Sunday, November 4, 2007

video from session 1

We had the first session, Advice from the Pros, videotaped & it is now available for download. Enjoy!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Is private e-mail really private in the workplace?

Beware hotmail and Gmail junkies, your employer may be watching you! Listen carefully to what Dr. Bob Sprauge had to say about private e-mail in the workplace.

Should politics use social networks?

In the second session, Dr. Sweetser discussed her passion about political communication research. She specifically talked about how people are talking in non-political spaces, which brings up an interesting question in regards to how politics are using social networks. Our social media class had a heated discussion earlier in the week and everyone had different opinions. We decided that it would be a great opportunity to ask other guests at the conference what their opinion was after Dr. Sweetser got us all "pumped up" about political communication.

Click here to listen to Dr. Meg Lamme APR and her take on politics in social networks.

Dr. V also had an opinion about political blogs.

Connect's success

A big round of applause -- make it a standing ovation -- for all the students (and Dr. Sweetser) who worked on this blog, the podcasts, the interviews, the tweets, etc. that made Connect a success. Without your work, it would've been just another conference, albeit an excellent one. :-) Instead, it truly was a collaboration.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lunch Interviews

We used our lunch time to ask people questions about social media and the UGAconnect conference.

We spoke to Abby Blalock, an undergraduate student at UGA, to get her take on how the conference was going. Listen to what she said.

Bloggers cannot be serious all the time especially when eating lunch. Our next two lunch interviews demonstrate this. We asked Josh Hallett about how to balance social media and law and he answered pretending to be (which the law says you should not do) Kevin Dugan. See what Kevin Dugan (a.k.a. Josh Hallett) thinks.

Paull Young made everyone around him roar with laughter when asked what he was going to do in Athens tonight. Laugh along by listening to his answer here.

Interview with Dr. Bernhardt

As everyone was eating lunch, we pulled Dr. Jay Bernhardt aside to ask him a few questions about how the CDC is using social media and what his favorite social media tool was.
Here are his answers.

Interview at Wild Wing's

After the conference was officially over, everyone headed downtown. The newcomers catch on quickly, don't they?

The dinner venue, chosen by Dr. Russell, was Buffalo Wild Wing's Cafe. I arrived a little late, but there was already a table of at least 15 people seated upstairs.

So, taking the prized audio recorder, I conducted an interview with Kristen English, a first-year PhD. student, and Connie and Sue, first-year Graduate students.

I mainly asked them about their favorite parts of the conference.

From talking to Connie and Sue, I learned they were in the Coast Guard previously, and they were serious social media virgins at the beginning of the year. They told me they had never heard of blogs, MySpace, facebook and the like.

How cool is it that they came to the conference and learned so much! They told me all they wanted to do last night was to go home and play. Social media is so fun!

On top of the interviews, Paull Young told us the saga of his NYC Firemen's Calender that he allegedly bought for his "Mum." ...haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Thanks, Paull.

A summary from 239A

For those of you not lucky enough to sit-in on the three "how-to" sessions in 239A. Here are some take-away points:

Social Networking with Dr. Kaye Sweetser
  • Facebook was started by Harvard students in 2004. It spread and spread and has now taken on the world! In fact, it currently grows at 1.3 percent per day and 30 percent per month.
  • How can a business use Facebook? Don't do this: Target rounders
  • Post your events on Facebook. They become viral.
  • On Facebook, you can only set up the space for conversations about your organization to occur. Once they are set up, just leave it alone and listen.
  • Hallett: "MySpace is the ghetto, and Facebook is suburbia."
  • Twitter is a presence application, a form of micro-blogging. It like passing notes.
  • A great way to use Twitter: send breaking news updates.
  • On Twitter, your organization can track relevant phrases like "buying a car" or "donate blood."
Blog Monitoring with Josh Hallett
  • RSS readers will sort the posts by date.
  • When you are looking for relevant posts, search using your company's name, brand name, products and URLs.
  • Important: Search for misspellings, as well as correct spellings.
  • Use Flickr to do photo searches.
  • Board Tracker
  • These tools are great for showing where the problems are, but the PR person must find a solution. The best solution, just talk to the individual. Be human. It's hard to be rude to someone who is trying to make a personal connection with you.
  • "Blog about them, and they will come."
  • "folksonomy"- anyone can classify information using bookmarking sites
Corporate Blogs with Josh Hallett

Learn Social Media Tools

HT: Kevin Dugan for dropping this hint about how to get PR professionals in the know on social media tools.

At the International PRSA conference going on in Philadelphia right now Kami Huyse posted a PRSA lesson plan to get PR professionals up to date on those crucial social media skills.

There was a big discussion at the Academic Roundtable, the final session yesterday, as to the best way to get students interested in social media, but also how to do the same for professors. Time management was cited as one of the biggest obstacles to trying to learn these new tools, even though the faculty felt they were important.

Well here is a good solution. Short lesson plans that lay out the basics so at least professors are not completely in the dark.

I think this is ideal for anyone wanting to learn about social media, but who may be in a time crunch or overwhelmed by it all.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

UGAConnect: Student Perspective

I posted on my blog about how I felt about the UGAConnect conference as a whole, and not to ruin the surprise or anything but it was awesome.

Weird side-effect though? Thinking in Twitters -

"I left the conference exhausted and with the weird side-effect of feeling like I needed to be posting what I was doing and thinking at all times. Ashley is ... in the car. Ashley is ... listening to Sister Hazel Live in the car. Ashley is ... tired but happy to have been a part of UGAConnect 2007!"

Educators Roundtable Summary

Lots of good dialogue going on with all the educators at the Academic Roundtable discussion.

They discussed a lot about how to make social media classes more accessible to students and faculty alike. In many cases, faculty cannot teach the students because they do not know enough about the tools themselves.

Time management and the desire to learn and see the importance of these tools is a challenge for both faculty and students.

Also, the issue of whether we should have a whole class on social media or maybe just a seminar came up because the tools are not hard to learn and fast to teach.

