Every other week on Tuesdays from 3-4:30 p.m. EDT, ProfNet editors interview one professional to jumpstart dialogue about an industry topic. You can follow the conversation by checking out the #ConnectChat hashtag on Twitter. If you're interested in being a featured guest, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In this week's #ConnectChat on Tuesday, Aug. 28, we featured PR and social media expert Sarah Evans (@prsarahevans) who discussed "Open Social Collaboration for PR Pros." The chat featured information on this innovative Web-based browser platform that helps professionals and non-professionals set goals, streamline tasks, share information and connect with others -- with specific tips for PR and media professionals.
Sarah is the chief evangelist at Tracky, an open social collaboration platform, and founder and owner of Sevens Strategy, a new media consultancy. She's a self-described "social media freak" who initiated and moderates #journchattrack@, a weekly discussion between PR professionals, journalists and bloggers.
ProfNet: Please feel free to jump in with questions and comments. And remember to include the #ConnectChat hashtag so we can all see your input.
ProfNet: Today, Sarah will discuss how open social collaboration helps PR pros set goals, accomplish tasks and connect with others.
@CKomisarjevsky: Good afternoon. Can you start by defining "open social collaboration" for all of us?
Evans: Open social collaboration is a new way of working with others. It gives you the ability to both work privately and publicly. Collaboration allows us all to get more done without actually working more, just working better with others.
Evans: We need to continue the insanity that is email. It's a bottleneck. Tools and platforms exist so we can communicate better.
@CKomisarjevsky: Thank you, Sarah. Can you give us some examples to make it practical?
Evans: Because it's "open," it's now searchable and anyone can join in or see our progress.
Evans: We share the track on a big screen during IRL planning sessions: bit.ly/QtDkVT
@CKomisarjevsky: Sounds like a global jam session -- not for music but for ideas. How does one know when there is one going on so they can join?
Evans: I love that. Anyone can have an open group, so it's up to them to promote.
Evans: We also collaborate privately and have the option to make things public (via social) when the time is right.
ProfNet: What are the advantages of open social collaboration for PR pros specifically?
Evans: 1) Save time managing resources. 2) Increase efficiency to garner media attention. 3) Decrease the number of emails and overcommunication.
Evans: If you're always checking email, social networks, etc. -- you're not productive. If you're not productive, you can't do your best work.
Evans: Use open social collaboration for: managing clients, producing events, public speaking opportunities, working with media, etc.
@CKomisarjevsky: I presume this is a download or an app. How do you access it?
Evans: It's all browser based (along with mobile-browser functionality and iOS app).
ProfNet: How does open social collaboration increase productivity and efficiency?
Evans: It takes the "email" (read: reduce human error) out of the equation. You still use email, but for what it was meant to do.
Evans: Example: If you're working on a document that will be heavily edited, collaboration platforms should let you do real-time edits. You can reduce the "hey, what version is this?" syndrome or "I can't find that email" and just work.
Evans: Since implementing open social collaboration in my life, I've seen a decrease in team email and produce better work.
ProfNet: Does open social collaboration save money?
Evans: It can, but it depends on: 1) what platform you use, 2) how you use it, 3) whether you're ready to start new habits.
Evans: Time is a valuable commodity. That's the place I see it influencing the most.
@CKomisarjevsky: Sounds like an interesting way for teams separated by geography and time zones to brainstorm. Set a time and join in.
ProfNet: How does open social collaboration build community?
Evans: That's a good one. It's not "community" in the "I do it on Twitter" sense, but through more meaningful interactions.
Evans: The best way to become an expert is to get results. When you're using social collaboration, you can see what everyone is working on and who is a "doer."
@CKomisarjevsky: You should suggest this to the Romneys so that all seven of them -- the whole family -- can collaborate on his speech at the same time.
@darrenhgraves: #socialstalker RT @prsarahevans: When you're using social collaboration you can see what everyone is working on and who is a "doer."
@PragatiVerma: Can you give any examples/case studies of those who saved money?
Evans: Here's a healthcare example: goo.gl/MOuVM
Evans: And another from Microsoft: goo.gl/48jlI
@PragatiVerma: Thanks. It's much easier to relate with an example.
ProfNet: Can journalists use open social collaboration platforms too?
Evans: Journalists are perfect candidates for open social collaboration (bloggers, too).
