Six Months’ Silence

ImageTo those few of you who might have noticed, this is the first blog posting I have done in almost six months. I decided to take a “sabbatical” from the blog in order to spend more time with another social medium- Twitter. As a teacher of PR students, I needed to understand how it was used, and that meant using it. So, like a guilty adulterer, I have been cheating on my blog to satisfy another love.

I didn’t start out that way. Like someone you initially dislike but grow to love, Twitter had to work at capturing my affections. I have had a twitter account for ages, but was like millions of other people who sign up but then aren’t active, I had just been using it to promote my blog postings to my students and other followers. I wasn’t entirely sure it was going to be a positive experience- my few forays into the twittersphere had been unproductive. At first glance, a lot of the content on twitter seemed banal beyond belief or, even worse, full of hashtag jargon and totally unintelligible.  

Six months on, and I am in love. I have discovered loads of useful content for PR students and practitioners, and made new friends, extended my network of contacts and had some fun along the way. Above all else, I found it meant that I could connect in a direct way with students who had been rather shy about commenting on a blog.  Fewer characters mean fewer inhibitions, it would appear. I’ve also realised that people expect a persona to be more evident in your Tweets than they do in a blog, so I have decided it is OK to share some personal stuff, if it makes the point that I am listening to what they are tweeting (reassurance to the occasional dissertation students in serious melt-down, for example). The immediacy and reach of Twitter is an added bonus.

The challenge now is to avoid serial monogamy. If I go back to the blog, am I just whistling in the dark? Is anyone out there listening? What are your experiences? If I have to choose between them, which do you think I should go for?


When Facebook is Fabulous, and when it isn’t

facebook logoI am in two minds about Facebook. When I read the boring status updates of people (AKA friends) who only use it to talk twat, I get bored, switch off and don’t bother to look at it for weeks on end (so please don’t post anything important on my wall!). On the other hand there are places and people who use it as a vital discussion forum, because their own society and politics don’t allow them the freedom to do so in public. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/21/egypt-facebook-revolution . Egypt isn’t the only place- take a look at the problems of Facebook in Pakistan and in China. Some people who really need interconnectivity make a great use of it; others use it for narcisstic purposes. So, next time you are tempted to post another update on being legless, tired or bored…think about how it could be used to really engage in two way communication that could change the world.

Back at work

OK- I’ve been called a Luddite, a technophobe, a wrinklie. I am not a digital native, and sometimes I have to take it slow. So, I took a summer off (all right, it’s been five months). I admit WordPress scares me. But, I also know I have to get better. Practice what I preach. If I expect PR students to get social media, I have to at least make an effort. So, I brought in my social media superhero, Mel Lewis, to get me sorted and a little less scared. So, here goes…..a whole series of PR blogs about teaching PR, working in PR, commenting on other people’s PR. Feel free to nag if I go silent…