Talk is Cheap … again

Talk is Cheap, the social media “unconference” first organized by former Centennial College CC&PR program director, Gary Schlee, is back. The unconference, which will be held on November 12 at Centennial’s Centre for Creative Communications will feature a variety of speakers, all talking about the latest trends in social media.

The first time Talk is Cheap was held back in 2007, I was a student in the CC&PR program. I, along with some of my fellow classmates, helped organize the event under Gary’s direction. Despite a limited budget, our relative inexperience with event management and a pretty short timeline, it turned out to be a bigger success than we expected.

More than 160 people came out to listen to over 20 presentations by other communicators and PR professionals about their experiences using social media in public relations.

Because I was helping out during the first conference, I didn’t get a chance to attend any of the seminars. This time around, however, I will make the most of this opportunity, listening to, and hopefully learning a lot about, how I can use social media to the advantage of my organization, Markham Stouffville Hospital.

I’ll also get a chance to see what the new CC&PR class is like and perhaps have the opportunity to hear what they have to say now that Gary has retired and no longer teaching.

So, for any of you looking to get some clear, sound and professional advice about how to use social media in your everyday work, I encourage you to attend Talk is Cheap 2.0. It will very likely be a fun, interesting and informative event as well as a great chance to meet other PR professionals in Toronto.

You can register for Talk is Cheap by heading to the wiki at this link and following the directions.

The missing link…

I finally finished–well almost finished–putting up my profile on Linked In, the networking website for professionals. I first created the profile in mid February as part of a school project.

Since then, it kind of fell off my things-to-do list, mainly due to a healthy amount of procrastination. The fact is, I was never sure what I wanted to put up on my profile. As a student, I couldn’t see the value of using the site to network, since I felt that most of my contacts would be other fellow students. As a communicator, I still felt like too much of a novice–even with all of the contacts I had developed through various projects–to start randomly adding everyone I knew.

What finally prompted me to complete my profile was realizing how important it is to maintain the ties I have developed in the field of communications, especially with my former classmates.

As I found out during a recent get-together with some of them, most of them are beginning to build their own career paths as communicators. By keeping in contact with them, I am able to learn from their experiences and improve my own knowledge, especially in social media and Web 2.0 which have become so vitally important to our industry.

So, six months, 10 days and 14 hours later (give or take a couple of weeks) Joe Chawla has finally made it onto Linked In. For those of you who have been waiting for me to accept your invitations to join and become your contact, my apologies. For those of you who I have recently sent invites to, hopefully it won’t take you six months to respond back to me.

But in case it does, don’t worry … my profile will still be waiting.

A new look and a new ‘tude…

As many of you may have noticed–that is if I still have any readers left–I’ve been away for a long time. There are plenty of reasons for my absence; none of them really substantial, but I’ll tell you about them in a little bit. The reason for my return, however, is thanks to my colleague, Megan Ramsay.

I was visiting her blog and noticed her new look … and then I proceeded to read about her new look. That got me thinking that perhaps I should begin writing on my blog again, rather than have it drop off as just another completed school project.

So here I am. And with my return comes a new look (like Megan’s) which I hope is a little cleaner, a little more classy and a lot more mature. I am sure that in due time, you readers who still are around will let me know what you think.

So that said, here are some of the main reasons why I haven’t spent much time posting the goings on in my life on this forum.

1. My son. I am sorry but its true. At the end of a hard day, I would much rather cuddle my five month old son than sit here writing about him. If you saw how cute he was, you would understand.

2. The job hunt. I just recently completed my contract at the Town of Newmarket. My internship with the Town became a temporary contract and that is now over. So, for the past few months–during my internship and the extension–I have spent tons of time trying to find a job. Let’s face it … this blog isn’t going to put food in the mouth of my family (or it might, if my writing happens to catch the eye of some PR agency bigwig … hint hint.)

3. The writing process. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, so I usually write my blogs in MS Word, edit them, re-edit them again and then edit them one final time before pasting them into wordpress. After that comes the formatting process, trying to get them to look the way I want in wordpress. It’s a long process and one that quite honestly was beginning to turn me off of blogging. Now, I am just going to write and let the grammatical errors fall where they may.

4. The writing process #2. I tend to be a big verbose, or in other words, I don’t know when to shut up. My last few blogs could all have been contenders for university papers and that much writing can get irritating (not just to read, but to write as well.) So, from now on, I plan to try and write less and get to the point faster. Short and sweet (this blog notwithstanding.)

5. GENERAL LAZINESS. That’s right. I am lazy when it comes blogging. The fact is, I see a ton of different stories and issues that I would love to write about, but it always seems to slip my mind when I get home, thanks to the many other activities that present themselves. I mean, let’s face it, would you rather sit at a computer writing about PR, or sit in front of the couch watching So You Think You Can Dance and secretly hoping that the hot brunette and blond don’t get voted off in today’s show. Ah, I see you share my values. Excellent!

(Update – 6. I forgot this reason, but its just as important. Writing about non-PR related stuff. Lets face it, my life doesn’t completely revolve around PR, so having a blog that focuses just on that limits my creative freedom. With my new look, I plan on writing about more than just PR. Hopefully, it will lead to some more interesting discussions and definitely some more interesting posts!)

Well, that’s it. Those are my reasons for not writing on War of the Words. But, like my new look, I hope my new ‘tude towards my blog won’t wane and that I can start making up for some lost time. So for those of you who have left me, COME BACK! COME BACK! And for those of you who just met me, DON’T GO! DON’T GO! Otherwise … enjoy, leave me your comments, and don’t be a hater! Peace!

P.S. Corporate Communications Class of 2007/2008 … I miss you guys!