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Joanna Stern: Five years later, I'm off to ABC News...

Joanna Stern is leaving reviews at The Verge to head for broader technology coverage and video hosting at Congrats Joanna! Read her Tumblr post here:


Funny enough, it was exactly five years ago this week that I decided I wanted to be a technology reporter.

I was working at a New York PR agency — my first job out of college — and knowing that I loved new technology, my friend Becca asked me to beta test a new streaming…

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How to Win Friends and Influence Data (err…people?) — The Network Pt. 1

Your network is your strongest asset as a communications professional. Now, thanks to advancements of the programmable web, one is able to take their network from what were once closed platforms, and interact in exciting new ways for media and communications work.

The upcoming posts in this series: How to Win Friends and Influence Data (err…people) — The Network, will detail our approach around the following networking tools we have picked to focus on at MaintainPR: Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Reader, Techmeme, Digg, Delicious, Flowtown, Klout, WeFollow, Listorius, and PostRank Connect.

An important distinction to make between these tools and the ones we’ll feature under “The Message” section is that these are for finding and cultivating a network specific to a job function: communications; and not for dissemination or curation. But because of Facebook and LinkedIn’s immense popularity and the fact that they saddle both roles, they will appear in both sections. This post begins with the big blue giant, Facebook, and some exciting changes every communications professional should be aware of.

Two recent Facebook networking changes have recently been implemented without much fanfare from technology PR: Friends Lists and the brand new “Use Facebook as Page” feature recently introduced for Page admins who have switched to the new layout.

I have recently used the new Friends Lists to separate my contacts into the following categories: Friends, Family, Media, Entrepreneur, PR, Analyst, Developer, and SEO/Marketing/Social — I’ll probably tier these out even further, but this is all I need to start.

The purpose it serves is threefold. Firstly, having grouped my friends, family, and then work-related contacts separately, I can view updates from, and see who is online to chat with in these tiers. Very helpful for someone who needs to approach Facebook from both a work and recreational standpoint.

Secondly, by utilizing Featured Friends Lists in my profile settings, I can choose to display any of my lists in addition to general friends on my profile. This is helpful when trying to connect with someone I haven’t met offline, who is not yet in my contacts (whether Entrepreneur, Media, or Developer) because if we do not have many shared connections, they can at least see some of the other folks in their field who I interact with. Hopefully, if the names and faces are familiar to them, they will accept my request to add, and even consider allowing me to be a connector to help them network. Which brings me to the third purpose…one that I have not implemented yet, and might not do so well. I figure it’s worth a shot though.

I believe one should also consider Friends Lists as a gateway and targeted method to invite work-related contacts to Groups. If you think of the lists as a filter and organization method for the way you view Facebook, Groups are the next step in an organization method for engagement and outreach. That’s because once contacts you invite to join a group accept, you are able to moderate and curate messages and wall posts for said Group.

Given the fact that, if carried out right, this can surprisingly alter the traditional way a press announcement or networking opportunity takes place…I am really shocked I haven’t run across many PR folks trying the same thing. Adam Singer at Lewis PR has been on the forefront of recent Facebook changes, and is one exception. You can look forward to a summary of a webinar he is giving on the topic soon here.

Moving on, the Browse as Page feature is also really exciting, BRAND NEW (really like a few days old I believe), and a great opportunity for growing your audience of your Page, and hence your network. I’ll explain.

If you choose to transfer your Page to the new layout now (which is happening by default in March anyways) you will see an option under the dropdown menu of Account in the upper right corner to “Use Facebook as Page.” Clicking it will sign you out of your personal profile, and then allow you to interact with all of Facebook —- including other profiles and Pages, as the Page of your business or brand. By selecting this option, you can visit the Pages of other relevant industry professionals or commentators that you “Like,” comment on their walls and discussions when appropriate, and hopefully generate more views and audience for your own Page by doing so!

As stated earlier, Facebook is the giant of online communications and social media, and it will be referenced and talked about again many more times throughout these series of posts, but in the meantime, we hope to spark some debate and comments about the approaches above we are trying at MaintainPR. If you have comments or insight, please respond here, or on Ryan’s Quora threads:

Next week we’ll continue under The Network, but switch the focus to LinkedIn.

Filed under social media marketing public relations facebook linkedin klout google reader techmeme digg delicious flowtown wefollow listorius postrank communicaitons lewis pr adam singer