New Media Learnings

For a time, it seemed the more I learned, the less I seemed to know. When the moment arrived where my knowledge seemed to be catching up with the teachings, a feeling of joy and triumph over washed my exasperation at what started as a vast unknown. I have since learned that a similar feeling is shared amongst beginners of new media practice; another relief.

Receiving a High Distinction in my university subject ‘Convergence and New Media’ in 2004 has serendipitously lead me to become a proudly self-confessed geek and the new media department at the PR agency where I now work. Over the past 15 months I have attended lectures, seminars, workshops, Surry Hills social media breakfasts and read as many articles about new media as my brain can cope with at the end of a work day. Perhaps I have just never noticed it before but for me, the manifestation of new media is the most verbose I have ever seen in my 25 years in this world.

I have witnessed trends and spikes in experiential and online marketing, ‘viral’ campaigns and indeed in the growth of PR as an industry itself but not in such a pretentious manner that web 2.0 and social media has proliferated. I have also learned that this growth is not as sudden as it may appear to be to the web 2.0 newbie with developments and social networks existing for some years now (yes, Twitter is now a toddler at three years old). Although I do empathise with those who think these are new platforms as we have only just received mass newspaper column inches and air time dedicated to new media in very recent times.

A defining moment in my new media love affair was being labelled a “true geek chic” by one of my Twitter followers who happens to be a tech journalist. My scrapbook (not quite yet a portfolio) of new media knowledge and achievements has developed a great interest and hunger for more. The propensity for magnificent communication, enabled by technology and new media concepts excites me in a way that is perhaps verging on profane.

Witnessing the issues that have arisen for the brave who have gone before us to publicly practice new media, it is evident that there is still much to be defined and decided. Ethical and corporate guidelines, issues of intellectual property and copyright have no doubt put the fear of the public into many PR, marketing and communications professionals who are only too aware of public hangings for ‘bad practice’, e.g. the arraignment of Naked communications for their jacket ‘lie’. Although we can’t ignore the wins for new media – blogs as valuable sources of information, Facebook for event organisers, Twitter news from plane crashes and the great sense of community social media has forged for many groups, followers and subscribers.

The opportunities web 2.0 has presented many individuals, groups and businesses still surprises me and I am keen to be a part of this phenomenon in as many ways as I can…although holding down a full time job and being a major player in new media is still a slight obstacle I am still trying to navigate.

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13 comments

  1. I’m loving your blog Kimberley! I stumbled upon whilst doing a search for PR/journalism. I’m studying ‘Communication: Media and Culture’ at the University of South Australia. I’m a lot older than you (I’m a late bloomer) and I admire your wisdom :o)

    • Mandy, thank you for your lovely words they are more encouraging than you know. Are you enjoying your course? I did a BA Communications at University Western Sydney then BA Honours before securing my first PR job with a small agency – and by small I mean my boss, her husband and me (and I was their first full time staff member ever)! I learned amazing foundations and old school traditions and practices which I believe has provided me with a good basis for building new media skills and a more ‘modern’ (for want to a better word) approach to consumer PR. I’m at a fantastic agency now with 9 in the fairly young team; I’m the oldest Account Manager at 25!

      Are you interested in web 2.0 and social media in PR?

      • Congratulations! You made it happen—your enthusiasm, intelligence and attitude crashed the crux of the new wave. You’re one of the leaders here!

        Yes, I’m very excited and curious about social media but a little unsure of how to tackle yet. One thing I’m not 100% confident with yet is crisis. I’m hoping that comes with experience.

        I was a graphic artist for 15 years and moved into communications/PR. Media engagement is relatively new to me—I’m preparing media releases the old fashioned way and trying to build contacts in my new job which I love.

        I too got a HD for my assignment on converging media. I love the idea of it bringing power to the people … and it appears to be a good way for organisations to get their research and evaluation without paying for it or doing it themselves. Perhaps organisations can use it to stay ahead of the game … let their publics push them and let them know what else is going on (if they’re smart enough to listen and flexible to act).

        Earlier this year wrote a paper about social media for my employer, suggesting we should adopt it. They were pretty excited about it and pushed for podcasting immediately. I guess that can be a first stage. However I want to work out a plan to introduce and manage a two-way discussion forum or blog. I think it’s going to be a lot of work … the planning etc, to create the groundswell … and to manage … hehe.

      • Ok, first blog Fail for me – I did reply to your comment but not as a ‘reply’ per se – check my comments for reply to you!

