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The Royal Wedding is expected to get plenty of coverage: 8,000 journalists. But there will be more citizen journalism than ever before. In the last Royal Wedding with Prince Charles, journalists and photographers helped shape the romantic atmosphere for the public. Everyone tuned in to hear their depiction of the events.

This Royal Wedding will allow the public to attend and provide their own commentary, literally. The Royals decided to open the wedding up to social media. They even have their own YouTube channel: The Royal Channel.

So go ahead, download the smart phone app, follow the tweets updates (#rw2011), tune in at 10 AM London time on Friday, send best wishes to their YouTube channel and attend the event on Facebook. I know that I will be up at 5am watching and tweeting right along with you.

But why are we so interested in this iconic Royal couple? I personally don’t want to be the only one who didn’t watch. It is news.  But as I tuned in to my morning radio station, I heard the morning talk show hosts debate about whether or not the excitement for the Royal Wedding was un-American. Their argument: We left the British empire, so we should not care. They then said that they understood why women would watch (for the romance and fashion) but not men.

You have got to be kidding me. Un-American because we are our own country! People tune in to our latest news and events from other countries all the time. If you ask me the Royal Wedding will connect people all over the world by integrating social media into their events.

Yes, it is just a wedding ceremony. But when millions (maybe even billions) of people are all watching, reading, and engaging about the same thing at the same time, the wedding will turn into much more than just a ceremony.

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For those of you who don’t know, I have a twin sister who goes to UGA. She and I have shared a car since we were 16. While most of my friends could not even imagine sharing a car, I did not think it was that bad in high school.  I would get the car every other day — not a terrible situation.

When we went off to college our parents decided that we did not need cars as freshmen. But come sophomore year, she and I were determined to work something out. The solution: I got the car fall semester, she got it spring and we shared over the summer. The problem with our solution was that one semester with a car made the semester without a car so much worse! She is also graduating a year early, and we will most likely not be living in the same city this summer.

I know I had to do something, so I started to save my money to buy my first car. After four months of looking online and hearing many people promise they found me my dream car (my dream car to my dad was a minivan and my dream car to my grandfather was a convertible that I could not afford to pay insurance on). I finally found my car, a 2003 Mazda 6 that my twin sister named Jolene.

I had help looking; don’t get me wrong. But I did most of the process on my own, and I found it to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. So here are my 10 Tips for Car Shopping in College:

  1. Be Practical: Most likely this car has to last you at least five years, so you need something dependable. You also need a car that does not make your insurance impossible to afford.
  2. Know Where to Look: AutoTrader.com is a great tool. You can specify exactly what you want and put it in your price range. Remember you have to actually drive to where the car is to look at it in person.
  3. Live Near a Big City: I am in Statesboro, and there are no cars down here. Try to look around big cities: more people = more cars.
  4. Bring a Friend who Knows Cars: You know those people who can listen to an engine, look under a hood and tell you everything you need to know about cars. Make one of those people your friends, and take them car shopping. However, what you really need is a fortune teller to let you know how long the car will last you.
  5. Get it Checked Out: Have in mind a mechanic that you trust and remember this will cost you extra. If you are at a dealership get an insurance wavier to take the car to your own trusted mechanic.
  6. Be Prepared with Insurance: First make sure you can get a free quote. Next look at the VIN number on the bottom right side of the windshield. Call your insurance company give them the make, model, year and VIN. They will give you a quote that you can compare with each car you look at.
  7. Know Someone Who Can Get You a Deal: Cars are expensive. So unless you are the best bargainer in the world, you need someone with you who has connections to get the best price.
  8. Ask a Million Questions: Car dealers like to slither around answers. Don’t let that fool you! Ask what am I signing, why does it look that way, why do I have to pay this, will you clean that out? Don’t assume: ask.
  9. Be Smart: Walk around the car look for anything unusual. Check the radio and air conditioning. Listen to the engine run — weird noises are not normal. If you aren’t convinced it is a good car, then it probably isn’t.
  10. Be Prepared to Pay: If you can pay cash, then do it. Financing is just one more bill. Understand that a car means money for insurance, gas and repairs. A car is a big investment, but it is worth it.

Meet Jolene:



Tweeting during surgery could change health care. But is is a good or bad thing?

First of all everything health care professionals do will be announced to the public if they tweet during surgery. This means that every decisions can be scrutinized. This also means that suggestions and advice can be given instantaneously. But will this affect how effectively they work? Will the incoming tweets be a distraction? Will health care professionals be too nervous to make sound decisions?

Looking on the bright side patients can take comfort knowing that their team of health care professionals will grow by the thousands. There will no longer be only one surgeon. There will be one surgeon with thousands who can tweet advice in minutes.

The scariest part about all this is privacy. Surgery is dangerous and risky. So why would anyone allow their surgeons to tweet out the process. What if something goes wrong? Do the family members worried in the waiting room really want to read a play-by-play of tweets while their loved one struggles for life on a table?

