KSU draws top experts in social media integration

Social media integration conference

Just 24 hours after National Public Radio’s controversial firing of news analyst Juan…

Georgia (Oct 26, 2010)- Natalie Godwin

Just 24 hours after National Public Radio’s controversial firing of news analyst Juan Williams for admitting on Fox News his fear of flying with identifiable Muslims, KSU Center for Sustainable Journalism Executive Director Leonard Witt posted the video of an impromptu interview he recorded with Vivian Schiller, the CEO of NPR on YouTube.
“I was there with my little point-and-shoot camera and able to record the interview as she was getting on an elevator,” Witt said after he snagged the interview following her speech at the Atlanta Press Club on October 21, 2010. “I posted the video and within 24 hours almost 2,000 people watched and commented. It’s the perfect case of a story going viral.”
Witt’s video, which can be viewed at http://sustainablejournalism.org/weblog/post/2745
illustrates the power of social media, and his view that all media will become social. That was the premise behind the Center for Sustainable Journalism’s two-day conference on Social Media Integration that drew approximately 150 communicators from around the country to KSU to learn the latest trends and strategies in social media.
“Much of the Internet, particularly the way we consume content is becoming social,” Witt said. “We use YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and all those other great social media tools to not just spread our message but to engage our audiences – because they often produce the content, not just consume it.”
Conference speaker James Andrews co-founded Everywhere and creates digital strategies so that companies can connect better with their audiences. “Social media ismedia and it’s the railroad tracks for empowering new forms of communication. It’s where people with digital lifestyles are looking to get their information,” he said. “When you create a community, you don’t need a gatekeeper and you don’t have to wait for the media to tell your story. You are connecting directly with the people who care about what you have to offer.”
Whole Foods Markets, the most popular retailer on Twitter, uses social media for customer service. “Our customers know they can reach us online,” said Marla Erwin, the Whole Food’s interactive art director. “We answer their questions, but we also ask questions. You can’t just broadcast your products anymore; one-way communications doesn’t work. It’s the conversation and the interaction that drive your success.”  
Erwin taught the social media beginner’s boot camp and demonstrated some of the strategies Whole Foods has used to become one of the most recognizable and respected brands online.
Olivier Blanchard of BrandBuilder Marketing taught an advanced boot camp focused on social media’s return on investment. He gave participants examples of how to manage and measure social media campaigns that will increase their organization’s bottom line. “Always use social media campaigns to drive a larger strategy. It can’t just stand alone, it needs a community,” he said.
Keynote speaker Shiv Singh, director of digital engagement and social media at PepsiCo., manages one of the most popular social media projects, according to Forbes. He said the success is based on responding to consumer experiences instead of relying on traditional marketing. “Companies need to spend more time providing value to existing consumers and their lives rather than building brand awareness for products and campaigns,” Singh said. “We’re making a difference in real communities, and social media allows us to reach them through the communities they create online.”
Participants praised the content and networking opportunities at the conference. Marie Peagler, who owns a small firm, traveled from Jasper, Ga., to learn how to create effective social media campaigns for her clients. “Now I can develop specific strategies with budgets ranging from $500 to $5 million,” she said. “This conference has been fantastic.”
Lori Boyer, a communications professor at Texas Tech University, came to see KSU’s campus and discover the latest trends to keep up with her students. “In order for me to teach them, I need to stay current,” she said. “It’s also important to have all your social media outlets working together to ensure you’re getting the most for your money.”
Many of the presenters tweeted where participants could find their PowerPoint presentations on SlideShare, and attendees tweeted more than a thousand Tweets by the time the conference ended.
Annette Ogletree-McDougal, a marketing director at the University of Georgia, wanted to learn more about phone-based applications such as Gowalla and foursquare. “I learned some new tools, so now I’m going to be like Nike and just do it.” 
For more information on the Center for Sustainable Journalism, visit: http://sustainablejournalism.org


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu