Tuesday, May 1, 2012


This blog, this experimental assignment, was the first of its kind offered at MTSU. However, the future is threatened as the higher ups think social media is a place for fun, not business, and we are not helped by taking a course in it. The following is a letter I wrote to the chair of the speech and theater department explaining why I think it is important to offer classes in social media communications.

     I am finishing up my Junior year at MTSU as an Organizational Communications major. This semester, I was privileged to be a part of the first social media communication class offered at MTSU. At first, I admit, I was skeptical. I was not exactly sure what I could be taught about social media and I was afraid it was going to be a waste of my time. However, the opposite proved to be true and I learned a lot more than expected.
     First of all, whether we like it or not, social media has become a large part of our society both personally and professionally. There are several different platforms being used, including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, and several others to create and share information. It is important to not only understand how these are being used, but also to be able to adapt and use them as required. The ability to adapt and communicate effectively is what being a communications major is all about, and if we do not learn the social media platforms, we will not be able to do this. Not only is this exactly what being a communications major is all about, but I believe any major can benefit from learning how to communicate online in some way, just as we are required to take a class in general communication (COMM 2200).
     Furthermore, communication is also about engaging. We engage with each other face to face in the classroom, we are encouraged to engage with professionals both inside and outside of the classroom, and we will have to engage with the real world when we graduate. By engaging, I mean we have to not only listen, but we have to speak in a way that gives our listeners something of value to them. Social media is another place to engage, and it even allows you to go more in depth with your “followers.” Not only can you bring information to the table, but you can send people directly to websites and other resources to back up your facts or to further their knowledge as well. Twitter isn’t just about sharing what you had for breakfast, it is about listening and engaging.
     Learning how to engage online is how we grow and build our network. Our network is how we will make connections in the real world. Our future is in social media. Our employers want us to be able to communicate online. They want us to promote their businesses and get them more business, and we cannot do this by simply applying the limited knowledge we have. We need to learn how employers operate and what they expect from us, and then we need to learn how to deliver that. The world is changing, and we need to change with it.

As the semester comes to a close...

So do the days of our lives.

Alright, so that's a little excessive. I guess I'm just reminiscing on my soap opera days with my grandmother.

But really, it's been a long semester and I'm glad to see it come to an end. However, it is even more rewarding to look back and see everything I have accomplished, even through this blog alone.

If you recall my first post, which I'm sure you remember word for word, I listed three goals that I hoped to accomplish this semester through this blogging assignment. They were:

1. Create and expand my social network
2. Develop and share my brand
3. Explore new social media outlets, such as blogging
1. My social network has definitely expanded, even if you judge that solely on Twitter followers - and not just by quantity, but I believe I have learned how to judge the quality of people in my network as well.
2. My "brand" is what I have been working on throughout the semester. Have I met this goal? Honestly... I'm not sure. I believe I have gotten better at social media, but can you identify my brand?
3. I believe this goal to be accomplished as well. I was completely new to Twitter, and I have gotten better at that. I believe my blog has evolved (again, you be the judge). I just joined LinkedIn. 
There are several other social media sites to join and explore that will help both my communication skills and my professional development, but I have time for that.

This isn't something that has to stop here. Just because the class is over, doesn't mean my learning has to be. Social media is easier learned when taught. However, the neat thing about it is... you can teach yourself. It all comes back to observing and listening. See what everybody else does, and then learn how to do it your own way. I believe I am prepared to continue on this journey and keep exploring.

Because of my growth, my social media resume has also expanded as follows -

Brittney Bird
I was born and raised in Middle Tennessee. I have only been to three schools my entire life, MTSU included. I am a Junior this year, studying Organizational Communications with a possible minor in Psychology. I am still unsure of my future career goals, but for the past two years I have worked at Premier VetCare in Smyrna. With my major, I could potentionally take over publicity for the organization, mainly including the webpage and Facebook account.

My experience with social media has been limited, but is expanding. I am willing to learn new tools and techniques and found that I am a fairly quick learner in this aspect. While I do not have any professional experience in social media as of yet, I have gained some personal experience. 
My Twitter account has expanded in both quantity and quality of followers.
I have developed my own blog to track my social media journey and share everything I have learned.
  • MySpace (once upon a time)
  • Facebook
  • Twitter 
  • Pinterest
  • Daily booth
  • LinkedIn
  • Blogger
  • About.me
  • Delicious


LinkdIn is another place to make connections. The difference is, LinkedIn is all about professional connections. It is a place to expand your professional group to help you get jobs and expand your experience. I'll be graduating college in a year. I can use all the connections I can get.