        Thanks Mandy

      • All good K. Thanks! :o) I know all about after work dead-brain-drain, but you don’t seem to have at all! ;o)

      • I just bought a MacBook Pro which is way more exciting than I thought it would be! Got my new baby home about four hours ago and have only detached myself from it for dinner and to do some washing! I have entered new geek regions and proud of it! I think this is going to be a turning point when I become even more engaged, enthused and inspired to do more web 2.0 and social media things. Watch this space….!

        How are your new media adventures going? How are you finding implementing podcasting at your workplace?

      • Hey, well we just had a three day communications conference. Been flat out as I was on the organising committee. Around 50 of us ‘communicators’ discussed ‘communications’ in our sector (natural resources management). It was pretty interesting!

        Social media came up many times by the speakers and in our discussions. We were given a really good presentation about online documentaries by Megan Lawrence who is now working for the Australian Government (environment sector). If you can, check out her Masters project … http://studentwork.hss.uts.edu.au/float/ It’s a great example!

        Our communications team (of three) will be ‘workshopping’ our communications plan tomorrow and I’m making sure social media will feature in our plan!

        :o)

      • Hi Mandy,

        That’s fantastic, sounds like you’re really moving forward congratulations! Was your group of communicators of mixed experiences and ideas about social media and web 2.0? I always find it interesting when people with different experiences and backgrounds come together in the initial stages of planning. Although it can mean having to convince some people that the final decision is the best one!

        I had a look at Megan’s project and it’s beautiful. The graphics are stunning, audio ideal and the easy to navigate. No doubt she’s going great guns working for the govt.

        All the best for your comms plan – let me know what the outcome is for social media. I’ve just included an open forum and webinar in one of my client’s strategies (Sydney Breast Clinic – a breast cancer diagnosis clinic) which is very exciting. She’s keen to use web 2.0 and social media for activity throughout the year which is wonderful, especially if it means we can get more women actively looking after their breast health instead of thinking about checking for changes. This is a massive step for the medical practice which is used to traditional paper based communication. yay!

        Hope you’re enjoying my blog. I will be posting some notes about Iggy Pintado’s book Connection Generation. It’s a great reference and starting point for getting people interested in and excited about online activity. Or at least they may appreciate it more and understand why we love it. =)

        Best of everything in your online crusade – go you!

  2. You’ve already done the hardest part, which is starting.

    I suspect that useful as the studies, writing and meetings have been, nothing beats the day you started tweeting and the day you started this blog.

    Certainly I found the hardest part for me was finding the first half an hour to give it a go…

    And don’t plan too far ahead – just carry on writing the good stuff, and the punters’ll find you…

    Cheers,

    Tim – Mumbrella

    • Thank you Tim. Yes, the starting bit is done, now I need to work on the maintenance. There is so much I want to say in my blogs but it is finding a moment out of my work day to write something with intelligence and not tainted by ‘end of work day brain’!

      Tweeting has proven to be a highly valuable social media adoption for me and already I have made valuable new contacts and felt I have contributed to the Twitterdom…very exciting to receive my first RTs the other day!

      I am about to make my next move and buy a MacBook which I suspect (and hope) will encourage my blog behaviour.

      Thank you for your advice and encouraging words, they mean more than you know.

      With thanks,
      Kimberley

  3. Hi Mandy,

    You are too kind, thank you! I feel very excited about your career change and wish you all the very best. It’s a very courageous move but will no doubt present you with many new challenges and opportunities that only arise because you opened yourself up to them. This is something that is already proving to be true with engaging in a whole new realm of social media such as with blogging and Twitter.

    I too am enthused about the possibilities and opportunities web 2.0 and social media is creating for us personally and professionally and I often wonder where communication will be in ten and even just five years time. However, I must point back to Tim’s comment about not planning too far ahead and just carrying on with participating and being involved.

    Congratulations for introducing new media to your workplace. That is a massive step and achievement which you should be very proud of. I was in this exact same position and although it has been a challenge getting things up and running (and a very slow process) in my workplace, I take comfort in knowing I can surge ahead in my own time working on my blog and other new media ventures. One of the biggest challenges is getting everyone else involved but keep at it. Don’t let their ‘geek’ taunts turn you off. I was a bit of a tyrant but they’ve since come round and are all on Twitter which I consider an achievement in itself; even my boss is on Twitter now!

    At least we have blogs and other arenas where we can vent and engage with others who are on similar journeys for encouragement and support. Keep me updated about your podcasting and web 2.0 adventures.

    All the best!
    k


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