Klout Quietly Adds WordPress to Klout Scores

3 10 2011

Klout Quietly Adds WordPress to Klout Scores.


Facebook & USA Today Plan a Super Bowl Ad Extravaganza [EXCLUSIVE]

30 09 2011

Facebook & USA Today Plan a Super Bowl Ad Extravaganza [EXCLUSIVE].

HOW TO: Optimize Your Site for Search Engine Marketing

26 09 2011

HOW TO: Optimize Your Site for Search Engine Marketing.

5 Tips for Creating a Successful Social Media Contest

26 09 2011

5 Tips for Creating a Successful Social Media Contest.

5 Online Learning Resources to Help You Run a Better Business

26 09 2011

5 Online Learning Resources to Help You Run a Better Business.

How Nike Outruns the Social Media Competition

26 09 2011

How Nike Outruns the Social Media Competition.

Google+ Now Lets You Search for People & Topics

20 09 2011

Google+ Now Lets You Search for People & Topics.

NASA Discovers First Planet With Two Suns

15 09 2011

NASA Discovers.

YouTube Introduces Video Editing Feature

15 09 2011

YouTube Introduces Video Editing Feature.

How Social Media Affects Content Relevance in Search

12 09 2011

How Social Media Affects Content Relevance in Search.

Reading: 15 Case Studies to Get Your Client On Board With Social Media

29 08 2011


How Are People Using Twitter? [INFOGRAPHIC]

23 08 2011

How Are People Using Twitter? [INFOGRAPHIC].

Growth Areas

11 08 2011

Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization Manager Dave Wessel answers the following questions:

– What areas in Flagstaff are expected to grow the most?

– What areas outside of Flagstaff are expected to grow?

– How has the idea of growth in Flagstaff changed over time?


Weed Control in Flagstaff

11 08 2011


Reading: The End of Solitude

31 07 2011

By William Deresiewicz

What does the contemporary self want? The camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity. As the two technologies converge — broadband tipping the Web from text to image, social-networking sites spreading the mesh of interconnection ever wider — the two cultures betray a common impulse. Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible. If not to the millions, on Survivor or Oprah, then to the hundreds, on Twitter or Facebook. This is the quality that validates us, this is how we become real to ourselves — by being seen by others. The great contemporary terror is anonymity. If Lionel Trilling was right, if the property that grounded the self, in Romanticism, was sincerity, and in modernism it was authenticity, then in postmodernism it is visibility.

So we live exclusively in relation to others, and what disappears from our lives is solitude. Technology is taking away our privacy and our concentration, but it is also taking away our ability to be alone. Though I shouldn’t say taking away. We are doing this to ourselves; we are discarding these riches as fast as we can. I was told by one of her older relatives that a teenager I know had sent 3,000 text messages one recent month. That’s 100 a day, or about one every 10 waking minutes, morning, noon, and night, weekdays and weekends, class time, lunch time, homework time, and toothbrushing time. So on average, she’s never alone for more than 10 minutes at once. Which means, she’s never alone.

I once asked my students about the place that solitude has in their lives. One of them admitted that she finds the prospect of being alone so unsettling that she’ll sit with a friend even when she has a paper to write. Another said, why would anyone want to be alone?

To that remarkable question, history offers a number of answers. Man may be a social animal, but solitude has traditionally been a societal value. In particular, the act of being alone has been understood as an essential dimension of religious experience, albeit one restricted to a self-selected few. Through the solitude of rare spirits, the collective renews its relationship with divinity. The prophet and the hermit, the sadhu and the yogi, pursue their vision quests, invite their trances, in desert or forest or cave. For the still, small voice speaks only in silence. Social life is a bustle of petty concerns, a jostle of quotidian interests, and religious institutions are no exception. You cannot hear God when people are chattering at you, and the divine word, their pretensions notwithstanding, demurs at descending on the monarch and the priest. Communal experience is the human norm, but the solitary encounter with God is the egregious act that refreshes that norm. (Egregious, for no man is a prophet in his own land. Tiresias was reviled before he was vindicated, Teresa interrogated before she was canonized.) Religious solitude is a kind of self-correcting social mechanism, a way of burning out the underbrush of moral habit and spiritual custom. The seer returns with new tablets or new dances, his face bright with the old truth.

