Yadira Galindo is a senior public relations representative for San Diego Zoo Global. She works hand in hand with media to gain publicity for the Zoo, Safari Park and the science division of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.

How did you get into the industry?
I earned a bachelor’s of arts in journalism from California State University, Sacramento, and spent about two years as a newspaper reporter – my last job was working for the North County Times. Part of that job included covering the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  When a job opened at the Zoo, I transitioned easily to public relations. I’ve been here happily for 11 years.

What social networks or social media channels will you cover in your class?
We will cover the most popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to ensure students are familiar with the networks used by a larger audience. We will then go through some of the newer networks like Google+ and Pinterest. As the new ones emerge, we change which network we discuss.

Which social network do you prefer?
I like Facebook because there seems to be more of a one-on-one connection between you and your “friends.” There also are more conversations between users on the Facebook platform. Twitter is great for getting news out, but it’s really just quick little tidbits like breaking news. On Facebook you have a more in depth conversation with your friends. This social network is very conducive to sharing information, images and videos.

Who do you think should take this class?
I think the Beginning Social Media class is good for anyone who is just getting into social media and wants to develop a social media personality for themselves or their business – whether it’s a journalist who wants to spread the word about their stories  or a mom-and-pop shop that wants to market to their loyal customers.

What kind of activities, homework, or projects will be a part of the class?
Number one is for students to set up a Twitter and Facebook account. I am also going to ask them to look at what some other businesses are doing or what their competitors are doing. Get to know what your competitors do well, and then develop their own social media strategy and personality.

What is the main takeaway for students?
This class is going to help people understand what social media is and how they can use it for personal, work, or fun. It’s really about making connections and understanding why those types of connections are beneficial.

Do you see any new trends in social media right now?
I think the newest network that is gaining popularity is Pinterest. That app is one of the hottest and newest platforms that there is and I think that’s because people like to share photos.

Is there anything else?
Dive into social media – start playing around it, you don’t need to be a social media expert. Get to know what’s out there so that you can keep up with what people are talking about; find out what your friends are doing, and what your customers are saying and respond back! You don’t want to get left behind and right now the best way to communicate with other people is using social media tools because it’s free.