A heated debate arose between whether AP style was still useless and when it will go out of style. Constantin Basturea said that we write in AP style for journalists, but now a lot of our publics are not going to be journalists. Paull Young added that globally, AP style is not nearly as heavily influenced as it is in America. However, many of the faculty felt that it gives a standard to publishings and professionalism to the business.

The last topic was about how to encourage professors to teach students not only the skills, but the ability to teach themselves and seek out this new information to learn. It is crucial as a practitioner to know the strategies and be above the technician level.

Great thoughts from interesting professionals, students, faculty and practitioners. Some wonderful thoughts bounced around and lets hope everyone involved got something out of it.

Educators Roundtable Podcast

This deserves its own post

"AP style is overrated!!!!!"

Spark the Interest for Students

Will students get into blogging if they are forced?

Students have public fear of making their thoughts public when writing on blogs. They also have time management problems to getting into blogging and learning about everything needed to know in order to post.

"Faculty get it when there's a reason to get it."

Is that true?

In my own life, my Dad is finally starting to realize there are four generations in the workplace. The result: personnel problems and co-worker relationship difficulties. Last week, he went to a conference hosted by a consulting firm. All they talked about was HR in insurance agencies, and how they can try to deal with the different generations.

One of the events that sparked this attendance was his secretary who quit. She was the youngest, and he thinks he didn't know how to deal with her properly.

So, way to go, Dad. He learned, and now he's trying to implement what should be done.

Is he like the faculty? Seems like it. There was a specific reason for his need to learn how to deal with the generations.

To the faculty, not just Journalism: does there have to be a specific reason for you to learn how to use, implement and teach the ins-and-outs of social media? Would a presentation work? How can students help you make an influence on each other?

This is a great session. I love brain storming.

When will it happen?

"Faculty will get it when there's a reason to get it." Obviously, educators have a lot going on and there's no obvious reason to jump on the social media bandwagon yet.

When will there be a reason?

Social Media Class

Constantin Basturea thinks a whole social media class would maybe be too much. Instead he suggested a form of social media "bootcamp", a weekend or two of 6 or 8 hour sessions to educate people about social media. He says the technology is easy to learn and use, it is just getting it out there for people to have access to.

What to do if you're a teacher?

Have students write a SMNR is EVERY class. Grade it based on the use of quotes, information and multimedia they select.

How do you create a win-win situation where the professor creates groundwork and students bring in what they know?

Having a whole social media class may be too much?? What about a social media boot camp for two weekends?

To be continued...

Neutral...not a word I associate with Social Media

I'm sitting in the last round table discussion, and Katie Paine just said something interesting:

Most of the comments made on the Internet are neutral. If you're like me, you would assume that most comments are either one way or another. Neutrality doesn't come to mind when I think about Social Media.

I can take this two ways:
1. Wow, it's really nice that people don't go off the deep-end every time they say something on a blog, Web site, profile or whatever.
2. Is this a warning sign that we can't get the real views from people? Are the polar opposite views true, "un-skewed" views? Neutrality is not something we'd want if we're trying to get opinions or suggestions for a company.

Just some thoughts. Take 'em or leave 'em.

Dark blog

Proof that blogs don't necessarily have to create conversation. They can just be there for content. A dark blog is created in preparation for a crisis (like a hurricane). It sits there until something happens. When something does happen, helpful info can be posted.

Break-out: Blogger relations with Kevin Dugan

Should I pitch media on Facebook?

No. But you can find out what they like and have more things to talk about. Use it to make those contacts before you pitch, so you have the relationships there.

What are some of the etiquette mistakes people make?
  • 'Dear Name' or 'To Whom It May Concern' pitches: If you try to act like you've read it and you haven't, it makes people even madder - better to just say, "Here's what I'm pitching, I haven't read your blog but just think about it."
  • A news release is not a pitch: It's a background document you use for your pitch.

Break-out: Blogger relations with Kevin Dugan

Golden Rule: Always remember to customize - read what people are writing before you send your pitch.


You can build and publish as SMPR within this site. It's free.

Notes on business blogs

"Blogging takes passion and authority, which eliminates 99 percent of all businesses."

E-mail newsletters: interruption technology, the content can't be changed after it's sent, just not good...

Business blogs:
1. Humanize businesses
2. Conversational aspect
3. Product and event blogs are important

It's not a faceless company that sends me a bill every month anymore. Now it's "where Karen works."

The Southwest blog is loved, but anyone in the org can submit a post. They may want to limit it to create more focus.

Sony's blog is cool because the CEO will actually respond to comments.

SEO always comes up: A Web site may have six pages of content, but a blog may have 18,000 that are constantly being updated. You will soar up to the top of Google.

Blogs can be a quick and easy way to publish content. They don't have to be conversations. For example, a dark blog.

Biggest mistake corporate blogs make: They start talking BEFORE they start reading. LISTEN BEFORE YOU TALK!!!

Does the SMPR make Journalists lazy?

A SMPR has a list of important items for Journalists to use but does not connect the dots.

The SMPR could be seen as positive for Journalists but it could also be negative.

Theoretically, Journalists can create their own stories without the bias of the PR Practitioner but there has not been any research conducted to determine the effect the SMPR has on Journalists and journalism.

Break-out Session: Podcasting with Paull Young

How to eliminate noise in a podcast?

  • Microphones help eliminate the noise
  • Use a quiet place
  • Test out the file before you record
  • Use Audacity to edit
  • Record in your closet (not that he does that)


A few Podcasts for PR students to subscribe to:

For Immediate Release
Inside PR
Trafcom News


The main focus of the SMNR are bloggers.

As PR Practitioners, we need to include all forms of content, creative content, in a manner that will be appealing to our audiences. By using video, for example, we can entertain and inform our audience at the same time.

Multimedia is key.

Here is a template for the SMPR.

Break-out: Podcasting with Paull Young

What's great about blogs:

  • Easy and fun
  • Personal relationship - talking directly to the person
  • Can build a community and dialog - always strive create conversations

What makes a great podcast:
  • Podcast about a niche
  • Talk about things that are interesting and fun
What to do:
  • Listen first - what are people talking about?
  • Get the audio
  • Always record in .wav because you get a cleaner sound file
  • Edit the sound - the Levelator, Audacity (open source - it's free!)
  • Podsafe Music Network - free music
  • When you publish the podcast write notes on the blog so that Google can catalog it
  • Host the file - Libsyn is a good one
  • Make sure people can subscribe to it - RSS
  • Create a way to continue the conversation - sound comments or regular comments
What to listen to:

People can't spell?

