At Integrate, many of us have been able to watch the global growth of the Internet throughout our lives and grow along with it. With transitions through adolescence (Neopets), the awkward teenage years (MySpace/Facebook) and now adulthood (LinkedIn) parallel with the growth of the Internet, we’ve created a symbiotic relationship with this magical virtual network.
With billions of Internet users worldwide, countless terabytes of user-generated data are being generated and posted every day. Whether it is intentional or not, this means some of your personal information can most likely be googled. Like a true symbiotic relationship, we’ve both helped the global information network advance by providing it information and, in turn, benefitted from it.
As one of the newest additions to the Integrate team, I’ve truly been able to benefit from the global flow of online information. When I was applying and interviewing for this internship, I utilized information I found online to personally connect with the company. When I told my friends that I called out my colleagues’ personal interests like Ahna’s Harry Potter obsession or Allison’s Star Wars lunchbox in my cover letter, they called me a creeper. But, hey, I’m here aren’t I?
The terms “online creeping” or “cyber stalking” sometimes have negative connotations behind them, which I understand as there are some terrifying things happening out there and it’s important to protect yourself. However, when it comes to what I’m doing, it’s more like in-depth research. We are using new online research techniques to find out information that is open and published to the general public in order to better connect with them. In the example above, I used knowledge from my in-depth research on my, now, co-workers to forge a memorable connection and demonstrate my eagerness in getting the job. I’ve witnessed the public relations team members at Integrate using this skill to research media professionals in an effort to better personalize their media pitches. And, the social media gurus at Integrate actually spend most of their days “cyber stalking” via Hootsuite, monitoring relevant conversations for their clients to chime into.
As I’m beginning my career as a PR professional, I’m noticing how important conducting in-depth research like this is. Whether it’s following up on a hashtag (thanks for the reminder DiGornio), building a valuable and reliable media list, or connecting with an influencer, having as much information as possible before starting a conversation, and utilizing the resources readily available, is part of being properly prepared.
Written by: Darren Sokvary