Stay Tuned: Updates Ahead

Hello, Everyone!

I apologize for the lack of postings recently. Although I hate to admit it, blogging fell off my radar the past two terms as class readings, group projects and essays consumed my life.

Alas, here I am, a University of Oregon graduate!

Finally, it is time to dust off my blogging fingers and get back to writing. I have a whole list of blog ideas that I can’t wait to start researching and processing into words to share with everyone. In my return to this blog, I also realized that this layout is quite.. grayscale. As soon as I finish this post, I’ll be searching for a new theme and I’d love everyone’s input.

You’ll be hearing from me again soon!

– Caitlin

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Go Ahead, Judge a Book by its Cover.

When a company I worked for was hiring and started interviewing potential applicants, I realized that sometimes it is okay to judge a book by its cover. Because of the economy, a lot of people are out there looking for work. We wanted someone who cares about our company and the people we serve, not just someone who cared about getting a job.

In order to weed out the people who care from the people who don’t, making a great first impression is critical. Throughout the entire hiring process I compiled a list of a few things that irk me the most when it comes to new applicants:

1. Dressing too casually. I’ll be the first to admit that coming in a suit just to fill out an application is a little extreme, but it surprised me how many people come in shorts and sandals and sweatshirts to apply for a job. At least take the time to brush your hair and iron your shirt before coming in to apply. Taking a few extra steps to get ready before you come in is a little extra “umph” to prove you actually care about getting THIS job, not just getting a job.

2. Disregarding me because I am young. I’m 23, but most people would guess that I’m 18 (that’s actually a stretch, it is a shock to most people when they realize I’m old enough to drive.) There have been a few instances where an applicant has come in and asked to talk to “someone else”, ie. “someone older and more influential within the company”. When you first walk through the door, I recommend not putting yourself above anyone already involved in the company. Besides the fact that it is rude and says a multitude of things about your personality, I could write another blog on all the reasons why this peeves me so much (actually, I think I will… adding it to the ‘to-blog’ list right now), but for the sake of space, I’ll just leave it at that.

3. Not smiling enough. I’m a huge fan of smiles, I do it all the time. Like I mentioned above, I’m 23 and I already have wrinkles around my eyes from smiling so much. Smiling is a natural thing. Our clients love people who smile, they smile all the time, our manager smiles, all of the other employees smile. We all love our jobs so much that we are smiling almost all of the time. Nothing catches my eye more than someone who smiles right when they walk through the door.

So, in my opinion, what does it take for a great first impression? Brushed hair, an open mind and a big, huge smile.

Social Media vs. One-On-One Relationships

The other day during one of my nonprofit administration classes, my professor brought in a guest speaker who worked in the nonprofit PR field. I was SO excited. A guest speaker doing EXACTLY what I want to do once I graduate!

The guest speaker was hilarious. She told us a lot of funny stories about her experiences with fundraising and various PR campaigns. After story time, she finally started telling us about PR basics; the message, the audience, etc.

When she got to the topic of “the medium” she said something along the lines of, “Social media websites like Twitter and Facebook are useless, one-on-one relationships are the only thing that nonprofit organizations should focus on.”

My jaw dropped. Literally. There I was, in the front row, with my jaw hanging so far down that it almost hit my collarbone. Then she asked our class, “So, what do you all think about nonprofits and social media?”

Usually I just sit in class and I won’t speak unless I’m spoken to first, but when she asked that question I shot my hand into the air so fast I nearly dislocated my shoulder.

One-On-One

What did I think about nonprofits and social media? Well, considering I have a blog dedicated to that exact topic, I had a lot to say about it.  After eight minutes of me talking about how great Twitter is for nonprofits, it was obvious that the guest speaker and I had conflicting views on the subject.

I told her that while one-on-one relationships are a key to a successful nonprofit, social media is also a GREAT resource. In the eight minutes I had to speak, I gave her a quick summary of nonprofits and social media. Twitter and Facebook are easy, free ways for people to go learn about an organization, their mission and volunteer opportunities. These sites are also places to publicly acknowledge their donors and volunteers. They are immediate and much easier to update than a website and they allow for a nearly instant two-way conversation as opposed to just static produced on a website.

Her reaction was that nonprofits are organizations with limited time and resources and that social media is just a waste of time that could be spent on making personal, one-on-one relationships.

So what do you think? Should nonprofits care about social media, or is it just a waste of their time?

Photo by andybrannan

Incase of Emergency… Facebook?

This infographic shows the ways that people and organizations are using social media to provide updates and keep in touch during emergencies.

According to this infographic, people use Twitter in multiple emergency situations that range anywhere from providing information during the Mumbai Terrorist Attacks to various natural disasters.

One of the benefits of Twitter and Facebook is that it is instant.

There are more than 6 million individuals and organizations on Twitter and more than 400 million on Facebook.

One of the examples on this info-graphic was a Tweet that said, “Need a paramedic on corner of John Wesley Dobbs and Jackson St. Woman on the ground unconscious. Pls ReTweet”

I’m not sure how efficient it is to Tweet something like that instead of calling 911. While instantaneous news-feeds like Twitter and Facebook are effective for situations where no one can be reached by phone, calling 911 should always be the first option in the case of a real emergency.

When I told my dad about the use of Facebook and Twitter during emergencies, he laughed at me. His said that during a natural disaster that causes everyone to lose phone and internet service, social media is irrelevant.

This lead him to plan what we were suppose to do as a family, in case there was an emergency where we couldn’t contact each other. That is another story for another blog though, back to the original reason for this post…

This infographic asks the question “In an area-wide emergency, how likely would you be to use social media channels to let your friends and family know you are safe?”

28% of people said they “definitely would”, and I’m in this category with them.

Social media is an instant way to get the word out about a crisis or disaster in the area and can spread the message a lot faster than a phone call could.

What do you think? Would you use Facebook or Twitter in case of an emergency?

Photo by Niccolò Caranti