Great tip for blog monitoring: Search for misspellings of your organization and products along with the correct spelling!
How can a company use Twitter?

Todd Defren says even a pharma co. can use it!

Plant a tree in Secondlife

Philanthropy in Secondlife.

Conveseon and PlantIt 2020 are dedicated to planting endangered trees in this life and in Secondlife. With $1/L$300 you can plant a tree and raise money.

Second Chance trees are found in Second Chance Island in world.


Suckiness factor.

Instead of counting amount of positive and negitive comments just about your company, compare the amount of negitive comments about your company to the negitive comments about other companies. Interesting.

Facebook growth

Facebook is growing at 1.3 percent per day, 33 percent per month!

Session Four Summary

Lots of interesting stuff going on with the influence of social media. A range of topics were covered in the live blogging, but here is a little summary of what else was said.

Heyl mentioned that the learning curve for social media is very large and she as a businesswoman in the communications realm decided to offer only social media as a means of communication, not traditional communications. She said if she offered the traditional form everyone would choose it over social media because they aren't familiar with social media.

So does that mean traditional media or journalism is dead? Most of the speakers said no that it is not, and journalism is still an important means of communication. Journalism and public relations do have different agendas in the form of their message and means of communicating that message, although now some of those lines are being blurred.

Heyl mentioned she has to remind her client to "throw control out the window." We don't need to control the message, just manage it.

The best way to becoming a great communicator is to get in the game early. Become a blogger, she said, "make friends before you have to, then when something happens your blogger friends will tell you about it and be there to support you."

McGinty covered the Athens political scene, where bloggers were doing their part to be involved in the online world, like blogs and youtube, and in effect gave some sway to local political candidates or movements.

The conversation turned to on- and off-the-record comments in the online world and offline world and how they are different or if they are at all. Neumeier offered some great advice in relation to those journalist bloggers saying, " if you don't want it read or blogged about, just don't say it!"

Bloggers and journalists seem to have a competitive relationship, even though many times they are after different audiences or objectives. McGinty thinks that mainstream media will always exist because of the commitment to remain unbiased. Blogs, however, will serve as an echo chamber for people to respond to those unbiased reports. Hollander stated that blogging is often "reactive" and that is a fine. People need a way to voice opinions, questions, concerns and this is just a new means of doing that. As he mentioned people have been talking to neighbors over backyard fences for ages, now that fence may just be a comment box on your "neighbor's" blog.

There were a few fears voiced from an audience member about how to gain some of these new skills. In an environment where it seems you can't gain experience through an internship unless you already have some experience, how do you learn those initial steps to separate you from the rest of the pool? The moderator mentioned he is not always looking for a good writer, as most employees demand, but a good communicator. You can learn to be a good communicator through being involved in the social media world.

LinkedIn was brought up as another business alternative to Facebook. But many people questioned the usefulness and helpfulness of this social networking site. There was general agreement that it may be lacking something, but it is also filled with older generation of workers who may not be as savvy as the younger Facebook-crazy generation on other social networking sites.

Finally, the real purpose of social media was discussed. Neumeier offered that some people just immerse themselves in one line of thinking. One channel is all you need. Heyl disagreed, citing relationships with people whom she has very little in common with as a driving force behind being involved in these tools.

Overall a very interesting and informative session. I hope everyone else learned as much about what is happening in Georgia right now as I did!

Session Four Podcast

Secondlife Revolution

A huge debate going on about how marketers do not understand the residents of Secondlife.

A revolution was held in world that protested marketers being in world.

what you can do in your secondlife.

Any thing you can conceive as a marketer, you can build in Secondlife. Currently, the most profitable business is the sex industry.

Second Life

Paull Young, the Second Life instructor, just told us the map of Second Life is bigger than that of Singapore.

What's more, the Second Life economy is growing faster than India's.

His avatar, LL Platypus, has "bought" skin, but the jacket he wears was a "freebie," Young said.

Apparently, dance parties are the thing to go to! Oh man, dancing avatars. What to do next?

Question: How can a business use Facebook?

Way not to use social networking as a business/corporation: post from Dr. Sweetser's blog.

Hire a firm that is going to follow the rules and jargon of the specific networking site. Don't be sneaky!

Open thread for "how-to's"

You know the drill!

Bloggers Vs. Journalists

Journalists and bloggers often have an us vs. them mentality with each other.

The problem from a journalist's view is that bloggers are taking over journalists' turf but want to do it on their own terms. They want all the benefits of being a journalist, but not the drawbacks to it.

Blogs to set the agenda

Josh Hallet made an interesting comment about the nature of journalist blogs. A really great journalism blog is about creating posts that advocate conversation about certain news stories ... agenda setting theory in the works of Web 2.0, maybe things aren't so different after all.

take the online survey

What? A survey? I did one of those already.

Nope. This is actually a DIFFERENT feedback survey for the conference than the paper one you have in your registration binder ...

We want to know how you (those HERE & those REMOTELY FOLLOWING) feel about the online coverage we have been providing. If you're reading this blog then you are using this site. So please take our survey - there are only 6 questions!

Interesting figures

77 percent of journalists go to PR practitioners for stories
84 percent of journalists go to blogs for information
Journalists overwhelmingly find organizations without Web sites less credible

MSM and Social Media in Georgia

Hollander thinks the Atlanta-Journal Constitution does a good job as a traditional media source contributing to the social media movement.

McGinty said, with the disclaimer that he worked for them, Athens-Banner Herald does a good job as well, with and blogs that journalists write available online for comments and posts from readers.

On a local level....

Social media allows for extensive grassroots participation. Locally, people can respond to surveys that are centered on their community.

Politically, members of the community can have conversations about and with their elected officials.

Also, a very good fund raising technique for politicians.

we don't control, we manage.

