Category Archives: COMM 4333–Topics of the Week

TOW: 14 The Top 10 for New Bloggers

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Here are my top 10 tips for new bloggers:

 

1. Be yourself. Always put your personal thoughts into your posts, but be conscientious of other people’s views as well. Don’t just re-hash what others have said about a particular topic. Add your own opinion and be willing to share thoughts with others and be open to new perspectives.

2. Keep up with your blog by posting regularly. Aim for adding posts at least once-twice per week. Once you have followers and people who subscribe to your blog, you’ll want to keep your blog updated. No one wants to follow a blog that hasn’t been updated.

3. Make sure all of your links and videos work properly and are updated. No one wants to receive the error message when clicking on a link you recommend.

4. Interact with your followers. Blogging is a great way to make connections with people. When people leave a comment on your blog, be sure to return the favor. Ask for feedback from your viewers, and see what their responses are.

5. Don’t forget pictures!! Pictures add color and vibrancy to your blogs. Even if you aren’t a photographer, try it out and add your own photographs to your blog. People will be intrigued to see your perspective on photography.

6. Have a theme to your blog. You don’t need to always stick to the theme, but you do need some kind of structure to your blog. Think about your personal hobbies or things you enjoy doing, and start from there.

7. Always proof-read your posts. It’s easy to write and hit the “publish” button, but remember you are writing for other people to see. You wouldn’t turn in a paper with a number of errors, so don’t do it on your blog either. Spelling errors are annoying to look at, and may turn away some of your viewers.

8. Please, please don’t add music to your blog. Most people are already listening to music when they surf the web, and it’s annoying to look at someone’s blog and have two different kinds of music going. If you do add music, make sure the widget is located near the top of your blog, so viewers can easily turn it off, instead of having to search your whole blog to turn it off.

9. Read other blogs! Blogging is a great way to make connections and learn about others and their perspectives. I have learned so many things from other blogs, and that’s why I keep reading. Blogging can be like an internet-based support group, of people communicating and sharing ideas through the internet. Keep updated with what is going on in “bloggy world” by staying up to date with your blogging buddies and always try to visit new ones each week.

10. Be careful what you post. Remember that unless your blog is private, it’s open for all of the world to see. Don’t use your blog as a journal to write to the world of all the problems going on in your life. Remember, other people can see it and someone may accidentally stumble upon your content. Also, remember to respect the privacy of your friends when using names and pictures. Always ask for their permission first.

TOW 13: Writing an Introduction

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So, you’re giving a speech and someone else has been assigned the task of introducing you. It’s your job to write out the introduction and make sure the person giving it does so in a way that connects with the audience and is a good transition to your speech. OR you’re the one giving the introduction…

Image Credit: Talk Nerdy 2 Me

Here are a few tips on how to give, or write an engaging introduction…

1. Communicate with the person giving your speech. If you’re able, make sure you speak beforehand, with the person who will be giving the introduction. Be sure to tell them how you want the introduction given, what kind of body language they should use and what things they can emphasize. Taking this step will allow the person giving the speech to understand what you are looking for, and help you feel more at peace about it.

2. Don’t give away too much information. It’s good to highlight some biographical information about yourself, maybe where you grew up or went to school, but don’t allow the introduction to tell the audience all about who you are. Save some of the information for your speech…maybe use some in a story that can segway into your topic.

3. Think about your audience. Who are you talking to? What kind of things will your audience be interested in hearing about you? First impressions are key…so what is something you can write in your introduction that will allow the audience to make a connection with you before you begin speaking.

4. Be enthusiastic and use body language. Even if you are giving an introduction for someone else, be sure to use enthusiasm and good body language to get the audience excited. It’s this first step that will get the audience engaged in the speaker, so this is a key part.

For more information and tips on writing a good introduction or giving one, be sure to check out Lisa B Marshall’s blog.

TOW 12: Podcasts

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I think podcast’s can be especially helpful for all students who are working in the field of PR. They’re especially helpful for new PR students who are trying to learn and seeking advice from the experts. Although, I must admit, they can be a little confusing if you’re listening to one that features commentators who are “in the know” and well, you’re not quite there.