Evans: Using the right platform may allow newsrooms to streamline the editorial process and work better virtually. If you can both collaborate behind the scenes and use the same platform to push content to web and social sites, it's a win.
ProfNet: What sort of projects would a PR pro use open social collaboration platforms for?
Evans: Honestly, PR pros can implement a culture of social collaboration on *any* project.
@IanBragg: #Truth. RT @prsarahevans: Honestly, PR pros can implement a culture of social collaboration on *any* project.
@kimija: Agreed. RT @prsarahevans: Honestly, PR pros can implement a culture of social collaboration on *any* project.
Evans: Let's look at the press release. The process may include multiple people to write/edit/review, approval process, client review. If you use a social collaboration platform, you can do all of the edits, pre-work etc., and bring the client in when ready. If a client is comfortable using open social collaboration, a platform should allow u to communicate via email.
@Derek_Schroeder: Worth the time RT @prsarahevans: The process may include multiple people to write/edit/review, approval process, client review.
ProfNet: What are the advantages of private vs. public sharing? How would those features be used?
Evans: Transparency is the new marketing.
@mattkoyak: Well said! RT @prsarahevans: Transparency is the new marketing.
@RetroBakery: Pure truth. RT @prsarahevans: Transparency is the new marketing.
@jennifergosse: Yes, ma'am! RT @prsarahevans: Transparency is the new marketing.
Evans: What better way to "be" transparent than by putting your work out there (when appropriate)?
Evans: If you can collaborate privately and publicly, as needed, from within the same platform you can do more, better.
ProfNet: How does an open social collaboration platform enhance networking abilities?
Evans: Business cards are hit or miss, unfortunately. If you're at an event and give/receive business cards, you can: 1) lose them, 2) forget them, 3) put your gum in them.
Evans: Instead of emailing them for the sake of emailing, you could have a pre-set collaboration project and begin working.
@CKomisarjevsky: How about speechwriting with collaborators to get thoughtful input? Any examples?
Evans: Our team uses social collaboration for every single blog post, media interview, speech and presentation we do.
Evans: Here are some tips on how to use social collaboration for public speaking opportunities: bit.ly/NUDi9A
@PragatiVerma: It should work for non-writing projects too like organizing a press conference.
Evans: @PragatiVerma Yes. And you can preload press-kit materials, social assets, etc. -- even answer questions real-time.
@Derek_Schroeder: Are business cards necessary for in-person networking events?
Evans: I could be in the minority, but I'd rather get your email and mobile during a convo and text/email right then.
ProfNet: Are there any drawbacks of open social collaboration?
Evans: The learning curve and habit change are the two biggest drawbacks. No matter what platform you use, it's new/different.
Evans: Social collaboration platforms aren't "plug and play." You'll likely need to invest time to learn how to use it.
Evans: Get out of "this is how it's always been done."
ProfNet: Where can a PR pro go for more information about open social collaboration platforms?
Evans: I am absolutely biased on this question. I work with @Tracky and 100 percent recommend them. We have an amazing team available to answer any/all questions and just about any scenario. Email: email@example.com
Evans: Here's a video that might help. :) bit.ly/U8R5IA
@CKomisarjevsky: Thanks for an interesting chat about an important new way of collaborating!
ProfNet: What new features or changes do you expect for open social collaboration platforms in the future?
Evans: I'd like to believe they'll become more intuitive for the user, more widely adopted and "power" more of our content.
ProfNet: How does the continuing emergence of mobile devices affect open social collaboration?
Evans: Think mobile first. If people can't do what they need to via mobile, they'll find workarounds. Social collaboration should be integrated.
ProfNet: Thanks for the great advice Sarah! What are you currently working on?
ProfNet: What makes @tracky different from the competition (e.g., Google, Twitter or Basecamp)?
Evans: A few differentiators: it was built as open social collaboration, not trying to take an old product and fit "definition."
ProfNet: Does anyone have any final questions or comments?
@DavickaTC2: Great insight for PR pros on open social collaboration. I learned a lot about utilizing various platforms.
@kimija: Thank you! @prsarahevans I RT'd you so much during #ConnectChat today because you brought out really great points. Thanks for sharing.
ProfNet: Thanks everyone! That's a wrap! Thanks to all for the great participation in #ConnectChat today. Hope everyone found it informative!
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