Gen Yers have a chance!

Recently I have been hard at work on a marketing project for my internet marketing course.  We were having a discussion one day in class when we came to the realization that my generation does not have an icon.  It’s true.  Generations before us have had Bob Marley, Elvis, The Beetles, but we all don’t even like the same music so the chances of finding a common icon will be nearly impossible.  Good thing my marketing professor is set on changing that because for my final marketing project my group and I are in charge of creating a website that will bring my generation together in the hopes of finding a common icon.  As I compile research for this project I am coming across a few realizations of my own.  The best one so far; I think Gen Yers will make great public relations professionals.

First off, social media is taking over.  That’s why I am taking that marketing class as well as the PR class that has me writing these blogs, so that I can learn how to take advantage of the online tools around me and become more marketable.  With that, I am learning exactly how to use social media to create campaigns that work.  Social media doesn’t work for everyone and I am glad that I am getting that lesson now.

Social media includes tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. and my generation spends the majority of their time on these sites, which means that when I get out there and are asked to create a social media public relations campaign that generates results, I will be more than ready.  I have grown up with these tools and know them inside and out.

Secondly, I know I was asked to keep this blog for a couple reasons.  More importantly, so that I can improve my writing skills, have a portfolio-like space, and learn the ins and outs of wordpress.com, a tool that many PR professionals at large organizations are taking up.

Public relations professionals blog.  It’s part of keeping up with the social media trend, and now I feel more ready.  Today, I am spending my time online creating and learning from a social media site instead of stalking somebody on Facebook.

I found an interesting video on Gen Yers for your entertainment.  Check it out below.

Why I will be prepared to enter the workforce as a public relations professional

I think college students looking to enter the workforce as public relations professionals will be well-trained.  I wish I was referring to the classes that they will have hopefully taken, but I’m not. Public relations professors keep telling us that as PR professionals we will not work the typical 9 to 5 job, but for the past four years I have not kept a typical schedule at all.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays for instance, I wake up at 10:30, go to class till 6:45 and then go to bed at 2 a.m.  That’s only if I don’t have anything major going on of course, because during finals I’ll usually go to bed at 4 or 5 a.m. (I know, it’s probably best to go to bed at 9 since I’m probaly doomed to fail anyway).

The point I’m trying to make is that when I graduate and get my first job I will probaly go crazy.  Having to wake up at 7 to get to work by 9 a.m. is going to be awful.  I really hope that all my professors have been right when they tell us that we are going to have crazy schedules, because that has been my life for the past several years.

Further, they tell us to be ready for the unexpected because that’s what crisis communications is all about.  Well I can’t even remember all the times I’ve shown up to school half an hour before class and had someone tell me that we have a paper due or an exam.  In those times of panic I’ve had to think fast and work fast.  This usually happens rarely to me since I tend to lean toward the prepared side, but I know for a fact that we have all done it.  My generation has been trained to think fast, especially when we are put on the spot.  I hear that this is what public relations is all about.  Thinking fast and solving problems.

Good thing I’m in college, getting trained in all departments so that when I start my career in public relations I will be ready for the long hours and any all-nighters.

The art of writing good…I mean well

As the end of the semester approaches there are many group projects that need to be done.  During the last couple weeks I have worked very hard on a very long public service campaign and also on a marketing campaign.  Group projects are hard to do, but professors tell us that when we enter the real world we will be forced to work with other people, so they insist that it is best to gain practice now.  It’s definitely tough though, especially when we all have incredibly different schedules, at least in the workforce we will all be in the same office.  Anyway, to make things easier for ourselves for my group projects we meet a few times and then each person takes a piece of the puzzle to work on.  For instance, some one will take the SWOT another person the market analysis, then the competitor analysis and so on.  Then usually one person is in charge of compiling all the pieces into one big document.  I volunteered to be the collector for my public service campaign and what I have seen has not been pretty.  My public service class is made up of mostly seniors, seniors who will be entering the workplace soon, and I hate to say this, but I don’t think we are ready.

I have started getting papers back from everyone and the number of grammatical mistakes that I have seen is unreal.  We are supposed to be the communicators, the writers who know this stuff inside and out, but many of us are apparently about to graduate with out a good grasp of the subject.  It’s scary.  We will soon be out there writing news releases, brochures, and emails that will be grammatically incorrect.

What’s even worst is that apparently it’s not just us.  According to this post, even seasoned editors miss many mistakes on a regular basis.  If people who have been in the workforce for years and years are making mistakes what hope is there for us?

I don’t think that I’m a horrible writer, but after seeing the work of my fellow students I feel like there are probably many mistakes that I’m making without even realizing it.  I guess the only solution to this is to write often so that I can practice, and then read articles like this one when I get stuck because after I graduate I will no longer have a professor to go to for guidance every time I need help (I mean, I guess I could, but they would probably be annoyed).  Soon, it’s basically going to be up to me to catch mistakes.  Or at least I hope it’s me, and not my reader.  Good thing I’m taking Writing for PR this semester.

