Pondering PR

Exploring how we choose to be heard in a noisy online world.

Welcome to Pondering PR….


caveman email

Hello and welcome everyone to Pondering PR – my introductory blog started as a project for the Social Media online course available through Ryerson University.

I have to admit that I’m feeling very much like the photo above – a bit of a dinosaur facing the daunting task of learning how to best use social media. That’s me there writing on the wall :). I only recently started embracing social media, having being dragged kicking and screaming by family members into the Facebook world just a few years ago, and I am still, I shamefully admit, a relative “noob” when it comes to the other social media platforms. I’ve just recently created a Twitter handle, and am slowly wrapping my head around how best to incorporate it into my daily life, and I am starting to learn more about some of the other popular programs.  My personal goal is to become very fluent in social media use before the end of this course.

What is becoming extremely evident is the incredible range of possibilities that social media offers – for the public and the business world.  Never has the emphasis on the power of relationships and conversation ever been more evident in how we interact and do business today. It’s exciting, and scary, all at the same time, because that level of interaction and expectation of customer service has very quickly become the norm – unheard of even five years ago.  What really struck a chord when reviewing our course reading was the point made by John Hayes, CMO of American Express, who stated in an article by McKinsey Quarterly  when talking about the role of social media and American Express’ marketing plan with an employee, that “the world is going to decide whether or not this has real value, talk about it, and then position it pretty much how they want to position it.  (I) don’t get to control everything that’s said about us, (but) understand, you’re still 100 percent accountable for the outcome.”  A daunting task for public relations professionals indeed.  And as Haynes noted, not fair for the organization or for the employee.

I believe however that there is great power in an integrated social media public relations campaign to help support customer service in a company and to help launch and position a brand (but as Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility”).  I am looking forward to the weeks ahead to learn more about how best to harness it!

Please take a moment to leave me your thoughts – the link for comments is above at the top left.  Lets start the conversation rolling!

Cindy Tate


Author: Cindy Tate

A Ryerson University, distance education student through the Chang School, I am pursuing a Public Relations Certificate while working full time as a municipal employee.

5 thoughts on “Welcome to Pondering PR….

  1. Hi Cindy!

    Today’s consumers are so tech savvy that if a company is not on the social web they basically don’t exist in their eyes. When a company creates and constantly maintains a Twitter/Facebook/Blog account, it demonstrates to the consumers and the mass public that they are willing to be transparent and open to comments/suggestions/criticisms. Taking it on without hiding from the negative aspects of being constantly available (which can turn out to be a positive in the long run) shows honesty, integrity and a willingness to learn from its customers.

    Being on the social web means that you start a conversation about your products/services and how they affect your consumers not just locally (as most traditional channels) but on a global scale.

    Thanks for your post Cindy!

  2. Thanks for your post Cindy. As a relative newcomer to the world of social media myself, I too feel excited and nervous about the possibilities and expectations of social media, especially in regards to small business. The one question that I have (but that I am not expecting you to answer!) is how does a small business owner balance their time between being active on social media and focusing on other aspects of the business, like building a client base, running the organization and completing work? It seems that with an endless number of platforms to tap into, a small business owner, who typically does not have a social media department, can spend a great deal of time trying out different social media tools to build a brand and secure followers, all in the hopes that the time commitment will translate into business success. But as your post states, not being in social media is just not an option for businesses these days, because owners remain 100 per cent accountable for the outcome of what is said about the business on social networks.

    I’m looking forward to your next post!

  3. Thanks Isabella! I hope that we will learn more about that as we progress through the course. If I’ve learned anything so far, it seems that you first have to identify what your goals are and how much time you are willing to commit to them – that seems universal for any public relations campaign, regardless if you are small business, big business, non-profit, gov’t, etc. I’m hoping to find out more about what gives more “bang for the buck” so that what time you do spend on each platform is maximized. We are fortunate however to have a great cross-section of students in this course to learn from as well!

  4. Your quote from Hayes captures the challenge and opportunity perfectly. Re: I don’t know if the course will help you understand how to get more ‘bang for the buck’, but it will give you a more nuanced sense of what’s possible . . . which I hope helps.

  5. Thanks Boyd – I think just being exposed to what’s out there in terms of programs/platforms is a huge step forward for me. I had the opportunity to listen in on a discussion (I’m going to blog about a bit later) and one thing that was stressed was the importance of not only being open to dialogue, but being receptive to having that dialogue in the format that the public wants. Looking forward to what the rest of the course offers!

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