Killing Time? Get a Head Start

Running at work is fun.

Running at work is freeing.

Running at work is exciting.

Running at work is gross.

…But only in the best way possible.

While we await the New Year, and coworkers’ return from holiday vacations, life around the office may seem a little dull but to those of us still working it’s the perfect time to vary routines and brainstorm ideas.

I came to work in sweats and ran a very rewarding 3 mile jog on my break. Though returning to the office and frantically waving around spare papers in a failed attempt to create a fanning object might not be everyone’s idea of inspiration, modifying your environment or changing one small detail about your day is usually good enough to unleash a few dormant ideas that simply needed a little push.

Consider it a head start. Whether you’re wheezing on the side of the road and bobbing furiously to a few surprises on your iPod or rearranging your desk and sorting emails, a few days astray from the normal routine can lead to that single thought that could manifest into something profound. Maybe you’ll never lose another email because you will organize them so well nothing could slip through the cracks. (That’s just as important.)

Take this time to decompress, rearrange, and experiment.

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Holiday-Inspired Tips

FIRE PR Group hopes you enjoyed and/or are enjoying the holidays. Though Christmas might be over, we can all learn a few lessons from our favorite bearded fella.

Joe Vasquez, the writer of yesterday’s PR Daily post, outlines a few of Santa Claus’ well-known habits, especially his ability to make a list and check it twice. It may seem a little bizarre at first, but Mr. Claus’ cheery disposition, willingness to share, signature chuckle turned slogan, and dedication to preparation and delivery are key characteristics of a successful PR professional.

Above all else, Santa’s suiting up on one of the biggest holidays of the year – a key indicator that work may never end (despite the presence of holidays), but one can turn their professional obligations into something rewarding and enjoyable by acknowledging how much their contributions help build the big picture.

 

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Online Trends: 2012

YouTube introduced New Analytics, Facebook has a Timeline, and companies can make detailed profiles on Linkedin. 2011 has been a good year – Though I’m sure I’m not the only one who was a little uncomfortably nostalgic (and occasionally repulsed) by Facebook’s thorough display of my adolescent life in 2006.

A recent post on Social Media for Your Business, outlines the newest updates about some of our favorites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)  as well as the newcomer (Google+) pertaining to forming and maintaining B2B and B2C relationships.

Here is a quick breakdown of the changes:

Facebook: Timeline features organize your Facebook activity over the years and display it in a scrapbook fashion. Users can also do more than “like” pages they’re interested in via Facebook Gestures.

Twitter: users can now embed tweets, create Twitter pages specifically for companies. @replies are organized into their own category called “Connect”, “Discover” features trending topics and stories based on your personal connections, preferences, etc. and the “Me” section features the user’s personal profile in a larger, cleaner, and easily navigable format.

LinkedIn: users can now share content, add video to their profiles, and send group messages.

(Because Google+ is relatively new, and constantly developing, I am including this article to provide background information.)

How do you think these updates will affect the PR industry?

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“Like” Tops Annoying Word Poll

Like, whatever.

According to today’s PR Daily post by Michael Sebastian, the most annoying word of the year is “Whatever”. Not to worry, “Like” trails closely behind.

For the last two years these words have topped the lists for words that, above all else, evoke feelings of frustration and discontent at even a mindless mutter.

Why?

They are filler words. I should probably give credit to “actually” and “literally” as well. Though these words have meanings beyond (or in place of) bridging the gap between two poorly formed fragments, many of us rely on the “likes” and “whatevers” of the world to avoid the “ums” and “uhhs” we are supposed to hate—and never use.

Of course there are other reasons why many of us rely on these words so much but I automatically recall a scenario when I was standing in front of a room of people, nervous, and attempting to drag out one sentence’s worth of information across two minutes with a “like” or two.

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AP Stylebook Plug-in for PC Users

If you eat, sleep, breathe, and swear by the rules of the AP Stylebook, there is a new tool for you — and those of you who may not be so loyal to its pages of wisdom.

In his article from Mashable, Brian Anthony Hernandez, reporter for pop culture and internet memes, describes a new AP Style program for PC users.

On Thursday the Associated Press introduced a new plug-in software called AP StyleGuard that works in Microsoft Word. This program proofreads your content based on factors like spelling, language, and punctuation – all related
to journalistic use.

Because of the nature of this software, users will be kept up to date on AP Stylebook rules and will be able to proofread their work with greater speed and efficiency than having to find editing information in the traditional book.

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Expectations for 2012

What should PR professionals expect in the upcoming year?