There are many different conversations out there. As PR practitioners, educators and students, it is not our job to control these conversations but to manage.

The audiences have become so fragmented and it has become very difficult for PR practitioners that put out a message to control a message.

A viral message gone bad can hurt a campaign. Political, corporate, it doesn't matter.

The equilibrium of corporate messaging

Mike Neumeier of Arketi in Atlanta talks about the equilibrium process of Web 2.o. Although it seems like corporate messaging and media pitching is dying, it's not. It's about engaging in the marketplace of communication and everyone is learning about the change.

Facing the fear

Dr. Hollander and Mr. McGinty discuss students knowledge of social networking Web sites, but their lack of knowledge about blogs. It's extremely important that we get the information out not only to students but to businesses and organizations ... the age of corporate messaging is over!

we are good..but just at one thing.

Dr. Hollander says that as students, we become very proficient at a specific thing. We go into the workforce with very particular skills.

This conference is an eye opener for us. We need to become skilled at many different types technology.

Approaching the Fear!

It's a new age, and it's time to start communicating differently. Blogs have totally changed the business environment. It's difficult to communicate the necessity of blogs to businesses because they are scared of change. Sherry Heyl of What a Concept! in Atlanta helps businesses see the importance of blogging and doing business in a new way.

Barry Hollander

Barry Hollander began his internet endeavors in the late 1980s, and now teaches classes at Grady on how to use the internet for news writing and reporting and sees himself as a "god" for virtual worlds!

Students' Awareness of Social Media Tools

Barry Hollander was asked how valueable the knowledge of social media tools is to the students he teaches and if those students are using that knowledge to their advantage when entering the workforce.

Hollander replied that while almost all of his students can make thier cell phones sing and dance, there are very few that know about a lot of the new technology. The students in Grady have sophisticated skills related to their majors, like InDesign, but when using Web 2.0 technologies they are not nearly as aware of the tools available.

Johnathon McGinty also commented that many of the young interns he has worked with all have Facebook accounts and MySpace pages, but hardly any of them knew what a blog was, or if they did, they did not have a good idea of how blogs worked. Knowledge of blogs has become a screening tool for him.

It is interesting to note that there are so many social media tools that are easy to use, fun and offer a huge amount of connectivity, and yet many students or young people resort to just Facebook and MySpace. The young generation is supposed to be all about experimenting, trying new things and being the first ones to share in the new trends. Why the lack of interest in new social media tools by this group of young adults as a whole?

Johnathan McGinty

Johnathan McGinty started blogging in October 2003. He blogged about his personal life, pop culture and sports, but his blog really flew when he started blogging about politics.

Who tells who what?

In Paull Young's session, the discussion got rather heated between the young and not so young.

It seems there is a strong disconnect between the undergraduate and graduate level in academia. As undergrads we have more access to more technology and more understanding of it. Social media/technology will be our forte.

However, social media is meant for the masses and the masses at this conference all want to have this be their forte.

The tools for social media are being taught to us as undergrads and professionals coming back to grad school are having to learn and adapt to them.

PR practitioners are creating conversations between each other and the conversation needs to be stretched into all levels of academia.

Open Thread Session Four

We are halfway through UGA Connect. So many great speakers and lots of interesting topics. This is the open thread for session four so feel free to speak your mind!

The topic is "Social Media's Influence: What's Happening In Georgia?" and there are four speakers working in the great state of Georgia here to answer that question.

Johnathan Mcginty and Barry Hollander, both from Athens, will be speaking about politics and mainstream media respectively. From Atlanta we have Sherry Heyl speaking on PR/marketing and Mike Neumeier on business to business.


Listen to Session One Podcast

UGA Connect: Session 1 Summary Post

Thinking Forward. Moving Forward.

It's funny how the students are now teaching the professionals. Paull Young of Converseon talked about the young generation of bloggers and the power they have. We're the first generation of global communicators, we have a lot of weight on our shoulders. It's very important to have social media skills and global communication skills. It now starts with the educators teaching social media and also students going out and teaching themselves via Web sites such as Google and Blogger.

Advice from Paull:

To students: Get involved in the online conversation now!
Educators: Extend class room hours to students.
Practitioners: Keep doing what you're doing.

Join the conversation!

A Summary of Social Media at the CDC

Dr. Jay Berndhart from the Health Marketing department of the CDC spoke for about an hour on how the CDC is working to integrate social media into health education.

He says that the CDC is trying to stay up to date when it comes to social media, but that health information technology always is behind the curve. But, there CDC is utilizing blogging, Web 2.o, podcasting, videocasting and mobile technology. If you want to check out Dr. Berndhart's blog, go to

There are two main social networking sites the CDC is dabbling in; they are, which is a social network site for those more than 50-years-old, and, which is for doctors.

The CDC received the most news coverage from its work in virtual worlds, including Second Life and Whyville.

If you would like to read about flu vaccinations in Whyville, go to

The biggest topic the CDC currently is working on is the flu, and to read more information about this visit

Hear all of what Dr. Jay Berndhart had to say here.

Summary: Session 2 Links

Laptop, originally uploaded by ashley.b.

As a community we Tweeted various links during Session 2: Research that were discussed during the presentations, they include:

Dr. Carl's presentation:
Dr. Sprague's presentation:

Slideshows on SlideShare

HT to Kevin Dugan for suggesting we upload power point presentations on There is now one uploaded from Dr. Sprague, and expect more as they come!

As with the rest of the tags, search for UGAConnect07. Or just go to the username which is UGAConnect.

@Dr. Sweetser's Social Media students: the username and password are the same as our twitter account. There are several ways to upload the powerpoints. Go to "Upload" on the homepage after you log in and it is pretty much self explanatory. Do not fret if the slideshow doesn't show up right took about 30 minutes to convert the uploaded presentation for the first one I did.

Social Media at the CDC- A case study plus Q & A

In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy, many people turned to the Internet. The CDC created a videocast about grief management and dissiminated information to bloggers. Information also was put out through social media networks.

So what is the future of all of this? Health related social media will grow. Health-related information technologies always are behind the curve, and the health information divide will grow. Mobile media could bridge the gap, but a great deal more research is needed.

