Monthly Archives: January 2008

Target Needs to Jump on the Social Media Bandwagon

target1.jpg
Photo from Bennett Williamson

 

I love Target. I walk through the store door and an immediate sense of happiness sweeps over me, as I scan the aisles for bargains and useless items I don’t need and can’t afford. However, after reading this New York Times article, I’m beginning to question my loyalty to the company.

Amy Jussel, the founder of ShapingYouth.org, called Target earlier this month to complain about the advertising campaign shown above. ShapingYouth.org is a blog about the impact of marketing on children, and Amy believes “targeting crotches with a bull’s-eye is not the message we should be putting out there.” She received this email response back from Target: “Unfortunately we are unable to respond to your inquiry because Target does not participate with nontraditional media outlets,” a public relations person wrote. “This practice is in place to allow us to focus on publications that reach our core guest.”

I can feel the social media community cringe and PR professionals raise some eyebrows by this response. How can Target ignore nontraditional media outlets when bloggers are often consumers publishing their opinions? To think that blogs don’t reach the “core guests” of Target is absurd. Nontraditional media outlets often target the younger demographic upon which Target focuses its advertising dollar far more effectively than traditional outlets.

In my opinion, Target should have its own set of bloggers and a stronger PR presence online to encourage consumer communication and interaction. The company should embrace social media and take inquiries and criticism from bloggers, so they can be more responsive to their consumers’ concerns.

Why Twitter?

twitter-bird.gif

Image from Lee Oden

I have a confession to make: I’m hooked on Twitter. For those of you who don’t know, Twitter is a free social networking service that allows users to share their thoughts with people interested in following their happenings. Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and instantly delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them.

For my Advanced Public Relations Writing course, I was asked to create an account on Twitter and follow my classmates on our group network. We could post about anything we wanted and had to update our profile five times within 48 hours. While I was skeptical about the assignment at first, because I didn’t understand why other people would care about what I ate for breakfast or how many times I fell ice skating, I gradually became addicted to the application. I found myself engrossed in my classmate’s comings and goings, and it was interesting to see how much we have in common. It’s amazing how a person can make you laugh with only 140 characters.

Twitter is an excellent way to stay connected with colleagues and friends, share and receive useful links, receive feedback on ideas, practice casual writing, and gauge what other people are talking about. It’s social networking at its finest.

The best way to understand an application is to use it. I encourage you to set up a Twitter account and chirp away! You may surprise yourself by how much you enjoy it. I did.

Welcome to PRactical Ramblings!

As the countdown to graduation looms on the horizon, the realization that I will soon pack up my suitcase and enter the professional world is bittersweet. Sweet, because I get to write a new chapter to my book and explore new terrain and bitter because taking a giant leap forward into the land of the unknown is somewhat terrifying. Where will I live? What type of work will I do? Will my career be challenging and rewarding? I don’t think I’ve been this anxious since high school dances. While a plethora of questions and feelings linger in my mind, I’m confident that the skills and knowledge I’ve gained in the classroom and elsewhere will allow me to transition into the workplace relatively free of any major bumps and bruises. But with that being said, it is normal to have mini panic attacks, right?

blog-004.jpg

This blog is designed to have a public relations angle on hot potato current events, as well as be a place where I can reveal my experiences and learnings. I’m excited to dive into the blogosphere and share my practical ramblings with those interested in listening.