Reflections on the Future

“If I could save time in a bottle/the first thing that I’d like to do/is to save every day till Eternity passes away” – Jim Croce “Time in a Bottle”

As I sit back and reflect on this semester, I remember how I was this time last year when I was contemplating switching majors.  I was unsure of what stop the train ride of my life would come to next.  But, I was overjoyed to finally realize my destiny: I found my talent area and went with it!

When I switched majors, I knew I would be happy with my choice.  I was right!  The more I got involved in Communication, the more I loved it and therefore became happier.  I have thoroughly enjoyed being a member of the Pawprint staff this year and am excited to continue with it this summer and next school year.

All of the Communication classes have been worth it so far, but Principles of Public Relations has been one of the most interesting.  The class started off a bit slow at first, but now as I have moved past the basics, I’ve grown to really enjoy crisis communication and also campaigns.

Our final project in that class is a basic campaign plan.  I have taken an internship with VolunteenNation this summer that will officially begin in June. VolunteenNation co-founders Simone and Jake Bernstein created St. Louis Volunteen.com in July 2009 after they were frustrated with the lack of information about volunteer opportunities in the area for students under age 18 that wanted to get involved in the community.   In March 2012, St. Louis Volunteen went national and became VolunteenNation.  The organization strives to spread the spirit of volunteerism for youth and families across the nation.  Their goal is to add 35 hundred positions to their growing database of volunteer opportunities across the nation.

VolunteenNation actively uses social media sites, including Twitter, to promote their organization and share updates on new volunteer opportunities and news.  They also have a Facebook account, but are having trouble with their new page for the national site.  Their goals are to find creative marketing strategies to spread the word about their new national site.

I am going to put together a campaign plan for their launch for the final project.  One of the components will be the use of social media. (of course!)  I will brainstorm ways to incorporate social media into the campaign process.

One way to beef up VolunteenNation’s Facebook page is to add more photo albums and videos.  This can be done by taking photos at the events, having participants take photos at the volunteer opportunities, and taking “behind the scenes” photos.  This is relatively easy to do with little to no cost to the organizers.  The photos will help build the organization’s image so that the public  can get a firsthand look at what the agency is doing and so the image is spread more rapidly.

Another way that the organization could incorporate social media is through dialogue.  Asking participants to share experiences and stories on the site while responding to questions is a good way to increase site traffic.  These are just a few tactics that I will put together in my plan for the VolunteenNation agency’s national promotion.

While public relations is not directly in charge of journalism, journalists can still use social media accounts to get source information for their stories.  A journalist can go to VolunteenNation’s Facebook page and get more information about a story to cover in their news outlet.

The knowledge gained in these university courses helps make me feel challenged and ready to embark on a successful career in Communication.  As Jim Croce says it best in “Time in a Bottle”, the first thing I’ll do as eternity (my future career) passes away is to save every day and every moment before it’s too late.

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~ by Alexandra J. Gresick on April 24, 2012.

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