I’m in Canada and it’s sunny.


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Save the NBL

“Every three seconds, an NBL team dies”

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Who’s Tweeting to you?

I find that most of my friends and family see Twitter as a tool just to stalk celebrity and basically, that’s lame.

To paraphrase their reaction – “Why do I care what they’re doing? It’s not even them anyway. It’s clearly just their PR people and people who want to be them talking nonsense.”

Well here we go, Twitter are launching verified accounts to prove that people are who they say they are. Doesn’t really solve the question of whether it’s them or their PR people, but these days, celebrities and their PR crew are pretty much the same person I guess.

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Survey Research

Dichotomous questions – two possible answers (yes/no, male/female etc)

Questions based on levels of measurement – ranked by numbers (like voting) or on a scale (eg. of 1-5)

The cumulative or Guttman scale – respondents check items they agree with. Items are placed in an order so if you agree with the lowest one, you agree with all above it.

Filter or contingency question – eg. If ‘yes’ go to question 5, If ‘no’, go to question 8

– Tips on Filter questions from Research Methods Knowledge Base:

  • try to avoid having more than three levels (two jumps) for any question

Too many jumps will confuse the respondent and may discourage them from continuing with the survey.

  • if only two levels, use graphic to jump (e.g., arrow and box)

The example above shows how you can make effective use of an arrow and box to help direct the respondent to the correct subsequent question.

  • if possible, jump to a new page

If you can’t fit the response to a filter on a single page, it’s probably best to be able to say something like “If YES, please turn to page 4” rather that “If YES, please go to Question 38” because the respondent will generally have an easier time finding a page than a specific question.

Opening questions – icebreakers, easy to answer

Sensitive questions – build rapport first, have an introduction/warming sentence to link them in

A checklist (thanks again to the Research Methods Knowledge Base:

start with easy, nonthreatening questions
put more difficult, threatening questions near end
never start a mail survey with an open-ended question
for historical demographics, follow chronological order
ask about one topic at a time
when switching topics, use a transition
reduce response set (the tendency of respondent to just keep checking the same response)
for filter or contingency questions, make a flowchart

and remember:

  • Thank the respondent at the beginning for allowing you to conduct your study
  • Keep your survey as short as possible — only include what is absolutely necessary
  • Be sensitive to the needs of the respondent
  • Be alert for any sign that the respondent is uncomfortable
  • Thank the respondent at the end for participating
  • Assure the respondent that you will send a copy of the final results

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Social media social media social media social media social media

My mind is flooded with social media – Twitter, blogs, Facebook, Myspace,, RSS feeds, every Google application under the sun (including the new Google Wave), wikis, and everything else you can think of – I can’t get them out of my head!

How do they effect public relations? Focus on relationships, conversations, listening, instant responses, compacted thought, transparency, choosing the right tool, knowing when to use it, not getting caught up in the buzz, remembering traditional media is still important.

Is traditional PR dead? No.

Is it being altered? Yes

Am I getting square eyes from my computer screen? Most likely

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Mum’s on Twitter

Last night my mum decided to join Twitter, she was disappointed when she had nobody to follow other than myself, Dave Hughes adn some random guy with her maiden name. I suggested if she wanted to use it, she could use it to follow other dietitians and see if they post anything worth reading. Now the problem – how do we find dietitians on Twitter? Search “dietitian”, somewhat useful but not really. I gave up on her and to be honest I think she will never Tweet again.

Tonight however, I logged on to Twitter and was directed to an article on how to search public relations professionals on Twitter using Google. I assume the same principle could be used for dietitians. So I am currently road testing it.

First, I type in the search box ‘intext:”bio * pr” intext:”location * melbourne”’, this should find me all people on Twitter who list pr in their Twitter bio and Melbourne as their location. I find two people… perhaps this is not so successful. They are both in to social media however, so may be useful.

Now for my mum. ‘intext:”bio * pr” intext:”location * melbourne”‘ leads to no results, but removing the location leads to heaps. I wonder if this is worthy or if I’m just wasting time. Probably the latter..

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Am I skewing the transparency of the blogosphere?

While reading for my lit review (alone on a Friday night, eating a family size bag of m and ms – this is what my life has become) I came across a very interesting statement in an article entitled Educating Public Relations Students to Enter the Blogosphere by Shearlean Duke. A study using the Delphi method of two or more rounds of questionaires sent to a panel of experts in order to reach a consensus on a topic, came to a conclusion that although it is important that public relations students learn to blog, they should not be forced to

“because forced content skews the transparency of the blogosphere”.

Maybe someone should mention this to RMIT?

Aside from this point, the article got me looking into the Delphi method. The general idea is that a questionaire is formed, sent out to 15 or so ‘experts’ (left to my discretion) with open-ended questions based around themes. From there, the answers of Q1 are collated and a new questionaire (Q2), containing previous responses of all participants and a summary is sent back to the panel for them to further comment in light of their colleagues comments. This can be done a third time as neccessary, with the idea being to lead to a general consensus on the query. The method is based on the idea that experts in the field of research hold the best answers.

This method seems to fit my project perfectly, at least I think so. So instead of regular surveys, I will create a ‘master questionaire’, and follow up on it although I will probably only have time for two rounds. This method will also help my ethics approval no end… I HOPE!

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