I chose two by Marketing Over Coffee. Why? I’m an avid coffee lover. It’s true. But also, I like the fact that their podcasts are never too long. I have a short attention span, so I can’t listen to some podcasts that go on for 45 minutes-1 hour.

During the first podcast, Wall and Penn discussed the fact that Pinterest is worth $1 billion dollars. That’s interesting to me since it just became popular and look how much money it’s worth. Same as Instagram. They talked about how different companies have been bought for different amounts of money including Myspace, Xynga and others.

There were other “techy” things talked about…but they lost me during that time.

They also talked about Titanic, and how there was an uprising on Twitter about how several people didn’t know it was real. I’m sorry, what? Some people apparently haven’t been reading their history books recently.

The second podcast I listened to talked about new iPad, Apple “techy” news. I told you they were really in the know about technical stuff. They also discussed the Facebook cover photos for Timeline, and how there are “rules” for what you can post as your cover photo. It seems unlikely that they will have the “force” to keep up with all of the users’ cover photos. And, moving into the technical/digital age the Encyclopedia Brittanica will no longer be published in print form–it’s all going online. This would make sense since they need to be able to keep up with sources like Wikipedia. Students are much more likely to search for information on Wikipedia than open a huge Encyclopedia, so this is probably a good decision.

Personally though, podcasts are just not for me. I have about 30 podcasts (they’re sermons, mind you) on my iTunes right now, and I’ve only listened to one or two. Not sure why I keep them on there…maybe it’s the hope that one day I’ll become interested and listen to them. This is just my opinion, but I realize that I’m much more able to retain content by reading it than listening.

If you’d like to hear more about Marketing Over Coffee, click here.

 

TOW: 11 The Info on Infographics

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Infographics have quickly become a popular reality in the social media world. In a world where people only want to look at and read fast-paced things, infographics are a great way to visually capture people. They take hard facts and information which previously would be read, and turn them into an illustrated picture. Honestly, I think they are genius. I am much more apt to look at an infographic with arrows and letters and pictures to further the thought being described, instead of reading an article which gives the same idea. They give a clean, fresh outlook on new material being delivered. The way social media is continuing to change, it’s no surprise to see something like the infographic taking off.

Image Credit: Marketing Julep

What is an Infographic? It’s a new way of telling information, in a new media. Infographics share information, including strategies and formulas, in a visual way. It’s kind of like a graphic essay. The key to creating a good infographic is to make sure all of the information is covered, and your audience can take one look at it and understand what you are trying to convey. This requires the creator being objective with how they design, using the right information, wording it correctly, using pictures, not too many symbols and proper placement.

Image Credit: SEO hatch

The best way to go about creating an infographic for your business or client would be to hire a designer, unless you are quite experienced in digital designs. If you’re feeling artsy, there are several simple “how to” guides available online with a quick Google search. I myself, have no idea how one would go about creating one, though I’d love to figure out how.

Personally, for my client, I’d love to create an infographic which shows the supporters of Hoola for Happiness, how their funding puts hula hoops in the hands of children overseas. I think it’d be a great way to help our supporters feel more connected and involved with what is going on in our organization. We already have a blog and youtube channel, but infographics are the new way to share lots of information.

Here are a few popular infographics…I picked the first two because they deal with hipsters and geeks, which I find the most funny to look at.

Image Credit: Salty Waffle

Image Credit: Daily Infographic

TOW: 10 Twit Twit Twitter

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I actually needed someone to explain to me what a Twitter chat is, because I had no idea. I’m still relatively new to the world of twitter, and seldom use it. I enjoy reading tweets from other people, but I usually have to remind myself to tweet, because I will forget.

This week we were supposed to participate in a public relations twitter chat. I think twitter chats are especially useful for people heavily involved in using twitter.  They can also be good for students like myself who are interested in learning more about PR and this is a fun way to do so.

