From Conversation to Community

Today, I’m introducing my very first guest blogger at PR 2.0 Strategies.  Valerie Simon is Senior Vice President at BurrellesLuce and writes a national public relations column for examiner.com. I’ve been working closely with Valerie on #PRStudChat, and I thought it would be great for her to update you on the lively discussions between PR students, professors and PR professionals.

Guest Post:  From Conversation to Community

By: Valerie Simon

The first live #PRStudChat was a dynamic conversation, and as the hour came to an end, individuals reached out, offering opportunities, advice and a chance to build relationships:

@VPEPR: Students: DM me if you’re in LA or are interested in multicultural or Latino communications.

@ryanknapp: I’m looking for interns for National Premier Soccer League for Fall/Spring. @ me if you are interested!

@BrettPohlman: @SchneiderPR in Boston is looking for social social media/marketing/PR interns for Fall/Spring. DM me for details

@theprguy:  Students, @ reply me if you are interested in an internship in travel PR with VISIT FLORIDA. I’ll be happy to provide more info.

@mosleyppr:  Happy to help answer any student Qs re: PerkettPR internships and career advice DM or @Me

@heatherhuhman:  If anyone ever has an entry-level or internship PR opening, send it to me to tweet & include in my LinkedIn group of 1,100

@Marlin23: Any PR pros/students in the Seattle area I would love to connect! Or anyone else for that matter! just @ me.

@lisaatufunwa:  @Narciso17 Hi how are you? Wanted to connect with you. You had really good advice during the #PRStudChat

As savvy students begin the process of building relationships with the professionals they met on August 19th, we have the opportunity to develop a true community of PR professionals, students and educators. The next live group chat will take place on September 16th, the result feedback from the group. 59 participants responded to a poll, the results split fairly evenly between a weekly and a monthly Twitter chat. With the hectic nature of the start of the school year, we have opted for a monthly chat, but will certainly change this if there is a demand for a more frequent discussion.

Between the chats, we are continuing to develop the community using the LinkedIn group, the hashtag and the blogs of participants to continue to drive conversation and build relationships. If you are particularly intrigued by a question, I hope that it will prompt you to create a discussion on LinkedIn, or share your opinions through your own blog and return to the group to solicit feedback.

The group has been generous in offering feedback, and that feedback will allow the September 16th event to be even better. One challenge raised during the August chat, is that it can be difficult to make sense of the responses without understanding whether the voice is coming from a professional, student, or educator. The September 16th chat will also incorporate a great idea suggested by @cubanaLF and @rachelakay during the August 19th event; in order to better facilitate networking and help provide context for the tweets, we will recommend that participants begin their tweets with a P (professional), S (student) or E (Educator) designation.

Identifying topics/questions that will engage participants and prompt constructive discussion remains . As we continue to solicit ideas for the questions, we want to better understand which conversations you found most useful during the first #PRStudChat. An overview of each of the responses to each of the questions discussed at #PRStudChat can be found here. Please take a moment to respond to this one question poll, and let us know which question you believe offered the best takeaways.

The PR industry has a lot to gain from better collaboration amongst students, educators and professionals. I urge each of you to share your voice– use the opportunity to build a true community, and in doing so develop your own relationships and reputation in the public relations industry. Start now by taking the brief poll, and leaving a comment with your ideas for future questions or community building. Continue the discussion of one of the original six questions on your own blog (The question regarding which books and industry publications PR professionals should read has been the most highly discussed and readto date!) I look forward to learning from you and hope to see you on September 16th at noon EST. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter or via our #PRStudChat LinkedIn Group before then!

Valerie Merahn Simon serves as a Senior Vice President at BurrellesLuce media monitoring and measurement, and writes a national public relations column for examiner.com. She is also co-founder and host of #PRStudChat, the monthly twitter chat between PR professionals and students moderated by Deirdre Breakenridge. Valerie can be found on Twitter or LinkedIn