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The saddest thing about high school education is that teachers spend so much time prepping students for standardized testing that they fail to actually teach and inspire students. In my honors English class, we watched the movies instead of reading the books. Doing this left us more time to prep for standardized testing. Although there is no rigorous monkey see, monkey do of standardized test prep in college, there is still a lack of substance in classrooms.

I’ve noticed that I’ve become less concerned about the content in my class, worrying instead about the amount of tests and homework assignments.

I need to make an A.

What can I do to make an A?

I will spend hours spitting words onto a paper analyzing a book or a dissertation, but don’t have any time to actually read the book or the dissertation. On tests, I’m only regurgitating the words of noble professors instead of applying thought of my understanding of the answers on my exam.

Many professors are stuck in this hamster wheel as well. They, too, are forced to adhere to regulations of an academic course.

What is a proper classroom? How can we make them all the same?  What does a “good” student look like?

In the end, most classes are just addresses in collegiate suburbia with well- watered lawns and white, picket fences. God forbid a student walks down the street in anything less than a beehive hairdo and an argyle sweater. In other words, the degree at which a student can work hard to fake it determines whether they pass or fail.

Of course, there needs to be structure. There needs to be a line drawn. In all my ranting, I’ve failed to express appreciation for the thought- provoking classes I’ve been fortunate enough to attend. However, in all of our efforts to improve education, we’ve dumbed down our generation. Not all students learn the same or look the same. Sadly, most of them won’t realize their potential for higher education, because their scores on a test said they were too dumb.

Seeing education in this light, does this mean we’re sending robots into the work force who haven’t a clue how to solve real problems?

Or, is life just one big fake it until you make it?

In a time where economy is makes jobs uncertain, starting salaries for PR careers are expected to rise. PR Daily wrote an article about what PR students should expect to get paid once they land the big one. Of course, one has to land the big one first, which is a whole other post in itself. In the meantime, take hope in the increasing appreciation of rookie job position. The graphic below is an excellent breakdown of job positions in the public relations.

After writing my last diddy Bad Press Does Not Impress, I realized the effectiveness of silence in rebuilding a person’s image. We’re bombarded daily with advertisements, product placement (open your eyes reality TV junkies), and name-dropping. But when over stimulation of bad press ruins a celeb’s image, the first step in the program is silence. Celebrities, here are six steps to winning back your fans.

1. Drop off the Earth

Go to rehab, take a sabbatical, move-in with your parents. Just get out of where you are and the people you’re around! Don’t talk to the media. Avoid parties or events where you will be spotted. Even the most innocent partying can shed negative light. Take time off work. Basically, be silent to your public! Silence says you’re serious about changing and moving on. Silence also lessens the chance that people will get sick of hearing about you. Take the time to let your fans heal and forgive you.

2. Own it

Nobody cares about your sob story when you’re in the hot seat. There’s a time and place, and that is not it. Think of Michael Vick complaining about not being able to own a family pet after his animal abuse allegations. It showed the public that he was not remorseful for what he did only that he got caught. Don’t blame others for anything you’ve done. Humbleness is noble.  Be mature and accept responsibility. Your adoring fans will swoon.

3. Concentrate on the things that matter

Sure, sure it may be good for your soul, but it’ll get you the attention you want. Focus on family and close friends. Stay away from bad influences. If you’re an actor, what about the love of acting? Work on a low-budget project that will gain notoriety not box office bucks. Let your public see you do things that they know aren’t making you a lot of money. Volunteer your time (not just your money) to a cause you believe in. Your fans desperately want to believe there’s a good person inside of you. Let them see it!

4. Let your work speak for you

When you’re doing good work, the attention will come to you, you will not have to seek it out. Think of Winona Ryder after her theft attention. After laying low, she continued acting in small movie roles. This let the audience warm-up to seeing her. It also showed directors that she was worth taking a chance on where bigger roles were concerned. Don’t write a book, don’t push endorsement deals, and don’t do interviews! Just do what you do best and remember why you love it!

5. Have a trustworthy friend proofread 

Even celebrities aren’t immune to emotional tweets or blog updates. Before the enter button is clicked, have someone proofread it. With technology, fans now have the ability to access your words directly from you. Don’t ruin this privilege! You may be trashed and scorned, but don’t respond! Keep it classy, San Diego, and don’t get carried away!

6. Be consistent over time

Continually practicing these steps over time is the final ingredient in this recipe. I never knew Drew Barrymore and Robert Downy Jr. had a dicey past until I saw their stories on E! True Hollywood Story. My generation knows them for their work and not their personal life. Once you’ve hit rock bottom, you’ll know you can’t stay there forever. Get out and stay out!

