Author Archives: Kathryn Napolitano

Is the Internet #HashtagHappy?

hash_tag_imageAlthough an easy target to make fun of (see: “#Hashtag” with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake), the ever-popular hashtag continues to become even more popular. Hashtags are a way of filtering information on the incredibly dense information-overloaded Twitterverse. Hashtags are extremely practical for creating context for information, especially because they are user-generated.

Twitter was the first to hyperlink hashtags in 2009. Instagram and Google+ eventually joined in. Most recently, Facebook started supporting hashtags. #welcometotheclub

While incredibly appropriate for short, succinct tidbits of information on Twitter, hashtags don’t seem to function as well on the personal network that is Facebook. Amidst the millions of personal Facebook profiles, hashtags are confined to privacy settings galore. On Facebook, I’m interested in my circle of friends and personal relationships, not searching through strangers’ statuses and posts. Digital Trends editor Molly McHugh does a great job of explaining why hashtags aren’t meant for Facebook in her blog post, “Why Do We Hate Facebook Hashtags?

In terms of brands on Facebook, hashtags may be a bit more useful, though. A hashtag can expand the reach of a post not only to the people that “like” the brand, but also to anyone else interested in the topic. I don’t tend to click on Facebook hashtags, but someone somewhere might. Entrepreneur Steve Cooper whole-heartedly supports the new Facebook hashtags in his Forbes blog post, “Big Mistake: Making Fun Of Hashtags Instead Of Using Them,”saying that hashtags on these social networks aren’t going to disappear anytime soon.

Where are you most likely to use hashtags?

Networking: Value Your Peers

networking-655x280Most students attending the COM/Council of PR Firms’  “Take Flight with PR” event this Thursday probably have one major to-do item on their agendas: networking. And with so many influential PR leaders literally at our fingertips, this is a great opportunity to do just that!

Amidst the flurry of well-qualified résumés and thoughtfully designed business cards passing hands from hopeful students to potential employers, we must remember that some of the best networking can happen with our very own peers. As future communication professionals, we can offer just as much value to each other as the CEOs, Directors, and VPs of some of the industry’s leading PR firms. We might not be able to offer jobs, but you get the idea.

Our peers will be our future partners, bosses, and major support groups throughout the rest of our careers. We can offer each other the power of connection—say you know a guy who knows a guy, you interned at X firm last semester—these connections can make all the difference.

My freshman year I lived on a “specialty” all girls’ communication floor. I viewed my friends, the people I lived with, as my competition. Today, I realize that these budding communication professionals are some of my biggest assets.

If anything, bring an open mind to the conference this Thursday. We have such a wonderful opportunity as we come together with students from all different schools and academic paths. Take the time to chat with as many peers as you can. Like a true COM kid, connect on Twitter or LinkedIn. And remember, networking with your peers is just as valuable as networking with the top dogs.

What kind of blogs do you read?

bbc-blogsWith graduation around the corner for some and summer fast approaching for others, we PR students are most likely in a state of interview madness. The job search is on, interviews are underway, and rumor has it the seemingly popular and recurring question is: What kind of blogs and online content do you read?

In preparation for this post I asked a lot of my peers this same question. It should’ve been a no-brainer that there’d be a wide range of answers. I got everything from industry specific blogs like the Ad Contrarian and entertainment blogs like Buzzfeed, to food blogs and music blogs and everything in between.

I quickly realized that it’d be hard to generalize what kind of blogs we should be reading. I read through many lists of anywhere from the Top 10-100 blogs for PR professionals, but even then, I think the key is you should be reading what interests you.

Vala Afshar, blogger, author and Chief Marketing Officer/Chief Customer Officer at Enterasys Networks once said, “stay interested.” If you stay interested in what you like, you in turn become more interesting. By staying interested in blogs and online content that means something to you, you can in turn bring something new to a job or internship.

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, “what kind of blogs do you read?” Interviewers want to know about you—and the content that you read speaks volumes. It’s important to stay current and up to date in areas that interest you. Whether it’s entertainment or music or health or government PR, etc., stay current, stay interested, and rock those interviews.