I participated in one, but was so confused I didn’t end up saying anything, and actually didn’t stay long through it. The twitter chat went super fast and I had a hard time keeping up with it all, especially since I came in late. The one I participated in was #blogchat with Mark Collier. Tonight’s topic was about blogs and how to make the most of yours. This was interesting to me especially since I have a blog that I’m keeping for my PR class and I want to make sure it isn’t boring. There was some good information shared like changing up your blog every once in awhile to give it a fresh look, having an “about me” page that is especially unique to fit with your personality and of course, building up relationships with other bloggers. It was cool to see “how it all worked” but I didn’t find that I especially benefited from the chat. All of the information shared was stuff I already know that has been taught to me in classes..so either I know a lot, or my professors are doing a good job. That’s good either way.

For me, I just didn’t enjoy the twitter chat as much as I thought I would. It’s all about what each person likes, and for me, I’d much rather read someone’s blog then participate in a fast-paced chatting experience.

 

NOTE: This is a TOW for week 7, but posted on week 10.

 

TOW 8: Guest Post

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This week, I have the privilege of having my sweet and beautiful room-mate Jordyn Roe as a guest on my blog. Jordyn is a great writer and I thought this was a beautiful post which captures so much…hopefully you will blessed as much as I was by it!

Imagery

The eyes we carry were made by the ultimate creator of beautiful things to be seen. God gave us the ability to do more than just see, but hear, and taste, smell and touch. The most fulfilling way to see his creation is through the same lens he sees us, through the eyes. We are a visually stimulated society and have become used to the constant flow of images directed right towards us, whether it be advertisements or trees along the frequently driven roads we cross.

In the midst of this common occurence in our day-to-day lives we have become accustomed to it and thoroughly enjoy the influx of beautiful things we are blessed to see. Without an image next to a description we often feel jipped of the full experience. When we flip through the pages of a cook book or Kitchen Magicians Blog we look forward to those images that will give us proof that all the sweat spent slaving away in the Kitchen was worth it. When choosing images make sure that what you are describing or perhaps the topic in your blogs meshes well with the image you choose to accompany  your words. The photo or photos chosen need to be aesthetically pleasing to the eyes of the reader. When they see the image you want them to feel inspired or content in seeing an abundance of beautiful things or simply an image that gives reality to the text.

As you are searching for your images make sure that you choose an image that the photographer or designer has allowed to be reposted and used by other social media users. The websites you are looking at will inform you of the policies and standards that they expect the user to follow. In every image used you will want to give credit where credit is due by linking the image to the original source in which the image came from. You wouldn’t want your work to be floating around the internet without being sourced to you, so be courteous and do the same for other creative minds alike.

TOW 7: NewsU Overview

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I recently completed a course from the Poynter’s NewsU website called The Language of the Image. For me, this was my favorite course thus far because it corresponds with one of my passions and hobbies: photography.

The reason why I am pursuing a degree in Journalism/PR is because I love photography and photojournalism. I’ve been blessed to travel the world many times and have visited ten countries from Jamaica to Chile to China. Each time, I’ve taken my camera and snapped tons of photographs to remember my time there and the people I have met. I love photographs because they have the ability to freeze a precious moment in time and instantly take you back to it whenever you look at it. My room at school and home are covered in photographs, mostly of the different countries I have traveled to, and people I have met.

I felt this class was especially important for those who are studying Journalism and how to take a photo, correctly. For me, most of the information was basic and stuff I already knew, but that is because I have been doing photography for over eight years now. The course especially drew attention to the fact that photographs are the main way of telling a story, and as a photographer, it’s important to tell the story to your audience in your photograph.

Image Credit: Sera Manubens

Here’s a favorite photo of mine from Israel in February 2011. This photograph was taken at the Western Wall in Jerusalem during a bar’mitzvah. I don’t remember if it was for the boy in the photograph, but I was struck by his love for the Torah, which he is kissing. There were several bar’mitzvah’s going on while I was there and it was a mixture of chaos and joy all at the same time. In this photograph you can see how the older man seem to be caught up in the chaos of the day, and yet the boy shows his love for the precious words of God. To me, it’s a beautiful representation of child-like faith, which we seem to loose as we age.

Photography is an important part of Journalism, and for most people, it’s simply a picture that has a way of breaking their hearts and moving them to action, or simply overlooking and turning the page to the next issue. Remember as you take your photographs that you are telling a story to someone else, so do your best to show it in that photo.