On our way to Atlanta for Real World PR EARLY Friday morning, while listening to Michael Buble and talking with @laurenzahn and @rachel_366, I wondered what the day would bring. I did not know what to expect and was excited that I was going to such a big event. After parking and checking in, we grabbed delicious muffins and fruit and gathered around circular tables in the ballroom of the Loudermilk Center in downtown Atlanta. Since there were six Clemson students that came together, we had room at our table for three more friends.
The first girl who asked to sit with us was Kate Stice from FSU. After talking to Kate for a few minutes, we learned that she recently was hired at a PR boutique firm in DT Atlanta, she traveled the world (20 different countries) for five months after graduating, and she had an outgoing personality that drew us all into her stories and comments. The last two ladies who filled our table up were Ally Edge and Laura Mealor of Valdosta in Georgia. Both are recent graduates who are looking for jobs around the Atlanta area, and Laura is engaged!
During breakfast, the president of PRSA Georgia, Mike Neumeier, introduced the panel that talked about the impact of social media on politics. The panelists were all part of the CNN organization: Victor Hernandez (Director of Coverage, CNN U.S.), Lila King (Senior Producer of User Participation, CNN.com and iReport.com) and Jennifer Martin, Director of PR (New Media and Digital Networks, CNN). The panelists talked about the connection with politics and social media in the ’08 election. Here are a few of the questions and the most important parts of the answers that I remember:
- How did social media differ between the ’04 election and the ’08 election? Victor: In 2004 the Internet was used for new media in presidential campaigns for fund raising, blogging, and grassroots. Now, it’s evolved into real time updates connecting people with real time events. Lila: The rise of social journalism is a major difference between the two elections- people are telling the story as they see it and giving a new perspective. Jen: A major difference is in ’04, the candidates were pushing their messages. For the ’08 campaign, fans and followers are pushing the message through social media.
- What were your AHA ideas that you got from social media? Lila: Saw a new way for news coverage and found out what questions citizens wanted to ask. Victor: Saw that Twitter was used in different ways by each campaign. Obama “brought people with him” on the campaign and McCain rarely updated.
- What was the social media tool that advanced the most? Victor: WiFi (3-G Network)
- What is the greatest social media tool? Victor: Social media applications are like buying new running shoes- you have to try them on and run with them before you know whether they are the right fit. Lila: Tools that let people talk to one another. Jen: Tools that bridge people together are the best.
- TV vs. Online journalism thoughts? Jen: most people are now watching TV while reading news on their laptops. TV is known as lean back media while Internet is more of a lean forward type of media. For example, people were watching President Obama’s speech on TV while commenting on it on the Internet.
- What are the major contributions of citizen journalism? Lila: CNN is learning that they can get more information from citizens because they depend on the relationships with their viewers. Now, it’s more of a two-way type of communication.
So… go test out your new running shoes (social media) and find the best ones that fit you! Below is a song that will pump you up when you find that perfect fit.