7. What step would you add to mend a bad image? What other public careers need image management (politicians, businessmen, etc.)?

Like rubbernecking to see a bad accident on the road is reading bad press about celebrities. I loathe hearing about Lindsey Lohan‘s neglected teeth, courtroom verdicts, rehab stints, and broken commitments. Yet, I have to admit that I actually take the time to click the link, cringe at the pictures, and read about her hot mess. This leads me to stroke my chin and ponder that ol’ saying in PR: “All publicity is good publicity.”

Is it?

Publicity is promotion (in a nutshell). Although, Lindz may be getting attention and keeping her name in the news (she has her own section in ABCnews.com for crying out loud), she is certainly not promoting her self-image effectively. From an amateur’s deductions, I say no. All publicity is NOT good publicity. Though, it does serve the purpose of keeping one’s image current.

Bottom line: Bad press does not impress.

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match! Find me a find! Catch me a catch!

Ya, okay, you get the point.

Social networks are taking over, and I love the sweet poison of dictatorship! What’s even better is that with the development of these technologies, we have more control and more options. To condense our lives from the clutter of different sites, we can marry all our networks together. This is beneficial if you do PR or if you simply have important issues to blog about, and you want people to read your posts more often.

I married my Twitter to my blog by allowing tweets to surface on my homepage as I tweet them. In turn, I also provide links to my blog posts to direct my followers to my blog. It’s all so effortless!

Step One: Put a quick tagline next to the link in Twitter before you tweet it. This lets your users know that it’s not spam. If your tagline is catchy enough or interesting enough, then followers will check it out. Try using the rules of a newsworthy story (Journalism) to ensure a great tagline (or even great blog posts).

Step Two: Amateurs, don’t post the entire link. Don’t you know Twitter only has 140 characters? Don’t waste space! That’s what your blog is for, right? Use a site like bit.ly to shorten your URL.

Step Three: Proofread. There’s nothing worse than a professional who loses all credibility with errors. They happen to everyone, so don’t think you’re imune. Proofread both your blog posts and tweets.

Step Four: Follow step one and step two frequently. The more you blog and tweet, the more likely people are going to check you out.

So, go ahead and marry your social networks already. They could use the tax break. ;]

There’s not a doubt that Steve Jobs’ death stirred more than just Apple users. It spawned countless articles, creative shrines, and a rush to release his authorized biography entitled “I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words.” An article in ABC news by Ned Potter discussed the book, which is a compilation of Steve Jobs’ quotes.

This made me think about the importance of being in the now. PR people have to be all over situations as soon as they happen. If your job is crisis communications, then this is obviously more vital. Agate Publishing jumps on the timeliness of Steve Jobs death to release his biography sooner. It is relevant. It is current. It will produce more sales. It will create buzz. It makes sense!

Every major event births countless PR projects, but they soon get old and tired. Think of Michael Jackson’s death, the Royal Wedding, the O.J. Simpson trial, etc. My mom has about five dusty Princess Di books amongst a collection of videos and magazines about her life. It’s old news now, so they’re left untouched, but the timeliness of Princess Diana’s death interested my mother enough that she bought into the hype when it happened. Therefore, it’s an important business to be in the now.

Speaking of now, let’s unpack another concept. A public receives the news. PR people make the news. So, we should really jump on the news before it happens, right?

Let’s think like Steve and ask ourselves, “What next?” In today’s fast-paced society iNow might be too late. We’ve got to think about what’s iNext. How will you anticipate the next big thing?

Students come in all shapes and sizes. We’re overachievers and we’re slackers. We suck up to the teacher and we don’t show up to class. Either way, social media caffeinates our generation like nothing else, so whether you’re the A student of the C student there’s reason to blog for your future.

1. Gives You an Online Presence

Start a blog now. Perfect it, edit it, update it, and viola! You’ll start to have a house in the suburbs of the world wide web and make your mark in search engines. Start ahead of time, so that even the slacker will have time to make changes before it’s professional enough to put on a resume.

2. Green Journal-ist

Be part of the paperless brigade and make a private blog about your life to share with your friends and family. This is great practice for more topical blogs you may write in the future. However, your personal blog should still be appropriate and professional enough to be seen by the general public. Evidence of wild nights and drunk fests need not apply! *cough* Slacker *cough*

3. Free PR

Just because you’re a student doesn’t mean you’re not also a team leader of a club, sports team, or non-profit. If you run a group that needs to get the word out, make a blog and direct people toward it! It’s a creative, interactive way to make a newsletter for your public. Graphics and layouts can create an instant personality for your group while providing details that you want to share.

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