Information credibility is hard to judge. So, the CDC says it needs to inform about the big and small decisions.

A few answers from the Q&A:

One woman asked what kind of strategies were used to integrate social media nationally with such strict federal regulations? It wasn't easy, Dr. Berndhart said. He said, ultimately, "we just did it. We made sure we did it in a scientific way, we just jumped in, and we did it." Also, these medias are cheap. So it is easier to have a greater reach at much less expense.

Another woman asks what is being done with the Hispanic population specifically. Dr. Berndhart says there is a Web site specifically in Spanish. Also, the CDC is doing important podcasts in Spanish as well as English, and there is an in-house translation team that does this. They also make sure the information in the translations is culturally relevant.

Tell as about pilot studies in mobile tech, someone asks. Preparedness and emergency response is important. The CDC is looking into programs where one can subscribe to a service with emergency notifications, such as when a hurricane is coming and evacuation is needed. The CDC also is looking in Guatemala and Kenya to put in mobile phone to aid in disease education.

Thank you, Dr. Berndhart!

Summary: Session 2, Research

Session 2 focused on research and its implications for public relations and social media in practice. You can find the podcast for this session here and there are links to all the podcasts in the sidebar.

The first speaker, Dr. Kaye Sweetser, spoke about her research about the impact of social media on political campaigns - she discussed politicians using social media but failing to truly engage in a dialogue with the community. She also discussed the issue of deception by candidates who post as if it's the candidate speaking when really it's a campaign staffer saying, "you cannot build a relationship on lies." Dr. Sweetser said one of the most important rules in regards to politicians using social networks is to be genuine!

In Dr. Walter Carl's presentation he spoke bout the 4 phases of communication that companies engage in with their publics: oblivious, monitoring, listening and responding and finally joining in. In the oblivious phase companies are not even aware that that their publics are speaking about them online, these companies are completely out of the conversation- he referenced Kryptonite Bike Lock , who failed to notice significant online complaints about their locks. In the second phase, monitoring, companies watch the Internet but they fail to engage the speakers. Most companies today are still in this monitoring phase, reacting but failing to be proactive. When companies are listening and responding, they began to reach to the public. Dr. Carl used the 'Listening Ladder' recognizing, acknowledging, and endorsing the speakers' points. Finally companies make the choice to join-in with the conversation. Dell has worked through all four phases of communication. So how do companies get this zenith of engagement? Train individuals to listen, don't try to control conversations and establish a cross-training task force to reorganize your company and reach out to people.

Dr. Sprague focused on the legal aspects of social media. He suggests we're still in a gray area of law regarding social media, laws and precedents are just being established. He says public relations speech is considered commercial speech, which is granted limited constitutional protection. One of the big things to be concerned about is deception in commercial speech which can become big in blogs and social networking sites; companies sometimes present themselves in a false light. Dr. Sprague pointed out that if you are involved with the product, your role in the conversation drastically changes. When a conversation begins, clearly define you who you are. Another point was provider liability for commenters' posts - they're liable if they're performing a function other than copying and pasting.

Social Media at the CDC- What is the CDC doing?

All about CDC 2.0--> gets 2 million hits per month. The usability rates have increased dramatically, and the site now is award winning -- it is one of the best national health Web sites. There are RSS feed that have hundreds of thousands of subscribers!

The CDC has a blog, written by Dr. Berndhart, about health marketing with 9,006 total page views and 5523 subscribers through e-mail updates. Dr. Berndhart claims that it isn't a "real" blog and he says he hasn't posted as much as he would like.

Also, there is a "webinar" for bloggers. People can use this to obtain more information about health issues.

Social networking is important to the CDC, but Dr. Berndhart says they only are making small steps. The CDC has been "lurking" in these networks for about one year.

The CDC has received more press about its virtual worlds than all other social media efforts combined. They participate in Whyville and have "virtual vaccinations" where kids can take their avatars to receive the shots. A Whyville flu was let loose in this virtual world, and if people were not vaccinated a bug followed them around. What a great educational experience!

In second life, the CDC has an avatar names Hygeia Philo. It recently purchased an island and new islands are being developed. Dr. Berndhart says Second Life is "an important testing area to evaluate strategies, " and he says interactivity is key here.

Podcasts are widely used by the CDC to distribute information. One thousand to 1,500 podcasts are downloaded per day.

Mobile applications are extremely important and have great potential. Getting reminders, persuasive messages, health promotions and personal safety tips through mobile technology is the next step. Dr. Berndhart says he believes that mobile technology could be bigger than Broadband Internet ever will be. Connectivity is growing in all parts of the world.

Social Media at the CDC- What is health?

Health is defined as freedom from physical disease. But, many think of it as being a state of physical, mental and social well being. Living a productive life is important when being "healthy."

So what influences health? Our genes, environment, opportunities (Is it safe to do physical activity outdoors? Can you afford healthy food?) and behaviors (our every day decisions.) Dr. Berndhart says that social media has a great potential to influence behavior. Small every day decisions add up and affect our lives, and we don't even think about it. Social media can help, but health behaviors are hard to change!

Actually, social media can revolutionize, not just impact, health.

Dr. Berndhart considers the differences between traditional and social media -- social media is horizontal, while traditional media is vertical.

How does the CDC get messages in your head so you will remember them at the right moments?Social media can make these messages much more individualized, make it more ubiquitous and make it more relevant. They have to find the right balance between push and pull messages.

According to Dr. Berndhart, social media must be:


1.) Engaging
2.) Emotional
3.) Entertaining

It also must cross the "digital divide."

Social Media at the CDC

Dr. Bernhardt started his academic career here at the UGA before his career at the CDC and is excited to be returning to Athens.

The CDC is part of the federal government, and many people don't know that. There are 14 national offices and Centers. About 15,000 people are on staff with a budget of $9 billion per year, but about 1/3 of that goes to buying vaccines for children. The vision of the CDC is "Healthy People in a Healthy World through Prevention.

The National Center for Health Marketing's vision is for people to actively use accessible and accurate health information to protect their health. They aim to provide programs, products and services that are customer based, science based, and high impact.

