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Ok, so I know when you got an email or a Facebook message or a shameless plug from me or MK, most of you probably thought we were crazy for still blogging and totally geeky for setting up this site and expecting you to get in on it. Neither of those assumptions would be totally off base. But nerdy confessions aside, there are some great reasons why you should get back into blogging. And PR Grads is the perfect place to start.

  1. Because it could get you a job! This one should be reason enough for most of you. Whether you have one now or are still looking, getting a respectable, enjoyable PR job is no easy task. Participating in online communities and displaying your internet savvy and casual writing skills through blogging are a great way to set yourself apart. Just ask MK, who is working for Edelman (due largely to her mad social media skillz).
  2. Because it’s the perfect networking opportunity (and it’s more respectable than Facebook). Let’s face it. A huge part of what we do as PRs goes back to networking. The success of a campaign can hinge on the relationships you’ve cultivated. As cheesy as it sounds, we all have a sweet little War Eagle bond as AU PR grads. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to keep that going throughout our professional careers and have instant support for things that we do?!
  3. Because not only do you make the relationships you already have stronger through conversing regularly, you also form new relationships through blogging. And while these relationships may seem a little silly or sketchy (like the thought of online dating), they actually are real. I tested it out myself earlier this week when I went to NY for a job interview (that I got through my blog) and got to connect in real life with some of my blog and twitter friends. I had a blast.
  4. Because you stopped learning when you graduated (some of us did before we graduated), and it’s about time you started back up again.
  5. Because no one here will judge you for your lapses in AP style or a spelling oversight. But we will help you hone your arguments, generate new ideas you wouldn’t have thought of, and offer insight on how to deal with work problems or challenges…many heads are better than one.
  6. Because our business is changing by the second these days, and the only way to keep up with those changes is to be a part of them.
  7. Because conversation is the future (and the past) of PR, and you need to be having more of them.
  8. Because you secretly want to know where all of your former classmates are working, what kinds of projects they are doing, how much money they are making, and if there are better opportunities out there for you.
  9. Because you need a healthier addiction than smoking.
  10. Because Robert would be so proud (and the more attention AU PR gets; the better we look).

So there you go. At least 10 reasons why you should be blogging. I’m sure there are many many more out there, so to kick off my and MK’s little campaign to get everyone excited about this, add any reasons that you can think of as comments. Also, get brave and add your own post. Plus, if you decide to pick blogging back up on your old prblog (or on a fresh new one) add the link in the side bar, so we can all follow you. Happy blogging!

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There has been a lot of negative sentiment lately about PR, first in this article and now in the fallout from BlogHer (which I did not attend, but have been reading about). While the former can be easily refuted on the basis of lazy/crappy journalism, which Shel Holtz eloquently does, the postings from BlogHer should be given more credence, even if they do stereotype us. Ironic though, isn’t it? The practice well known for its ability to shape public opinion and remake bad images has an image problem of its own.

So what then? Do we give ourselves a necessary image makeover? Truth be told, we’ve been trying to do that for some time now. While there are the occasional ethical hiccups and set backs, the PR blogging community has done its best to bring transparency and good practices to the forefront. We call each other out on questionable strategies and tactics and push for a constant progression toward honest, mutually beneficial conversation. There will be bad apples in every profession. But like Susan Getgood, I don’t feel like I need to apologize for my career choice. I’ve always hated “pitching” anyway.

My chat with a friend this morning further solidified my position. All we can do is continue to do what many of us progressives already are — reading, participating, talking, and challenging (daily) the way we do things and why. Brian Solis says it a lot prettier in his post on a related example of unsocial media (follow the link; read the whole thing):

Social Media is about community, which is ultimately about people. Whereas, the PR industry (in a broader sense) is associated with deception, hype, spin, and sales, and as is in major need of an overhaul and some PR for the PR in order to change this crippling reputation.

All service providers within the PR industry need to rethink how they approach Social Media and stop selling it as the next big thing. Walk before you run. Think before you act. Social Media represents the opportunity for PR to put the “Public” back in Public Relations and shed our reputation for BS and spin. It changes the game for everyone, and most PR people and existing services, are not welcome as they exist today. Change and evolution are critical and absolutely required in order to participate.

As we discussed this morning, it really all boils down to finding a way to be PR people, to connect in a sincere way with real people (not markets or audiences or users), and to engage in conversations that make our clients happy as well as the real-live people we are talking with (notice: not “to”).

All of this in theory is really good for young PR people, like me. In practice, well, maybe not so simple (sometimes it’s hard to stand up to the one who signs your tiny paycheck). My first priority — finding a company that appreciates my “social” mindset and not just my trendy Web capabilities. I’ll let you know how that goes.

[An additional note: I decided to post this here for all of my fellow grads, because I hope it will be inspiring. Think about the kinds of things that you stand for before that first day of work. Chances are the PRs sending out those impersonal, ineffective pitches mentioned above are newbies like you and me. Before you follow blindly what your superiors say and do, do a little research and questioning of your own. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and back up your claims with proof. Let’s bring the public (or better yet, people) relations back to PR. Sorry this is so cheesy. I’m just a little fired up about people always calling me a “spin doctor” or a “media whore.” PR is more than media relations, pitching and crisis management!]

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