In Beth Monaghan’s 10 (more predictions for the PR industry in 2012 she makes a list (along with accompanying explanations) of the changes professionals should anticipate. Some of these include:

  • Heavier reliance on infographics,
  • Heightened competition and need for good, solid content
  • A broader variety of skillsets expected from PR professionals

 

As PR professionals (or professionals in a related field), what changes do you foresee will take place in the upcoming year for the PR industry?

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Be Creative: Don’t Say You Are

You are no longer creative – if you say you are. More specifically, any creative merit you may have could vanish the minute you describe yourself as the quintessential example of this trait on your resume.

For those of us entering the workforce (and looking to begin a career in PR) or planning on transitioning from a current job in a writing-driven field, it is almost imperative that the verbiage on your resume reflects your ability to write well – and avoid trendy wording mishaps.

Today everyone is creative, dynamic, and organizationally gifted. To say employers find these traits undesirable is a lie; however, employers see hundreds of resumes from applicants gushing about these same seemingly impressive qualities. In Katy Steinmetz’ article Ten Buzzwords to Take Off Your LinkedIn Profile Now, Steinmetz highlights which words many of us abuse on LinkedIn’s list of most overused professional buzzwords. These words have lost their meaning and impact on resumes.  As a result, employers are probably pretty annoyed by them. Words/phrases on the list include:

Dynamic

Communication Skills

Problem Solving

Innovative

Motivated

Track Record

Extensive Experience

Effective

Organizational

Avoid these words at all costs. LinkedIn says so. And so does your potential employer.

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Apps for PR Pros

Apps make life easier.

More so, the manner by which we use them can potentially affect how much “easier” our work may seem.

I am aware that smart phone apps are not a new find.  However, tapping into which apps can help you consolidate your work to promote efficiency can be helpful — especially if you have not taken the time to explore other options aside from apps you are familiar with.

PR professional and blogger Ronnie Manning outlines 23 Smart Phone Apps PR Professionals Can’t Live Without.

In the post Manning acknowledges that PR pros are familiar with apps for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google so he provides insight about several other apps that some PR folks may not use regularly or know about.

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Symbols Causing Mixed Signals?

In yesterday’s post by Matt Rosoff in Business Insider’s tech section, Rosoff outlines the changes Twitter has made to make the site more user-friendly in the upcoming year. These additions include timelines with rich text, embedded tweets and searchable information via the infamous @ symbol and hash tag.

But maybe this symbol is not so infamous?

Rosoff explains that novice Twitter users may be confused, and therefore, inhibited about participating more actively on Twitter because they do not understand the meaning behind the @ and # symbols relative to the use of the site. In hopes of encouraging more user activity, Twitter has decided to make these symbols more visible by making them the point of contact for users to search for information about related topics and people.

Does this mean novice Twitter users will become more inclined to use the site effectively? Will Twitter gain respect of the wary?

What do you think?

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Convergence: Introducing Social TV Apps & Consolidating Workplace Disciplines for 2012

For anyone considering isolating their PR team from their social media personnel – this article is just for you.

In her article Eight Social Media Trends for 2012, Spin Sucks’ Gini Dietrich highlights a few advancements in social media for the upcoming year.

Dietrich focuses mainly on the idea of consolidation. She lists the emergence of what may have been Steve Jobs’ last project: iTV. As media apps, such as Get Glue, become more popular, the idea of checking into a TV program, music, or movie and communicating about the program with other viewers may become a commonality. Media consumers may be one step closer to being fully integrated with other consumers about the information they are viewing and/or listening to.

Another profound trend about social media app integration is “The Integration of All Disciplines”.

If you have used Hootsuite or TweetDeck to save time and/or brand yourself while posting to several social media accounts, you are already using a more consolidated version of the original social media outlets many of us use for professional purposes. You’re smart phone? Another example of how our social media sources are now available to us across several means of technology to promote timeliness and efficiency.

For PR professionals, saving time while communicating via social media in a timely fashion is essential. However, many businesses still isolate their social media team from their marketing department who isn’t quite sure what the PR people do who have no idea what group sends what emails. Etcetera.

In other words, as our social media accounts have merged to make life a little more productive, disciplines across the office will as well – specifically those focusing on mobile, social, marketing, public relations, advertising, direct email, email, customer service, and sales responsibilities. In order to reach a common goal, coworkers will need to understand each others’ responsibilities and how those actions will factor into achieving the desired end result. And maybe it wouldn’t hurt if they could group-chat about last night’s TV lineup before arriving to work.

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