Thursday, January 7, 2016

Mad Hatter of media and learning, tattoos and all

What tattoos do you have? More than you imagine if you listen to Lauren Vargas.
Lauren, a UCO PR graduate and favorite student of mine, spoke to #clarkclass via Skype from Boston yesterday. She is one of the smartest people I've ever known, but not a nerd either; she is the epitome of combining, combining continual learning with practical everyday life and work.
An early adopter of digital media, she saw the Internet burst the PR and marketing fields when in Dallas working for the Department of Defense. She's now head of social media and community for Aetna, a fortune 500 company, and works from home, with several computer monitors on the wall in front of her desk. 
She's completed a second masters at Harvard--in Museum studies, where she is now an adjunct professor--and is working on a Ph.D. at a university in the U.K. Her dissertation will be about how the internet and big data and new digital media affected PR. Oh, she's also a wife and mother to two, and doesn't sleep much.
Lauren talking to #clarkclass via Skype
And, the tattoos we have? Lauren has many tattoos, including the cool one "Nevermore" on her forearm. Like those tattoos, she says, anything you put into the digital word is a tattoo--it's pretty permanent and hard to get rid of.
Her web page above leads you to her consulting, where she speaks and more. "Mad Hatter," because she likes to wear different hats.
By the time she signed off,  facing 14 meetings, and numerous conference calls, we sat there stunned at all she does and has accomplished, at her depth of knowledge and insights. I told you I have great students.
Here's some of her comments and student reactions, recorded with the help of @Cassjack12.

  • Understand the communities that you serve
  • Don’t let the telephone just ring and go to voicemail and then never check your voicemail—this is what is happening with social media, you need to hear these voices
  • Loves to put theory into application
  • Academic at heart
  • Helped develop a curriculum for middle school and high school kids with the head librarian of the city
  • Talked to kids about their digital footprint , helping them be a good digital employee and citizen
  • You never know who or what you’re going to work for so be careful what you do and say online-don’t talk poorly about brands
  • Self taught with most computer things
  • Exclusive communities – built by groups, activists, or brands themselves that require some time of login or process to get access to
  • Discrete communities-communities of conversations that flow through all social media-
  • Nurture those conversation and create trust to get them down the funnel or in an exclusive community
  • How you are fostering engagement
  • Be Authentic
  • Organic engagement
  • One foot in academia and one foot in applying the theories
  • Wants to share the information with others “spread the love”
Student debriefing comments

·      “If we never talk about what we fail, we won't get better”
·   Don't complain about brands-you never know who you will work for
·   When designing DOD digital media, described it as flying a plane and building it at the same time
·  Everyone is a digital contributor now, how you foster those relationships and conversations
·   Digital tattoo comparison- relating to what young people will know, tattoo is permanent and so is what you put online
·  “Social media has built walls of silence”
·   She like to give out the information for free, some of her peers don’t like to share the information they learn but she thinks everyone should know
·   To serve communities and serve them better
·   Make what you do your own
·   She does things not only to better herself but to also better the community and those around her--wants to teach others how to manage their digital print 

Student observation, from Casey McElroy:  "It seems like we're in this blizzard of twitter and media with so much going on, but these speakers seem to be on top of the blizzard looking down on it."

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for a wonderful class discussion and the blog post recapping this chat. You make me blush! This is the time for you to be building a solid foundation of knowledge and skills because you will need these to help you reinvent yourself many times to stay relevant in this industry. Please contact me if I can be of any assistance. Good luck to all of you!