Grey’s Anatomy has thrown out dramatic twists and turns on the show for years. Tweeting surgery may just be another one of their dramatized ideas. But this idea can and might already be happening. Do you know of any health care professionals who tweet out their procedures? Do you think that this will liberate patients from the secret lives of health care professionals? I guess only time can tell what will happen if this trend catches on.


As a student, I have plenty of questions about public relations and the professional world in general. Some of the best answers and advice that I have received, have come from professionals who are currently working in a variety of different fields. Those professionals are doing what we aspire to be doing. They have made it through their internships. They have made it through their first real jobs. So it is time we learned something from them and let them tell us how they “PRactice what you PReach.”

My first interview is with Jeremy Pepper. He is a PR professional who has worked with clients such as Cisco, GM and Verizon Wireless. Pepper has also worked with smaller “grass roots efforts.” He understands that “the basis of any
campaign starts locally.” Pepper currently works as the Director of Public Relations and Social Media at Palisade Systems, but he also owns POP! Public Relations. Pepper was not afraid to be in the first wave of PR pros to accept integrating social media into the mix. His award-winning blog, POP! PR Jots, and his participation in communities such as BlogHer prove that he is not only credible but passionate for the field. With all his experience, Pepper has some strong opinions about PR and social media. I hope you all enjoy and learn from them as much as I have.
 
 
Q1: Looking back at your experience so far in PR, what inspired you to start out in the field?
 
A1: I fell into public relations – I studied philosophy at the University and wrote for the college paper as well as running student government campaigns. During that time I was helping a friend out on a PR campaign and he suggested I go into public relations. And the big part was the ability to talk to people, get them to relate and write well. Plus, working on the breast cancer stamp.
 
 
Q2: You have had experience working with huge companies such as Cisco and General Motors, but you also have worked local PR jobs. In your opinion, would you rather work on the larger PR projects or the local “grass roots efforts” and why?
 
A2: Both have their benefits, and, of course their downsides. Working on grassroots efforts, there are greater chances to get to do bigger work and more responsibilities, while the bigger accounts have bigger budgets and more opportunities to learn how big companies work in PR and social media. Right now, I like working on the large corporations (while I still do small companies and grassroots outreach). The bigger the corporation, the bigger the project, the bigger the budget – and the bigger the idea. But like I noted, both have their pluses and minuses.
 
 
Q3: You were ahead of the game when social media entered the playing field. How did you get a jump-start with social media and what was the most difficult part about the transition?
 
A3: I’ve always been somewhat a tech geek, so like different and new technologies out there. Plus being in San Francisco during the launch of most of the stuff gave me the opportunity to meet many of the developing companies at events and try out the tech as an early adopter (I have a whole blog post on it). But a big part of it was working on Kodak and doing outreach to influencer sites (eg, DPReview, Steves-Digicams, Imaging-Resource) as well as chat groups on the topic on Usenet. At the end of the day, though, it’s about community relations, whether it’s online or offline (or in real life). So I just always put that to use in PR and social media: finding the audience that might be interested in what I’m working on, and letting them know about it.
 

Q4: Many college students, including myself, are having to adapt their social media styles to a more professional audience. Do you have any tips for how students can stand out to PR professionals using social media?

A4: First thing is to network. But another key part – and probably the most important – is to know what you don’t know. Too many students walk in thinking they’re the end-all, be-all in social media without realizing that just because they’re the “digital generation” doesn’t translate into actually understanding how the tools work in a corporate environment, or how to design a plan with strategies, tactics and outcomes that best fit what the client wants AND needs.

But a key thing to take-away is that everything (or almost everything) is public. If you are going to friend people on Facebook that are potential bosses or colleagues, set up another group or setting that limits what they can see. And start building a portfolio with tangible results. This is an opportunity to highlight yourself with the usual internships, but also to show your value. Don’t let them treat you like an intern, but also strive to learn and listen.

Q5: Many companies are still not using social media. I have had professors suggest that I offer myself as a social media intern to gain more experience. However, I have a difficult time pitching to these companies and non-profits what I can offer as a social media intern. What advice can you give about pitching a social media position to a company or non-profit that does not currently use social media or utilize it to its fullest potential?

A5: Well, it’s hard pitching yourself as a social media expert to companies or non-profits as you are still in college. For internships, though, there are some opportunities but you need to present the pro’s (and con’s) of social media engagement, as well as conveying that this isn’t a one-off for them to do but something that needs to be done post-internship. Explain to the NPOs, etc that social media is an extension of their community relations or customer engagement and then showcase what is already being said in the space, on Twitter, in blogs.

One of the hard things here is that I’m one of the people that says never to rely on an intern for social media programs. Too often, they do not know the intricacies of the business and are unable to answer the harder questions, or say no comment in a polished way. There’s a way to deflect and not answer that still seems like an answer.

Q6: You speak at many different Universities giving advice to students. What is the most common problem you see with students and what advice do you offer to help fix the problem?

A6: I think I addressed it above, but there is this whole “we’re the digital generation, we know better” attitude that needs to go away. Being on Facebook or Twitter or Foursquare (or whatever) doesn’t mean that you understand how to use them in a campaign. It amazes me to see students lecturing long-time PR people (including me) on digital and how I don’t understand it because I’m too old. Um, okay, but ageism doesn’t work and the older people are what run the accounts.

