Tag Archives: relationships

What is Public Relations, and Why It Matters in the Social Media Age

It’s been said that Public Relations has a “PR problem”; while the majority of people aren’t sure exactly what a PR does, almost all of them seem to have a negative impression of my profession. So when people ask about my career and I tell them I work in communications and marketing, their natural follow-up is usually “what does that mean?” Contrary to one popular misconception working in PR is not synonymous with the “Press Release”, which is just one tactic in the arsenal of a Public Relations professional. In fact working in PR has so many connotations that the PRSA led a rebranding effort in attempt to help redefine our work, or at least clarify what we do in the most transparent way.

Working at my desk with my tabletop robot

Most would call my work in Public Relations, although depending on who you ask, you might get a different answer; in grad school we called it Public Communications, which helps distinguish our responsibilities are not limited to working with the press. If only my colleagues knew that calling myself a PR rep was the best shorthand for all the work our profession does: everything from researching public opinion, to crafting marketing strategy and crisis communications plans, to writing press releases and blog posts, to media relations and publicity which our profession is best known for. Continue reading What is Public Relations, and Why It Matters in the Social Media Age

Good news: I’m engaged to be married!

Matt Hurst and Lauren Reid engaged in Grand Central station

Last week I asked the love of my life, Miss Lauren Reid, to marry me and she said “Yes!” Normally I wouldn’t share much from my personal life on my professional blog, but this is too big a part of my life not to mention the good news. We’ve both been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and well-wishes from friends and family, and we share their excitement as we start to plan our wedding and to begin married life together. After sharing the big news with family over the phone and with friends through social media, we started to set up a wedding website which is already up and running (like our wedding plans, it’s a work in progress).

Since you’re visiting my website, there’s a good chance you already know a little about me. So I wanted to take a moment to introduce my fiancée Lauren Reid, whom I’ve been dating for more than 6 years. For anyone who hasn’t met Lauren in person: she’s super smart and has a witty sense of humor (but is never afraid to laugh at herself). I think she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met (and have over 1000 photos on Flickr tagged with her name), but she’s also sweet, loyal, and caring; all great qualities for my best friend and now fiancée.

Lauren is also quite active online and in social media, which helped us stay close even when we were far apart; although we grew up only a few miles from each other in St. Louis we met each other later in life, and for the first 3 years we were dating long-distance. On our fifth anniversary in 2011, I compiled some of my favorite moments we shared over social media as a timeline story of our courtship, which I’d like to share as an introduction to us as a couple: Continue reading Good news: I’m engaged to be married!

Relationship status: How social media is changing weddings

Mark Welsh and Kristin Arena update their status from "in a relationship" to Married at their wedding

As social media becomes increasingly intertwined with daily lives, it seems inevitable that romantic relationships make greater use of social media. It wasn’t long after online networks were created that web users found the Internet to be a ideal medium not just for academics communicating over long distances but for developing friendships and romantic relationships as well. Perhaps the first social networks formed around dating sites during the web’s early years, and once these social networks began to take part in our online routines, the relationship status became a key part of profiles. Today many consider updating your relationship status from single to “in a relationship” a legitimate means to acknowledge their entry into a committed relationship, and sharing the news of an engagement is only a mouse click away for Facebook users.

Couples use social media to tell their story and about preparations for the wedding, and to exchange photos and share memories with wedding guests (and maybe those who couldn’t make it) after the big day. One popular trend for newly engaged couples is to make a wedding website on which couples can share the story behind their relationship and to share wedding day plans in advance with guests, not to mention making it a breeze to link to their wedding gift registry. Some even use social media to propose to their spouse, creating a unique proposal but also making it easy to share their special story. Here’s a few of the unique ways couples are using social media to share their proposals and weddings:

Twitter by the Numbers: measuring influence within my own social network

Graph showing the number of tweets per month for @matthurst on Twitter

Since Twitter was a start-up it has fostered a strange fascination with numbers: 140 characters, following-to-follower ratios, and a whole ecosystem to measure RTs and @’s from influential people.  Since I’m a communications professional working with social media, I’ve made it my business to try using many of these measurement tools, both for clients and my own (perhaps narcissistic) profiles.  Of course numbers only tell part of the story of interpersonal influence; gross popularity means less than the net of mutual friends who can trust each others’ judgment.

I share this fascination with measurement, especially in understanding interpersonal influence. As a result, my use of Twitter has been synonymous with my professional growth at the beginning of my career, charting my own progress all the while.  On this blog alone I’ve written about Twitter nearly a dozen times; to date search results for “Twitter Internship” bring the most organic visitors to this blog. My use of Twitter is frequently the first thing people learn about me, often before we’ve ever met.

So to celebrate tweet #8888 (88 is sort of a lucky number of mine), I wanted to thank 8 followers on Twitter who have been following me since the beginning (or at least the longest):