Like other religious values, solitude was democratized by the Reformation and secularized by Romanticism. In Marilynne Robinson’s interpretation, Calvinism created the modern self by focusing the soul inward, leaving it to encounter God, like a prophet of old, in “profound isolation.” To her enumeration of Calvin, Marguerite de Navarre, and Milton as pioneering early-modern selves we can add Montaigne, Hamlet, and even Don Quixote. The last figure alerts us to reading’s essential role in this transformation, the printing press serving an analogous function in the 16th and subsequent centuries to that of television and the Internet in our own. Reading, as Robinson puts it, “is an act of great inwardness and subjectivity.” “The soul encountered itself in response to a text, first Genesis or Matthew and then Paradise Lost or Leaves of Grass.” With Protestantism and printing, the quest for the divine voice became available to, even incumbent upon, everyone.

But it is with Romanticism that solitude achieved its greatest cultural salience, becoming both literal and literary. Protestant solitude is still only figurative. Rousseau and Wordsworth made it physical. The self was now encountered not in God but in Nature, and to encounter Nature one had to go to it. And go to it with a special sensibility: The poet displaced the saint as social seer and cultural model. But because Romanticism also inherited the 18th-century idea of social sympathy, Romantic solitude existed in a dialectical relationship with sociability — if less for Rousseau and still less for Thoreau, the most famous solitary of all, then certainly for Wordsworth, Melville, Whitman, and many others. For Emerson, “the soul environs itself with friends, that it may enter into a grander self-acquaintance or solitude; and it goes alone, for a season, that it may exalt its conversation or society.” The Romantic practice of solitude is neatly captured by Trilling’s “sincerity”: the belief that the self is validated by a congruity of public appearance and private essence, one that stabilizes its relationship with both itself and others. Especially, as Emerson suggests, one beloved other. Hence the famous Romantic friendship pairs: Goethe and Schiller, Wordsworth and Coleridge, Hawthorne and Melville.

Modernism decoupled this dialectic. Its notion of solitude was harsher, more adversarial, more isolating. As a model of the self and its interactions, Hume’s social sympathy gave way to Pater’s thick wall of personality and Freud’s narcissism — the sense that the soul, self-enclosed and inaccessible to others, can’t choose but be alone. With exceptions, like Woolf, the modernists fought shy of friendship. Joyce and Proust disparaged it; D.H. Lawrence was wary of it; the modernist friendship pairs — Conrad and Ford, Eliot and Pound, Hemingway and Fitzgerald — were altogether cooler than their Romantic counterparts. The world was now understood as an assault on the self, and with good reason.

The Romantic ideal of solitude developed in part as a reaction to the emergence of the modern city. In modernism, the city is not only more menacing than ever, it has become inescapable, a labyrinth: Eliot’s London, Joyce’s Dublin. The mob, the human mass, presses in. Hell is other people. The soul is forced back into itself — hence the development of a more austere, more embattled form of self-validation, Trilling’s “authenticity,” where the essential relationship is only with oneself. (Just as there are few good friendships in modernism, so are there few good marriages.) Solitude becomes, more than ever, the arena of heroic self-discovery, a voyage through interior realms made vast and terrifying by Nietzschean and Freudian insights. To achieve authenticity is to look upon these visions without flinching; Trilling’s exemplar here is Kurtz. Protestant self-examination becomes Freudian analysis, and the culture hero, once a prophet of God and then a poet of Nature, is now a novelist of self — a Dostoyevsky, a Joyce, a Proust.

But we no longer live in the modernist city, and our great fear is not submersion by the mass but isolation from the herd. Urbanization gave way to suburbanization, and with it the universal threat of loneliness. What technologies of transportation exacerbated — we could live farther and farther apart — technologies of communication redressed — we could bring ourselves closer and closer together. Or at least, so we have imagined. The first of these technologies, the first simulacrum of proximity, was the telephone. “Reach out and touch someone.” But through the 70s and 80s, our isolation grew. Suburbs, sprawling ever farther, became exurbs. Families grew smaller or splintered apart, mothers left the home to work. The electronic hearth became the television in every room. Even in childhood, certainly in adolescence, we were each trapped inside our own cocoon. Soaring crime rates, and even more sharply escalating rates of moral panic, pulled children off the streets. The idea that you could go outside and run around the neighborhood with your friends, once unquestionable, has now become unthinkable. The child who grew up between the world wars as part of an extended family within a tight-knit urban community became the grandparent of a kid who sat alone in front of a big television, in a big house, on a big lot. We were lost in space.

