#PRStudChat Social Media and ChangeIt’s not much of secret: online connectivity and the ubiquity of social media have changed how we work. They have also changed how we learn, and if we’re being honest, how we live.

Overall, this is considered a good thing, right?

That said, always being accessible and, for all intents and purposes, being “on” all the time isn’t (a good thing).

More on that in a moment…

The Case for Instability

According to a recent Yale study, being in unstable and unknown situations—regardless of how uncomfortable they may feel—is a critical condition for our brains to grow and learn.

Stability, on the other hand, stalls growth.

Dealing with unpredictable changes likely resonates with many communications professionals. Our field is constantly changing. Evolving.

What does this have to do with social media? (Stay with me a little longer.)

As PR professionals, educators, and students, we probably know that it is much easier to talk about change than actually coping with it.

Change is hard. It can be uncomfortable.

Fortunately, social media and technology, when implemented strategically, can help us navigate change.

And not only navigate, but they can also position us to take advantage of these upheavals,  ultimately helping us to become more original and creative—which are generally considered very desirable characteristics in communications professionals (See? I got there eventually).

#PRStudChat: Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang

Last Thursday, the #PRStudChat community gathered to discuss social media and change. Our special guest: Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang.

Ai is a college professor of Public Relations and an independent Digital Learning and Storytelling Consultant.

She was recently published in Entrepreneur, and she has been featured in Forbes, Inside Higher Education, and, of course, Spin Sucks!

On top of all that? Last year, Ai embarked on a reinvention journey of her own, relocating her family from Philadelphia, United States, to Seoul, South Korea.

The move triggered a series of changes, including (but not limited to) her new consulting practice and a weekly Facebook live show.

#PRStudChat: Change is…

Change is scary. Change is difficult. But change is, as we’ve noted, ultimately a good thing.

And no one knows that better than Ai. Following her own tumultuous changes, and a deep knowledge of all things social media and PR, Ai led a #PRStudChat Q&A featuring the following questions:

  1. Have you ever embarked on a self-reinvention journey? What triggered it and what was your experience like?
  2. How can social media and digital tools facilitate major personal and professional changes?
  3. To what extent and in what aspects can digital media devices limit and enhance a person’s ability to learn and grow?
  4. How can online communities help people facilitate change in their lives and careers?
  5. Describe how networking on social media is different from networking “in real life”?
  6. How is social media changing the job landscape? What new careers is social media breeding, & what careers is it changing or rendering obsolete?
  7. How can one add strategic instability, newness, and uncertainty into one’s life to boost career development and life performance?
  8. If someone is changing careers and already has an established social media presence, how can they effectively rebrand themselves if they want to change their career?
  9. Life changes can be challenging. When is it time to “turn off” from social media if you need to deal with personal issues? How do you disengage, and how can you reemerge when you’re ready?
  10. Marching into 2019, what is one change that you are excited about implementing?

#PRStudChat: Change is Constant

As noted, in choosing a career in communications, we’ve signed up for a life of change. Clients change. Technology changes. Strategy changes. Even the rules change.

And that’s good!

#PRStudChat: Change is Where the Magic Happens

Interestingly, it wasn’t necessarily the changes themselves that were so influential. In other words, what changed didn’t seem to be as important as the fact that there was change itself.

Being outside of a comfort zone and forced to look at things in a different light, and through a different perspective, were what moved the needle for Ai.

#PRStudChat: Change and Anxiety

It’s easy to say change is good, that living outside of a comfort zone and undertaking new challenges are important. It’s another to live it.

Embracing social media and a high level of online connectivity can bring on an onslaught of side-effects. An always-on policy can be detrimental. Sometimes you need to turn off and establish some rules. Set some boundaries.

Ai agrees:

#PRStudChat: The Next Change

As far as what Ai is focusing on/changing next? We hate to give anything away (#spoilers), but here’s a sneak peek:

#PRStudChat: Until Next Time!

If you didn’t have a chance to join the chat last week, you can follow along with the summary below, or check out the PRStudChat hashtag on Twitter.

Remember, if you ever have questions before or during the chat, please tweet @PRStudChat@SpinSucks@LKPetrolino@ValerieSimon, or @DBreakenridge.

Otherwise, please join us in the free Spin Sucks Community where we discuss #PRStudChat themes at length, along with many other like-minded issues (we may get off track now and then, but that’s part of the fun).

About #PRStudChat

As always, PR Student Chat—co-founded by Deirdre Breakenridge and Valerie Simon—partners with trusted industry leaders to help shed light on the ever-changing issues that affect our role as professionals.

It helps students, and practitioners alike, learn from the experience and perspective of other industry professionals.

In addition, it’s a community where everyone can learn and grow together.

Please stay tuned for our next session, topic, and guest host.

Mike Connell

Mike Connell is the director of client services at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. He is also a contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks, the leading source for modern PR training, trends, and insights. Find more of Mike's musings on his blog, Communative. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

View all posts by Mike Connell