February 3, 2008

So, We Disappeared for a While…

Posted in Amanda, Beginnings, New Jobs, Public Relations, Young Professionals tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:50 pm by Amanda Gravel

Hello On the PRowl readers!

Maria and I have been traveling, celebrating holidays, starting new jobs and beginning new semesters–we have been busy bees here in Boston.

I started my first job at SHIFT Communications on January 22, and I have been thoroughly enjoying learning the ropes and figuring out new things. I’ve been meeting great people and I’m looking forward to building a career at SHIFT.

Just wanted to throw a quick update on here–it’s Superbowl Sunday, so I need to get ready to cheer on my Patriots!


December 17, 2007

The Final Final

Posted in Amanda, College, Stories, Students, Transitions, Young Professionals tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:49 pm by Amanda Gravel

So, today I took my final final of college. As I sat there, test finished, totally not caring if any of the answers were right, I couldn’t believe I was done.  I knew I wasn’t going to add anything else to my answers, but I spent a few extra minutes sitting and waiting for the “wow” moment when I felt totally different. Strange, but it just felt the same as any other final exam.

I expected when I passed in my test, that I would maybe punch my fist in the air and make some little squeal sound as I left the room. Instead, I just put the exam on Don Wright‘s desk, wished him a happy holiday, and walked out. I was happy and proud, but I didn’t feel as if I had just had a life-changing experience. I mean, there was no beautiful music playing and there weren’t any people applauding as I walked out of the building and headed home. Weird, right?


I guess it just takes a while for big things to hit you sometimes.

December 11, 2007


Posted in Amanda, Beginnings, College, Job Hunt, Public Relations, Stories, Students, Transitions, Young Professionals tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:55 am by Amanda Gravel

The paper that Maria mentioned in her most recent post marks a big transition for me. This really is the end of college and the start of a life in the “real” world of public relations. I plan to start working near the end of January, so I have a month and a half to attempt the metamorphosis that occurs when student becomes professional.

I practically live on the Web, so I’m not going anywhere. I just feel that today, writing this paper, I am truly seeing within myself how much my life is about to change. I am experiencing a departure from Amanda playing the role of student to become Amanda, the Future as Chris Brogan so wonderfully calls me.


PR students of the Web, I hope that you feel as empowered as I do when you are on the cusp of graduation. I feel excited and ready to tackle a million and one new things, with a great group of friends who are cheering me on. This is a huge transition in life, and I am proud and happy to share it with all the friends of On the PRowl.

PR pros– please keep giving us your esteemed advice.

PR students– please keep using this blog as a forum to discuss issues and ask questions.

Professor Quigley– please grade us well.

I leave you with a haiku:

“We are On the PRowl/ Real world students with a voice/ Here we shall be heard”

December 10, 2007

Oh No You Didn’t…

Posted in Amanda, College, Ethics, Maria, Students tagged , , , , , , , , at 5:12 pm by Maria

Our blog experiment has come to an end. The semester is over, and our blog is up for review. Don’t panic, Amanda and I aren’t going anywhere. We will continue to write this blog. But the era as students is coming to an end. Amanda graduates in exactly one week. And I graduate in one semester and two days.

As part of our final project (this blog) we also had to write a paper (sooo old media *wink*) explaining various aspects of the blog: subject matter, voice, style, reader persona, seo, and such. The last question was regarding ethical dilemmas. This took Amanda and I a minute to figure out. We are such ethical beings that figuring out dilemmas was difficult!

We finally settled on a few to write about, and I thought that I would post one of them up here for all of you to comment on. We would love to hear your perspective on the dilemma and any further advice you have on how we can be more ethical.

Over and out. (for now at least).

“The most (seemingly) straightforward ethical issues is that of giving due credit. Throughout college we are warned against plagiarism, but there are few plagiarism laws on the internet, especially when it comes to the intellectual property of blogs. We have tried to be vigilant in linking content within the blog to its thought author. In many ways, giving due credit is more difficult online than in a scholastic paper. We all know the rules for footnotes and bibliography, but online, the rules are different. We are still learning what they are, and luckily seasoned pros have been kind enough to gently clue us in when we stumble (if this was a blog post I would hyperlink “seasoned pros” to Steve Garfield). When a name is mentioned — hyperlink. When a site, book, article is mentioned — hyperlink. If a picture is posted, don’t just give photo-credit, but hyperlink to the source of the photo. And this is just the beginning. Every piece of a blog post has to be multidimensional to make sure that everyone can find the source of what you are saying.

In order to adhere to the standard of being ethical, we try to remember to link everything and welcome with open arms, any suggestions of how we can give even better link-love. The ethical students that we are, we will not fail to give credit when we know that credit is due, and as much as we can, we will spread the link-love.”

December 3, 2007

Four Degrees of Separation

Posted in Community, Friends, Job Hunt, Maria, Networking tagged , , , , , , , at 3:31 pm by Maria

Last year I attended a PRSSA meeting at BU. One of the many things the speaker talked about that night really stuck with me — you never know when you are going to meet your next boss. Amanda‘s recent post College Kids Party; I Network reminded me of this. I don’t mean this in the swarmy way like Chris Brogan mentioned in his comments on Amanda’s post. What I took this piece of advice to mean is that jobs don’t just happen by submitting a resume and going on an interview. ‘It isn’t what you know, but who you know’ wouldn’t be a cliche if there wasn’t some truth to it. 

In this new age of building relationships, knowing people is what it is all about. And not just collecting business cards, actually getting to know people. Pose in pictures as Amanda suggests. One link leads to another to another and so on. Which brings in the whole concept of six degrees of separation. More like four. I can get to almost anyone in four steps or less. The more people I meet, the fewer the degrees separate me from the rest of the world.

Take this semester for example: Last spring I needed a fourth class to add to my schedule.  I had had Professor Quigley for my intro to PR class and had loved him so I looked to see if he was teaching any other classes. He was – Special Topics: Interactive PR. Translation = new media. One of the first classes, Amanda mentioned PodCamp. She then told the class about Twitter. It took her a while to convince me that it wasn’t stalkerish, but I finally decided to give it a whirl. And what a reception! By the time PodCamp rolled around, meeting people like Bryan Person and Laura Fitton aka Pistachio in person for the first time, was like reuniting with an old friend. Through them I have met others; I’ve gotten advice from new grads like Yianni Garcia, guidance from Len Edgerly, had my eyes opened to a whole new world of possibilities by Jeff Pulver, and have had a whole lot of laughs with Steve Garfield.


I recent wrote a post on my personal blog Thru My Green Eyes about my New Media Friends and how they are the strongest community in my life. I didn’t “network” in order to get a job, but to make friends. And I have. I’ve also made some great job related connections through those friends. 

So, “networking” may have a bad rap, but getting out there, and getting to know people is the best thing you can do. Even though I am always one of the youngest people in the room, I have been greeted with arms wide open.

So. Party, give book suggestions, ask questions, have dinner, tweet, link, and everything else in between.

December 2, 2007

College Kids Party; I Network

Posted in Amanda, College, Job Hunt, Networking, Students, Young Professionals tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:54 pm by Amanda Gravel

It’s no secret that college students party.

That said, I don’t think enough students, especially students who want to go into the communications business, understand that partying can be useful for boosting their personal brand. In my previous post, you’ll notice that the professionals who left comments stressed the importance of building a network early in your career path. My advice to my fellow college students: if you know you like to party, USE it.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d much prefer to go out to a bar with a group of like-minded, passionate, exciting people from whom I can learn than to a frat party where underaged drunk people are wandering around aimlessly, spilling beer on the floor. I’m not saying that college students shouldn’t go to big crazy parties and trendy clubs with their peers. (IMHO, you absolutely should have those experiences.) However, it is extremely beneficial and FUN to step outside of the college-kid stereotype and “party” with people who can teach you new things and advise you in your career/life path. When I’m at parties with professional people I admire, I may be having a few drinks, and I not be acting the way I would in an interview, but I am building one hell of a strong network.