Under those circumstances, the Internet arrived as an incalculable blessing. We should never forget that. It has allowed isolated people to communicate with one another and marginalized people to find one another. The busy parent can stay in touch with far-flung friends. The gay teenager no longer has to feel like a freak. But as the Internet’s dimensionality has grown, it has quickly become too much of a good thing. Ten years ago we were writing e-mail messages on desktop computers and transmitting them over dial-up connections. Now we are sending text messages on our cellphones, posting pictures on our Facebook pages, and following complete strangers on Twitter. A constant stream of mediated contact, virtual, notional, or simulated, keeps us wired in to the electronic hive — though contact, or at least two-way contact, seems increasingly beside the point. The goal now, it seems, is simply to become known, to turn oneself into a sort of miniature celebrity. How many friends do I have on Facebook? How many people are reading my blog? How many Google hits does my name generate? Visibility secures our self-esteem, becoming a substitute, twice removed, for genuine connection. Not long ago, it was easy to feel lonely. Now, it is impossible to be alone.

As a result, we are losing both sides of the Romantic dialectic. What does friendship mean when you have 532 “friends”? How does it enhance my sense of closeness when my Facebook News Feed tells me that Sally Smith (whom I haven’t seen since high school, and wasn’t all that friendly with even then) “is making coffee and staring off into space”? My students told me they have little time for intimacy. And of course, they have no time at all for solitude.

But at least friendship, if not intimacy, is still something they want. As jarring as the new dispensation may be for people in their 30s and 40s, the real problem is that it has become completely natural for people in their teens and 20s. Young people today seem to have no desire for solitude, have never heard of it, can’t imagine why it would be worth having. In fact, their use of technology — or to be fair, our use of technology — seems to involve a constant effort to stave off the possibility of solitude, a continuous attempt, as we sit alone at our computers, to maintain the imaginative presence of others. As long ago as 1952, Trilling wrote about “the modern fear of being cut off from the social group even for a moment.” Now we have equipped ourselves with the means to prevent that fear from ever being realized. Which does not mean that we have put it to rest. Quite the contrary. Remember my student, who couldn’t even write a paper by herself. The more we keep aloneness at bay, the less are we able to deal with it and the more terrifying it gets.

There is an analogy, it seems to me, with the previous generation’s experience of boredom. The two emotions, loneliness and boredom, are closely allied. They are also both characteristically modern. The Oxford English Dictionary’s earliest citations of either word, at least in the contemporary sense, date from the 19th century. Suburbanization, by eliminating the stimulation as well as the sociability of urban or traditional village life, exacerbated the tendency to both. But the great age of boredom, I believe, came in with television, precisely because television was designed to palliate that feeling. Boredom is not a necessary consequence of having nothing to do, it is only the negative experience of that state. Television, by obviating the need to learn how to make use of one’s lack of occupation, precludes one from ever discovering how to enjoy it. In fact, it renders that condition fearsome, its prospect intolerable. You are terrified of being bored — so you turn on the television.

I speak from experience. I grew up in the 60s and 70s, the age of television. I was trained to be bored; boredom was cultivated within me like a precious crop. (It has been said that consumer society wants to condition us to feel bored, since boredom creates a market for stimulation.) It took me years to discover — and my nervous system will never fully adjust to this idea; I still have to fight against boredom, am permanently damaged in this respect — that having nothing to do doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The alternative to boredom is what Whitman called idleness: a passive receptivity to the world.

So it is with the current generation’s experience of being alone. That is precisely the recognition implicit in the idea of solitude, which is to loneliness what idleness is to boredom. Loneliness is not the absence of company, it is grief over that absence. The lost sheep is lonely; the shepherd is not lonely. But the Internet is as powerful a machine for the production of loneliness as television is for the manufacture of boredom. If six hours of television a day creates the aptitude for boredom, the inability to sit still, a hundred text messages a day creates the aptitude for loneliness, the inability to be by yourself. Some degree of boredom and loneliness is to be expected, especially among young people, given the way our human environment has been attenuated. But technology amplifies those tendencies. You could call your schoolmates when I was a teenager, but you couldn’t call them 100 times a day. You could get together with your friends when I was in college, but you couldn’t always get together with them when you wanted to, for the simple reason that you couldn’t always find them. If boredom is the great emotion of the TV generation, loneliness is the great emotion of the Web generation. We lost the ability to be still, our capacity for idleness. They have lost the ability to be alone, their capacity for solitude.

