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Wow Moments & Social Media

Why did this image (above) by Brian Davies “go viral”? Chris Pietsch, a multimedia journalist at the Register Guard, our local paper in Eugene, Ore. asked me just that question. I have to admit, I hadn’t given it much thought. I had watched the game and seen the photo, of course. I think I saw it when Brian posted it on Twitter. It seemed it was everywhere.

Chris was creating a multimedia piece for the RG and needed the “expert” view. Apparently, I’m the expert. As you know, I love doing interviews and I enjoy Duck Football, so of course I said yes.

My thoughts:

  • This is a great photo. Really the bottom line is that this wouldn’t have been shared so widely if Brian hadn’t captured a great photo. That’s not by chance or a “lucky shot.” Brian is a veteran photojournalist with tons of experience capturing great photos. If you don’t already, follow him on Instagram.
  • WOW! Chris asked me “What was your reaction when you saw the play on TV?” That first clip of me in the video (below) is it. WHOA! It captured on “film” what we all thought we saw watching on TV. Having access of a press photographer and being able to stand on the field and take photos is pretty rarified air. I’m not sure there’s a Duck fan that doesn’t wish to have that experience. Brian took full advantage of that access and provided an image that froze a moment, a feeling, an energy that was exciting to fans.
  • Social media. Social media lets us take a “wow” moment and make it our own. By sharing, retweeting, liking, commenting, we become part of the experience of that image and vice-versa. Without any barriers — we don’t have to be coders or designers — we can edit, modify, customize, filter the image to really put our own stamp on it.
  • The timing was perfect. Brian has taken thousands of amazing photos, but this one was the right one at the right time. Obviously the Heisman conversation volume was very loud by the time we got to the Civil War game. The photo of Mariota seemingly striking the Heisman pose added to the fervor and excitement. Fans were already talking about the Heisman, so this photo became part of that conversation with a big fat exclamation point.

So why did it “go viral”? It was a bit of a perfect storm of variables, I think. Congrats to Brian on recognition of his work and to Chris for helping to tell this story.

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A Year-Long Plan for Senior PR Undergrads

[Updated September 2014]

 “When should I start applying for that internship?”

“Where do I start with my job search?”

“Do I need to be sending my resumes out now?”

There’s a point of recognition where the senior public relations major realizes that yes, barring any major gaffes, chances are good that they’re going to graduate and need to find a job. And then the panic sets in.

Senior year both flies by in a blink and seems to drag on forever at the same time.  Benchmarking a few key activities may help you create your own plan for prepping for graduation.

A quick note: University of Oregon is on the quarter system – we start the last Monday of September and finish mid-June, so this calendar may vary based on your University.

Read more…

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Photos are important but you should relax

This week I took about 80 staff portraits for a couple of different websites – the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO) is a client and I’m managing the launch of a shiny new website and I’m a long-time volunteer at HIV Alliance.

Taking that portraits in such short time frame brought up a couple of things that I thought I’d share.

My takeaways:

  • Man, we are uncomfortable in our skin. Too this… not enough that… “hope you brought an extra camera because I’ll probably break it.” Taking pictures always reminds me how beautiful people are. We have warm smiles and beautiful eyes, we’re friendly and genuine. Sure, we have a little gut, and our noses look weird at that angle, but who cares? 
  • It makes me very, very sad when say people haven’t had their photo taken in years. Biz portraits aren’t so important, but family/friend/life photos and capturing memories is. Your family and friends want photos of you. You will want photos of you. Document your lives! It’s nice to hire a professional once in a while to capture the great above-the-mantel portraits, too.

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How did that tweet get there? It’s not magic and unicorns.

As an intern or young professional, you may assume that because you know how to use Twitter that you are ready to step into doing so on behalf of an organization. However, strategic social media is a lot more complicated than personal social media and there’s no magic social media unicorn… 

This side of social is not necessarily intuitive and the learning the process is an important part of doing a good job for clients. We’re ramping up some social media work for a client right now and that has me thinking about the process I use and how to convey that to my team.

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Leadership & Life Lessons from an Investor Relations Pro

ir futuresI’m not going to lie, as an undergrad, the idea of doing investor relations would’ve given me the heebie jeebies. Math? numbers? all those regulations? Blech.

As a professional, I’ve learned that not only are numbers and math your friends, they can be a lot of fun. And regulations? Everyone’s got ‘em. Communicating complex info in a clear, persuasive way while navigating the rules and regulations along with company culture and politics is pretty much what we do.

Had I had some mentorship or just some instruction in financial communication, I might have taken a different path. Or I’d at least had some sense of all the options for a career in public relations.

So I was pretty excited when, this spring, the PR sequence at the SOJC launched IR Futures, an investor relations-focused student club. We have a couple of stellar faculty who have expertise in investor relations and financial communications and this is a growing area of focus for the PR sequence.

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If You Could Have a Superpower…

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? 

Apparently, all “successful” people can answer this question immediately. From The Muse blog:

Tina Eisenberg says that all the most successful people she’s met have been able to answer this question immediately: John Maeda, who led the MIT Media Lab and Rhode Island School of Design, responded with “curiosity.” Maria Popova, who curates the popular Brain Pickings blog by reading 12-15 books a week, said “doggedness.” Eisenberg’s own superpower? Enthusiasm.

I agree, this is a great question. However, I’d argue that the answers she gives are not the answers to that question, but to another: If you have a superpower, what is it? Curiosity, doggedness and enthusiasm are “superpowers” that have helped each of these people be successful.

I do like this question, though. My superpower would be the ability to extend time.

What’s  yours and why?

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Ask Good Questions and Listen to the Answers: A Source’s Plea to Young Journalists

I get interviewed quite a bit. Once every couple of months or so I’m asked to speak as an “expert” about PR, social media, technology, trends or any other random number of things, mostly by student reporters and TV reporters. I love to talk, so if a reporter shows up prepared, listens and asks good questions, I truly enjoy the process.

Regardless of what kind of content you’re creating (doing journalism, writing e-newsletters or blog posts or feature articles for the company magazine), being a good interviewer will help you tell a better story.

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Strangers Kissing: Smart or Sleazy?

People don’t like to feel like they’ve been tricked. They don’t like to be drawn into a story and then learn that story is somehow a calculated concoction designed to get them to buy stuff. However, people also don’t like ads. They don’t trust most ads. They ignore them, change the channel, etc.

So should we get mad when an “ad” doesn’t say it’s an ad – doesn’t have a product name prominently displayed, but draws you in and makes you smile, get a little nervous butterfly stomach flutter and leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy because we didn’t know that we were being “sold.”

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Taking Flight: “Best Of” Student Blog Posts from Winter 2014

My Strategic PR Writing students blogged twice a week for seven weeks this term. It’s a feat to get all those posts done! I picked a “best of” from each blog to share with you. You can learn more about the background on the students’ assignment here.

Congrats to all 16 of my students on their blogs! In no particular order… here are this term’s best ofs:

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Just Keep Swimming: Week 7 Linky Loves

We’re on the downhill slide of the term. Just three weeks to go (and a ton of grading), and winter term will be in the books. So just keep swimming! We’re almost there.

This week’s links feel very random, to me, but each interesting on its own merits. You can learn more info about these “linky loves” and the background on the students’ assignment here.

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