I’ll Miss You #Sisson3280

Tichenor Hall is more than an building people walk in and out of every day. Social Media and Public Relations is more than just an average class. Dr. Sisson is more than a professor I see (at least) twice a week. As I approach my senior year, I have been thinking about the courses and the professors that have molded me into the public relations student I am today.

Tichenor Hall is my home away from home. No matter what part of the building I am in, there is always someone that I know. The professors, advisors, and administrators housed in this building truly care about how to further my education and help me achieve my goals. They ask about my successes, my struggles, and my future. In the great times and the bad times, there is always faculty in the College of Liberal Arts that I know will be there for me. To me, Tichenor Hall is my favorite place on campus because this building is home.

PRCM 3280: Social Media and Public Relations has changed the way I view social media. I once was only focused on how many likes I could get on Instagram or retweets I could get on Twitter. I have learned valuable professional skills in this class that has further my public relations knowledge in the social media world. I now have my Hootsuite Certification. I now know how to write up a social media proposal. I now know how to use social media as a source for research and influencers to follow for insight. I now have connections through guest speakers that I would not have had the pleasure of knowing if it wasn’t for this class. I could go on and on about how magnificent this course was and what all I learned, but instead I challenge you to take my word for it and embark on this journey with Dr. Sisson when you have the chance. Social Media and Public Relations has been a learning experience that has increased my qualifications as I enter the PR world.

Dr. Sisson is a mentor, a confidant, an advisor, a professor, and above all a friend. I have the pleasure of continuing to work with her in the fall in connection with the Public Relations Student Society of America and Public Relations Council of Alabama Auburn chapters, which I currently serve as president over. Above that though, I had the enjoyment of being able to have her as my professor for this class. She always made lectures interesting, she was honest with us, and she gave us personal insights and connections that we would have never received if she was not our professor for this class. I wished I had the opportunity to have her in my senior year, but I am thrilled that she can not get rid of me yet as she continues to serve as the best advisor for PRSSA & PRCA. Thank you, Dr. Sisson for your knowledge, your guidance, and above everything else your encouragement.

With a tear-stained face, I finish off this blog. I am thankful to have at least another 365 days left in “The Loveliest Village On the Plains.” These college years have flown by, but this year especially. I am blessed with the friends I have made through Auburn University, College of Liberal Arts, School of Communication and Journalism, and Public Relations. I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have received throughout my time here at this amazing university. It is very bittersweet entering my senior year at Auburn University, but I am ready to begin my journey in the pr world to start making everyone proud.

–  Kate, signing off one last time


Top 10 College Student Apps

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This is a list comprised of 10 phone apps that every college student can’t live without.

  1. WhatsApp– coined as the most popular social networking app of 2017. WhatsApp has now more than 1.2 billion monthly active users. This messaging app allows you to post status updates, send video, share your location and make voice/video calls over the internet.
  2. Uber/Lyft– two transportation apps that are constantly competing for the top spot. These apps make “calling for a cab” simpler and more digitally driven. You can easily request someone to pick you up and drop you off where you wish.
  3. Waze– world’s largest community based traffic and navigation app. This app tracks traffic, but also alerts you of construction zones, accidents, red-light cameras, and even police on your route. Great app for for traveling or long road trips.
  4. Mint– manage all your money in one place. Features include: track and pay bills, easy budgeting, free credit score, alerts and advice, simple categorization, investment tracking and security.
  5. Spotify– music for everyone. Spotify is a music networking app. One of the features that the app allows you to do is see what your friends are listening to. You can make your own playlists and get access to new releases first. They have made it easy to search, discover, and browse all the music the app offers.
  6. Quizlet– a general study tool. You can create study sets that have a flashcard mentality in quizzing your knowledge. The app adds variety to the learning process by allowing you to add visual and sound to your flashcards. Quizlet has content saved that you can use or share your own study sets with your fellow classmates.
  7. Google Drive– cloud storage and file backup for photos, documents, and more. This is a secure app that has a collection of “Office” based apps that allows you to make spreadsheets, documents, presentations, diagrams, and more.
  8. Skype– free calls to friends and family. This instant messaging app has became known for doing interviews online when you can not physically go to the employer. The app allows online text messages and video chat services.
  9. Dropbox– secure file hosting service. Thanks to Dropbox, you don’t have to worry about losing your notes or coursework again. Store your files in the app, and share them with friends without any fear of losing important and useful data.
  10. Venmo– free digital wallet. This mobile payment service is owned by PayPal. It has a networking side by being able to connect with friends and send them money.

2016 PR Disasters

It is smart to have a crisis communication plan prepared in case there is ever a disaster that strikes your company or client. In 2016, we saw a good bit of public relations crises. Some were handled well and others could have been handled in a more effective way. I have done research and picked out, what I feel, are the three PR disasters of 2016 that will always be remembered.