And losing solitude, what have they lost? First, the propensity for introspection, that examination of the self that the Puritans, and the Romantics, and the modernists (and Socrates, for that matter) placed at the center of spiritual life — of wisdom, of conduct. Thoreau called it fishing “in the Walden Pond of [our] own natures,” “bait[ing our] hooks with darkness.” Lost, too, is the related propensity for sustained reading. The Internet brought text back into a televisual world, but it brought it back on terms dictated by that world — that is, by its remapping of our attention spans. Reading now means skipping and skimming; five minutes on the same Web page is considered an eternity. This is not reading as Marilynne Robinson described it: the encounter with a second self in the silence of mental solitude.

But we no longer believe in the solitary mind. If the Romantics had Hume and the modernists had Freud, the current psychological model — and this should come as no surprise — is that of the networked or social mind. Evolutionary psychology tells us that our brains developed to interpret complex social signals. According to David Brooks, that reliable index of the social-scientific zeitgeist, cognitive scientists tell us that “our decision-making is powerfully influenced by social context”; neuroscientists, that we have “permeable minds” that function in part through a process of “deep imitation”; psychologists, that “we are organized by our attachments”; sociologists, that our behavior is affected by “the power of social networks.” The ultimate implication is that there is no mental space that is not social (contemporary social science dovetailing here with postmodern critical theory). One of the most striking things about the way young people relate to one another today is that they no longer seem to believe in the existence of Thoreau’s “darkness.”

The MySpace page, with its shrieking typography and clamorous imagery, has replaced the journal and the letter as a way of creating and communicating one’s sense of self. The suggestion is not only that such communication is to be made to the world at large rather than to oneself or one’s intimates, or graphically rather than verbally, or performatively rather than narratively or analytically, but also that it can be made completely. Today’s young people seem to feel that they can make themselves fully known to one another. They seem to lack a sense of their own depths, and of the value of keeping them hidden.

If they didn’t, they would understand that solitude enables us to secure the integrity of the self as well as to explore it. Few have shown this more beautifully than Woolf. In the middle of Mrs. Dalloway, between her navigation of the streets and her orchestration of the party, between the urban jostle and the social bustle, Clarissa goes up, “like a nun withdrawing,” to her attic room. Like a nun: She returns to a state that she herself thinks of as a kind of virginity. This does not mean she’s a prude. Virginity is classically the outward sign of spiritual inviolability, of a self untouched by the world, a soul that has preserved its integrity by refusing to descend into the chaos and self-division of sexual and social relations. It is the mark of the saint and the monk, of Hippolytus and Antigone and Joan of Arc. Solitude is both the social image of that state and the means by which we can approximate it. And the supreme image in Mrs. Dalloway of the dignity of solitude itself is the old woman whom Clarissa catches sight of through her window. “Here was one room,” she thinks, “there another.” We are not merely social beings. We are each also separate, each solitary, each alone in our own room, each miraculously our unique selves and mysteriously enclosed in that selfhood.

To remember this, to hold oneself apart from society, is to begin to think one’s way beyond it. Solitude, Emerson said, “is to genius the stern friend.” “He who should inspire and lead his race must be defended from traveling with the souls of other men, from living, breathing, reading, and writing in the daily, time-worn yoke of their opinions.” One must protect oneself from the momentum of intellectual and moral consensus — especially, Emerson added, during youth. “God is alone,” Thoreau said, “but the Devil, he is far from being alone; he sees a great deal of company; he is legion.” The university was to be praised, Emerson believed, if only because it provided its charges with “a separate chamber and fire” — the physical space of solitude. Today, of course, universities do everything they can to keep their students from being alone, lest they perpetrate self-destructive acts, and also, perhaps, unfashionable thoughts. But no real excellence, personal or social, artistic, philosophical, scientific or moral, can arise without solitude. “The saint and poet seek privacy,” Emerson said, “to ends the most public and universal.” We are back to the seer, seeking signposts for the future in splendid isolation.

Solitude isn’t easy, and isn’t for everyone. It has undoubtedly never been the province of more than a few. “I believe,” Thoreau said, “that men are generally still a little afraid of the dark.” Teresa and Tiresias will always be the exceptions, or to speak in more relevant terms, the young people — and they still exist — who prefer to loaf and invite their soul, who step to the beat of a different drummer. But if solitude disappears as a social value and social idea, will even the exceptions remain possible? Still, one is powerless to reverse the drift of the culture. One can only save oneself — and whatever else happens, one can still always do that. But it takes a willingness to be unpopular.

