Twitter is a fantastic tool to show off your personality and create a professional image for yourself. However, it can sometimes be difficult to decipher the line between personal and professional. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind while tweeting.
Happy tweeting! Be sure to get in touch with Illinois State PRSSA on Twitter too @ILSTUPRSSA.
By Brandy Lewis
While being an exchange student may have dissuaded some students from getting involved, Ellie Matthews has embraced PRSSA and all the opportunities it offers. Read on to learn more about this native Australian and Illinois State University PRSSA member.
What year in school are you?
I am actually between being a junior and a senior. Here in the United States, you call them courses and back at home we call them units. A public relations major in Australia would usually take four units a semester and graduate in three years. Since courses in the United States are broken down differently, I still have a few units left to take when I arrive back in Australia next semester.
What committee are you a part of in PRSSA?
I am in PRi. I am currently doing work with Her Campus, and I really enjoy that.
Do you have any internships?
No, not right now. I came here to study and to enjoy college in America. When I go back home to finish my degree, I will be a part-time student because only a couple of my units are offered in the first semester, and I will take the last two during the second semester. When I get back, I plan to buckle down and start applying for internships and get involved by gaining work experience. Right now I just want to focus on my grade point average, and then when I have time, start getting more involved so I can get a job.
What type of public relations are you interested in?
I haven’t really narrowed it down yet. I suppose when I graduate I’d like to gain experience in both nonprofit and agency, then possibly work my way up to corporate one day. I am interested in campaign planning as well as crisis communication, and in agency public relations you get to experience both of those things. I’d like to try a bit of everything. However, there are definitely certain things that interest me, like media relations. I am double majoring in broadcast journalism. So, I really haven’t narrowed it down yet.
Do you have any plans after graduation? Any specific companies you want to work for?
I really don’t have any plans yet. I think I’m just going to see where life takes me. I’m hoping that I can get an internship that eventually leads to a full-time job. I also might start applying to nonprofit organizations and agencies after I have had some more experience and internships. At my home university, public relations majors usually start off at a nonprofit organization, gaining work experience that turns into being hired as a full-time employee. There is an agriculture agency based in a small town near Perth, called Esther Price Promotions, and it focuses on agricultural events. I may look into Breast Cancer WA, which is a nonprofit organization.
Why did you choose to come to America to study abroad?
I have always been fascinated by America. Ever since I was a little girl, the movies made America look so fun and different. I applied to study abroad in 2011, and it took two years to plan and apply. I wanted to study as well because not everyone gets to have this kind of experience. I could have come here as just a tourist, but I wanted more out of it. I love getting that “behind-the-scenes” experience. When I was in high school, I studied abroad in Japan, where a group of peers and I stayed with a host family and went to school there where I studied Japanese. It gave me such a cultural learning experience, and that is very special.
Questions composed by Ashley Funderburk
Fall is in full swing, and on Saturday, Oct. 12, Illinois State University’s Public Relations Student Society of America kicked off the season with their first social of the year. It was a much needed “Chill and Thrill Kind of Night.”
We started off the night at Treasurer Ryan Smart’s casual fall ball. This was the perfect setting for taking pictures and meeting other members from PRSSA outside of Chapter. Members arrived in costumes dressed to fit the three different themes. Zombies, pumpkins, cowgirls, cowboys, as well as many candy treats were spotted throughout the night. There was plenty of pizza to go around, plus candy corn and cupcakes.
The next stop was Social Chair Jessica Perri’s spooky Halloween-themed apartment. Caution tape and bloody handprints on the front door definitely were not enough warning for what awaited inside. The webs, skeletons, hanging ghouls and black lights gave the college apartment a spooky, haunted-house feel. Everyone danced the night away and snacked on eyeball Oreos and mummified hot dogs.
Later in the night, members followed the rainbow trail to the last stop, Director of Development Sarah McSheffery’s Candy Land. Her apartment was decorated like the popular childhood game, Candy Land. National Liaison Shelby Ray and Historian Abigail Brennan graced our presence dressed as Candy Land citizens Princess Lolly and Queen Frostine, respectively. There was a table filled with various sweets and treats for guests to enjoy, with wall decorations resembling the game board. It was a“sweet treat” for members to end the night and enjoy a taste of the Halloween spirit.
The social was a great way for ISU PRSSA members to build stronger bonds within the Chapter and take a break from school. If you didn’t get the chance to attend this social, leave your calendars open for the next one. A special thanks to the development committee and volunteers; all of your hard work paid off!
