Facebook is my Rolodex

Facebook is my rolodexBrenda Christensen of Stellar Public Relations has been in the publicity business for over 25 years and has seen a lot of changes. The biggest change however, has been in the ways she gets her job done.

“I remember when so much of what we did was writing by hand, sending by fax and making phone calls,” says Christensen. “Then I was giving seminars on how to use e-mail and put press kits online securely. Now it’s like the, ‘Land of Milk and Honey’ with all the great tools available to help me get my job done.”

Christensen…has found social media to be especially useful for cultivating professional relationships.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes Christensen has seen recently was the introduction of social media. Used primarily as a tool by many to publicize both themselves and their clients, she has found social media to be especially useful for creating, deepening and enriching her relationships with media contacts such as reporters, editors and industry analysts.

Social media and public relations

Online social media sites such as MySpace and Facebook were built as places to build and maintain personal relationships and yet, from the start, businesses have been trying to find a way leverage those platforms to reach their target markets using a business-to-consumer (B2C) approach.

Savvy professionals such as Christensen however, saw another opportunity; one which uses the same social media platforms to forge professional relationships which transcend the older models of either picking up the phone and calling or dropping an e-mail every now and then.

“When you ‘Friend’ someone, you get much more than a way to send them messages.”

“Almost everyone I know in media and public relations is active on Facebook,” says Christensen. “When you ‘Friend’ someone, you get much more than a way to send them messages. You gain access to their interests and have access to facts such as which tradeshows they are planning to attend and what they are looking to write about next.”

Social proof

In fact, this kind of access recently turned into a big opportunity for one of Christensen’s clients.

No missed opportunities!

While attending a tradeshow, she was checking her Facebook updates on her phone. One immediately caught her eye.

“A pretty important reporter had just updated his status to say that he was at the same show, ” Christensen recalls. “I immediately commented on his status and invited him to meet with my client at their booth. He swung by almost immediately and it resulted in some great exposure for their company and products.”

The personal touch is still key

You still need to pay attention to personal preferences.

Though Facebook has completely replaced the Rolodex which used to sit on Christensen’s desk and is in a large part the way she communicates with her contacts, she warns that you still need to pay attention to personal preferences.

“When e-mail first came on the scene,” says Christensen, “all of my contacts would say, ‘Don’t contact me via e-mail; call me instead’. Now that social media has arrived, they say, ‘Don’t contact me via social media; e-mail me instead’. It’s like back to the future, but you need to respect your contacts and that means listening and respecting the ways they like to work.”

The Tools:

Christensen went on to note that, “Most of my contacts prefer to find sources online, but then take the conversation offline. That’s because once a conversation happens on a social network, the article they are researching has already been written and published, at least in part.”

Let’s hear from you!

Do you use social media to get your work done? Share with us by commenting below!


  1. Tommy Walker says

    Thank you for sharing this post with me Matt! This is just one of the many great ways that people are using The social networking platform.

    Personally, I do not use Facebook this way only because my contacts list is primarily friends and family, but with the recent introduction of groups, I am starting to find a better way to not bog my friends down with my work related stuff, and still have a way to let my inner business nerd out. Also, I am so happy to be getting into the game at this stage. I’m not sure I could survive using pen, paper, fax, and a Rolodex! That’s just plain nuts!

    • Tommy,

      I haven’t played with groups over at Facebook yet, but it’s definitely on my to-do list!

      You raise a good point with the personal vs. professional split. Like many folks I’ve spoken with, Brenda handles this by having more than one Facebook account.

      It will be interesting to see how Facebook handles this going forward – the division between personal and professional will always war with the simple usability of having one login instead of many.


      p.s. Yeah, writing it all down on a Rolodex sucked. 🙂


  1. BizSugar.com says:

    Facebook is my Rolodex…

    Facebook is my Rolodex: how one savvy professional uses social media platforms to create, deepen and enrich her relationships with media contacts such as reporters, editors and industry analysts….

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