It’s a partnership – and we’re all here to learn. But too many young people think there’s nothing to learn or anyone they can learn from nowadays.

Q7: You have had a lot of success with your blog, POP! PR Jots. What advice can you give to PR students who are trying to stand out with their own blog?

A7: Write for yourself and a few friends. I’ve always written for a handful of people, friends that are also in the industry, so I don’t worry about audiences. If you write worrying about numbers and audience, it’s going to sound forced and trying too hard. But if you write for a few people, write in a way that they’ll be interested in and will read, you’ll come to a natural voice. Yes, I tend to chose more interesting topics, but I’m also writing for an audience that my equal.

If I wrote for traffic, I’d write daily and write long drivel that says nothing. There are enough social media blogs that do that – and do it quite well – but I’d rather help change the industry. The other thing I see – a lot – is the “you write for me, I’ll write for you” sharing nowadays. It’s a way to grow traffic, find new audiences, but I don’t partake as I’d rather keep it on my own site.

Another thing to look at is syndication. It’s a way to grow audiences. But key is having a natural, normal voice.

Q8: Any extra comments or advice you have is greatly appreciated.

A8: Advice: don’t be in such a rush. There is so much out there in public relations and social media that we all have to learn, that it takes time. And it’s about doing your time. We all start out at the bottom and work our way up. Yes, some faster than others.

But it’s not a race. Relax, have some fun and just do good work and things should come to you. But, I’ve heard too many stories of students or junior people presenting themselves as experts, and then it blowing up in their faces with clients and agencies. Badly.


Twenty-four hours without sleep can seem like an eternity. Whether it’s an all night cram session for that calculus final, a nurse’s first night shift, a crying baby, or the shortest stick on the cross-country road trip, the only thing slower than those 24 hours is that getting ready process the next morning.

But imagine if you were staying up 24 hours because you could not sleep after your doctor diagnosed you with cancer. I say imagine knowing all too well that many of you have been faced with this situation. Cancer has touched so many people’s lives. So what are you doing to help those families (your own family) with the fear, sadness and hopelessness that they have felt during those first 24 hours?

Join teams from your community to help The American Cancer Society.

Honor your loved ones with luminaries and inspire so many others to Relay. We are not sleeping because cancer does not sleep, and we are fighting for more birthdays.

Relay for Life Bulloch County will be April 29th at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fairgrounds. Use your 24 hours to make a difference and join us to relay.

My reason to Relay: Merrill King.

Devon King is one of my friend’s from high school. They are sisters that were separated too early because of Merrill’s battle with leukemia. I Relay in hopes that no more big sisters ever have to say goodbye to their little sisters.

What’s your reason to Relay?


If you are sitting at work like I am watching the clock, then I hope this post can give you some relief from the “I wish 5 o’clock would hurry up” boredom.

This first picture had me dying laughing this morning. I can’t believe this poor girl actually thought she knew how to spell.

Next is something that I can’t believe I found. I am constantly looking for ways to spice up my resume, create an online portfolio and in general make myself look more desirable to future employees. But this girl decided to tell companies why they should hire her to the sound of Miley Cyrus. This may not be for everyone, but in this economy I can’t blame the girl for trying.

Before I leave for the day I want to send out this picture in hopes that an annoying tune will replay over and over again in your mind. Happy Weekend everyone!


This year I can’t help but feel  like I have been riding a wild horse with roller blades strapped to its feet through a whirl wind of clubs, societies, seminars, meetings, webinars, conferences, interviews, classes, work and so on. I have a never ending to-do list with ways to increase my professional resume. I refuse to graduate without feeling fulfilled in all things college life. I could hire a full time assistant just to manage my social media sites. And I just wish I could clone myself to be social at the pool and be at work all at the same time.

After debating constantly with my friends over who is busier, I have decided that our plates are all just about over flowing. The worst part is there is a lingering thought constantly haunting us. If we stop working, slow down for just one minute or make the wrong decision, we might be finding ourselves stuck in our parents’ basements working  dead-end jobs where all our hard work never paid off.

There is one thing that keeps me calm through all the madness. I go back to the familiar. I go back to the routine that I have been doing since my first day at kindergarten. I remember that first and for most I am a student. And while I near the end of my junior year at college, I feel like being a student is one thing that I can be confident in.

If you feel like you could use more confidence in your classes, here are some tips that have never failed me:

  1. Never skip class.
  2. Never miss a homework assignment.
  3. Never skip a quiz.
  4. Find at least one friend in every class.
  5. Keep an updated agenda, calendar and to-do list.
  6. Make sure every professor knows you by name.
  7. Always study more than one day in advance.
  8. Check and re-check all assignments for errors.
  9. Keep a back up file on hand.
  10. Keep the style book of your professor’s choosing with you at all times.

I want to know: How are you or how did you survive college?

(The perfect depiction of my fears from Techie Nation.)

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