities or whether journalists can express ideas and opinions of their own.


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