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Are Fake Tweets Part of Your PR Program?

A post by PR columnist, Alison Kenney.

As a free service that lets its users set up an account in just a few seconds, Twitter has made it easy for people to take advantage of its system.  Plenty of tweets come from assumed aliases or posers.  Why would anyone do this?  And what role do fake tweets play in PR?

First, fake tweets can be really entertaining. Many of the fake Twitter aliases dispense pretty hilarious and well-thought out tweets.  Everyone from Forbes to Mashable has published a list of the best fake Twitter accounts. They range from crime bosses (there are about a dozen Whitey Bulgers on Twitter and even @Catherine_Greig is tweeting now) to celebrities(@FakeJeter) and from the cast of Star Wars to memes like @FakeAPStyleBook and@shitmydadsays, which seems to have spawned @oldmansearch. Often the entertainment value is in extending the life of a popular news topic, such as the creation of@Bronxzooscobra.

Faux tweets can also help brands engage with audiences in a new way and/or add a new dimension to the brand.  For example, the Mad Men TV show characters who tweet in their fictional voices would seem to be a brilliant branding move on behalf of AMC, the show’s creators, and a smart way to extend the brand and keep audiences engaged even when the season is not airing on TV. (The real story is more complicated.)

Another benign reason for skirting total transparency on Twitter is to establish and build authority.  For instance, Lindsay’s Twitter handle, @PRjobs, is an easy-to-remember and authoritative name for someone whose job is recruiting PR professionals.  Similar to the practice of grabbing up popular web domain names, some Twitter names become sought-after. @Massachusetts isn’t a government agency; it’s the Twitter handle for Trazzler, a travel deal site co-founded by Biz Stone, one of Twitter’s founders.

Twitter is also used strategically to influence audiences or perhaps attack an opponent.  This seems to be happening more and more in politics, with opponents creating fake Twitter names to tweet offensive comments about a candidate, as was the case for California State Senator and leading candidate for mayor of San Francisco Leland Yee says the New York Times.  In an unusual example of Twitter impersonation, a faux Rahm Emanuel, who presumably sought to entertain when he began tweeting under the handle @MayorEmanuelduring Emanuel’s run for mayor of Chicago, identified himself to the real Rahm Emanuel in exchange for a donation to a local charity.

In typical fashion, campaign managers and PR strategists simultaneously deny involvement with fake Twitter accounts and discount any influence the fake tweets have.

Of course the most infamous fake tweeter so far is @BPGlobalPR, which took advantage of BP’s slow reaction and lack of communication in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to generate negative attention for the BP brand.  The creator of @BPGlobalPR shares his thoughts with PRSA in this interview.

Twitter doesn’t endorse phweeters (phony tweeters) or parodies but openly accepts their existence and attempts to help its users identify real versus phony accounts by verifying certain accounts and publishing these guidelines.

Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston’s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She writes a bi-monthly PR column on You can find her at Learn more about Alison Kenney.


5 Methods to Researching Your Way to the Perfect Job

Goed Zoekveld
Finding the perfect job isn’t just about applying for every position that suits your criteria. Often, you’ll find that the job isn’t all it promised to be once you have it. This is where doing your research during the job search process comes in.

There are several ways to use search engines and social networks to help you find the best job for your talents; all you need to do is start searching. Here’s what you should be looking for:

  • Search for job listings.
    Chances are, you’re already doing this to some extent. If not, you should be. Don’t get stuck looking at just the large job boards. Check out the niche job sites in your industry. Hoojobs, for example, has agency and in-house listings throughout the United States for public relations, communications, and social media professionals (disclosure: I’m a co-founder of the site). Search hashtags in Twitter. Some of the popular ones include #happo (Help a PR Pro Out) or #prjobs. You can also search Google using phrases such as “wanted” and “seeking” along with the position you are interested in. This will turn up help wanted listings that you might not otherwise see because they are on sites you wouldn’t think to check.
  • Find companies and make cold calls.
    We tend to shy away from cold calling because it has a higher chance of rejection, but if you want to uncover the hidden job opportunities, you really have to leave your comfort zone. If you are focusing your search for PR agencies in San Francisco and you’re not sure where to start, use Google Maps to quickly list agencies in your area. A simple search for “public relations” will yield pages of results and points on the map, complete with address, phone number, and website. Once you have your short list, contact them to see if they have any positions open.
  • Find out who to contact.
    Once you know which companies you are interested in, take the time to look for the correct person to contact about a job. Your chances of success will go up considerably if you contact the right person, as opposed to simply sending an application out into the ether. Start with a LinkedIn search for all the people within that company. If you are applying for a PR Manager role, write down all the names of the people who it could report to and contact the person who is most likely to be the hiring manager. You might also find this information in the “About Us” or “Contact Us.” Some companies offer a list of key staff members and may even include contact information such as a phone number and email address for each.
  • Research the company.
    It’s not uncommon to get the job you wanted only to discover that it isn’t as pleasant as you had imagined. The boss may be more difficult than anticipated, or the company may have policies that you can’t stand. The best way to avoid this is through research ahead of time.Before you apply for any job, be sure to look online for any comments about the company. Previous or current employees may have written about their experiences and this can give you a good idea as to whether or not you want to work there. Glassdoor is a site that allows employees to write honest reviews about their company and is a good starting point. Of course, keep in mind that a few negative comments shouldn’t deter you completely from pursuing an opportunity. The information shared could be outdated and the company’s policies have changed. It’s also important to remember what doesn’t work for one person might be perfectly fine by another.
  • Research the staff.
    Some people aren’t shy about sharing their opinion for someone online, and this can work to your advantage. Check out the more important staff members by Googling their names and see what comes up. Use to check for blog posts, too.  You can take it step further and search a site like SocialMention to check other social media sites or Backtype to set up and view alerts in blog comments.  A little bit of cyberstalking could quickly uncover information you wished you had known before making a decision to work for the company – and don’t think for a second they aren’t doing the same for your name.

Job hunting is a challenge, but with the power of the Internet, we have more options than our parents did. These tools allow extensive research on a job and the key members of any company long before you submit your application.

Photo credit: Bart van de Biezen

Is Tweeting Hazardous to Your Job?


A post by PR columnist, Alison Kenney.

If it weren’t for social media would Anthony Weiner still be a congressman?

Indeed, along with the other insights and lessons his fall from office gives us, is the takeaway that social media can be hazardous to your job.

Since the Weiner scandal, social media has featured numerous other workers who have lost their job over social media missteps, including this round-up of 10 people who lost jobs over social media mistakes on Mashable.

Even folks whose job it is to use social media are not immune to the repercussions:

  • In March, Scott Bartosiewicz, an employee at New Media Strategies, the social media agency of record for Chrysler, tweeted a derogatory message about Detroit drivers from the official Chrysler Twitter account, costing his agency its relationship with Chrysler
  • This month, The Redner Group, a small PR firm led by Jim Redner, was fired by client 2K games after a frustrated Redner tweeted a threat to withhold review copies of the popular game Duke Nukem Forever if reviewers don’t offer more positive reviews.
  • Two years ago, while on his way to give a presentation about digital media to FedEx communications employees, Ketchum VP James Andrews tweeted a derogatory comment about travel to Memphis (where FedEx is headquartered). The tweet rankled FedEx employees who called Andrews out and extracted an apology from him. He kept his job.

In all of these cases, employees are exhibiting poor judgment and making poor choices in expressing themselves. Social media is exposing their mistakes to the public and to their employer.

So far the repercussions have been at employers’ discretion and not based on labor law or legal precedent; however, attorneys and civil rights group are sensing opportunity. As Lisa van der Pool reports for the Boston Business Journal, “there’s growing evidence the National Labor Relations Board will step in and protect workers who complain about their working conditions on social media sites.”

In the mean time, if your job is to project and protect a certain brand or company image, please tweet responsibly!

Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston’s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She writes a bi-monthly PR column on You can find her at Learn more about Alison Kenney.


Social Media for Your Job Search

Social Media Camp 2009- Social Media for the Job Search

I got an inquiry from a reader the other day after posting the article about Twitter to find a job article.

His question:

Using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. does not seem to help find me leads. I have profiles posted, but no one contacts me whatsoever. What’s up with that?”

LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook aren’t the magic solution to your job search. The leads will not come pouring in because you have a profile up. You need to work at developing your network and improving your online visibility – before you need them for a job search. Social sites are a component of your job search toolbox. You must be proactive to make them work for you.

That’s what I talked about in my  post on US News & World Report this week. 6 Ways to Boost Your Job Search on LinkedIn. Check it out!

Photo credit: Dean Meyers

How to Use Twitter to Land a Job

Twitter Follower Mosaic

This week on US News and World Report’s On Careers blog, I posted about using Twitter for the job search.

Here’s an excerpt:

Are you using Twitter for your job search? If you have yet to see results, don’t give up! Using the social-networking tool, you can find real jobs and connect with real people who are hiring.

One of Twitter’s most useful aspects is the access it provides you. Recruiters, HR representatives, hiring managers, and executives all use Twitter on a daily basis. Unlike an online job posting where you can only apply via the information provided, Twitter allows you to interact with these people directly by sending them an @ reply or a direct message. Your resume is much more likely to be seen and seriously considered if you’ve interacted with a company representative rather than applying to a job post along with hundreds of other job seekers.

Visit US News to read the rest of the tips to get noticed and hired on Twitter.

Image credit: Joe Lazarus

My Five Favorite Uses for Twitter in PR

Number 5

Here are my five favorite uses for Twitter:

1. Spend too much time browsing the tweets, retweets and links shared by the hundreds of PR pros I follow

2. Get breaking news updates from tweets of news services/media I follow

3. Spend too much time browsing links to blogs on a wide variety of political, cultural and personal interests topics and opinions (this feels something like scanning magazines in the grocery check out line)

4. Spend too much time on a mental break browsing the tweets of celebrities, professional comedians and other off-beat characters whose tweets I follow

5. Participate in chats

These are probably all pretty self-explanatory (and obviously time-consuming) ways to use Twitter, except for possibly the last one: participating in Twitter chats.

Recently a few colleagues have given me "the look" when I mention how great I think Twitter chats are.  I think some people have the impression that Twitter chats are an even more intense version of Twitter, with lots of chatter.  But participating in an organized Twitter chat is different from regular tweeting that references a specific hashtag.  In fact, the chats are usually highly organized.  The ones I′ve participated in all have a moderator, and sometimes a special guest (e.g. an expert on the chat′s current topic).  Questions or topics are determined ahead of time (you can submit questions via the moderator) and then controlled by the moderator.  Shonali Burke explains Twitter chats and what makes one good in her excellent blog.

If you work in PR and are active on Twitter I highly recommend looking into these chats:

#journchat, created by @prsarahevans takes place every Monday at 8 pm ET and explores the impact of online communications and new media with 200+ journalists, bloggers and PR professionals participating each week.

#soloPR, which was created by @kellyecrane as a way for Solo PR pros to share tips, stories and insight on PR and working independently. It′s held Wednesdays at 1 pm ET.

#measurePR, recently started by @shonali and held bi-weekly on Tuesdays from 12-1 pm ET

#PRStudChat, a monthly Twitter chat moderated by @dbreakenridge and host @valeriesimon that is designed to bring together PR students (that′s where the "stud" comes in), professionals, and educators for conversation about PR, as well as learning, networking and developing mentoring relationships.

#pr20chat, a discussion of where PR is heading, led by @bethharte, @jgoldsborough and @prtini, on Wednesdays at 7 pm CT

You can find other chats on TweetChat or through this spreadsheet that Robert Swanwick created.

Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience.  She is based on Boston′s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She writes a bi-monthly PR column on Learn more her here.

Photo credit: Kentigerm

Tweeting Public Relations Experts


Who to follow for the best public relations information on Twitter.

  1. Aaron Blank, @seattleblank
  2. Alan Weinkrantz, @alanweinkrantz
  3. Alycia Cavadi, @MomentumMediaPR
  4. Amanda Sena, @AmandaSena
  5. Amanda Vega, @AmandaVega
  6. Barbara Wayman, @BarbaraWayman
  7. Betty Ellis, @BettyEllis
  8. Betty Lovell, @bettylovell
  9. Bob Pickard, @BobPickard
  10. Brandon Chesnutt, @bchesnutt Cemetery Gates on dvd
  11. Candice Nicole, @CandiceNicolePR
  12. Carri Bugbee, @CarriBugbee
  13. Cathy Larkin, @CathyWebSavvyPR
  14. Cheryl Harrison, @CherylHarrison
  15. Christopher Lower, @MrChristopherL
  16. Claire Spina-Russell, @jerseygrl
  17. David Parment, @davidparmet
  18. Dee Stewart, @deegospel
  19. Ellen Malloy, @EllenMalloy
  20. Gillian Kushner, @GillianK
  21. Guy Hagen, @guyhagen
  22. jamiefloer, @jamiefloer
  23. JeffCole53, @JeffCole53
  24. Jenifer Olson, @jenajean
  25. Jessica L. Hansen, @JessicaLHansen
  26. Jim Wood, @jaq518
  27. Joseph Thornley, @thornley
  28. Joshua Hammond, @joshuahammond
  29. Julie Bonnheath, @juliebonnheath
  30. Kami Huyse, @kamichat
  31. Keisha McCotry, @ProminencePR
  32. Kristin Maverick, @kmaverick
  33. L. Drew Gerber, @PR_Results
  34. Lauren Ban, @LaurenBan
  35. Lauren Vargas, @vargasl
  36. Lee Odden,  @leeodden
  37. Leila Khalil, @weddingPR
  38. Linda Jacobson, @LindaJacobson
  39. Lyn Mettler, @webprgirl
  40. Maggie Holben, @DenverPR
  41. Marian Salzman, @mariansalzman
  42. Matt Batt, @StoryAssistant
  43. Michael Litman, @LitmanLive
  44. Mike Elliot,@mikeelliott
  45. Miriam Schaffer, @Miriam15
  46. Moksh Juneja, @mokshjuneja
  47. Nathan Kam, @nathankam
  48. NikkiH, @NikkiH
  49. Petri Darby, @darbydarnit
  50. Rachel Kay, @rachelakay
  51. Rick Liebling, @eyecube
  52. Robin Caldwell, @thejstandard
  53. Roger S. Johnson, @PRwise
  54. Sarah Evans, @PRSarahEvans
  55. Scott Baradell, @Orchardo
  56. Steve Farnsworth, @steveology
  57. Tatyana Gann, @russiandiva
  58. TiffanyPR, @TiffanyPR
  59. Tilo Bonow, @TiloBonow
  60. Trevor Young, @trevoryoung

Quickly follow them all by using this tool

It's called Ninjafollow.

After typing in your Twitter username and password, paste the following comma-separated list into the Usernames field and click Ninja Follow!


NinjaFollow will try adding these Twitterers to your account while telling you whether each was added successfully or if you′re already following them.

Jacob Share

Seabiscuit divx

, a job search expert, is the creator of JobMob, one of the biggest blogs in the world about finding jobs. Follow him on Twitter for job search tips, resources and humor.

Photo credit: Xotoko

Update: Ninja Follow tool seems to be offline. Use this tool instead ( following the same instructions.


One Simple Way to Increase Your Chances of Finding a Job on Twitter

Twitter bird logo icon illustration

Hubspot just released their State of the Twittersphere report

. Over the past several months, they analyzed the use of over 4.5 million accounts through Twitter Grader .

Here are the findings:

  • 79.79% failed to provide a homepage URL
  • 75.86% of users have not entered a bio in their profile
  • 68.68% have not specified a location
  • 55.50% are not following anyone
  • 54.88% have never tweeted
  • 52.71% have no followers

You can find the entire report here:

I'm surprised that 75% of users haven't entered a bio and almost 70% haven't entered their location.

If you plan to use Twitter for a job search, completing a bio and putting a location helps those using Twitter for recruiting find you. An easy, one stop resource to find everyone on Twitter doesn't seem to exist. We're relying on Twitter profile sites that index profiles based on the words found in user's bios, Twitter keyword searches, or Google search strings to find and connect with people with similar interests and backgrounds.

Simple suggestion : Let people know who you are, what you do, and where you are located. Once you do that, you've significantly increased your chances of hearing about opportunities from Twitter-savvy companies and recruiters.

Photo credit: Matt Hamm

8 Ways to Network Effectively Online

Hello my name is... nestdafoe-Sticker

Hellboy II: The Golden Army divx

The June 2009 from my "From the Recruiter's Desk" column

is up on PRNewser. Here's an excerpt.

The value of networking online will never replace face-to-face networking. Some things are better in-person and networking is definitely one of them. That said, online networking has its purpose and is a powerful tool that should be integrated into your overall strategy when it comes to expanding and nurturing your professional network.

Considering geographical boundaries, time constraints, and personal obligations, online networking tools can help you quickly build a network that may have taken you years to build, if ever, any other way.

When we network in person, non-verbal cues help us interact with the other individual. We rely on all of our senses to engage in conversation and form opinions about moving the conversation to further stages. In the online world, we simply don't have as many sensory cues to rely on and, as a result, the game changes.

Autumn in New York full movie I do my fair share of online networking: LinkedIN, Twitter, Facebook, and blog commenting are my main tools. I also participate in a number of online groups and forums.

Here are a few personal tips I've found work well for me when it comes to networking effectively online....

For the 8 tips, read the full post on PRNewser - 8 Ways to Network Effectively Online.

No Man's Land: The Rise of Reeker video

Photo credit:


Interview About Using Twitter for Recruiting and the Job Search

Everything's connected
Stephanie Lloyd, career blogger at Radiant Veracity and owner of Calibre Search Group, is writing a series for her blog on how recruiters are using Twitter in the recruiting efforts. Today was my turn for an interview. Here's an excerpt, but definitely check out Stephanie's blog for the entire interview and for her career advice "served with a healthy dose of candor and a smile."

Interview with Lindsay Olson: How do you use Twitter in your recruiting efforts?

With all of the publicity Twitter is getting these days it′s no wonder I′m getting so many questions from job seekers asking how they can use it effectively in their job search as well as how recruiters use it to find candidates.

I decided to interview several recruiters who are avid users of Twitter and ask them what advice they have for job seekers. This week I talked to Lindsay Olson Scrooge movie download .

How do you use Twitter in your recruiting efforts?

I started using Twitter two years ago. I use it to keep in contact with candidates and companies with whom I already have a relationship as well as forge many new relationships. I mainly follow professionals in my industry specialty — public relations and marketing.

I share information about our searches, but my goal is to use it for more than just posting information about my company and searches. I post relevant industry links and information about the industry as well as career advice from my blogs and blogs of others that I think my audience may find insightful.

By sharing useful information and engaging with my followers daily, I′ve built relationships it would have taken years to build, if ever, any other way.

For the rest of the article, see Stephanie's full post.

Thanks, Stephanie!

Photo credit: Phill Price

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