Host Jen Zingsheim and co-host Doug Haslam this week welcome Arik Hanson, principal of ACH Communications and co-founder of HAPPO (Help A PR Pro Out), a mentoring and networking initiative for PR professionals.
Arik, Jen, and Doug discuss SXSW–this time looking at Arik’s ideas of how to create your own SXSW-type environment if you can’t make it to the conference; Katie Paine’s post about the future of senior-level communicators; and Social Sentry, a program that allows employers to track their employees across social networks.
- First, the panel discusses Arik’s post on what he learned by not attending SXSW. One of the biggest advantages of attending conferences like South by Southwest is the opportunity to meet, interact, and network with individuals you’ve gotten to know online. Arik points out this sort of networking and exchange can happen when you expand beyond your usual social media circles, so why wait for a conference to do so? Doug points out that even if you aren’t at a conference, social media can allow you to “attend”–he notes that two years ago, he was interacting with so many attendees that a number of them thought he was there.
- Next, the group looked at Katie Paine’s post about what businesses need from their communications professionals and what those communicators are being prepared for in schools. There is a gap, she feels, between what the schools are teaching in comms and journalism programs and the strategic and analytical skills taught in business programs. Arik thought Katie’s closing question on her post was provocative: “when all those media relations types are relegated to lower level jobs, who will be their bosses?” Arik points out that he’s had a similar discussion with a number of people–does getting your APR or an advanced degree–help gain credibility with senior-level management? Doug points out that by the time you graduate, what you’ve studied has changed dramatically. Jen points out that perhaps having some background in both is ideal–and that companies should make sure their communicators understand the business objectives of the company.
- Finally, they discuss Social Sentry–is this corporate due diligence, or creepy? Arik mentions the responsibility publicly traded companies have, and that monitoring what employees are disclosing is necessary. Jen points out that just today, Consumerist posted about a Burger King employee who made an unwise comment on his Facebook page and asks if dumb posts on social networks are a hiring problem or a management problem. Doug makes the observation that common sense can’t be taught–and that this problem isn’t exclusive to social networking.
Also, please do what you can to help out with the next Help A PR Pro Out event, coming up on April 30.