The fluidity of public relations

By: Natalie Burns

Being a member of PRSSA has had numerous benefits and positive rewards. Recently, the group went on an agency tour to SS Digital Media located in Troy. We had the advantage as students and observers as we were able to listen in on advice and tips on the fluidity of public relations.

“PR is so fluid, you have to remember to always keep your options open,” said Michael Taylor II, branding and creative manager. “It’s all about the two-way communication.”

SS Digital is known for its specialty in marketing, advertising, and web design. According to its website, its search and marketing strategy combines research and consumer insight to create useful content (source).

Each employee of SS Digital gave a background in what they do, as well as giving direction in how to be unique, be creative and incorporate digital, analytics, and coding into our career paths. They discussed how understanding what’s actually working on a website, and how to get results from social media platforms, will make you stand out from any other competitor.

According to Search Business Analytics, “Social media analytics is the practice of gathering data from blogs and social media websites and analyzing that data to make business decisions. The most common use of social media analytics is to mine customer sentiment in order to support marketing and customer service activities” (source).

“By understanding the value of the website or social media platform,” Taylor II explained, “you will be able to find that balance between being creative and analytical. Having both is a plus.”

“Define the strategy, and define the objectives. It is also important to create a feasible timeline,” said Taylor II. “If you are one step ahead, you will have the advantage.”

The employees also talked about “proactive” communication and how important it is to be transparent.

“Managing client expectations can be challenging,” said Jenni Placinta, social influence associate. “However, if you know your client’s goal, you are collaborative, and have open communication, it will take you much farther and will be much easier.”

The founder of SS Digital, Nick Skislak, also chatted about new relationships with clients and identifying their points of interest. Skislak seemed content and energetic about his company and enthusiastic team.

The members of PRSSA thank SS Digital Media for teaching us about the fluidity of PR and how we can create our own title and career path.

Natalie Burns is a public relations major and marketing minor. Her writing, communication, and multitasking skills have allowed her to do especially well in her field. She has an outgoing, bubbly personality. Natalie is currently a public relations intern at SOS Community Services in downtown Ypsilanti. She is also Chief Financial Officer of PRSSA. Connect with her via Twitter @burns_natalie and Instagram @natattack03. Follow her blog at

Four Key Takeaways From the PRSSA National Conference

By: Rachel Dwornick

Recently I attended the PRSSA National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference was truly amazing and I learned a ton of great information. Here are my four key takeaways from the national conference.

1. “Shine your own shoes and iron your own shirt.”

Scott Williamson, VP, PAC for Coca-Cola North America, reminded us that no matter how successful you are it is important to remember that no job is too small for you to give your best effort. So simply give your best effort no matter the task and always shine your own shoes and iron your own shirt.

2. Your entire portfolio will be way more interesting if you are.

Dan Balser from Creative Circus reminded us that you want your portfolio to be interesting. We often are taught to give the facts, but to set ourselves apart we need to show who we are. Our portfolios are a representation of who we are and what we are passionate about, so why not show people?

3. You are your own brand manager.

Hilary McKean from Ketchum Global talked about how we are our own brand managers now. Who you are, what you want to be and how you present yourself is important to remember. From a simple post on Twitter to your resume, how you brand yourself is important, and we must start branding ourselves now.

4. Find a mentor, then be a mentor.

Lastly, Patrick Ford, VP of Burson, talked about the importance of having a mentor and then being one. Even now you can be a mentor to someone because you know more than someone else. A mentor is someone to use as a sounding board or can help bring insights to you. All you have to do is simply ask.

Social media unites during tragedy in Paris

By: Irene Pool

With the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, Nov. 16, leaving at least 129 people dead, people from around the world are rallying together to show their support.

The following Monday a moment of silence was granted by French President Francois Hollande, along with other government officials. The event was broadcasted on multiple social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

You also may have noticed social media blowing up with pictures of sports teams and cities lighting up the town with the colors of the French flag. It’s amazing to see how people will come together and support a city, even if it is on the other side of the world.