"Health Marketing" is defined as an organizational function and a set of scientific processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers in ways that protect and promote the health of diverse populations. It is a "multi-disciplinary area of practice."

Both health marketing and PR use audience segmentation and have a goal of influencing behavior and policy change. But, health marketing advances public health instead of advancing client interest.

Open Thread Session Three

This is session three, in which Dr. Jay M. Berndhardt will be discussing Health Marketing and Social Media at the CDC.

You know what to do -- let us know what you think!

Free Speech and Commercial Speech

Dr. Sprague is speaking on commercial speech which is granted limited constitutional protection. How does this apply to social media?

The courts have not really defined commercial speech but they "Know it when they see it." Basically, anything coming out of an organization is commercial speech. Therefore, participating in a community (like an online community) ultimately to sell them a product even if the product is never mentioned is commercial speech. Blogging for a company is a commercial speech.

This means that the government can regulate what you say on the web. Be truthful about who you are. DO NOT BE DECEPTIVE! Tell people who you are. When you are involved with a product, your role changes in the "conversation".

Example is Marie Digby, a musician, who was thought to have appeared on a grassroots level through YouTube. However, it turns out that the whole thing was planned by a record company who told her to film herself in her living room. They are promoting her as a struggling, independent artist but actually has a record contract...they are being deceptive.

Carl's Big Picture

Dr. Carl says that companies need to use principles of web 2.0 and make social media a company-wide strategy.

Companies need to establish cross-function task force.

Companies need to train employees in listening and in conversation skills.

No one can own the conversation but they need to be listening to conversations.

4 phases of communication

Phase 4: Joining In

Companies become active and the communication becomes ongoing which is different from the last phase. The company makes a commitment to join the conversation across the organization.

An example of a company who does this is Inuit who owns Quickbooks and TurboTax.

4 phases of communication

Phase 3: Listening and Responding

Companies start to be pro-active and ask how can we use this. They start using the listening ladder.

The listening ladder
-recognize the speaker
-acknowledge that the speaker exists
-endorse that the speakers point is valid and you understand. You do not have to agree but you do need to respect them.

Jet Blue

Dr. Carl talks about how, not only did Jet Blue make an effort to deal with their crisis but they utilized a communication tool that reaches people. Jet Blue accepted the problems and criticisms that customers gave and responded saying, that yes, things went wrong, there are serious problems and they need to be addressed. They did not duck and cover or make excuses for their faults, they confronted them head on.

4 phases of communication

Phases 2: Monitering

Companies realize there is a problem and they have to do something about it. It is a very re-active phase. Companies moniter conversations only online which can be a problem. Companies also only want to limit anything negative.

4 phases

Phase One: Oblivious Phase

In this phase, companies do not know people are talking about them. Previously all communication was face-to-face, but now conversations can be amplified online. An example is the Kryptonite Bike Lock and the fact they ignored the conversation online.

Two problems and reasons companies are in this phase: distance themselves from customers and do not measure mouth-to-mouth conversations.

What we know and Where we need to go

Dr. Sweetser says from research that we know people enjoy using informal means of communication to talk about politics. Using these methods are gaining speed, but they are not doing it very well. They are getting numbers but not forming relationships.

Dr. Sweetser says we need to move past content analysis and actually find out how people are using this form of communication to talk about politics.

Politics in Non-polictical Blogs

Dr. Sweetser studied how people talk about politics in blogs not about politics. She found that people make 15-18 posts about political issues. However, these were not in your-face-posts but antidotes from their life about political issues. For example, a post might talk about how the flowers are dying in someones garden because she has stopped watering it due to a drought.

People actually accepted and responded to these posts.

Dr. Sweetser - Session 2, Research

Political blogging - one of the biggest parts of social media is the idea that publics need to to have a conversations; it's not enough to just talk. Dr. Sweetser give the example of the Dean campaign in 2004 - they had a blog but never read the comments; consequently the blogging was ineffective.

Another example - Brian Solis pointed out John Edwards' twittering at the beginning of his campaign. Campaign officials pretended as if Edwards was really blogging - Solis contacted them and pushed for them to be more genuine.

Main point - "you cannot build a relationship on lies."

Session 1 Summary Post

Session 1 has now concluded. Great way to kick-off the morning. There seems to be a diverse group of social media users. From professors to attorneys, the audience wanted to participate and interact with the speakers.

Some main points include:
  • Students getting hired not just from their resume, but firms searching for their presence on the internet.
  • ESO's are fading. PR people need to start writing for internet searches instead of using keywords to increase cache.
  • PR is not just changing the tools that we are using to contact publics, but we need to change our mindset on how to interact with them.

KD Paine posted her notes from the morning and Dr. Carl Walter had some excellent coverage through live blogging.

Update: KD Paine's Powerpoint presentation

Session 2 Open Thread

Here is session 2's open thread. You know the deal. :)

We are talking about academic research. The speakers for this session are Dr. Kaye Sweetser, Dr. Walter Carl and Dr. Robert D. Sprague.

We are in SLC room 250. The session starts at 10:30 a.m. We'll see you there!

Session 1 Open Thread.

Welcome to the first session on Saturday! Here is an open thread where you can start posting your comments on the lectures.

Speakers this morning include Josh Hallett creator of the Hyku blog, Constantine Basturea of Converseon a leading Web 2.0 Internet marketing communications agency and Katie Delahaye Paine founder of KDPaine & Partners an agency that specializes in research.

Enjoy and let the conference begin!

A Few Words from KD Paine

We had a great conversation about today's conferences with Katie D. Paine.

We discussed the fact that there are more men on the speaking podiums at these conferences than women. She discussed the relationship between the ratio of women to men at the conferences and the fact that her customers were mostly women.

Now that's a research idea for you!

Interview with Paull Young and his Taser

Hey all you obsessed podcasters, check out this interview with Paull Young.

Paull spoke with us about his mock taser and its really cool features for podcasting.

Hopefully all the conference attendees will have their social media tools on hand so that we can see the variety of tools out there today.

Interview with Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu

Dr. Vorvoreanu from Clemson University was really excited about tomorrow's guest speakers. The speaker she is looking most forward to is Constantin Basturea. He is going to be on the first panel tomorrow.