CSR and IBM

I feel like I’ve been hearing that acronym a lot lately.  CSR or corporate social responsibility seems to be a growing trend.  Or is it a trend? Either way, it’s something companies should be doing.  CSR is synonymous with corporations and their efforts to become good corporate citizens.  I don’t think I really understood the value of CSR until earlier this semester when I had to research the CSR efforts of IBM.

IBM was ranked third in Corporate Social Responsibility by CRO Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens for 2009 and if one visits their website it is easy to tell why.  A good portion of their corporate website is dedicated to their CSR initiatives, programs and efforts.  And if one types “Corporate Social Responsibility” on their search box another section dedicated to showing other companies how to set up their own corporate responsibility initiatives will be displayed.

IBM states on their website that the main focus of their corporate citizenship activities is on “developing initiatives to address specific societal issues, such as the environment, community economic development, education, health, literacy, language and culture.  [They] employ IBM’s most valuable resources, [their] technology and talent, in order to create innovative programs in these areas to assist communities around the world.“  IBM is mainly active in seven main areas.  They understand that the world is connected so they make it a point to contribute in crucial affairs.  They help when disasters strike.  They assist victims of natural disasters with their Web-based “disaster relief in a box” management system, which provides essential tools for tracking missing persons, coordinating relief efforts and managing pledges for support.  Additionally, they address food shortages.  For instance, IBM is using their World Community Grid to improve the food itself by computing genetic data to develop stronger strains of rice.  They are hoping to provide “more nutritious yields, pest and disease resistance, and better water and nutrient use.”  Thirdly, they are making energy grids more efficient.  IBM is leading seven of the world’s top ten automated meter projects because according to them “a smart grid can save electricity and money and the planet, by linking smart meters in the home with instrumented power lines and plants.”  It seems that IBM’s corporate citizenship initiatives are pretty well rounded.  They are also improving educational opportunities.  They are creating the “Reinventing Education” program, which aims to bring the right people together in order to “identify barriers, develop solutions and implement them via the BlueSky open source portal.”  They have developed voice-recognition technology now in use in hundreds of schools around the world.  They also have early childhood interactive learning centers set up which makes sense for them since children are the future and some of them could end up working for IBM some day.  Furthermore, IBM does much for the environment by partnering with The Nature Conservancy to build advanced web-based tools for river basin management.  The software they have developed helps visualize the impact on ecosystem services and biodiversity of different scenarios for land water use.  IBM finds more than one way to help the community.  They have set up IBM’s “corporate Peace Corps.”  The program allows them to send teams of employees to different emerging countries to work on projects that combine economic development and job creation.  Lastly they are using software to plan the growth of our cities intelligently.  They are helping improve the concept of information sharing so that municipal services will be more efficient.

Overall everything on IBM’s agenda makes sense for them.  They are using what they do best, new software technologies for instance, in order to create a better tomorrow.  The reality is that their fast developing technologies can cater to a variety of areas or industries so they have the freedom to concentrate on whatever they desire.   I think they have made smart choices in that they have chosen to focus on important matters that really can and will affect the entire world.

They do a terrific job explaining in-depth what CSR is so that they can encourage other companies to take part.  They are a terrific example of what good CSR is and they are definitely making their presence known.

In my opinion, we need more companies like this.

Maybe I should consider blogging as a career…

So here’s the truth: I am not a “real blogger,” I’m not doing this because I care so much about the world of public relations that I find the need to share my thoughts with the rest of the world.  I am doing this because I am taking a Public Relations Writing course this semester and my professor considers it good practice to keep a blog.  I am basically writing this blog for a grade.  Don’t misunderstand me, I mean, yes I care about the public relations industry and that is why I am considering it as a career, but I guess I just don’t consider myself worthy enough to have a blog yet because I just don’t think of myself as an expert…and usually bloggers are experts right?  Well they are definitely something because according to this article on VentureBeat the average revenue for a full-time blogger is $122,222.  Now that is what I call crazy.  How is it that newspapers around the country are crashing down and bloggers are making a six figure income?  I just don’t understand.  On second-thought, maybe I should look into blogging as a full-time career.  I guess I would have never thought about writing a blog if it had not been assigned to me, so maybe I should thank my professor as he is pointing us in the direction of a super affluent income.  Or is he?  It looks like part-timers will only average about $14,777 which really is not all that much.  So in order to make the big bucks I would have to become super popular, and then go around giving speeches, and selling competitive ad space.  It looks like in order to really make some money you have to commit yourself 100%.  I’m not sure if I am ready for that.  I guess I will determine whether I want to become a die-hard blogger or not at the end of the semester when I get my grade.  Until then tell me, what are your thoughts?  How much are you bloggers making out there?