I remember coming home Friday night to my timeline blowing up with news about the attacks. I didn’t even get the chance to hear it first on the news. Videos and words of concern with prayer lit up my phone with notifications. That right there shows the powerful effect social media can have.

One aspect that I enjoyed seeing was the option Facebook provided its users for their profile picture. There was an option to add a photo filter to have the French flag over your current photo. Right when that option went into effect, I would say more than half of my friends put the new filter on their photos.

Seeing the support go around after this heartbreaking incident really makes you see the good in this world. People could have blown this incident off because it’s on the other side of the world, but instead we take time out of our busy schedules to show concern and support others. Social media is very powerful.

Irene Pool is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public relations and minoring in communications. This is her first year in EMU’s PRSSA chapter. She was drawn to social media because she likes being able to connect with others in many different ways. Irene is an outgoing person who enjoys learning something new every day. She loves finding the beauty in the world and facing new challenges.

The Snapchat Lingo

By: Anissa Gabbara

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of guest posts from social media students at Eastern Michigan University. Follow the conversations at #LRNSMPR and @ginaluttrell.



Back in 2011, social media consumers were introduced to Snapchat, a free photo sharing app that allows users to send and receive photos that can only be viewed for a certain length of time. With over one million monthly users (daytodaymag, 2015), Snapchat has been a force to be reckoned with in the social media world. Major businesses including Taco Bell, General Electric, and the NBA have used Snapchat as a way to promote their brand and connect with consumers. I have never used Snapchat before, but after doing a bit of research, I was able to create a list of lingo/definitions that regular “snappers” know all too well. Here is what I found:

A Snap is a photo or video message taken by users and sent to others live. The Snap lasts for up to 10 seconds, and users have the option of saving the photo/video to their phone. If the photo/video is not saved, then it is deleted immediately (Snapchat, 2015).

A screenshot is a captured image of the screen of your computer, iPhone, Android, etc. It is a quick and easy way to save and share content with others (Chastain, n.d.).

Snapcode is a feature that has simplified the process of adding new friends on Snapchat. All you have to do is scan the code that Snapchat assigns you to. “Snapchatters can add you by pointing their Snapchat camera at your Snapcode and tapping their screen” (Snapchat, 2015).


Geofilters allow Snapchat users to share their exact location with others by using filter overlays. These Snaps can only be viewed in specific locations and filters vary depending on the neighborhood. Snapchat will not store your location (Snapchat, 2015).

Emoji are small icons and symbols used to express some type of emotion. There is a wide variety of emoji to choose from, and Snapchat users have fun deciding which ones to include in their Snaps.

Lenses allow you to add special effects to live Snaps. You may also incorporate sound into your Snaps (Snapchat, 2015).

Users can earn trophies if they use Snapchat to its fullest potential. There are “emoji rewards that you can unlock by completing various activities” (Warner, 2015). Users must hit a certain score to earn trophies.

I learned that Snapchat is not your average social network. It is a fun and personalized way of sharing content with friends and family. Snapchat has plenty of cool features that allow users to be creative and entertain others, which sets it apart from other social networks. No wonder it is so popular!

Anissa Gabbara is a junior at Eastern Michigan University studying public relations with a double minor in communications and marketing. She enjoys music, writing, and volunteering at local animal wellness centers. She is also a new member of EMU’s PRSSA chapter. She has an interest in celebrity PR and hopes to one day work with some of the biggest names and corporations in the entertainment world. She plans to hone her craft while becoming a valuable source of information to others. You can follow her on Twitter @AnissaGabbara.

Agency versus corporate: what is the difference?

By: Irene Pool

Once you graduate college, you have to scramble to decide what your first job will be. Do you want to work for an agency, or go all in with a corporate as big as General Motors? These two choices can have some big differences. Knowing what they both offer beforehand is crucial to job hunting. You have to find out what type of job you are best suited for.

Here are a few points about each:


 The agency life is all about a fast-paced, continuous learning, collaborative thinking, teamwork driven, and constantly moving environment. Agencies are always taking on new tasks, and you could be working on multiple projects at once.

