February 28, 2011

February Meeting Recap

The digital age and libraries was the topic of the February chapter meeting for Southwest Missouri PRSA. Member Kathleen O’Dell, community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District spoke to the membership about how the digital age has brought on many changes for the district.

During her discussion with the chapter, O’Dell shared some statistics about the circulation of the district. In the 2001-2002 fiscal year the Springfield-Greene County Library District saw 1.3 million items being circulated. During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, they saw 3.9 million items. Circulation includes books, movies, electronic books, etc. O’Dell said because of the digital age, the library is providing more to more people on more platforms.

Some highlights of offerings the district has include free WiFi, banks of computers at all branches which O’Dell said were seeing an increase in use by individuals who are job searching and applying for jobs. Many companies have moved into the digital world as well and are asking all potential employees to visit their websites to apply for positions. In addition to the banks of computers available for library card holders, there are a series of computer training classes offered for individuals regardless on if they currently hold a library card or not. The series is called The Edge and offers classes ranging from basic computer how-to skills to “how to use that e-reader you got for Christmas.” These classes are available for people of all ages and are tailored for the age group that is participating.

The district also offers through their webiste a free download of software called Overdrive which allows library card holders to download e-books to be played on their mp3 players, e-readers, etc. In addition to the books available through Overdrive, the library also has many e-books available through their regular library catalog which can still be searched through CoolCat, the library’s electronic card catalog system. O’Dell referred to the district’s website as their “11th branch” due to the large amount of resources available on the site.

The site has numerous research databases available to library card holders ranging from recipe database search engines to databases that will assist you in starting your own business in the area. The site also has areas for kids and teens with age appropriate links including reading assistance for younger children and an area for teens to write a blog and book reviews.

One challenge O’Dell outlined was the fact that though we are in the digital age and all of their information is available in an electronic format, they still produce them in print. So the digital age hasn’t always made their jobs easier or quicker, it has just added to the workload of employees and expectations of their constituents.

February 22, 2011

PRSSA Day Invitation

On March 18, the Missouri State University chapter of PRSSA is hosting the 2011 PRSSA Day in the Ballroom of Plaster Student Union (on the Missouri State University campus) from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The entire day is going to be social media themed, because it is currently so prevalent in the public relations profession, and the timeline of the day is going to include:
• Speed networking
• Lunch
• A panel featuring some of the members of the Springfield Social Media Club
• An award ceremony
• 2 speakers: Tressa Robins speaking about the myths and misconceptions of social media, and Ryan Knapp is going to speak about the value of social media for students and young professionals.

We would love for local professionals to attend our PRSSA Day this year, and if you are interested in attending and networking with Missouri State PR students, please e-mail Lindsay Vanquaethem at vanquaethem487@live.missouristate.edu or Jasmine Booker, PRSSA Day chair, at Jasmine2@live.missouristate.edu.

If you would like to attend, you are welcome to come for some of the day or for all, and you would receive a free lunch, and goodie bag.

February 15, 2011

Share the Wealth and Spread the Word

Many of us from the chapter were lucky enough to attend the Social: IRL Boot Camp with Sarah Evans on Feb. 8 - learning tips and tactics to keep on top of all things in the communications world. If you are interested, you can download the presentation. In it, you will find tutorials on jargon, setting up accounts, making them interact with each other as well as more advanced examples of extracting results in the real world.

If you don't have time to sift through the entire presentation, I'd still recommend you ooking through some of the sections that you're less acquainted with - for example, the information on social media releases. Great stuff there!

If you are still trying to convince your organization or client to even use social media, you might try these basic Social Media 101 guides Sarah provided:

February 14, 2011

Upcoming Conferences - Mark Your Calendars!

PR Boot Camp is tentatively scheduled for July 21 - a great opportunity to fill a need in the community! We can share our knowlege of public relations with many local companies and non-profits that may need an extra push in the right direction. Think about how you might be able to contribute, and contact Stacy Fender (stacy.fender@coxhealth.com) if you would like to help.

Our annual Professional Development Conference will be held Sept. 20, and we are already well underway in the planning of this great event. We are excited to be having a nationally recognized speaker and author as our keynote for the day - you'll find out more soon. Contact Claire Faucett, claire@springfieldchamber.com, if you'd like to help in bringing this event to the Springfield community.

February 11, 2011

How restrictive is your social media policy?

Disparaging Facebook comments are always a concern for image management. In response to these concerns, employers have developed social media policies that run the gamut of restrictiveness. I came across this article through a link on Ragan's PR Daily that may cause some employers to rethink or retool restrictions stated social media policies.

What do you think? How restrictive are the social media policies for your employees?

Free Local Membership if You Join in February

A great deal for your colleagues in the public relations profession:
Join PRSA in February and receive a FREE one-year local chapter membership! Contact membership@swmoprsa.org for more details or visit http://www.prsa.org/JoinUs?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=tweet&utm_campaign=membership_promo_feb.

Message from the President

I wanted to share with you the goals the board has chosen to focus on this year.

· Provide value to members through monthly programs, professional development seminars, online resources and networking opportunities. (Success measured through annual membership survey.)

· Hold at least two engagements with outlying area members this year.

· Increase average number of members attending monthly meetings to 25 and increase student membership.

As you can tell, these revolve around ensuring you get your money’s worth regarding PRSA membership. We also hope to grow the chapter by offering opportunities to areas outside Springfield and through increased student membership, both of which will benefit the chapter in the long term.

Having an engaged and committed membership is critical to the success of our chapter, and I hope you will either volunteer to help plan and organize our key annual activities or answer the bell when called on by one of our directors. So far, several have committed to assist the three directors-at-large initiatives including:

· Claire Faucett, Professional Development Seminar

· Stacey Fender , PR Boot Camp

· Lori Marble, APR accreditation

· Becky Lucas, web site

· Angela Frizell, social media

· Melinda Arnold, communications

· Zac Rantz, scholarship

· Andrea Cramer, student liaison

· Ann Elwell, membership

We may be small (boutique!) but our expectations are not thanks to the time and energy these folks are willing to give.

Finally, the members who responded to the last survey regarding changing the day/time of the monthly meetings voted overwhelmingly to keep it where it is, so we will consider the issue closed and plan on meeting the fourth Tuesday of each month in the same location this year.

February 7, 2011

Watch Your Wordiness

Regardless of your specialty in the public relations realm - social media, event planning, media relations, writing for publications, etc. - great communication skills are key. If you're trying to get the attention of the media, you need to be precise and succinct, and you have to, above all else, keep their interest. One way of doing that is packing a punch with your words.

This short article, "Seven Examples of Passive Voice (and How to Fix Them)," emphasizes the need to scrutinize your text before sending, rethink the construction of your sentences and eliminate unneeded words. In even the most informal communication, these tips can help you engage your reader - which is what we all want, right?

February 3, 2011

Student Registrations Up for Grabs!

If you have any contact with students who'd be interested, tell them that there are two free registrations for Sarah Evans' Social: IRL event up for grabs. Find all the details TODAY at http://www.socialirl.com/.

Feb. 22 meeting announced

Libraries – they’re not just for books anymore! Ever wondered how the digital age has affected the way libraries communicate with and serve the public?  Come to our Feb. 22 chapter meeting and find out. Our presenter will be chapter member Kathleen O’Dell, community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She will bring us up to date on how the district has been impacted by the Internet, social media and all things digital.