The last thing to say about solitude is that it isn’t very polite. Thoreau knew that the “doubleness” that solitude cultivates, the ability to stand back and observe life dispassionately, is apt to make us a little unpleasant to our fellows, to say nothing of the offense implicit in avoiding their company. But then, he didn’t worry overmuch about being genial. He didn’t even like having to talk to people three times a day, at meals; one can only imagine what he would have made of text-messaging. We, however, have made of geniality — the weak smile, the polite interest, the fake invitation — a cardinal virtue. Friendship may be slipping from our grasp, but our friendliness is universal. Not for nothing does “gregarious” mean “part of the herd.” But Thoreau understood that securing one’s self-possession was worth a few wounded feelings. He may have put his neighbors off, but at least he was sure of himself. Those who would find solitude must not be afraid to stand alone.

William Deresiewicz writes essays and reviews for a variety of publications. He taught at Yale University from 1998 to 2008.

HOW TO: Spruce Up a Boring Resume [INFOGRAPHIC]

13 07 2011

HOW TO: Spruce Up a Boring Resume [INFOGRAPHIC].

3 Pressing Questions Facing the Future of Social Media

7 06 2011


Bicycling Element Video for the Flagstaff Regional Plan

25 05 2011

I talk to Multi-Modal Planner Martin Ince about the strenths and weaknesses of the Flagstaff cycling community.


5 Strategies for Maximizing Your Website’s Conversion Rate

23 05 2011

5 Strategies for Maximizing Your Website’s Conversion Rate.

Kindle Books Now Outselling Real Books on Amazon

19 05 2011

Kindle Books Now Outselling Real Books on Amazon.

What it Takes to Become a Social Media Coordinator

12 05 2011


By Nick Boulanger

With the emergence of social media, PR people have more on their plate than they did ten years ago. For students who wish to get hired in the PR industry, it is important that they contain a skill set in multiple areas. After interviewing a few public relations and social media professionals, it was noted that professionals are looking to hire people who: stand out from the crowd, are enthusiastic, have a passion for social media and online marketing tools, contain some analytic skills, always bring new ideas to the table, and people who are self-starters. All interviewees said that job seekers can prove such characteristics by establishing a strong online presence, keeping up with the latest social media trends, proving that they are credible through good recommendations, showing that they are always looking for new ideas on how to distribute content, and possessing skills in various areas other than tweeting. While the ways of containing a tangible portfolio are still alive and will probably continue to stay alive in the future, everything will become digitalized at some point and job seekers will have to show that they are worthy of getting an interview rather than telling why they are worthy.  As a PR Specialist for the Flagstaff Regional Plan, I have interviewed professionals in the PR industry and have tried to reflect their advice onto my work. 

 “First and foremost, they must have a strong online presence, including strong and active social media profiles. Ideally, they have a personal/professional blog and are actively engaging with people on Twitter and LinkedIn but not only talking about themselves and what they ate for lunch today. They have a strong knowledge of Search Engine Optimization and social media identification – meaning that they can quickly identify which social channels are most relevant to promote certain content,” says Owner of Reckless Abandon Media Jerome Harrison. 

As Jerome Harrison says, having a strong online presence is absolutely essential to getting hired as a social media worker for any company. Companies won’t just take a job seeker’s word that they know what they’re doing. Companies want to see that their social media manager is constantly putting working out there for the public to see. This not only shows a job seeker’s past work, but it also shows that they have the tools that are necessary to show people their work.

“This is where good marketing comes in,” says Harrison. “meaning that if I give them any content, regardless of what it is, they should have the ability to not only put it in front of people online, but also bring people to it.”

The idea of having a strong online presence and always posting material is something that has resonated with me personally for the past year. I now have the WordPress blog, nickboulanger.wordpress.com underway. I use the blog to release all of my past work, including news stories, video news releases I produce for the Flagstaff Regional Plan, sports articles, and curated content that usually entails social media advice or trends. The curated content has become the most common category on my blog, and for good reason. I’ve learned from trend blogs and the Mashable article “Why Curation is Just as Important as Creation”, that curating content can only help raise viewership to blogs. When there is nothing original to post or if another website is posting something before your website, you should still post a link to their content. Yes, this may add viewership to a rival website, but it will also show your readers and employers that you’re putting out the effort to deliver information. Employers rather see that your blog posted something that is informative and may not be your own writing, rather than not have posted anything for two months. Many have the misconception that blogs should only post their own content, but posting non-original content is better than not posting anything at all. In the article, “Why Curation is Just as Important as Creation”, Online Marketer Seth Godin says, 

“We don’t have an information shortage; we have an attention shortage. There’s always someone who’s going to supply you with information that you’re going to curate. The Guggenheim doesn’t have a shortage of art. They don’t pay you to hang paintings for a show — in fact you have to pay for the insurance. Why? Because the Guggenheim is doing a service to the person who’s in the museum and the artist who’s being displayed.”