  1. Samsung Galaxy Note 7- Samsung recalled their Note 7 once the devices were reported to be overheating and occasionally catching on fire. This started as a manufacturing crisis, but quickly shifted into a public relations nightmare. Samsung responded quickly to the issue at hand, but was not direct or transparent when relaying the details to their customers and stakeholders. Samsung is coined as making this crisis a public relations problem “By acting passively and communicating misinformation.” Handling the crisis this way made “Samsung [throw] its brand reputation into question.” When there are people’s safety at risk, there must be more done than a tab added to the company’s website. Samsung, a Hong Kong based tech company, failed to cooperate with the correct product recall in place by the Consumer Product Safety Commission of the United States. This would have gone over much smoother if Samsung would have just released a holding statement as soon as they were aware of the situation. How Samsung failed at having an effect crisis management plan will continue to be talked about for people to learn how-to not plan for a disaster.
  2. Lotche’s Fake News- Remember when Ryan Lotche and some other Olympic friends were held at gunpoint in a Rio gas station? Fake news. Lochte is a 12-time medal winner for the United States swim team, but his reputation took a nosedive into murky waters when the truth of what happened that wild night emerged. When the video was brought to light of the real happenings, Lotche apologized for “over-exaggerating” his story he originally had crafted. Immediately, Speedo and Polo Ralph Lauren dropped Lotche as being one of their celebrities they supported. Looking back now, Lochte may have been better off by admitting “the bad behavior, but Lotche chose to concoct a nutty, self-aggrandizing story about being robbed by gun-brandishing bandits” when he really was the one that vandalized the gas station with teammates. Lochte has been trying to re-brand himself by getting engaged, being on “Dancing with The Stars”, and his fiancée is expecting.
  3. EpiPen Price Increase- Five years ago this life-saving anti-allergy device was just $160, but now is selling for $600. Mylan has been accused of price gouging because they have the monopoly on the Epi-Pen. With there not being another type of device like this on the market, Mylan has become money hungry by continuously raising their prices. The presidential candidates, Congress, and other Washington influencers quickly responded to this outrageous increase in price of the Epi-Pen. Gil Bashe, leader of healthcare practice at New York’s Finn Partners, expresses, “The Mylan EpiPen crisis is a self-created reputation fiasco, another fallen pharma domino—along with KV Pharma, Turing and Valeant. Mylan joined a small, highly visible list of industry outliers who betrayed public trust and the core public belief that pharma companies aim to help patients live longer, healthier lives.” When healthcare companies are making deciisons like this it is best to remember the impact on patients, payers, physicians and policymakers. When dealing with a person’s livelihood, a positive following will always be better than a negative one.

When making your pre-crisis communication plan, remember what George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

–  Kate

What’s Trending?

You may ask yourself, “What is going to be the social media trend for 2017?” I am here to help you find out what you need to focus your attention on for this year when it comes to these social media trends. I have found these three emerging trends that are shining higher than the rest:

  1. 360 view- Gregory Golinski said it first, “A big trend in social media in 2017 will be 360° content.” Facebook and Snapchat has started the domination of this trend. Spectacles allow for users to snapchat their surroundings in a full 360 video. At the same time and with no extra cost, Facebook has enabled this 360 video view too. During the inauguration and other big events, this 360 video is used to give a more realistic feel for the viewer. With live features also being in the hand of senders and receivers, this 360 video makes the viewer virtually be at the event and at the actual time instead of at a later date. Facebook and Snapchat will be put ahead of Instagram and Twitter for a while until they also find a way to enable this 2017 trend.
  2. Shopping social- Shopping online has now changed into shopping on social media. Instagram and Snapchat has equipped shoppers with the ability to instantly purchase from the ad they are seeing. On Instagram, you press the learn more button that is at the bottom of the photo in the advertisement to be redirected to the item on the company’s website. On Snapchat, you swipe up to be taken to the company’s website that has put the advertisement out. Upcoming movies and televisions series have also been using this Snapchat filter to show trailers. This is giving consumers a faster, easier way to buy from their favorite sites by just following them on social media instead of having to outsource to their website.
  3. Customer service- Updates to how companies’ run their customer service via social media is leaving customers happier and workers less stressed. Many companies now have Twitter accounts specific for their customer service. This aids the company in also being able to control a potentially hazardous situation on the customer service account rather than having to try to deal with it openly on the main company account. 53% of consumers ages 18-34 said that they’d prefer to use electronic media – email, web chat, text or social media– instead of having to call  for customer support. Personally, I have had a great response from Delta Airlines Twitter account for their customer service. This has boosted my idea to use Twitter for my future customer service needs with other companies as well.

