I honestly did not know what to expect when I walked into Genevieve Grdina's presentation at Marquette's PR and Social Media Summit. I had misread the schedule in a rush, so I was in the wrong room. When Grdina, associate manager of corporate communication at Facebook, started talking about journalists as people who cloud Facebook's company goals by reporting using any possible Facebook connection to attract readers and who always barrage the personal relations (PR) people for information, I started to feel like I, as an aspiring journalist, was probably not in her target audience.
Yet, as her talk went on, I realized that she had many PR gems that I could apply to my career as well. Here are her three challenges Facebook has to face as a new company, and what they mean for journalists and news outlets.
Challenge #1: "Facebook was first"
Grdina talked about how Facebook is the first of it's kind. This results in their having to face unique obstacles. It also means that Facebook is breaking down barriers and having to make sure the world is ready for that. Grdina talked about how many laws surrounding communications are from the 1980's and are therefore long since outdated.
Similarly or journalists, lines are increasingly blurred. In a world where information is shared across platforms in the blink of an eye, it is important that reporters are increasingly cautious about who they get information from and what said information is.
Challenge #2: "Lack of branding"
This is applicable to journalists individually and media outlets as companies. Grdina explained the debate at Facebook about whether or not to have advertisements. They thought that ads would not be needed. We discuss branding everyday in JOUR 2100: creating a personal digital brand. Everyone needs to know how to market themselves. As Grdina said, "If you don't give your product a brand, someone else will."
Challenge #3: "Intense scrutiny"
Though this is particularly appropriate for a worldwide company like Facebook, it's true on a small scale as well. In applying for internships and jobs, everyone is subject to intense scrutiny. Social media puts a person's entire life on the internet for employers to read. Yet, Grdina pointed out that that scrutiny can be harnessed in a productive manner, like Facebook did with internet.org. Journalists and students can also use their personal brand to show the professional world who they truly are and what they stand for, rather than thinking of it as a way for employers to find reasons not to hire them.
Hearing from the PR point of view was refreshing. Grdina's advice is useful, not just for people who are trying to run a business, but for anyone entering the professional world - including the journalists who give those in her position a bit of a hard time.
As for my own brand, the Facebook motto is apt. The journey really is only "1 percent finished."
This site is my way of connecting you to the happenings of my journalistic adventures and the rest of my digital portfolio.