CSULB President Jane Close-Conoley Virtually Connects with Students with the Help of Karen Holden
by Mengfei Song
Karen Holden has been at the forefront of helping individuals and corporations to improve communications for decades. She is currently the Communications and Social Media Manager for CSULB President Jane Close-Conoley.
Holden spoke to students in the JOUR 470: Digital Public Relations Tool Box class, educating the crowd on a wide range of topics relevant to modern journalism and public relations. The most specific aspect was the exploration of social media as a new frontier for pushing across relevant information and how it can act as a branch of journalism.
Holden refers to herself as a “versatile writer and speaker able to help her clients deliver their messages in an objective and clear manner.” She handles the Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram account of President Conoley, among many other clients that she hosts. In her lecture, an additional light was shed on social media and using the platform as a means for learning and engaging with the campus community.
"I am not president Conoley's message, but I amplify-it, " Holden said.
According to Holden, social media has been an important aspect of people’s lives. It serves as an outlet for them as well as a source of information. Social media has been a go-to place for everyone seeking for fresh contents and as well as to get updated with current news and events all over the world. A professional journalist or PR practitioner should be able to understand the different communication and campaign platforms that make up the social media universe. Holden encourages individuals to change the way they view social media. That it is more than a platform for chatting with friends or posting cat videos, but rather view it as a news feed of information. Holden herself says that she opens three devices at a time as a means of tracking all events online. She encourages one to follow various news outlets and journalists even if one has a different point of view or opinion.
Making a profession out of managing social media accounts is not as easy as it may seem. Holden encourages people to use their platforms as a means of reflecting the ideology and doing campaigns for their client. For those who plan on managing social media accounts for other people, it is important to take into account the ideas of the client. All social media platforms should be updated regularly with fresh contents and must be consistent across all accounts.
It is important for public relations professionals to be multilingual on social media. Being multilingual in this case does not refer to knowing different languages but being able to understand the various forms through which social media can be used. Social media is for all ages. Having users from different cultures with different age groups, it is important to understand the means and way a message was conveyed. Public and private messages are written and highlighted differently. The professional needs to be aware of the difference between personal and professional tones on social media platforms. The use of dedicated hashtags also helps improve the reception of the message. According to Holden, LinkedIn is the best platform to connect with people of the same professional goals and interests.
Best social media practices that should be observed includes being positive, authentic, and engaging. The use of images and links in the content of the body is also encouraged. But there are also some mistakes that are usually committed by PR professionals on social media. They sometimes include broken links, lack consistency across platforms, and set up incomplete profiles. Social media should help show the uniqueness, goals and the passion of a person to their audience. It should serve as a promotion to attract more viewers and engage more people in their platforms. The modern PR professional needs to be at the forefront of this practice.
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