Sunday, August 03, 2008

UH PR Tactics Class Samples SMPRs, Yogurt

We've been working on our social media press releases (SMPRs) in COM 459, Public Relations Tactics. This is part of what has turned into a multi-week assignment. For the first part, we wrote traditional news releases for a local yogurt store that just opened across the street from campus. (News releases for class use only, not for real distribution.) Then we discussed the difference between social media releases and traditional releases. We decided we needed to take a field trip over to Yogurtland to collect some multimedia resources and sample the product. Being the conscientious teacher that I am, I made sure to pretest the product before proceeding (yum!).

We did run into some obstacles:
  1. the computers in the class lab only run Safari browsers, which did not work well with PRX Builder, and
  2. even with other browsers, students (and their professor) had trouble loading multimedia elements.

For those of you on PROpenMic, you might want to check the site for another SMPR builder in the works that might be worth a look.

Anyhow, I modified the assignment to allow students to hand in mock-ups of the SMPRs in MS Word that illustrated how the writing, feeds and multimedia components would work together.

This week, we'll continue to discuss:
  • technical issues, and lessons learned from these issues,
  • pros and cons of SMPRs vis-a-vis traditional press releases, and
  • the broader function of social media tactics in public relations strategy.
For more details on this, check out the SMPR I did on the SMPR assignment (a meta-SMPR?). See also Kaye Sweetser's SMPR assignment at UGA.


Shannon Whitley said...

Hi Tom,

Sorry to hear you had trouble with PRX Builder. Yes, Safari is not a supported browser and the application should have told you. I'll make sure that fact is noted more clearly. As to the multimedia uploads, I'd love to hear more about the issues.

Thanks for giving it a try. The Yogurt idea sounds like a lot of fun.

Tom Kelleher said...

Thanks for checking in, Shannon.

I can't recall most of the specifics, but the multimedia problems usually stemmed from input errors that we couldn't seem to undo. For example, a student might enter the "embed" code from YouTube in the form, then find that it doesn't work that way, but from there we were not able to get rid of the error message or to "undo" the mistake. The multimedia icons also often would not show up, or would show up in disproportionate sizes.

In any case, I really appreciate your making PRX Builder available for free trial. It added an entirely new dimension to the tactics class. Mahalo!

Shannon Whitley said...

That's really helpful. I just fixed that exact issue. The multimedia section doesn't accept embed code (http links only), although embed code can be inserted into any of the HTML boxes. The interface prevents the issue now. Thanks for the feedback!