Another important trait that future PR and Social Media Coordinators should contain is keeping up with the latest trends in social media. Any person can do this kind of research by reading blogs such as, Mashable and Techcrunch. Mashable not only blogs about the latest social media trends, but they also release job postings, send out updates on the latest technology, discover various How Tos, and release information and advice on online marketing. Twitter users can follow many Mashable writers, who all specialize in and tweet a variety of different topics.

“It’s extremely important to keep up with current social media trends because the industry is constantly changing. New, often niche, social sites pop up every day, and current mainstays are constantly tinkering with their features and integrating with each other. It is a good practice to set aside time each day, either in the morning or at night, to read through your blogroll and catch up on the latest industry news,” says Harrison.

When it comes to the latest trends in social media, Mashable and Techcrunch seem to be on top of the game. These two sites have been up since the beginnings of social media and even the top PR/Social Media people like Wired PR Works Owner Barbara Razgonyi seem to follow and re-tweet their material. However, Jerry Thull, a PR professor at NAU says that keeping up with social media trends isn’t necessary the most important thing to keep in mind as a public relations professional. 

“It is important to keep up on trends, but not too make that your main priority,” says Thull. Thull didn’t go into more detail, but he probably thinks that getting distracted by constantly checking Mashable and Techcrunch could hinder someone’s ability to complete other important tasks. On the other hand, Thull said that he never used social media at the Flagstaff Conventions and Visitors Bureau before he became a professor, because it was after his time. “Social media was just coming up, when I moved to NAU. The new person in my position built a Twitter and Facebook presence.”

PR Specialist Colleen Powers was a student of Thull’s, but she disagrees with her former mentor about the importance of staying on top of social media trends.

“Knowing the latest trends in social media is beyond important. My boss is very in the know so I am always trying to out him with my knowledge, I know this impresses him,” says Powers.

Although not all public relations professionals agree on the importance of staying on top of social media trends, all still agree that it is an essential characteristic that will make job seekers more marketable. As the job seeker myself, I can say that sites like Mashable have offered me some very valuable tips during my job search. Not only has the site posted job openings, but it has also shown my ways to stick out. For an example, rather than constantly updating my resume, I am going to create a video resume. If well done, this will show employers that I am creative and think ‘outside the box’. Also, as a Public Relations Specialist for the Flagstaff Regional Plan, I can say that Mashable and Techcrunch have given me helpful bits of knowledge to increase viewership to our main webpage. Aside from curating content, I have conducted polls, and have learned interesting facts. One example of an interesting fact that I have learned is that a Facebook ‘Like’ holds double the value of a tweet.

Another key to landing a job in social media is having a good set of recommendations. Not only, typical references one would put on their resume, but also recommendations that can be found on social media sites, such as Linkedin. The Mashable article “How TO: Ask for an Online Recommendation” offers some good tips. Aside from stating why you would like the recommendation, Mashable author Sharlyn Lauby says that people who get online recommendations should have a good balance within them.

“Getting a good mix of people -– direct boss, peers, subordinates and customers or vendors — to provide a better sense of who you are as the whole person.”
     In the article, Omowale Casselle, CEO at mySenSay Inc. says that volunteerism should not be dismissed when looking for a recommendation.

“If you have been able to achieve results within this environment, the lack of compensation shouldn’t be a limiting factor in asking for a recommendation. This can be especially helpful for those who might be switching careers.”

When it comes to job searching, Linkedin is probably the best social network out there that helps you meet people in your industry. While other websites like Facebook and Twitter can be more personal sites, Linkedin is meant for professionalism. Online recommendations from this site also show employers that you are credible and others are willing to take risks for you by saying you are credible.

“When you do good work for good people, the word gets out, especially in the social media community. Social media makes it so much easier for reputations and connections to spread. If you are unprofessional or incapable in your dealings with other people, chances are, the word will get out (via word of mouth). Likewise, if you are professional, timely, and do outstanding work for others, the word will also get out (via word of mouth AND SOCIAL MEDIA!) Oh, the wonderful power of the Internet,” says Jerome Harrison, Owner of Reckless Abandon Media.