Dinner was great and so was this interview. I hope we see a lot more interviews from the attendees, this was a great idea!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Interview with Josh Hallett

We pulled Josh Hallett aside tonight to chat about today's social media conferences. We asked him to compare Blog Orlando to the UGA Connect Conference. He also gave us some insight as to how the dynamics of the groups that attend these conferences bring a certain interesting feature to them.

Here is Josh Hallett's interview.

If a picture is worth 1000 words...

...the experience is worth 1000 pictures".
UGAConnect has officially begun!
Check out Flickr:UGAconnect07 too see what's going on.
Here are just a few images to wet your appetite!

Start Playing with those Fools, I Mean Tools!

Dinner at East West Bistro was a success and great start to the conference! Social media gurus, university officials and aspiring PR professionals from Durham, N.H. to Tuscaloosa, Ala. gathered upstairs in East West Bistro Friday night. Dim lighting, friendly people and the exclusive bar created an inviting and comfortable atmosphere for all. Just before dinner was a perfect time to mingle and learn more about the people there. We took advantage of this opportunity to introduce ourselves and interview social media experts such as Josh Hallett. A conversation with Paull Young allowed me the opportunity to learn to podcast with his taser-like device. (Check out the posts below to hear the interviews.)

Guests were able to order a salad(caesar or special lettuce with mandarin oranges and walnuts), an entrée(linguini, tilapia or crusted chicken) and dessert(chocolate mocha cake or tangerine sorbet). Everyone seemed to be engaged in serious conversation during dinner. Topics ranged from business ventures to interesting research ideas in Public Relations.

Just as everyone finished stuffing themselves with rich chocolate cake or tangerine sorbet, the keynote speaker, Kevin Dugan, began his presentation. He caught the audience's attention with this cool video, "Is Content King?" exploring the power of social media. The video includes an array of new media tools and the dark side of social media also. He mentioned Virgin Mobile's illegal use of a Flickr photo which I blogged about on our class blog! People really enjoyed the video as there were cheers and applause afterwards. Although he was instructed to be brief and not too detailed, Mr. Dugan really brought up some great points:
  • We>Me - WE is greater than you and me
  • Transparency, authenticity - The key to active, informed, passionate conversation is to just be honest and genuine.
  • Things are always going to change - But that is okay, just keep changing with it.
  • Search engine optimization is important
  • Page view is dead - Gone are the days where we measure levels of engagement through hits. Length of time spent and other factors are more important.
  • New tools = New rule
  • For more on what Kevin had to say click here to experience!
It is important to note that throughout the night, technology flourished . . . even without internet connection. People twittered their thoughts via text, Josh Hallett's quality camera captured the experience, KD Paine made notes to herself for future blog posts on her HP version of the iPhone, and we recorded as many conversations as possible. Kevin Dugan mentioned that in the past, if you weren't at the conference, you pretty much missed out on the information. But with all the new tools, it's almost like you were there, even if you weren't. Experience what we experienced through these tools if you were not afforded the opportunity. UGA Connect 07 is sure to be a valuable and unique experience if tonight was just the prelude!

So start playing with the tools if you haven't already!

Friday Night at the EastWest Bistro

I know everyone is excited about starting the conference off right with a great dinner at the EastWest Bistro in downtown Athens.

They have a great menu, which includes a wide variety of tapas, pizza, pastas, salads and entrees.

They also have a great map on their website so that you can easily find them downtown.

Dinner will start at 7:00 p.m. and the speaker will be Kevin Dugan. You can check out his blog Strategic Public Relations. He has already posted on his blog a quick little intro to the Connect conference.

This is going to be a great conference and I can't wait to start Friday night with a great dinner and a great speaker! See you there!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What's up in Athens?

Welcome to Athens! Now that you know where to park, where to eat and what the weather will be like, what are you going to do while you're here besides going to the awesome UGA Connect Conference?

Here I have compiled a list of activities and events happening this weekend while you're not at the conference. Why not see all that Athens has to offer while you have the chance?

-"Rock for Barack" is a music rally for Barack Obama's presidential campaign and features some local talent. It lasts from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is on the Meyers Quad on the UGA campus.
-Live Conmedy: "The (Still) Born in the USA Comedy Tour" starring Jonah Ray with Sean O'Connor, Nick Maritato, Andrew Write, Atlanta comic Drennen Quin and TJ Young. The show is at Little Kings and starts at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $8.

-UGA Connect Conference!
-JV Productions presents Cooking with Love, a comedy set backstage on the food network's most popular cooking show. The play starts at 8 p.m. at the Seney-Stovall Chapel. Tickets are $8 to $10.

-Rose of Athens Theatre presents The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education at 5:30 p.m.
-REM in Perspective: An Athens History. Presented by the Athens Historical Society, this event includes rare R.E.M. videos and discussions of their social, civic, political, economic and preservation impact on Athens. It's at 2 p.m. at the Seney-Stovall Chapel. Admission is free but reservarions are required so e-mail to reserve a seat.
-The Classic City Rollergirls take on the Charlotte Rollergirls at Skate Around USA at 7 p.m. A portion of the proceeds go to benefit the Drumming for Success youth program.

If you're planning on staying in the area a while longer check out my blog, My Georgia 2.0, for more ideas of what to do around the state. Check out the "coming up" section too for places I haven't blogged about yet. Many of these are in the north Georgia area.

For more going on around town, check out The Flagpole too!

See you at the conference!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Because mascot puns never go out of style: The PAWS network

Available Internet access is obviously necessary for conference attendees to “Connect.” The Student Learning Center (the conference venue) is within the PAWS wireless cloud. PAWS (personal access wireless system, please do not ignore the bulldog pun) is the wireless available to students, faculty, and staff allowing access from much of the campus and downtown Athens. You will receive a conference username and password for PAWS in your registration packet.

Other locations with available Wi-Fi:
  • Hot Corner Coffee—Located at 296 N Hull St. (Downtown)
  • Starbucks—Located at 100 College Ave. (Downtown)
  • The UGA Library—Located on Jackson Street in North Campus
  • Borders Bookstore—Located 196 Alps Rd Suite 50
  • Hampton Inn—2220 W Broad Street
  • Schlotzsky’s Deli—191 Alps Rd.