By Brandy Lewis
Snapchat is climbing the ranks of social media with its newest feature, “My Stories”
The Verge recently published an article about Snapchat’s newest innovation, known as “My Stories.” With the launch of this feature, there is more to Snapchat than meets the eye. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel sees the app as a potential competitor of Google+ and Facebook. However, many users still see Snapchat as just a new, fun app and a social media network. Here are five things The Verge told us about Snapchat that I’ll bet you did not know.
1. Their CEO is only 23
Evan Spiegel is the 23-year-old CEO of Snapchat. He believes that there will be a new digital world of communication. He intends to impact the world of social media and the “ephemeral images” of Snapchat are only the beginning.
2. Snapchat is headed to have a $1 billion value
In only two years, Snapchat is already estimated to be reaching a $1 billon value.
3. 350 million snaps are sent per day
This number is comparable to statistics released in 2010 that stated 35 million people updated their Facebook statuses each day.
4. “My Stories” is one of the only chronologically ordered updates on social media
Snapchat made the “My Stories” feature because consumers wanted a way to send their snaps to all of their friends without checking each one individually. The snaps you see in “My Story” appear in the order they happened in your friend’s day, rather than on a timeline where the most recent event is shown first. This feature allows users to experience the day as their friends experienced it.
5. Snapchat has its own sociology researcher on staff
Nathan Jurgenson is known for his essay on the “reality of our digital lives.” Jurgenson invented an idea that fascinated Spiegel, called “digital dualism.” This concept says that people create two worlds for themselves, online and offline, and live according to those. Jurgenson does research for Snapchat on how people use both social media and digital communication and helps to incorporate that information into the company’s goals.
By Stephanie Robertson
Illinois State University’s Public Relations Student Society of America’s Faculty Adviser, Dr. Peter Smudde, gave an informative presentation to our Chapter about tips and tricks for using Associated Press Style and American Physiological Association Style. Dr. Smudde stressed the importance of learning AP and APA style as students in order to prepare for future careers in public relations and communications.
Here are 10 takeaways from his presentation:
1. Bookmark sections you use often (such as states, titles, times). This makes them quicker and easier to find when you’re in a rush.
2. Consider buying a new edition of the AP Style manual every two years, or download the online version on your device in order to get the latest updates.
3. “Write to express, not to impress.”
4. Names of well-known cities (such as Chicago) can stand alone and do not require the name of the state.
5. Good writing should be compelling, insightful, clear, concise and accurate, and it takes a lot of hard work.
6. For APA Style: Memorize the difference between sources and whether that source comes from a book or an article.
7. Spell out numbers one through nine. Use numerals for numbers 10 and greater.
8. The American Physiological Association (APA) Style is the standard for the communication field for academic and scholarly writing.
9. Proper titles should be capitalized when they introduce a name (for example, PRSSA President Hailey Lanier).
10. Practice, practice, practice! The only way to get better at writing in these styles is to practice often and become familiar with your guides.
By Lisa Crocco
Have you ever created a YouTube channel? Mateo Aguirre, a junior public relations major, did. That is where he discusses everything from his first apartment to Miley Cyrus.
What made you decide to start your own YouTube channel?
I’m very interested in visual design, so I thought it would be a great way to not only practice my video editing skills, but also work on my public-speaking skills. I started the channel at the beginning of this year, and I already have around 400 subscribers. It is nice to see people commenting on my videos and get feedback from the viewers.
What kinds of videos do you make?
It is difficult to specifically categorize the videos I make. They are about anything really. I wanted to share with others my experiences working with videos and media, and YouTube is a great way to express myself.
Your channel’s name, Mateo Spateo, is unique. Is there a story behind it?
There is! I am a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, which is a music-social fraternity. I was very involved with music in high school, and I wanted to continue to stay involved when I came to Illinois State University. My big brother in the fraternity is named Spencer, and for a big and little brother project we wanted to make t-shirts. The shirts we ended up making had a combination of each of our names on the back, which were Matencer and Spateo. Spateo just stuck with me.
Tell me about your experience interning for Griffin Hammond, who is a documentary filmmaker and ISU alumnus.
Working with Hammond gave me a lot of valuable experience within the YouTube community. He has his own channel called “Indy Mogul” with almost 700,000 followers. This summer, he was working on a documentary project about Sriracha hot sauce. I was able to help him organize a lot of logistical components, such as film festival entries and interviews. It was a great experience to work under someone who is so talented. The documentary is due to come out soon, and I’m very excited to see the final product.
