Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Into the Social Matrix

In previous blog entries, I've mentioned my friend Paull Young, a social media expert working in the public relations field. The first entry came after he spoke to my Interactive Media class at Fordham University a year ago, and it was entitled The Professionalization of Social Networking, and it was followed by Social Media on Social Media. Of course, you will want to review those posts before continuing... Well? Okay, maybe later then.

So, anyway, Paull recently came back to the Bronx to give another talk to this semester's Interactive Media class. Which was great, I might add. And this time, he taped the talk because he was asked to do a video lecture for students at his alma mater, Charles Sturt University in Australia. As he writes on his blog, Young PR, in a post entitled An Introduction to Social Media for Undergrads:

Last week I visited Lance Strate’s class at Fordham University on the same mission, so I took the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. While Bathurst and The Bronx have nada in common aside from alliteration, the principles of social media unite PR students around the world.

You can read the entire blog post, it's not very long, by clicking on An Introduction to Social Media for Undergrads and you'll find that it includes the video of the lecture, which Paull posted on Vimeo (an alternative to YouTube that allows for longer videos), but being as always public service-minded, I'll embed that video right here for your convenience:

Paull Young on Social Media from Paull Young on Vimeo.

So, take a little time and enjoy the talk, and the outrageous Aussie accent while you're at it! And while we're on the subject, Time-Warner Cable's local news channel, New York 1 (channel one on local systems in NY and NJ), ran a story on social media that also featured an interview with Paull Young, and his colleague and boss Rob Key (who I met along with Paull last year), from the PR firm called Converseon, Inc., or in Twitter-speak, @converseon. Unfortunately, they won't allow me to embed the video report (how old school, how old media Time-Warner is, and to think that they once were buoyed up by Atari videogames, and later became known as AOL-Time-Warner!!!!). So, I'll just have to give you the link and trust in your good graces to go over to their site and watch the news report: Cleaning Up Your Cyber Image For Employers. There is some text on that site, so I can give you a quote to let you know what it's about:

Learning how to cleanup your online presence is an imporant step in staying ahead of the game when it comes to potential employers. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
Sure it's called MySpace, but nothing about it, or any other social networking site, is really yours. The photos, status updates and videos you post on the World Wide Web are there for the whole wide world to see, and while the whole wide world may not be looking, potential employers are.

"More and more employers are beginning to use Google and are becoming more adept at using social media to help find information about both current employees and potential employees and perspective business partners," said Converseon CEO Rob Key.

Key's company, Converseon, is a social media agency that helps companies manage their online reputation. Key says the first step to cleaning up your cyber-image is to do a Google search.

"Look at Google images, go to YouTube and search for your name there as well, you will be amazed at how many places you may end up that you don't know," said Key.

We then get to the point about how a new medium defines, and redefines who we are, our identity and our selves:

Key says when it comes to the web, job seekers need to see themselves as products being promoted. The more content you create for yourself, the more control you have over the impression you give an employer.

"You can find my blog where I've been writing for several years, you can find my linked in profile which is really my very professional CV online, you can find my Twitter page, you can find my YouTube videos," said Converseon Social Media Strategist Paull Young.

Young says while it's okay to have fun with these sites, his Twitter page announces that he is very handsome and intelligent. He adds it's important to know your audience.

On Twitter today, a number of folks have commented on the description of Paull as "very handsome and intelligent." Leave it at that. Anyway, he goes on to note the breaking down of barriers that is characteristic of all electronic media:

"Your mum could read it, your employer or future employer could read it and your significant other could read it. If all those things are fine, then you shouldn't have any problems," said Young.

But when it comes to the question of what is the role of public relations in the new social media environment, here's the answer:

While accentuating the positive is easy, eliminating the negative can be tricky. Key says you can contact the owner of a site and ask politely that the unflattering material be removed and he says you should take advantage of built in security features that allow you to untag yourself from photos posted by others. This enables you to control your image, rather than letting other people define who you are, a definition that can come back to haunt you.

"When it's digitized, it's there forever so something you do at 18 at a college party may likely be here in 10 or 15 years. It's kind of like that tattoo you got one night and years later you are going to regret that you have it, but it's going to remain there," said Key.

And there you have it. But don't take my word for it, go and get it straight from the horses' mouth. And tell them I sent you!

1 comment:

Dave K said...

always nice for paull young to come to class for the day haha.. tell him to come again soon...!