My Facebook page was born September 2005. My Facebook was a healthy platform for communicating with friends. I took full advantage of the available Facebook applications and services. My page was a strong, public site until I learned about the impact of my social media image and general presence in the world of social media. My Facebook page began to quickly evolve.

My random choice of friends, questionable content, and overly public settings changed after I received my first lecture about the accessibility of Facebook.

The lecture I hear year after year consists of professionals or professors telling students about the importance of maintaining a positive social media image. First impressions are crucial in our current overly competitive job market. One quick sweep on Google and the image that pops up could determine your current employment status.

To help you make the right choices on Facebook, here are some tips, do’s, and don’ts.

A few examples from Switched’s post Facebook 101: 25 Tips and Tricks:

  • Manage your online profile, because potential employers and college admissions may be checking.
  • Don’t use the ‘Poke’ function, ever.
  • Edit your ‘networks.’

More tips from my professor Kelli Matthews include:

  • Maintain an accurate and professional Facebook profile.
  • Remember that email, comments and blog posts are forever. For-ev-er. Think before you type.

If you still need to be convinced to make your Facebook page more employer friendly, read this USA Today article.

My Facebook page evolved from public, to semi-private, and then extremely private. With the private setting I’m able to have a limited social media presence. I worry that being nonexistent on Facebook may give off the impression that I have something to hide. Currently, my main concern with Facebook is their new terms of use content ownership policy.

What are your thoughts about this policy and having a public presence on Facebook in general?


by Matt Hamm

As a PR student about to dive into the professional world, my head is full of innovative social media trends. My answer to all questions regarding brand and relationship building tends to be: SOCIAL MEDIA. As a member of Generation Y, I’ve come to learn that many people have their doubts about the success of social media.

Why shouldn’t people have doubts? Sure companies and organizations can easily become involved with social media, but are they really listening? Or maybe a better question would be: is the target audience going to connect with the selected social media tools? Building brands and relationships is all about connecting with people in the right way.

I’m currently working with a local non-profit, Eugene Masonic Cemetery (EMC), to help them build a stronger relationship with community members. The moment I mentioned social media, I received looks of doubt and confusion. How do I convince them that social media is a great tool to connect with community members?

After doing a little research, I found some great tips for EMC about using social media as well as other tools to raise brand awareness and build relationships. The following are tips from FEED: The Digital Design Blog and Authenticities:

Monitor social media and respond to what people are saying about you.

  • We live in an era built on social interactions. Don’t just focus on building brand awareness, focus on building a space where customers can interact with the brand and other people. Relationships are built by creating interaction among an organization and its publics.

Use existing online tools to create communication among an organization’s publics.

  • Update your Web site. Keep the content relevant and interesting. Increase your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • Add RSS to your Web site so people can easily subscribe to your site.
  • Use e-mail to distribute interesting information and organization updates.

Now you may be thinking, “What valid or interesting information does a cemetery have to offer?” Actually, the cemetery is full of fun historical facts and personal stories. Who knows, maybe you’ll soon see EMC as an active Twitter member.


Oregon’s non-existent professional football team has killed my interest in the NFL. However, I still tune in annually to watch the Superbowl. For me, the Superbowl is an excuse to eat nachos, socialize, and laugh at ridiculous advertisements that cost companies loads of money to air.

I’ve recently realized that advertisements have more to fear than just general criticism. Social media users have learned to vocalize their opinions via blogs, Twitter, and other social media sites.

I recently read a post on KDPaine’s PR Measurement Blog about the GoDaddy ad aired during the Superbowl. Some social media users were so offended they suggested switching to cheaper alternatives of GoDaddy via Twitter. Network Solutions @Sashib happened to be monitoring the conversation and began offering a coupon to anyone who wanted to switch hosting companies.

Social media users are fierce and they mean business. I did a quick sweep on Twitter to see what others were saying about Superbowl ads and everyone has an opinion. Not surprising, many people are still talking about the GoDaddy ad, calling it stupid, pointless, and tasteless. Maybe companies will begin to think twice before airing ads that may be controversial to a large audience.

Trying new restaurants is one of my guilty pleasures. My restaurant search begins with a sweep on yelp. I create a connection with a restaurant based on its reviews. If I’m satisfied with a meal, the restaurant remains in my mind. But how do I stay personally connected with that restaurant?


The answer: social media. If companies and organizations can use social media to connect with their audience, why can’t restaurants? Social media is an inexpensive way to interact with existing or potential customers.

This idea seems so simple to me, however, after looking up some of my favorite restaurants I found they do not exist in the world of social media or if they do, it’s very minimal. For example, one of my favorite restaurants in Portland is Le Happy. The food is unique, tasty, and reasonably priced and the atmosphere is funky and fresh. Although Le Happy is off to a great start with their interactive Web site and can be found on yelp, they are nowhere to be found in the world of social media.

Le Happy

Think of all the things restaurants could do with social media. Being the amateur restaurant connoisseur that I am, I would use restaurant social media sites to check out specials, anniversary events, menu changes, hours, reservations, renovations, wine lists, and more. The possibilities are endless.

Here is a list of social media tools restaurants can use to connect with customers and create brand recognition.
A few examples from the list include:

  • Using Twitter to provide people with updates on specials and events. Twitter also allows customers to provide feedback and commentary about the restaurant, its food, and other aspects of the dining experience.
  • Creating a blog to inform people about the restaurant’s recent editions to the menu, new staff, cooking techniques, etc.
  • Starting a Facebook page to connect with existing and potential restaurant patrons.

I believe creating and maintaining a connection with people will contribute to the success of a restaurant. Don’t believe me? Check out some of the success stories I found on Social Media Explorer.


I began my social media endeavor by using Facebook. Initially, I eagerly added photos, wrote on walls, updated my status, and commented on photos. This excitement came to a sudden standstill when my one of my relatives asked to be my friend via Facebook. A thought popped into my head, “If my family can see my page, what’s stopping other people from viewing my personal information?” Yikes!

Being public is one of the great qualities of social media, because it allows people to interact with almost anyone. It’s also a great way to build trust among organizations and their audiences. Participating in social media makes people vulnerable and susceptible to criticism.

Although this sounds great for people who use social media correctly, it can also be easily abused and lead to a disaster. I recently read a story about a PR account executive/vice president from Ketchum. This PR professional flew to Memphis to visit FedEx, one of Ketchum’s biggest clients. When he landed he posted on Twitter, a popular social media message board:

“True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say, ‘I would die if I had to live here.’”

Unfortunately, someone from FedEx saw the post and reported it. Many employees who are from the area did not appreciate the negative remarks about Memphis.

This story, like many others, is exactly why I spend several minutes, if not hours, thinking about what to write on Facebook, Twitter, and especially my blog. I constantly think about who’s reading or viewing my social media pages and how the content will influence me in the future.

My advice: think about the impact of what you write, post, share, tweet, etc. You never know who’s watching.

Connect with me

January 27, 2009

The goal of this post is to give you a little insight into who I am and why I’m blogging.

My name is Gretchen and I’m currently studying public relations. I’m writing this blog to share my thoughts about the public relations industry.

I read a quote today that I believe clearly states the necessity for public relations to have a connection with social media: “It is important for PR to involve regular people through social media to provide observations that humanize and connect, so that the ‘voice of authority’ is friend and confidante.” Richard Edelman, CEO, Edelman PR

Although I’m only representing myself in my blog, this is my attempt to connect and interact with people who may or may not share my interests.

As the author of this blog I intend to write about brand and consumer public relations as well as fascinating trends in the industry.

To give you a visual look at who I am, I put together a few photos that will give you a glimpse into my life.