Going into an agency, it’s okay to ask for help. You always have a team readily available. The learning is nonstop and fun, but not always easy. Like I stated before, you most likely will be working with multiple clients at once, and trying to juggle their needs and wants can get chaotic. Your clients are coming to you for help, so they are always looking for your best. You want to study your clients, see what they have done in the past, and what has worked and what has not worked. Make sure you have put in a lot of time to give them an organized product.

What draws most people to an agency is the constant work, keeping you on your toes and learning new things. You get to build a lot of relationships and work with many different people. If you’re someone that is very organized and wants to always be on the go, then an agency might be the life for you.


Compared to agencies, corporate life is much slower. There is a good amount of work that goes into one project. You have to make sure you can work with your team effectively to get the work done. Finding resources may seem tough at times, so you have to find a way to work with others to get what you want. Also, in a corporate setting you’re able to see your project all the way through, fixing the problems that you see, meaning you can make your idea the best it can be.

Because you’re working with just your business, you know what your employers and your consumers want. With an agency, you have to analyze both those points before getting too deep into the project. You have formed relationships with the type of media your company already works with and also have a deeper understanding of your company overall.

Overall, you really have to understand yourself as a person to decide which category you fit in. You never know, you could be well-balanced enough to be able to work in both settings. But don’t let anything deter you from the other. If you see yourself as a corporate person, maybe try working in an agency for a few years and learning new traits you never knew you had. In this day and age, it’s about learning as much as you can and becoming a better professional.

Irene Pool is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public relations and minoring in communications. This is her first year in EMU’s PRSSA chapter. She was drawn to social media because she likes being able to connect with others in many different ways. Irene is an outgoing person who enjoys learning something new every day. She loves finding the beauty in the world and facing new challenges.

What’s not to love about Bloglovin’?

By: Rachel Dwornick

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of guest posts from social media students at Eastern Michigan University. Follow the conversations at #LRNSMPR and @ginaluttrell.



Recently I have had more of an interest in blogs, some based on things I am passionate about in my personal life, while some are based on public relations. Wanting to read all of these different blogs created the problem of having to go to each website separately, and some sites were not mobile friendly which caused me to think it was more of a hassle than anything else. This is when I discovered Bloglovin’.

Bloglovin’ is an easy to use website that puts all the blogs you like to read in one place. You simply link a particular blog to your account and you are all set. Every day you can get on and your feed will be updated with the new blogs. After you read a blog it disappears off your feed so you know what you have and haven’t read that day.

Some other cool features Bloglovin’ provides is a mobile app, which you can download in the Apple and Android app stores. If you also write your own blog you can link it to your Bloglovin’ account so anyone who follows you on Bloglovin’ can see what you have written. You can also save blogs you liked onto your page so you can easily reference them or look at them at a later date.


  • All your blogs are in one place, making it easy for you to see new posts
  • You can save posts you like to reference later
  • You can link your own blog
  • You can search to find new and interesting blogs to follow


  • My ONLY con is that some blogs will not show the full article on Bloglovin’ and it opens in a web page within the app.

Rachel Dwornick is a senior at Eastern Michigan University studying public relations with a minor in communications. She holds the position of Member Relations in PRSSA and is an active member of Alpha Xi Delta. Follow her on Twitter at @racheldwornick.

The Michigan Collegiate Job Fair is this Friday!

The Michigan Collegiate Job Fair will be held Friday, Nov. 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Livonia. The event is free to attend (source).

According to the event’s Handshake page, “The Michigan Collegiate Job Fair (MCJF) is open to seniors and alumni of ANY two or four-year college and is an excellent opportunity for job seekers to meet employers. Employers who participate in the job fair primarily seek entry-level candidates for positions in business, engineering, sciences, technology, liberal arts, human services and allied health” (source). 

For more information, including what companies will be attending, visit the event’s Handshake page here. Frequently asked questions, including how to dress and what to bring, can be found on Eastern Michigan University’s website here.