Although social media is a powerful tool in public relations, it is still dependent on how interesting an organization or company is. No matter what, the Facebook site for the Green Bay Packers will have more friends and ‘Likes’ than the Facebook site for the US Census Bureau. However, this doesn’t mean that the US Census Bureau PR people can’t think of ways to make their content more attractive. This is where bringing creative ideas to the table comes in. Colleen Powers believes that one must have thick skin, and not be timid if they want to last in the public relations industry.

“When taking on the role of another company you have to be able to say or do anything and not be afraid of what might happen.”
    Jerome Harrison agrees and says that good ideas come from people who are imaginative and are forever students of the industry.

“They should be a creative, and out-of-the-box thinker. It is often a social media coordinator’s job to devise creative and unique ways to market or promote a client’s organization or product. But, most importantly, they have a strong appetite for success and are constantly learning.”

When a new element comes along in the Flagstaff Regional Plan, I have tried to be as creative as possible by thinking up new ways to deliver the information. I’ve used my broadcast news reporting skills to make fake news stories on things that have to do with the Flagstaff Regional Plan. Although, we don’t have viewership in the thousands, I’m sure that my videos have guided more traffic than just a simple press release on a white sheet of paper would.

 In conclusion, being creative, outgoing, and constantly learning new ways to market material is essential in surviving the social media game in public relations.

Along with being creative, having skills in areas other than writing is a big part of a social media coordinator’s daily work-life. Duties other than tweeting can include talking to clients, strictly monitoring and listening to what people are saying about their company or their clients, and maybe even making videos. Jerome Harrison says that social media coordinators should also expect to deal with marketing and tactical plans.

“A social media coordinator, like any other position in marketing, is just one cog in the much bigger machine. It’s important not to get lost in the day-to-day tactical stuff and lose sight of the bigger picture of accomplishing the clients’ goals.”

When I work on the Regional Plan at City Hall in Flagstaff, only a small fraction of my work revolves around the social media world. This is because developments can happen very slowly in government, when things must be processed through the proper channels. As a result, I spend most of my time creating videos on old developments, posting focus group notes onto our webpage, writing up press releases, talking to clients and interviewees, and delivering papers and other materials to coworkers.  Having skills in multiple areas, will only make job searchers more marketable. For people who wish to become social media coordinators, It doesn’t matter what collegiate background they have, as long as they possess skills that relate to the job. People who have skills in such areas as video making, being bilingual, business, marketing, computer science, and advertising are way ahead of the curve.

“Journalism (PR/Advertising/Digital Media/Print) is probably the most common background for a social media coordinator, but it certainly isn’t the only route one can take.  It’s not uncommon for students with a background in business/marketing to get into social media marketing. It’s also not uncommon for students with a background in computer science or web design/development. In fact, like any career, the more diverse knowledge and skills you have, the better,” says Harrison.

As anyone can see, the duties of a PR/social media coordinator extend way beyond tweeting information.

Overall, people from multiple backgrounds can enter the PR/social media industry. However, professionals like Jerome Harrison, Jerry Thull, Colleen Powers, and the writers/interviewees on Mashable seem to agree that social media coordinators must share some common characteristics. Job searchers must prove that they possess a strong online presence by constantly posting material, and possibly maintaing a blog of their past work. Another characteristic that social media coordinators must have is always staying on top of the latest trends. Changes in social media are happening every day. Those who are always reading articles in sites like Mashable and Techcrunch will last a lot longer in the industry than those who do not. Social media coordinators should also be credible and trustworthy.  “This is very important. When you are the face for a brand or product, You need to do all you have to represent it to the best of your ability,” says Powers.

Lastly, social media coordinators should demonstrate skills in areas other than writing. After all, knowing how to tweet only makes up a small fraction in much larger world of tasks.


  1. Why Curation is Just as Important as Creation. Steve Rosenbaum. 03/17/2011. http://mashable.com/2011/03/17/curation-importance/
  2. How TO: Ask for an Online Recommendation. Sharlyn Lauby. 05/01/2011. http://mashable.com/2011/05/01/job-recommendation/

Does Twitter Drive TV Viewership? [VIDEO]

4 05 2011

Does Twitter Drive TV Viewership? [VIDEO].

Potential Dangers of Using Social Media as a Journalistic Tool

27 04 2011

When journalists use Twitter, they are picking up some risks whether they know it or not. The biggest risk of all is the fact that there are Twitter impostors out there. The impostors are big danger to journalists who twitter, because they could either rely on what the twitterer says as fact or they themselves could be a victim of an impostor.