Answers to Parking Problems

Finding somewhere to park your car on this crazy campus isn't always easy.

UGA's Parking services offers a map of available parking lots. Our conference will take place in the Student Learning Center, which is labeled on this map and is most convenient to lots W03, W04 and W05. All three of these lots will be available free of charge after 5 p.m. on Friday and throughout the weekend.

A 24-hour pay lot also is available in front of the Tate student center adjacent to the Student Learning Center.

Meter parking always is available in "downtown" Athens (Broad Street and surrounding blocks), but can be hard to come by on weekends.

General campus maps also are available here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Weekend Weather

We have had some beautiful autumn days here in Athens the past week, and for the most part it looks like the trend will continue this weekend for UGA Connect.

With the exception of Friday, and a 60 % chance of scattered thunderstorms, the weekend forecast is sunny and clear for all of us social media gurus to enjoy the Classic City at its best.

The humidity left with September, so expect it to be warm but not unpleasant. Forecast highs are in the upper 70 degrees with a light breeze. Most people are comfortable in short sleeves.

Evenings get a little cooler, so you might want a light jacket for the low 50-degree temperatures when the sun goes down. Mornings may also have a bit of a chill. Bring an extra layer to put on or walk over to the UGA campus bookstore, next to the Student Learning Center where the conference is hosted, and grab a Georgia hoodie!

How to keep your tummy from growling:

Athens, Ga. takes great pride in its restaurant variety.

Vegetarian/vegan, Italian, Spanish, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, pub and chain food line the sidewalks from downtown to Atlanta Highway.

Since UGA Connect is on campus, the Athens downtown area would be the most convenient place to go for a cup of coffee, a sandwich, a drink or some ice cream.

Here are some suggestions for this weekend:

For coffee:
  • Starbucks- a well-known favorite; it is on the corner of Broad Street and College Avenue
  • Espresso Royale- a local venue; they have different blends of the day, one of which is their chocolate roast coffee. If you want a bagel or something, they also sell have baked goods, and they have a toaster to warm it up!
  • Walker's Pub- past Starbucks on College Avenue; they have a great selection of daily brews; the inside has a woodsy, airy feel, and they always play great music. I've heard their hummus sandwich is good as well.
For a snack:
  • Cookies Cafe and Company- on the corner of Clayton Street and College Avenue; as if you couldn't tell from their name, they are known for their wonderful cookies. Wedding cookies, snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, and many others line the case inside. They also have a wonderful lunch menu.
  • Cold Stone Creamery- on Broad Street, almost across from the Arch; this is always a great place to go if you have a sweet tooth. Pick any flavor and any topping, and they'll blend it right there infront of you. You can't go wrong with this choice.
  • The Last Resort- on the corner of West Clayton and Hull Streets; this is one of the most famous restaurants in Athens. From lunch, to dinner, to Sunday brunch, to dessert, any choice is a good choice. Their cakes are notorious for their originality and absolute deliciousness. Please go there while you are here this weekend. I promise you won't regret your decision.
I have created a Google map where you can get the lay of the land. All the restaurants I mentioned are relatively close together-- within two blocks of each other.

If you want to hear some good restaurant critiques, check out my blog, DawgFood.

I encourage you, however, to stop in one that looks interesting and try it out! You never know what you may find.

Monday, October 15, 2007

"How-to" break-out sessions

I hope everyone is looking forward to the "How-to" break-out sessions -- on Saturday from 3:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. in the journalism building -- because each session organizer will tailor their session to the questions attendees have. The focus will be on the audience's interests, so the sessions will be very interactive and adaptive.

Here are the session topics:

SESSION ONE: 3:45 p.m.-4:15 p.m.
Measurement: Katie Paine, room 205
Second Life: Paull Young, room 203
Social Networking: Dr. Kaye Sweetser, room 239A
Blogging 101: Dr. Karen Russell, room 242

Speaking of blogging... :) Check out my blog for my social media class project: 5 questions for everyday people.

SESSION TWO: 4:15 p.m.-4:45 p.m.
Podcasting: Paull Young, room 205
Social Networking: Kevin Dugan, room 203
Blog Monitoring: Josh Hallett, room 239A
SMNR: Constantin Basturea, room 242

SESSION THREE: 4:45 p.m.-5:15 p.m.
Measurement: Katie Paine, room 205
Blogger Relations: Kevin Dugan, room 203
Corporate Blogs: Josh Hallett, room 239A
SMNR: Constantin Basturea, room 242

Saturday, October 6, 2007

who you are & what you want

A team of undergraduate students from Dr. Karen Miller Russell's PR Campaign's course recently conducted a survey of people interested in attending UGA Connect in Athens Oct. 19-20. They had 40 people take the survey.

Boy oh boy, this group is tech savvy to say the least!

More than half used the following social media tools for PR:
  • Blogs - 79.4%
  • Social networks - 58.8%
  • Search Engine Optimization - 55.9%
  • Podcasts - 52.9%
They think social media tools are very useful for PR purposes:
  • Blogs - 64.7%
  • Podcasts - 58.8%
  • Social networks - 57.6%
  • Video sharing - 52.9%
  • Social Media Press/News Release - 43.8%
Ahhh - but these SM believers say that they still want to know more! They are very interested in:
  • SMPR - 76.5%
  • Social media newsroom - 76.5%
  • SEO - 70.6%
  • Social networks - 64.7%
  • Blogs - 61.8%
  • Microblogging - 57.6%
  • SecondLife - 51.5%
  • Podcasts - 51.5%
  • Mobile/cell marketing - 51.5%
So who were these 40 prospective attendees?
  • 62.5% of the participants are professionals.
  • 75% of the participants have used social media for public relations purposes.
For the complete survey results, check out their report (google doc).

Friday, October 5, 2007


Welcome to the UGA Connect conference blog! The conference is Oct. 19-20 and is intended to educate public relations professionals and educators on social media.

During the conference itself, we will: