Personal PR: 5 Ways to Annoy Your Professor

As aspiring PR professionals, what better place to start building our personal reputation than in the classroom? Public relations is about managing your reputation, or how people perceive you. Your actions in class say a lot about who you are as a student and a person. As a teaching assistant for Social Media and the Enterprises, I have come to appreciate what our professors endure from students and learned the lay of the professor land. So, let’s start here in school and work on building a great personal reputation by avoiding pissing off the people who grade your papers. These 5 tips won’t guarantee you an A, but they will certainly help you look like and hopefully be the gold-star student.


1. Text in class

Professors know that there isn’t anything that interesting under your desk to peek at during lecture. No one just looks down sneakily at their crotch and smiles in the middle of lecture for the heck of it. Trying to sneak a peek at your phone during class isn’t just detracting your attention from the lecture, but is insulting to the professor, who has taken time to prepare the lesson for that day. Do yourself a favor and leave your phone in your bag. That text will be there later!

2. Complain About the workload

Even though you aren’t happy about writing that 10-page essay, remember that your professor has to grade it — along with about 50 other papers. Your professors are giving you that amount of work to prepare you for a future career, so look at it as though they are doing it to help you (as a TA, I can promise you we really are trying to help!) I’m not saying to act really excited, but showing your appreciation by not saying anything and merely remembering how many hours they spend grading your work.


3. “Take notes” on your laptop, but actually go on Facebook

Even if you are taking notes, teachers always suspect you are surfing the web or checking your social media accounts. Although I love social media, it’s definitely a distraction from your work. It’s also obvious to your professors you aren’t paying attention to their lecture and is quite insulting to the person who is speaking and grading you. Stick to old-fashion notebooks and give your teacher your full attention. Your professors and your GPA will appreciate the care.

4. Skip class and arrive the next session and ask, “Did I miss anything?”

No, actually the class sat there contemplating where you were. Of course you are going to miss the lecture material, so make it your responsibility to get notes from a friend or email the professor for a copy of the slide show if it isn’t already posted online. If you can, also let your professor know you will not be in class — they are generally accommodating and it shows them you genuinely care about making up the missed work.

5. Not read the syllabus

Seriously, it is the most frustrating thing when students ask questions that are clearly stated in the syllabus for the class. Professors take the time to compile those for you, so do them and yourself a favor and read through it so you don’t miss anything and look clueless for asking something that is clearly written in there. If you ask something from there, it looks like you don’t care about these fine details. What does that say about your work ethic in the class as a whole?


Connecting with Community: 3 Ways Whole Foods’ CEO is Doing it Right

Whole Foods has become an international household name in the grocery world, known for its top-quality wholesale organic food and work to create environmentally-friendly products. At the heart of its brand it Co-Founder and Co-CEO John Mackey, who maintains his connection with customers through his work and blog on the Whole Foods site. Though Mackey does not write the content (it’s co-written by Raj Sisoda, a business professor and co-founder of Conscious Capitalism Institute,) his pledge to do right by his customers can be heard loud and clear through his video posts. So, what can other CEOs learn from Mackey? Well, give this teacher an apple (organic, of course) and take some notes:


Lesson 1: Show what you know

While Whole Foods’ other communication’s outlets focus on the food and specials at the stores, Mackey’s blog reflects his expertise in business. Mackey shares information about the methodology of managing a large business, which makes great fuel for aspiring entrepreneurs. However, Mackey’s blog gives this a special Whole Foods twist, focusing more on creating better businesses for communities through “Conscious Capitalism.” This not only makes Mackey an expert in his field, but also a mentor for aspiring entrepreneurs. This looks fantastic for Whole Foods, as he preaches the message of quality for food and for business that keeps the brand looking consistent.


Lesson 2: Be a Trust Agent

If you are familiar with Chris Brogan’s book, you know that a trust agent is someone experienced in their field who has not only changed the game, but also built a community around his brand. Mackey is a prime example of a trust agent, as his blog stays consistent with Whole Foods’ pledge to quality and connection to local farmers. Through his video posts, Mackey shows his commitment to the store’s mission as he works in the stores and speaks about the importance of creating better businesses. His passion for quality and better business is tangible, which is refreshing for someone in the business industry. These personal yet professional posts make him look professional yet approachable – the perfect image for a CEO.


Lesson 3: Use the platform to do more

After using these first two skills in tandem, Mackey has turned his personal brand and experience into a full-functional operation. Mackey leveraged his large community and fervent following to co-write “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business” and to support Conscious Capitalism, a non-profit dedicated to creating businesses that work for their communities. Mackey is a true entrepreneur in the sense that he not only reaches his community in effective ways, but also uses his brand to reach beyond the parameters of his business. His blog continues to promote the ideas of his book and establish this personal connection with his followers, a powerful and effective method that makes him an exemplary teacher for entrepreneurs.


A+, Mr. Mackey

Community Management: Taking PR to the Web

Syracuse University is more than a university, but a culture and way of life. Students and alumni bleed orange for the school and even brag about how mighty our fuzzy orange mascot can be. As public relations practitioners, we work to nurture and build this community around the brands like SU.

With social media, this task has become more complex and in ways more incredible than ever before. Social media has put a new twist on how people like Kelly Lux, once a representative for Alumni Relations, connect the Syracuse University community together. With social media and public relations becoming a happily married couple, people like Kelly were presented the challenge to further build these communities through social media networks. That’s how Community Management was born, screaming and kicking its way into the PR world.


Community managers like Kelly, who represents the School of Information Studies, works to develop, nature and foster a relationship for people with common interests – in this case, the iSchool, information technology, and the university as a whole. By using social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, Community Managers get their finger on the pulse of what these publics are talking about.

Community managers also support these communities by relaying important information and fostering conversation between these different publics. In terms of internal relations, a community manager builds loyalty and enthusiasm around their brand, helping their employees feel passionate and proud of their company. Overall, they help maintain client and employee loyalty, which is essential for any successful brand. For Kelly, community management extends beyond the computer. She also works with other employees to ensure the message is the same across both digital and analog platforms.

Community management is the intersection of social media and public relations, which basically makes it my dream job. As social media continues to influence our culture and communities, it will be more important for PR practitioners to think more like community managers and find the pulse of their publics online.