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Social Media 101: Five Lessons You Can Follow from Your Desk

Shy GirlChristie Goodman, a board member for the PRSA San Antonio and contributor to its Byline blog has put together a primer for social media that you can follow in five lessons. This lesson plan is designed to get public relations pros up-to-speed on social media tools. Follow the entire program or just skip to the parts on which you would like to focus.

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

These simple lessons were originally posted at the PRSA chapter blog to introduce PR professionals to different facets of new media (blogs, podcasts, wikis, etc.).

Each “assignment” can be completed in less than an hour, and each lesson can be spaced out over five months (one or two assignments a week). The best part is that there are no grades and nothing to turn in.

My rationale was that if PR folk wait until they have a free week to focus on learning about social media, it’ll never happen. So I figured we could learn together one bite at a time.

While this is still a work in progress, below are links to posts from the first five lessons.

Lesson One: Exploring Newsfeeds and Webfeeds

1. Lesson One – Explore Newsfeeds and Webfeeds
In this lesson we learned a bit about using RSS (“indoor plumbing of Web 2.0”).
2. More Learning about RSS
Ideas for RSS feeds to subscribe to and a link to a video that shows you how to subscribe to a feed.
3. Using RSS in PR
Extra Credit: Subscribe to specific search terms through Technorati.
4. Don’t Limit RSS to Receiving Information, Use RSS to Send Info Too Four ways to use RSS to send information.

Lesson Two: Getting Acquainted with the Blogs

1. Lesson Two: Get Acquainted with the Blogs Read some blogs. Leave a comment and let other readers know what blogs you like best.
2. Monitoring Blogs without Going Crazy Assignment: Set up a free account with one of these services to monitor blogs.
3. First Reason for Monitoring Blogs for Public Relations – And a Word About Reporting
Assignment: Set up some RSS searches for your organization.
4. Second Reason for Monitoring Blogs for Public Relations Assignment: Test out some searches using terms related to your organization or a client. Compare the results you get from different search terms and different search services.
5. Third Reason for Monitoring Blogs for Public Relations In this new world of social media, the number of blog posts is pretty trivial. It’s all about the conversation.
6. Resources for Learning about the Blogosphere for PR Folk

Lesson Three: Podcasts

1. Lesson Three: The World of Podcasting First homework assignment: Set up an iTunes account if you don’t already have one.
2. Sampling a Short Podcast Homework assignment: Subscribe to the Advertising Age “Why It Matters” audio show podcast and listen to at least two episodes.
3. Podcasting to Your Niche Homework assignment: Find a podcast about a topic that interests you. One that is not work related.
4. Benefits of Podcasting Eric Schwartzman of On the Record Online podcast fame posted a list of benefits of podcasting.
5. Understanding the Podcasting Listener So if the first rule in communications is to know your audience, then here is a little info on podcast listeners.
6. PR- and Communications-Related Podcasts
7. Six Lessons from Starting a New Podcast
My list of lessons learned about getting started, based on my experience coordinating a new podcast series for my organization.
8. Podcast Resources

Lesson Four: Using Delicious

1. Lesson Four: Using Delicious Homework assignment: Set up a free Delicious account.
2. Sharing your Delicious Bookmarks Assignment: Bookmark a few web pages on any topic you like.
3. Using Delicious in Public Relations What I find fascinating is how many ways there are to use Delicious in your public relations work.

Lesson Five: Online Social Networks

1. Social Networks: Lesson 5 in Learning About Social Media from Your Desk Homework assignment: Ask three to five people you know if they are using a social networking site.
2. Data on Social Networks Advertising Age reports on the growth of online social networks.
3. ABCs of Facebook Homework assignment: Listen to the New Comm Road episode #033 “Building Facebook Communities” by Bryan Person.
4. Business Use of Online Social Networks Researchers were intrigued at the “high percentage of business professionals that use social networking for professional purposes.”
5. Some Social Networks Are Bad for Your Reputation
Homework assignment: Read “WARNING: Do NOT load Quechup” by Robert Scoble and stay away.
6. A Social Network Just for Communicators:
By far, this is the online social network that I’ve found most useful.

Christie Goodman, APR, is the communications manager for the Intercultural Development Research Association, and serves as a board member for the PRSA San Antonio


By Kami Watson Huyse, APR, principal of My PR Pro, is an Ad Age “Power 150” blogger who writes about public relations and communications at Communication Overtones. She has an extensive background in crisis communication and reputation management, executing social media campaigns, focus group research and media relations. She has garnered coverage for her clients in media outlets such as the Washington Post, theWall Street Journal, the CBS’ “The Early Show” and the San Antonio Express News, among others.


  • The final session at UGA Connect yesterday was an academic roundtable discussion on how to improve student and faculty knowledge of social media tools. The tools are not hard to learn, and our students are bright and interested, but the professors have to learn alongside them because so many of these tools have never been introduced to them before. These lessons are a great way to make it fast and easy to learn at least basics of using social media tools, and hopefully some professors will consider completing these lessons.

  • Yes, I heard about that session. Here at PRSA they are talking about a reverse mentoring between students and professionals. I think everyone is hungry for tools, which is why I really appreciate what Christie did here.

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