Computational Thinking and PR

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Out of this week’s readings, I want to address three that I found most interesting.

Firstly, although I am not a journalist and am looking to build a career on what many consider the opposite side of the communication spectrum (in public relations), I found many of the ideas in Professor Linch’s blogs on the connection between journalism and computational thinking applicable to the type of work PR professionals do , like debugging and defining your variables and functions.

One topic that has been touched on in every one of my classes at Georgetown so far is the fact that it is challenging for those of us in PR to prove the ROI (return on investment) for our work because it is often difficult to measure the real impact and effectiveness of PR campaigns or PR strategies. Most PR professionals draw on past experiences or instinct to guide their work rather than any type of models or systematic method. I think this approach is a major factor in why PR professionals are often not offered a seat at the table  or valued as much as those within a company that do work of a more “scientific” nature, like lawyers or even marketers. I think being able to create and use models to solve the crises PR professionals deal with and, in general, learning to look at PR work through the more structured lens of computational thinking would not only help us make better decisions but improve the credibility and public image of the PR profession.

Secondly, “The Zen of Python Language” is another reading that stood out to me, again because so many of the principles could be applied to PR work, like the idea that errors should never pass silently or that now is better than never.

Lastly, I want to highlight the “How the Internet Works In 5 Minutes” video because it was extremely helpful in giving me a better understanding of how the entire concept of the Internet and being “online” works. As someone who is completely new to the world of programming and web development, the video helped clarify terms I thought I understood but actually didn’t like server and IP address. However, the wrapped candy analogy threw me off, and I still do not quite understand how using IP addresses keep you from sending information to the wrong client?

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