By: Tara DeGeorges at 12:07 pm
Last week I hit the Vegas Strip to attend Public Relations Society of America‘s 4th Annual Social Media conference. The event featured keynote addresses from NASA social media manager Stephanie Schierholz, communications expert Shel Holtz and New York Times tech columnist David Pogue. Marketers and communicators from private and public sectors came to the conference to learn about social media best practices, share research tools and toast their favorite viral videos.
After three days immersion in micro-blogging, location-based networks and all things feeds, I left Vegas with a few gigabytes of notes and one key realization. What inspires me about social media isn’t the logistics of the industry — there will always be a newer, more intuitive measurement dashboard and Facebook fan page upgrade. What excites me about social media are the stories influenced and powered by social utilities. And, since social media is becoming part and parcel of mainstream DNA, we’re seeing that some of the best stories don’t come from fully-vetted bloggers nor social media “gurus.” The best tales can be accidental, shared by ordinary users with perfectly imperfect voices.
My top three stories from the conference?
1) NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock joined NASA social media manager Stephanie Shierholz during her keynote address to share his experience “checking in” to the International Space Station via Foursquare. In the year following his intergalactic check-in, Wheels bragged to his astro-friends that he was the Mayor of Outer Space. He was disappointed to find out that two check-ins are required to be the Mayor of any 4sq location, and that he had merely unlocked the “Explorer” badge during his mission.
2) Early tech adopter David Pogue was slow to hop on the Twitter bandwagon. He only did so after learning that an imposter had started an unofficial David Pogue Twitter account. He became aware of the imposter’s existence while walking down the street and hearing someone shout out “David Pogue – I love you on Twitter!” Since Pogue started his Twitter account, he’s attracted 1.3 million followers and published “The World According to Twitter,” a selection of hand-picked tweets.
3) Marketing Director for the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago Jackie Mitchell shared her “proudest and most embarrassing moment” live from the conference. Last Tuesday Gloria Huang, administrator of the Red Cross’ national Twitter handle, mistakenly tweeted from @RedCross as herself (damn you multiple Hootsuite log-ins!) and divulged her plans for an intoxicating night out to 275K followers. With Jackie’s social media consult, the Red Cross national social media team took the faux pas as an opportunity to convert crisis into cause. They responded to the rogue tweet in a lighthearted but authoritative matter and appealed to their active audience for donations. Dogfish Beer also used the misTweet to market themselves, introduce the #gettngslizzerd hashtag into their Twitter vocabulary and encourage donations to the Red Cross.
Is social media at the heart of one of your favorite stories?
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