Every year here at Solent, our CIPR representative organises a little liaison event between students and PR professionals called Meet the Professionals. This year I’d like to think it was very successful. Not just because we had our own hashtag which you can see in the title (although it was very helpful) or the fact that it was organised by the lovely Claire Hodson, our own course mate, but also because of the number of people that turned up and especially left satisfied.
The event kicked off with two guest lectures, the first one was given by Bill Reed, Managing Director at St. Cross Group. He talked about the importance of opinion leaders and their influence as well as how to manage communication with this stakeholder group. I couldn’t help but think about one of our most recent course discoveries, and might I add a heavily used tool this academic year, the VMM (Valid metrics matrix). The way in which Mr. Reed explained his topic linked in perfectly with what we had been introduced in our PR Strategy unit.
This lecture was shortly followed by David Clare’s presentation (Programme Executive at 33 Digital) on social and digital media and the many uses these have in the PR world. I found this very helpful not only because I am writing my dissertation about luxury brands and their use of social media, but also on a personal level. He encouraged us to try as many social networks as possible and to experiment with our profiles while keeping in mind how we can make them work for us.
After the two lectures we went on to the “speed dating” part of the night where, in small groups, we were able to discuss with the professionals, ask them questions and find out more about what it is they do. Just like last year, I found this part of the evening to be extremely interesting as we had the opportunity to learn new things about the industry from active practitioners.
I noticed that, while I was at the first table the answer to the question “What exactly do you want to do after uni?” was a total mistery but as I was going from table to table asking questions and interacting with the PRos I found myself forming an opinion about the field I wanted to work in. And I observed the same thing happening with my fellow students. By the end of the night I had a pretty good idea about I believed would suit me and where I could use my skills better in the PR world.
All in all, I can say I enjoyed this evening of networking and even gained something more from it, not just contacts, but also an idea of what I’d like to do in the future. I can only hope that my fellow course mates felt the same way and that the professionals enjoyed it as much as we have.
When it comes to social media and networking there is always a new kid on the block. In the last few weeks the website that was on everyone’s lips was Pinterest. Even though it was launched in 2010, it’s only now that everyone has started raving about it. Early adopters were praising it, new users were amazed while others were asking around for invites.
Now, I like trying new things, especially when it comes to social media so I went for it. I got myself an invite and started surfing around Pinterest. Basically, it’s an photo sharing website that enables users to create photo collections or ‘boards’ by pinning different media in them. Pinterest makes it easy for users to share this media by ‘repining’ and encourages users to follow the activity of others that have the same interests.
Basically, I just saw a much more simplified Tumblr that gave the impression of exclusivity. As I was browsing through boards and pins the one thing I noticed is that the age of users is a tad higher than those on Tumblr and because it is a bit more specialised and looks clearer and more professional it could be easier for companies to use. One of the important things I believe it’s missing is the ability to customise the look which companies might have a problem with as they want to maintain a cohesive image.
Now, I am an advocate for using social media as a tool for businesses and I have my favorites, such as Twitter and Tumblr. I believe these two microblogging tools are really useful for most companies, and they have the most potential for getting engagement, but I still see Pinterest as a lesser Tumblr.
The other day I read a blog post about Pinterest being a new form of social advertising but I saw no new features that differentiate this website from Tumblr. Tumblr users can also post just through the click of one button and redirect their followers with one click on the picture, but they also have the option of not doing it. Also, I still believe Tumblr offers more options such as the newly added highlighted posts and has a more organised dashboard.
What do you think about Pinterest? Do you love it/hate it? Let me know, especially if you’re a Tumblr user.