Thursday, March 4, 2010

Feeling excited about my career

For the past three days I've attended a Public Affairs workshop put on by NORAD and USNORTHCOM. The first day-and-a-half were interesting enough, but it's the last day-and-a-half that have really pumped me up.

Eric Schwartzman led all of us on a "Social Media Boot-Camp." I've learned so much! And I feel reinvigorated in my chosen career field of communication/public relations. This isn't the first workshop or webcast I've attended on the subject, but this is the first one that got into some of the nitty-gritty about how to make these tools really work. In fact, it's the Social Media Boot-Camp that inspired me to get off the fence and actually start writing this blog. (I'm still not sure where this blog is going or whether anyone other than myself will read it, but at least I made a move.)

One message came through loud and clear, and that is the importance of being authentic when using social media. What that means is that if your stuff looks or sounds too much like a polished PR product (without adding any real value or content) or ignores an issue that is a hot topic on the Web, you are dead in the water: your credibility is in the toilet. I believe this applies to all our PR/corporate communications activities. People sense when they're being lied to or when the message doesn't jibe with reality.

He also drove home the point that these are social media -- they are about social exchange, back-and-forth, dialogue. That's why some corporate blogs (ones that are clearly written by the PR or marketing department) fall so flat: they are impersonal, cold, too packaged, and they don't have any give-and-take.

One less prominent point he made is one that I've felt strongly about for a long time, and that is that your internal audience is perhaps your most important one. They are the subject-matter experts who can be quick to debunk misinformation about your company -- if they are empowered to do so. And they are a far more credible source than your "official spokesperson" will ever be.

All in all, the session left me feeling pumped as I haven't felt in a long, long time. Visit his blog at

On a personal note, Steve spent the day at a briefing concerning our move back to Canada - all the things we need to do before we leave. Can't wait to hear his debrief!


  1. Glad you're enjoying your PA conf.
    Departure brief was great; info coming your way!

  2. Yay Wynne Anne, glad to see you are going to do something that will excite you. I write my quilting blog to keep a kind of journal, and when others read it and comment that is icing on the cake. I hope you really enjoy the experience.

  3. @Mary - what is the address for your quilting blog? I know Joe posted the link once on Facebook, but that was a long, long time ago.

  4. Wynne Anne, sorry I just got back to this it's A weird address with a not so interesting story.


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