Where do you see yourself after graduation?
I definitely picture myself moving out to the west coast and getting into the public relations industry. I am hoping to work in agency public relations or maybe doing something in the entertainment field. My dream job would be to work for YouTube in California. Whether it is working behind-the-scenes or making videos, it is something that I can see myself doing in the future.
Check out Mateo’s YouTube channel at: www.youtube.com/user/MrSpateoHead
Questions composed by Lily Nedland
Public relations is key when managing a crisis, no matter the size of organization or how strange the circumstances may be. A recent incident at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati sheds light on how public relations can be used to handle even the most bizarre situations.
Army Sgt. Kimberly Walker was murdered this past Valentine’s Day by her boyfriend in a Colorado hotel. Recently, a six-foot, 7,000-pound SpongeBob SquarePants headstone was placed at Spring Grove Cemetery in her memory. SpongeBob was her favorite cartoon character. Before the purchase of the headstone, Walker’s family confirmed the placement with the cemetery. The headstone was placed Oct. 10 in honor of Walker and her surviving sister Kara. On Oct. 11, the headstone was removed.
News about the headstone and its removal quickly went viral, causing Spring Grove Cemetery to respond to the situation. The Walker family and others questioned why the headstone was removed despite the cemetery’s approval.
Spring Grove Cemetery took action by speaking to the media. In an interview, President Grey Freytag told USA Today that Spring Grove Cemetery, “maintains a historic appearance, and the employee who approved the headstone made a mistake in judgment.” The “historic appearance” of the cemetery entails traditional, stately gravestones. CNN also reported that cemetery officials would meet with the family to negotiate a similar memorial for Walker. Freytag informed the media that the cemetery is prepared to reimburse the Walker family $26,000 for the original headstone in addition to paying for a new one.
Spring Grove Cemetery has handled this incident well. The situation illustrates the importance of public relations in maintaining a good reputation. Cemetery officials were transparent with the media and the Walker family after the removal of the headstone, establishing trust and preventing the situation from getting any worse.
By Analita Voss
Frank Hopper, a junior Illinois State University PRSSA member, is the co-founder of the website The Millenico Agenda, a news and politics site targeted at millennials.
What is the purpose behind your newly launched website, The Millenico Agenda?
My co-founder Jessie Garber and I are both very interested in news and politics. We were interested in educating our generation to becoming informed electorates, and to make decisions and speak intelligently about those decisions. We thought about why and how we get our news. One of the things we noticed was that the important news is often in the middle of the story. It’s not breaking news anymore; it’s the middle of the story. We wanted to do something where we organize the facts in a way that is easier to access and understand.
Where did the name for the website come from?
To break it down, “Millenico” comes from our generation – the “millennials” – combined with “politico” (political) and “agenda,” as in the news agenda.
Who is the website’s target audience?
Our website is designed for twenty-somethings, or “millennials.” It’s gotten pretty big since we launched on Oct. 11 of this year. We want to inform millennials about our nation’s current political agenda and spark political conversation among them.
We launched at a good time because of the government shutdown. We posted about Syria as well. It was sort of a test post, but we were confident in the material. After that, we started posting about the government shutdown, Obamacare and the debt ceiling. We’ve started reaching out to College Democrats and Republicans at other universities and asking them to spread the word.
How did you prepare for the website launch?
On Tuesday, Oct. 8 I texted Jessie the idea for the website. We met up after the meeting that night. We worked until about 3 a.m. then didn’t touch it for a couple days. Finally, we finished it up and launched that Friday.
What are your goals for the website?
One goal is to reach all 50 states before my birthday, Dec. 2. We want it to be big, but it’s dependent on our own social circles right now. Our overall goal is a future with a civically engaged and informed electorate. Also, right now our blog is very apolitical. We aim to have it as unbiased as can be. We’d eventually like to put some opinion on the site, though not necessarily ours. I envision having red and blue sections, with two guest bloggers writing on the same issue, and posting them side-by-side.
Do you have any influences for your website?
Jessie and I both really like The Huffington Post. I am also a fan of the BBC. If you ever need basic information on a topic, you can usually find it on the BBC.
Check out The Millenico Agenda at http://www.millenicoagenda.com.
Questions composed by Cassidy Obis
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.