On Saturday I once again found myself with a group of students (this time of the graduate variety) at VCU's School of Mass Communications.
I could only spend about an hour with them because of family commitments, but I was about to sit in and listen to final presentations on digital or social marketing projects the group had been asked to collaborate on.
The interesting thing is that just a month earlier most of these students were just using Facebook to talk amongst themselves and not as a PR tool. At the direction of their professors, the students had spent the last month diving full force into the world of social marketing. The results were impressive. The traditional PR world better watch out.
As a result I find myself reflecting on the first four months of this blog as it chronicles our journey from "old" to "new" public relations/social marketing. I, and some of the folks at work with at THP, were just like these students. And while we have not for one second abandoned the traditional public relations that we know and love and pays our bills, we have embraced this new ingredient as well.
And we are about to put it to good use for a great cause - education. It is rare that I use this space for client work, at least directly, but this time I will make an exception. This week, THP and our friends at Siddall, Inc. are helping Virgnia's Community College's launch "Virgnia's Education Wizard," a great online tool that will help Virginia's high school students and those who are without a job and need retraining, get a handle on their next career and education moves.
At www.vawizard.org someone can take two assessment tests to figure out what careers they are interested in, what jobs are available in those fields, what kind of education it will take to get those jobs, how much the education will cost and how to parlay two years at a community college into a cost-effective college education.
The story is laid out in today's Richmond Times-Dispatch by Virginia's Community Colleges Chancellor Glenn Dubois.
For us, it is a project that allows us to throw the entire PR kitchen sink, including the latest social marketing tools, out there and see how successful we can be. From launching a six-city tour with Virginia's Governor Tim Kaine on Wednesday to the creation of Facebook fan pages and a Twitter persona based on the portal's tour guide, Ginny (please follow @ginnywiz and join us as we live tweet on Wednesday starting at around 11:30am), we are using all the old and new tools to reach students, parents, guidance counselors, business people and politicians.
We ask you to join in and follow us along the way. If you want, please spread the word, become a fan, send a link, watch the media coverage and most importantly tell us how you think we are doing. We will be sending updates from theworld famous THP Fan page as well (don't you just love the new format, btw?)
At the end of the day, just like the students at VCU, the only way we can truly learn how and if all this stuff works is by doing it and having fun.