2076857379_aa701d08e5.jpgWhen you’re at a bar or a party, you tend to let loose a little and show your true colors, right? Well, I think that’s what’s going to get you places. Show off who you actually are to people who can help you in your career. Be social, be authentic, be fun. People will notice that you’re not just the average college student, and that really pays off when you’re searching for a first job or your next competitive internship. In this business, it’s so much better to be a real person who’s out there having fun than a random interviewee smiling and holding a resume.

And here’s some extra proof. My e-friend Justin Kownacki told me that when he’s interviewing potential hires, he WANTS to find some party pics of them on Facebook and Flickr. When people invite you to events and pose for pictures with you, it means they probably know your name and they may even like you. You’re a smart, savvy student. You have interesting things to say, a ton to contribute, and, oh yeah, you like to go out on the weekends.

If you’re going to party anyway (and let’s face it–you are), why not do it with smart, connected industry pros? In my book, networking is the new night on the town.

November 28, 2007

How am I dealing with it? Trials, Tribulations and Advice

Posted in Job Hunt, Maria, Transitions, Young Professionals tagged , , , , at 2:50 pm by Maria

I am the CEO of me. Chris Brogan told me that. Many others have asked me “what’s your brand?” What are the three or four word that synthesize “you”? When Googled, do you know what comes up about you? When I asked the group attending the new media job search session at PodCamp Boston 2 what advice they had for me as I begin my hunt for life-after-school, I was told to create a marketing campaign — with ME as the product.

I knew that a cover letter is supposed to “sell” you, but is a marketing campaign a little over-kill? In the world of new media — the answer is unequivocally no. But making a campaign about yourself is much easier said than done (to be cliche). During a traditional job hunt, you figure out what you might be interested in doing, find a position that offers that, then try to figure out what the employer wants from you and you try to package yourself in a way to make yourself look like you fit the part regardless of whether you actually do or not. That seems so easy compared to what it seems I’m up against now. I actually have to know who I am. Three or four little words that synthesize the essence that is me.

I attended Jeff Pulver’s Real time social media breakfast this morning. I knew in advance that upon arriving at S&S Restaurant and Deli in Cambridge I would have to fill out a name tag. Normally this would not be cause for panic. I have long known what my name is and even how to spell it. But this name tag required an extra piece of info: a tag-line. I needed a tag-line for myself. The horror. I fretted over this for hours last night and it finally came to me while my Herbal Essences Defunkify Shampoo tingled my scalp (it is really quite an amazing feeling. you should try it): Maria Thurrell. SuperGeek – Here to save the world. A little cheeky (like me), geeky (also like me) and six words long (verbose – just like me). While I think that this fits me rather to the T, is this an image I want to present to possible future bosses? What does SuperGeek say to people who don’t know me?

Jeff Pulver told me this morning that I need to figure out what it is that I am passionate about. But I already know, I exclaimed! New Media. Public Relations. Social Activism. Way too vague was his response. Uh oh. I thought I was doing pretty good. I have to narrow it down even further?! Maybe I don’t want to grow up after all…

So, with all of this swimming around in my brain I am going to write the case study for my Organizational Structure class that is due at 6pm tonight and hope that somewhere between asleep and awake the answer will come. Or perhaps someone will clue me in.

If you know me, how would you describe me in 4 words or less (ok, I’ll give you 6)?

November 27, 2007

How Did YOU Deal With It?

Posted in Amanda, Beginnings, College, Public Relations, Transitions, Young Professionals tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:25 pm by Amanda Gravel

I finish school in about three weeks. I am at once astounded, scared and excited beyond belief. I feel like everything in my life is changing or about to change.

To my new-kids-on-the-real-world-block friends like Yianni Garcia, Sandy Kalik and Alison Driscoll, and to anyone else who’s fresh in the marketing and communications biz, how did you make sense of all the changes that happened in your life when you finished school and started a job?

