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After a year and half of not blogging – please forgive me I told you this might happen – I’ve pulled up the anchor and jumped ship over to According To Em.

I decided to start fresh with a new blog to talk about life’s joyful moments, edible delights and things that catch my eye. I’m still getting into the habit of blogging so be patience with me.

As for Perceptive Reflections this is not goodbye. Once I get a hang of posting on According to Em I will come back and continue to write. The content will change a little given I’m no longer in college, but I will still blog on current events, articles, and the experiences I have in the real world. Thanks for reading my lack of posts – I promise to do better!

Come join me on my new flight and fasten your seatbelts!

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"Sale"

With the holiday season approaching and Thanksgiving right around the corner, stores are preparing for Black Friday. Black Friday is one of the largest shopping days of the year. Many consumers wake up at the crack of dawn to go stand in line for hours. This year stores are advertising differently. Rather than seeing ads in the newspaper the weekend before, same stores are utilizing social media to send out their message. For example, Mashable announced on Monday that Apple would have a special one-day-only shopping event.

Mashable stated in a previous post that holiday spending is projected to be down 3 percent from last year’s numbers. This might be one reason stores are branching out to social media. Due to social media’s easy accessibility, businesses can use blogs, Web sites and Twitter to announce sales ahead of time. Stores, such as Macy’s and Old Navy, are posting ads on their blogs and Web sites.

In addition, Mashable announced that Twitter has a Black Friday hashtag (#blackfriday) and an account (@blackfriday). These accounts will have deals, tips and links that help shoppers save. Macy’s is also tweeting about their annual Thanksgiving Day Parade and sales, which will be happening all weekend.

There is even an application for the iPhone. According to Mashable, DealNews announced a Black Friday app that sorts every deal by “Early Bird,” “In Store Only” and “Limited Availability.”

It is clever to pitch deals and sales through social media tools. Public relations firms, companies and businesses all use social media to pitch ideas, products and events; Black Friday should be included in the mix. By posting things a head of time, stores can receive feedback and comments from their customers. They can also reach out to more people. However, making sure consumers are happy and find the right sale is only one thing stores should be doing for Black Friday.

Each year, the enormous crowds injure many shoppers. In addition, fights break out in stores over sales and products; social media is a great tool for stores to implement a plan to avoid these situations. Public relations practitioners know how beneficial crisis plans are – what better way to implement one than using social media? Along with their ads, stores could post ways to stay safe during the shopping frenzy. This way everyone has a wonderful time and stays safe. Please let me know if anyone has implemented this idea!

socialmedia I recently read a blog from Mashable that talked about 10 social media tips for small businesses. Today, a lot of organizations, businesses, companies and people are jumping into social media headfirst. However, at the same time many people are still hesitant to start down the path. The people who jump in headfirst sometimes miss the important aspects, such as having clear goals, and the hesitant people miss the opportunity completely. As public relations practitioners, we know how important it is to build relationships and show our clients the benefits of new ideas. The blog provided great social media introductions for those who are hesitant to use the tools offered and many reasons to join the networks.

The first tip the blog suggested was starting a Facebook account. This is a great idea for connecting with a wide range of people. Facebook has millions of users from around the world and allows many options for profiles, pages and groups. However, prior to starting up something for your organization, business or company, it is important to read all the rules with setting up pages or groups.

The second tip was creating a Twitter account. Twitter is the most recent social media tool that has grown to large numbers. When using the tool, the most important thing to remember is to be personal. Rather than starting a Twitter account for the organization as a whole, choose a few people to be the face. Make sure you let the people following you know that the few chosen people work for the organization. By having it just be a few people, it makes it easier to build relationships and trust.

The third tip was creating a blog. Blogs provide a great service for people who want to learn more about what you do. They also give a voice to the organization. Prior to writing a blog, make sure you have a theme; it is much easier to write strongly if you have a defined topic. It is also very important to participate on other blogs, which was the fifth tip. By participating on other blogs, you establish credibility and build relationships.

The last tip was creating leverage combinations for all social media tools. This is the most important tip to use. Twitter and Facebook have the ability to work together. In addition, every social media tool you use should be on your blog. There are many applications, such as  TweetMeme retweets and ShareThis, which link Twitter to your blog.

Google

Monday, Google launched a new experiment, on Google Labs, called Google Social Search. I came across this new experiment through Mashable, which announced that Google Social Search went live. After reading the blog post, I decided to check it out for myself.

Today, many people are blogging and tweeting to keep up with their social connections online. In addition, people are using the Internet to find information on everyday things. However, keeping up to date with connections and finding information in one simple place is difficult. Google realizes this and might have solved the problem! The new Social Search can help you find information from an extensive social circle. What does this mean? Social Search allows Google to find public content from your friend’s Google profile, highlight the content that relates to the field you are searching in, and place the information gathered at the bottom of your search result.

The new application Google launched allows people to find relevant content, such as Web sites, blogs, profiles, tweets, reviews, and relevant articles from Google reader subscriptions in one place. Rather than seeing information from people you do not know, Social Search will allow you to access information from your elite social circle. It is a new way to find information on something your social network already knows.

How do you set one up?

Step one: Create a public Google profile.

Step two: Under the links portion, add people from your Twitter, FriendFeed, Gmail and Coworker contact groups. If you have custom links, such as a Web site or blog, add those to this area also.

Step three: Search for something on Google; at the bottom of the page results will show up from people in your social network!

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As the beginning of my last year starts at the University of Oregon, I can’t help but wonder what will be next. Will I stay in Oregon or move abroad? Will I be able to find a job that utilizes my strengths and improves my weaknesses? June will approach faster than I think and once it is here there is no turning back.

One thing that has helped me prepare for what is next is my professors and education. The experiences and knowledge I have gained from the classroom and internships have helped me prepare for the real world. I know the future is uncertain, but at the same time, it is exciting. One thing I have learned over time is that there comes a time when you need to be open for change and embrace what’s new. For this reason, I’m starting a blog.

I’ve wanted to start a blog for awhile. I’ve decided that the best time to start one is now, at the beginning of my last year of college. Over the last year, I’ve learned a lot about what blogging is and the benefits. For me blogging is not only a form of self-expression; it is a way to reach out to the world. This blog will have a public relations perspective. It will cover information from current events, articles and case studies. It will also be a place where I can express what I’m learning and gaining from the experiences I have over the next year both inside and outside the classroom. I’m new to the blogosphere and still have a lot to learn, but I’m ready to dive into the vast field of public relations and share my perceptive reflections with those ready to listen.