The two JB classes that I have this semester are Social Media and Advanced PR Media. They are both great classes that I thoroughly enjoy, but lately I’ve been wondering which will be most beneficial to me in the long run. Once I get out into the real world of PR, what will be the more marketable skill?
One major argument for social media that we always hear is that as a younger generation, we have a bit of an edge on those who came before us. We grew up IM’ing on AOL and surfing the Internet, and for the incoming freshman and those behind them, grew up with Myspace and Facebook. So we are naturally more comfortable with blogging, tweeting, etc. than someone who has been in the PR world for 20+ years would be. I started the semester knowing not much at all other than how to use my Facebook, and now I feel that I have many great skills to offer in the area of social media. However, anyone can learn, so is this something that is really that valuable? As we’ve learned in JB 4520, at any site, whether it be Twitter or Visual CV, there is an instructional video to walk you through the entire process. Also, just about every company or organization out there has a presence on the Internet. So I’m sure being able to say I have had a class teaching me the specifics of all of these different types of media will be impressive.
Traditional PR, however, isn’t something that you can just log on and learn. Of course I’m sure there are sites telling you how to write a press release or that can teach you AP style, but isn’t this something that really should be taught in a classroom and drilled into your head? I have had more than 20 hours of PR specific courses, and some of the technicalities still make me a bit nervous. In my Advanced PR Media course we are learning to use InDesign and Photoshop to create brochures, newsletters, fliers, etc. , which are things any good PR practitioner will need to know how to do. Again, this is something that should help in the job search.
So when it comes down to it, is either set of skills more valuable than the other? Or has the world of PR come to the point that in order to be secure that you are doing the best job possible, you need to be a “guru” in both areas? Either way, I can rest assured that I’m getting a great education in both areas. Thoughts, anyone?