So I created a LinkedIN account. My bio reads as follows:

My name is Brittney Bird. I am currently a senior attending Middle Tennessee State University, majoring in Organizational Communications with a minor in Psychology.

...yeah, it needs some work. Suggestions are welcome!

If you're like me and just getting started with LinkedIn, check out the following sites:
How to optimize your LinkedIn profile
5 LinkedIn tools

The future

Honesty time.

I have no idea what I want to be "when I grow up," I've just been hoping the ORCO major will lead me in the right direction. Since I'm not heading anywhere specific, my "dream internship" is hard to find... but there are several options out there.

Mashable job search is a place that allows you to view thousands of open positions for internships or jobs in the field of communication, specifically social media. Many of these are for people with a lot more experience than I have and are located across the country, but a girl can dream, right?

Warner Bros. Entertainment Group posted a listing for a vice president of public relations. Who wouldn't want to work for Warner Bros.?! Now, I know vice president is a bit of a stretch for now... but I believe this class has prepared me to be on my way.

The job responsibilities include:
- Work with senior staff, PR Teams and digital within the organization and agencies to build an online communications strategy, campaign themes and tactics to take or extend brands socially, drive traffic and increase loyalty.
- Generate compelling content and story ideas that get key online influencers excited. Transform messaging and offline content into powerful, compelling content that works well online.
- Work with a variety of social media outlets, social media management tools, and content management systems to identify, locate and engage with technology press, advocates and influencers within social and blogging communities to build relationships.
- Set realistic goals for deliverables, approvals, timelines and metrics, conduct public relations activities and manage outside public relations firms, agencies and vendors.
- Manage social media content calendars and coordinate reviews and approvals as necessary. 
- Clearly and persuasively communicate strategic recommendations to internal and external audiences with variable levels of understanding.
- Monitor and listen to online conversation within (and sometimes outside of) communities, identify opportunities as they arise. Build measurement and analysis reports and recommendations with valuable quantifiable insights from analytical data and qualitative insights. Monitor trends in blogger management approaches, best practices and tools, experimenting with new trends and applications.

That is exactly what I have been working to accomplish through the course of this blog. I have learned to use Twitter and a few other social media outlets - and what I don't know, I know I can learn. 
This course has been about building relationships. Listening. Engaging. Improving. 

Aside from the Bachelor's Degree and 8-10 years of experience required I think I'm set!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Storify is a place to tell your story by synthesizing elements of various forms of social media. Integrate videos, facts, Tweets, and more from all over the web in to one single post, bringing the best information to your viewers. Of course, as with any storytelling, always be sure to give credit to your sources. 
To get started, view the video above. For more information, check out the Slideshare I provided below.Storify
View more documents from brittneybe.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body

The semester is drawing to a close, as is this social media course, which was the inspiration for this entire blog. But that doesn't mean my social media journey has to be over - it's far from it. In case you are also encouraged to do some reading, here are a few books to check out over the summer.

The Social Media Bible
If Social Media is a Game, These Are the Rules

Social Media Training

Hypothetically speaking, say I wanted to host a one day training seminar to teach you guys professional social media. How would one go about that?

First of all, let's consider what a training seminar on professional social media should entail.
And you guessed it - listening would most definitely be on the list of topics to cover, closely followed by how to engage with followers. Related to both listening and engaging, professionals also need to learn how to create a brand for themselves. The best way to teach all of these topics would be Twitter. Twitter is the easiest place listen, searching hashtags and key terms. Twitter is also a good place to engage, since quick conversations can be held at your fingertips. Branding is something that takes time, but the basics could be taught in a one day seminar - decide how you want to be viewed and create your bio.

In my opinion, the easiest way to promote an event and get a message out to masses of people would be Twitter. Twitter is an easy place to pass messages to friends and strangers alike, you can also create your own hashtags to make it easy to share and to track who is talking about your topic. Facebook is another place for promotions. Creating a group page allows perspective attendees a central location to be directed which holds the location, time, and about the course.