The first risk for journalists who use Twitter is getting in trouble for using a fake Twitter account as a source. One example of a fake Twitter account can be seen by reading the article, “Matt Leinart’s Twitter account: if fake, should be removed”. This article is about Matt Leinart being the victim of a Twitter impostor. The impostor tweeted things that would have gotten Leinart into trouble if he truly tweeted them. What would have caused even more harm, is if a journalist believed the fake Leinart account to be true. This would have caused a lot of trouble, because the journalist could be sued for liable or slander by Leinart. If a journalist gets sued or liable or slander, they will most likely be fired, because a news station will see that journalist as a future liability. In addition, the Cardinals franchise would suffer a lot of bad PR for the whole scandal. As anyone could see, using a fake Twitter account as a source is not only harmful to journalists, but also the source them self.
Another potential harm for Twitter using journalists is the fact that they themselves could be the victim of a Twitter impostor. One example of this happening is the story of Journalist Jan Moir. The impostor tweeted articles and content that was homophobic. The Twitterer even tweeted that her son was gay. Luckily for Jan, her employers probably had the common sense to know that this account had to be fake. The article, “How to spot a hoax Twitter account – a case study”, actually delivers some tips on how to notice an impostor. Most of these tips are based on common sense, like noticing who is following the account, who the account follows, and if a tweet is “too good to be true”. The last tip is the most obvious. If someone tweets something that is too immature and the account has a history of doing this, you can bet it’s a fake.
Overall, journalists need to have a good head on their shoulders when using a Twitter account. Most should think past the obvious (not posting obscene content that could hurt their career), and learn how to spot fake Twitter accounts. Journalists should also report fake Twitter accounts not only of themselves, but also of people who could be potential sources for stories.

How to Spot a Hoax Twitter Account

27 04 2011


Building Your Flagstaff Dream House (Video)

30 03 2011

How to build you dream house in Flagstaff. We will take you through the five steps that you need to accomplish before building your home.

Facebook “Likes” More Valuable Than a Tweet (Study)

16 03 2011


Facebook Wants Your Opinion On Its New Privacy Policy

25 02 2011

Facebook Wants Your Opinion On Its New Privacy Policy.

100+ Upcoming Social Media & Tech Events

23 02 2011

100+ Upcoming Social Media & Tech Events.

Can An Airport Drive An Economy? | Metropolis Magazine

18 02 2011

Lahore Airport

Quick-Fix Urbanism | Metropolis Magazine.

23 Social Media Facts to Share with Executives

16 02 2011

23 Social Media Facts to Share with Executives.

Planning For Climate Could Mean Avoiding Catastrophe (02/11/11)

12 02 2011

Flagstaff – Climate change has been added into the Regional Plan. Environmental Science Professor Scott Anderson and Meteorolgist Lee Born explain why they think planning for climate in Northern Arizona is so important, because of the bad consequences that could happen.
Listen HERE

Flagstaff Regional Plan (Energy Element) (09/22/10)

12 02 2011

Nick Boulanger reports on the Energy element for the Flagstaff Regional Plan 2012

New Overtime Rule Is A Good Change (03/28/10)

12 02 2011

Click to read the article.

Should Will Blackmon Stay With The Packers Or Should He Go Now?

11 02 2011

(03/03/10)- Read the article here.

Let’s Hope the Brew Crew Do Not Have Another Costanza-like Season

11 02 2011

02/18/2010 – Read my article on why the Brewer’s can’t have (what I call) another Costanza-like season.

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures (02/04/2010)

11 02 2011

Click here to read my thoughts on the Bears signing of Mike Martz.

Arizona Snowbowl To Make Fake Snow From Reclaimed Water

11 02 2011

Flagstaff (NAZ Today) – Should the Arizona Snowbowl use reclaimed waste water to make fake snow?

ROTC Reaction to Obama’s Decision

11 02 2011

Flagstaff (NAZ Today) – Northern Arizona University ROTC’s reaction to Obama’s decision to deploy 30,000 troops into Afghanastan.

Flagstaff Reprimands Local Smoke Shop Owner

11 02 2011

Flagstaff (NAZ Today) – A local smoke shop owner gets reprimanded by the City for allowing his customers to smoke tobacco inside the shop.

Massive Meteor Shower Visible Tonight from Flagstaff (11/16/2009)

11 02 2011


Click here to watch the original news cast.