What’s the best advice you have for someone who’s about to graduate and enter the field?


November 18, 2007

Amanda’s Story: How Did I End Up Here?

Posted in Amanda, Beginnings, College, Public Relations, Stories, Students tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:34 pm by Amanda Gravel

I could go on for days, but here’s my abbreviated story:


I was one of those incoming freshman at Boston University who decided to be an English major.  (Feel free to make a face at your computer screen and/or laugh.)  I knew I liked writing, and there had been a few books here and there that I enjoyed, so obviously English was the perfect major for me.  Or so I thought, until I remembered that a big part of going to college is to get a job when you leave.  Alarming.  As soon as I could, I switched over to the College of Communication.

I joined COM during the fall of my sophomore year.  I knew I didn’t want to be a journalist and I certainly had no interest in film or television, so I was left with a advertising or public relations.  I didn’t REALLY know what PR was, so I figured advertising was a good choice.

That spring, I took a class called Writing for Mass Communication with Michael DowdingLife changing.  I learned so much about public relations and about my own strengths as a communicator, and I also gained one of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life.  Michael wisely took me aside one day and told me that I HAD to change my major to public relations.  I was made for it- it would be ridiculous of me not to go into this field.  I figured, “What do I have to lose?” so I switched.  Why not, right?

During my junior year, I worked as a public relations and publicity intern for the Brain Tumor Society in Watertown, which was a moving experience.  My supervisors Dawn Grenier and Josselyn Salter were amazing, and I got the first taste of truly contributing to a real-life cause in communications.  I decided I really liked this PR stuff, and worked at Cone, Inc. over the summer in the Brand Marketing Group on some exciting accounts. At Cone I met a bunch of smart, savvy professionals like Amelia Ott, Jen Newberg and Amy Russ, who helped me to develop my PR skills and confirm for me that I had made the right career choice for myself.

I’ve always wanted to do something with my life that would get people talking, change the way people think, give people something to think about…  For me, public relations and social media combine everything I love to do–I thrive on inspiring conversation and influencing public opinion.  PR 2.0 is absolutely an exciting, creative and gratifying field, and I’m proud to be a new kid on this block.

So, to echo what Maria said, that is meA girl inspired by people who wants to inspire publics.  As my good friend Chris Brogan put it at Jeff Pulver‘s recent real-time social networking event in Boston, I guess I kind of am “the future.


November 12, 2007

How I found PR and other stories – Maria

Posted in Beginnings, Students, Transitions tagged , , , , , , , at 6:04 pm by Maria

For our first post, Amanda and I decided to write about how/why we decided to study PR at BU and where we hope our new found knowledge will lead us. So, this is my story.

I stumbled upon PR while doing volunteer work in southern India the winter between sophomore and junior year (I took two years off from college to travel). At that time, I only had a vague, Hollywood induced idea of what PR entailed. I’m sure I had heard the term before, but probably couldn’t have define it. While staying in Auroville, I became involved in the planning and running of a UNESCO sponsored conference — Youth for Human Unity. It was love at first sight. I began asking people, “what is this called and how can I do it for the rest of my life?” The resounding response was Public Relations. That is when I began looking for a program to transfer to (I attended Vassar College for my first two years). I found BU, applied, was accepted, and am now finishing my third semester in the public relations program (I graduate in May).

For as long as I can remember I have known that my purpose in life is to make a difference in the global community. Until recently I wasn’t sure how I was going to accomplish this as it seemed to me that a lot of PR had to do with consumer goods. I thought I would have to work for a non-profit, or find an agency that takes on non-profit clients. For reasons that I can’t explain, this didn’t seem like it would be enough for me. Then I discovered new media. Again, it was love at first sight.

My intentions for after graduation is to find a position in which I will be furthering social causes via my PR and new media skills. Hopefully, I will find this position before graduation *hint hint* At this time, agency work looks very appealing as I love fast-paced environments and multi-tasking.

So, that is me. Tales of my journey in pursuit of saving the world (and finding a job) to follow.

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