Thankfulness Thursday

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Photo via Eyes of Style Blog

I don’t say it enough, but I lead a charmed life. I have supportive family and friends. I’m in a new graduate program. I’m working and living in an apartment. I’m writing on a regular basis. And last but not least, I’m able to call Athens, Ga. my home.

Most of the time I focus too much on my troubles. I hone in on the stressors in my life and blow them out of proportion. Instead I should be thinking about the fortunate opportunities and the kind people I know. It’s with these things in mind that I pursue thankfulness and gratitude. Below are some tips for myself (and readers) to appreciate each day a little more.

-Call up a family member (or friend) and let you know you’re thinking of them. The unexpected gesture will likely brighten his or her day.

-Volunteer your time. Time is arguably more valuable than other resources you can offer. Show your care and concern by offering to help someone you know.

-Make a list of highlights in your life. Things may not seem so bleak after counting your blessings.

-Savor the little things. Read a book you’ve been eyeing. Drink lemonade on your porch. Sit and listen to a record. The small things are capable of changing your day.

Master’s In PR, Semester One

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Journeys start with a small step. Today I took my first small step when I started classes in my graduate program. I’m working towards a master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations. Today was the first of many days spent pursuing that goal.

I’m pleased with how well the first day went. I’ll be taking three classes and working this semester. I’m used to juggling school, jobs and internships in undergrad. However, grad school is an entirely different experience. I’ll be interested in finding my strengths and weaknesses this semester.

This fall I’ll be taking Public Relations Foundations, Proseminar in Mass Communication and Research Methodology in Mass Communication. It’ll be an intensive period of researching and writing. However, I’m looking forward to it! This is my chance to go outside my comfort zone and meet a new group of people. I’m excited that this chapter has finally begun.

August Social Media Roundup

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Photo via Eyes of Style Blog

It’s almost halfway through August! It’s time to do a recap of social media news this month. Check out these interesting articles to learn more about social media news, trends and guides.

How to See Messages in the Facebook App Without Downloading Messenger via Mashable

How to Budget for Social Media Activities via Social Media Today

A Scientific Guide to Posting Tweets, Facebook Posts, Emails and Blog Posts At the Best Time via Huff Post Tech

Robin Williams’ daughter quits social media after abuse via CNN Tech

On Twitter, Mourning Is Collective via New York Times

Social Media Management Acquisitions Rage On As Sprinklr Buys TBG Digital via Forbes

How social media is playing a role in Ferguson via St. Louis Biz Talk

Ebola Frontline: Social Media Is Raising Ebola Awareness in Sierra Leone via Newsweek

Vatican social media guru: Catholics should give Internet ‘a soul’ via Los Angeles Times

What To Do About Facebook

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In the PR world, Facebook is practically a necessity. With over a billion active users, Facebook offers the opportunity to reach a huge audience. PR professionals regularly manage public pages to communicate with the audience of their brands. However, Facebook has thrown in a few obstacles recently.

The biggest challenge seems to come from the Facebook Messenger application. Facebook recently announced that it would removing the messaging feature within its main application. Users would now have to download the separate Facebook Messenger app if they want to message on their phone.

However, the Facebook Messenger App comes with a few hitches. If downloaded, the app can delete people and messages from the user’s phone. It will also be able to access a smartphone’s camera, taking photos and videos without approval first. This invasion of privacy has produced a public outcry from Facebook users. Many have opted to not download the app and only message when on a computer.

So what should PR professionals do with Facebook? They should mainly use it for work. On a personal profile, communicators should skip private posts and intimate messages. PR pros should instead Facebook just for public relations. As Facebook becomes more shady in its practices, it’s important to use it conservatively. While Facebook is necessary for brands, it is slowly becoming outdated due to its policies and communication with users.

 

Moving Time

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Records and stereo all packed up!

It’s hard to believe, but it’s almost moving time. After a great and productive summer in Atlanta, I’ll be heading back to Athens to begin my graduate program.

It’s an exciting but intimidating time. I always entertain the fear of the unknown. However, since I know Athens and UGA so well, I’m not as worried as I normally would be. I love the city and I love the school. I imagine that my next few semesters will be challenging, yet manageable.

Before the semester begins (and I lose track of time), I’d like to make a few goals. Since I’m starting a new chapter, I’d like to work towards a few things. This post will help me keep track of them!

1. Give it my all in my classes. This should sound like a given. However, I want to start off the program strong. I want to really commit myself to my schoolwork.

2. Attend more concerts. Athens offers so many options when it comes to live music. I should at least attend a few per month, especially since I’ll be so close to venues like the 40 Watt and Georgia Theatre.

3. Plan mini trips. Since I’ll be staying in Georgia for at least another year +, I need to get the travel bug out of my system. Whether they be trips in driving distance or are far away, I’ll need at least a few excursions over the next five months.

4. Enjoy the moment. In undergrad I often found myself stressing out too much. I would blow exams or papers out of proportion. In hindsight, I don’t remember those specific papers or tests. Instead I remember the moments I learned or spent time with friends. I want to go into grad school with a new mindset. I want to enjoy school in the present.

