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Can students help other students? You bet!

I was flipping through Technorati today when I stumbled upon a mention of this blog. For your information, Technorati is a search engine geared towards fast updating webpages like news, blogs, and others. It’s a fantastic resource because, as the website points out, “Unlike other engines, our results are individual posts (portions of pages), so they’re more specific. Search results are listed newest to oldest, and are often only minutes old!” So bookmark or add to your favorites the Technorati search engine.

Anyway, I found a flattering comment posted by Robert French from Auburn University on his professor blog (his other blog is here). He writes:

Another great blog I suggest you check out is the new Graduate Observations of Public Relations at WordPress.com. OK, not that new, but new to my students. Check it out. Glad to see some grad students blogging. Congrats!

To which I say, “Thank you.” And actually, Robert, it is fairly new. We’re just over a month and a half old at this point and looking forward to going strong. When I graduate in May, however, I’ll have to change the name, eh? By then the MA after my name will give me an air of credibility – right? Correct? Hello? Is this thing on?

Check out his InfOpinions site to read the whole post and our comments.

So I emailed Robert to get some more information about the Auburn sites and how they are all related, here is the abridged (and approved, of course) email he returned:

Essentially, there are three main sites – with many parts, or sub-sites, involved. Those three sites are: PRblogs.org; Marcomblog.com; AuburnMedia.com

PRblogs.org – The site offers a free WordPress Multiuser blog to anyone involved in, or interested in, public relations to create a blog. All lof my students now have their blogs there each semester and this will allow them, if they wish, to continue blogging after class and graduation. I think of PRblogs as a community, but also as a jump off point for those new to blogging. After blogging there for awhile, it is possible to go off and establish your own domain and import your old posts into the new site.

My students are required to blog in their classes. The focus of their posts depends upon the course. This semester the Style & Design students post twice a week in their blogs. The Survey Research students post once a week in their blogs and it must focus on Survey Research.

The content must focus on PR/Marcom – anything about PR/Marcom. Ideally they will (a) develop an awareness of the latest PR issues and trends while (b) perhaps applying the ideas they gain to their future PR practice. Students are also required to seek out other blogs and post two comments in those blogs each week. The idea there is to help them begin conversations (networking) with established PR practitioners around the world. Some of these relationships have already led to internships and jobs. The best part is that the students now have an opportunity to meet practitoners they never would have know about – let alone get to interact with before.

Marcomblog.com: This is a virtual online mentoring program. Ten professionals from a variety of PR/Marcom firms, and PR support companies, have volunteered to post on a fairly regular basis about latest trends. The students read their posts and are required to post comments each week. The conversations often spill over into email interaction directly between the practitioner and student. The participants are from all over the world.

We have contributors from the US (west coast to east coast), The Netherlands, Denmark, Spain and France. They range from large firms (Edelman, Weber-Shandwick) to medium/boutique firms and individual practitioners/consultants and one educator. I do not tend to post there often. My students get enough of me in my blog and classes.

AuburnMedia.com: That is my site and where I host my blog. OK, they are all my sites, I manage them, but you get my drift. I also try out new software all the time and share those installations with my students. Most are opensource and range from lead generators to wikis to calendars to portals and any other social media I can find.

Finally, we also have wikis interspersed throughout. The one we most often use for class is Marcomblog Wiki at http://www.marcomblog.com/wikimedia/ That site is used for everything from group press release writing exercises to just learning what a Wiki is and how to use it. It is also a repository for various links to blog/wiki related background information.

So there you have it. What a fantastic resource PR students or practitioners wanting to learn more and perhaps try out the blogging medium. What I’ve read on the PRBlogs site leads me to believe the students appear to be on the cutting edge of new media and are well informed, creative, and willing to discuss – my favorite aspect of the blogosphere. The site Marcom Blog features posts by marketing communication and PR professionals with advice, information, and mentoring. Another great resource. Check out these links, join the discussions, and offer your own opinions.

Can students help other students, you bet, and with active pros offering advice and guidance, how can PR go wrong?

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2 Responses

  1. Carol, eh?

    I came across a site that might be of interest to PR people looking for the latest buzzwords to use in press kits, news releases, websites, blogs, podcasts, or speeches. I am using it in a speaking class this semester. It is BuzzWhack’s Buzzword Compliant Dictionary. Fascinating how much reality tv, blogs, podcasting, etc. have evolved into the language. Check it out at http://www.buzzwhack.com/buzzcomp/indac.htm The site has a good alphabetical index. Five examples:

    “Voted off the island: To get booted from a team, task force or committee. Also, to get fired or laid off. “Jack no longer works here. He got voted off the island.”
    Nominated by Scott Haddon

    “Cyberchondriacs: People who obsessively pore through health Web sites in search of diseases and symptoms with which to misdiagnose themselves.”
    Nominated by Lyn Laboriel

    “Google stalk: The act of using Google to research a potential boyfriend or girlfriend with the hope of obtaining information as to his or her interests.”
    Nominated by Nicole Sherrod

    “Kudo loop: The seemingly endless e-mail loop that occurs when everyone in the office feels they must add their 2 cents to that “Great Job!” company-wide e-mail from the boss.”
    Nominated by Sarah Beatty

    “Photox: The process of digitally removing wrinkles and blemishes from a photograph of one’s face by using Adobe Photoshop or other image manipulation software.”
    Nominated by Rick Roach

  2. Carol,
    Thanks for the laugh and the link. Keep them coming.

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