I hope you are able to start using these trends to further advance yourself in the 2017 social media world. Also, watching to see how other social media outlets respond to these trends set in place by competitors will be a fun experience and will show what outlet is in this social media game long-term.

– Kate

Pre-Crisis Prep

A company may never know when a crisis will strike; therefore, they need to be prepared for one to happen when unexpected. Social media can make or break how successful your damage control will be perceived by the public. Here are three tips that I have collected to help you make a pre-crisis plan of action so you are not caught off-guard by a crisis.

  1. Identify your social media crisis team– It is important to have a strong team that will effectively handle your company’s reputation during this time of gaining the public’s trust again. When building your team pre-crisis make sure you take into consideration the skills and work ethic that they showcase. Your team needs to encompass the values and morals of the company. Also, this team needs to be prepared to possibly work longer hours if a crisis does happen because they will constantly need to monitoring what the media is saying about your company and the crisis and also keeping the public up-to-date on new information as your company receives the news.
  2. Brainstorm possible crises that could happen with your company- The first action of the crisis team needs to be sitting down and doing research about past crisis. Knowing how other companies handled crises will help realize what were effective and wrong ways of communicating during a sensitive time. Also, while researching past crises, the team needs to start collecting a list of possible crisis that could happen to your company and what each type of crisis plan of action would be. When creating these plans, it is helpful to look back at the research you did on other companies’ responses to crises.
  3. Identify and train spokespersons- The next task for your team needs to be to find the perfect spokesperson when the company is going to be effected by a crisis. It needs to be someone that has good interpersonal skills and emotions that will connect with the public well. Finding the correct spokesperson means they will have the right skills, the right position, and the right training. Once you found the spokesperson, you must then train them on how to react in all of the crisis situations and plans that you have drawn up.

Don’t be the company that sits back and says “that will never happen to us” because we live in a world where there are constantly unforeseen crisis happening everyday. Be prepared.

– Kate

Personal Social Media Branding

When possible employers are viewing your social media you want the accounts to accurately and positively represent who you are. Once something is online it is almost impossible to completely delete it. You have to decide what you want your digital footprint to be in the social media world. Here are some tips to use when branding yourself on social media.

  1. Be uniform- When posting on your accounts, you want to show your personality. Your voice should stay consistent and it is helpful for your profile picture to be the same for all social media accounts when you are applying for jobs or internships. Stay true to yourself while also being mindful that companies and future employers have access to what you are posting on social media.
  2. Put your best self forward- Your social media accounts should reflect your best self. When posting on these accounts it is a safe bet to ask “Will my grandmother be upset with me for this content?” Let your morals and values shine through on your accounts. When a company views your social media they should be able to grasp what type of person you are to others. It is best to stay positive when posting on social media. You want to be viewed as someone that is respectful and that encourages others.
  3. Become public- Do not turn your accounts to private when you start applying for internships and jobs. This could show the companies that you are trying to hide something from them. You always want to be transparent and honest on your social media.
  4. Be aware of what you post- It is best to stay neutral on most issues that come into the spotlight. It is encouraged to not post about politics. This can always lead to comments that are later regretted. When you are upset or mad, it is best to stay off of social media. You can not think clearly when you are having these emotions and all of your posts should be well-thought before sending them. Think about the environment, current events, historic events, and other people’s feelings when you are formulating content for your social media accounts. Also, if you are not completely educated about a subject it is probably best for you not to post about this subject.

“You, my friend, are a brand.” Barry Feldman was correct when he made this statement and I hope these four tips help you create successful personal social media accounts.

Snapchat: The Rundown

E! News has changed how to use Snapchat by making an original series called “The Rundown.”This series is hosted by Erin Lim and is infusing pop culture with influencing the millennial generation on being informed of news even if it is revolved around celebrities. The E! News series is shown on the Discover Page. This is Snapchat’s first series to mix humor with current news.


The Rundown was started in September of 2016, but has really taken off in 2017. The episodes last five minutes. It will “cover everything E! News’ passionate, hyper-connected fan base want and need to stay in-the-know on the biggest trending stories of the week along with offering a unique and humorous take on all things pop culture,” the network said in a release. Award season is wrapping up, but The Rundown had special episodes for most of the award shows. Lim was on the red carpet hosting The Rundown for the Golden Globe Awards, the Grammy Awards, and the Academy Awards. Since the debut last September, the viewership has soared to 82 percent and 75 percent of viewers watch it weekly.

This series came along with the E! News’ new social media and marketing campaign. The campaign is socially and digitally driven. “Be Pop Cultured” is definitely hitting all the right spots with this hip, new Snapchat series.

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Tune into The Rundown with Erin Lim every Thursday on Snapchat.