My Desire To Travel

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Dreaming about returning to Ireland.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about travel. It’s all I seem to want to do. To hop aboard a train, fly in a plane or drive to a brand new location. At this point in my life, I’m all about the experiences.

However, since I’m starting a new grad program, I know I’ll be in Georgia for at least the next year and a half. Any excursions I make beyond the Peach State will be limited to a few days. That makes me wonder where I’ll want to live next.

I’ve lived in Georgia my whole life. It’s a great state, no doubt. But I want to try out something different. It doesn’t have to be far away. It just has to be new (and have a thriving community for PR professionals). I’ve made a little list of cities I’d be up for trying. I’m hoping that my next location will either be one of these or someplace similar.

Potential Someday Homes

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Austin, Texas
  • Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Phoenix, Arizona

Fall 2014 PR Conferences

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Conferences are crucial for PR and communications professionals. They allow us to network and learn alongside other leaders in the industry. Below are just a few of the upcoming PR conferences for 2014. I encourage you to attend if you can!

August

-PR Writing Summit, 8/7. Held in Chicago, this summits allows attendees to improve PR copy and begin writing engaging content for their audiences! Conference is presented by PRSA and Ragan’s PR Daily.

-Social Media Summit, 8/12. Held in San Francisco, the Social Media Summit offers opportunities to learn from successful brands and communicators. Attendees will learn social strategies and tactics that are invaluable to communicators.

 October

-International Conference, 10/12-14. Held in Washington D.C., the conference focuses on ROI. Communicators can gain practical insight into the value of their work. Professionals can also network with PR professionals of all backgrounds.

November

-Advanced School of Marketing Research, 11/3-7. Based in Atlanta, this conference offers insight into professional firms who are using advanced and innovative marketing techniques. This week-long experience allows attendees to learn from the experts.

 

 

The Pros Of Collaboration

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This summer I’ve been interning for a company in Atlanta. As part of my internship, I’ve been working on a summer-long project. It all culminates tomorrow into a final presentation. As the end nears, I’ve been reflecting on what the experience has taught me.

This kind of project has been brand new for me. I’ve had semester-long projects before, but never anything as structured and collaborative as what I’m working on now. In many ways I’m thankful for this experience. I used to be more of an independent spirit, but now I think of myself as team player! I learned to love collaboration for a number of reasons. Below I list the top 3 pros of working on a project together!

1. Opportunity for bonding. If you’re working on a project for work or school, you’re working with your peers. A project allows you to grow closer to them by working towards a common goal.

2. Learning to be adaptable. You may think your way is the best way. In a group, it can be hard to reach an agreed-upon idea. Try to think of your ideas from a different perspective. It will be a humbling and beneficial approach!

3. Going outside your comfort zone. It can be difficult to push yourself outside of your routine ways. Believe me, it will be for the better.

 

Monday Reminders For Communicators

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Happy Monday, readers! It’s time to return to the office and get back to work. For communication professionals, that means pitching to media, writing press releases and monitoring social media.  An engaging new week starts here!

Typically communicators stay busy all the time. In fact, most of them thrive on a full work load. Before diving into this week, PR pros and communicators should take these thoughts into mind. They’ll help PR worker bees tackle the week positively.

  • Go ahead and get that fancy cup of coffee. Treat yourself before heading into work. Be nice to yourself and start this week with a caffeine kick.
  • Whatever’s stressing you out, it’s not the end of the world. This week will come and go, just like last week.
  • Turn on some music. Plug in your headphones and listen to Pandora radio. Find your pump-up station and get ready for work!
  • Prioritize your workload. If you feel like you have too much work, determine what needs to get done first. Make a list and work downwards. Some things can wait.
  • Work towards a goal. Don’t have weekend plans? Dream up a new adventure. Your adventure will motivate you to work hard this week.

Thoughts On #GirlBoss

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I didn’t know much about Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO of Nasty Gal, before picking up #GirlBoss. After reading her memoir/advice book, I’ve developed a high level of respect for her. It also helps that she’s super likable!

As a bit of background, Amoruso is a self-made millionaire and owner of Nasty Gal vintage clothing.  She found success through an unusual route and shares her journey candidly. Amoruso didn’t go down the straight and narrow path of other business owners. Because of her rebellious spirit, she skipped college and worked a number of odd jobs.

While working as an ID checker, she began selling clothes online. She’d buy designer clothes from thrift stores and mark up the prices on her eBay account. She also made a MySpace to promote her little shop. Through MySpace she connected with fans and brought hundreds of women to her online store weekly.  Her business soon began expanding, eventually growing to its own company based out of Los Angeles.

Amoruso openly shares her shortcomings and strengths in the book. She includes simple advice and personal chapters, broken up by photos and drawings that relate to her journey. She bent a few rules to grow her company, but she no doubt worked hard in the process. Now at 30 years old, she runs a successful company by herself.

While not quite the same as Facebook COO’s Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, the book offers a similar message. It promotes female empowerment in the workforce, letting girls know that they can be successful if they work hard. Sure, #GirlBoss isn’t as formal as Lean In, but it’s still a great read. It appeals to younger women, especially as they’re starting out in their jobs. #GirlBoss isn’t a formula for professional success, but it does offer invaluable encouragement to readers. With working women on the rise, who can say no to this inspiring read?