What topics would you like to have covered in a presentation on social media?

IABCI’ve been invited to talk about social media at a Professional Development session sponsored by the IABC Grand Valley chapter.

I’ve provided the organizers with this statement as a starting point for the discussion:

Social media is bringing about a revolution in public relations and organizational communication

The hard fact: To remain relevant and viable, PR must transform itself into a discipline that becomes part of communities and understands the values and mores of those communities

The good news: Our focus on earned media has taught us to focus on the interests and needs of the other party. So, unlike advertising, which focuses on amassing eyeballs and demanding attention, we are well situated to take advantage of this opportunity.

That’s just the starting point. The best discussions occur when the speaker addresses the questions that people really want to discuss (not just those about which he likes to spout off.)

What are the issues and topics that you’d like me to cover in this session?

If you plan to attend the session, leave a comment to let me know what you’re interested in discussing. I’ll tailor the session to your interests.

  • I think it may be important to stress the fact that social media tools aren’t just great for business communication and public relations: they’re also excellent ways to grow and connect on a personal, non-work-related, level to the people around you.

    The best uses of social media by PR professionals that I have seen so far have all come from people who integrate social media tools into their everyday lives, rather than those simply focusing on using them for work.

  • Eliana Sutton Balaban

    Hi Joseph,
    In the blurb you gave from your presentation you seem to be addressing the changes that social media will have on the public relations professional. While everything you said is ‘right on the money’ another aspect of social media you might want to address is the negatives of social media for the PR practitioner.

    I should preface this by saying that I do not plan to attend this event, but I figured that a little feedback never hurt anyone, especially in the world of PR.

    An interesting issue was raised by Kate Trogvac on her blog (mynameiskate.ca), on January 29th, about leaving behind a digital footprint. In this blog she spoke of the mishap Edelman had when they created a fake blog (or “flog”) for Wal-Mart. I think this issue will be a key to PR success or failure when it comes to web 2.0. The issues of transparency will become much more important with social media and I think it is vital for your audience, as communicators, to know this.

    You could also address the issue of the sustainability of social media in this fast-paced world, in other words, will it last? Joseph Jaffe of (jaffejuice.com) examines touches on this issue briefly in his entry entitled “Displacebook”. Although right now it does not look like web 2.0 will let out to web 3.0 (whatever that will bring) anytime soon, perhaps this just shows that social media and the web are not everything, they help and they do change things, but who knows what the next big thing is. What I am trying to say is, that although the field is changing, it seems as though the basic principles of honesty and transparency will always be at the cutting edge of PR. Perhaps this is another point to drive home to your audience.

    I realize I am taking bits and pieces from everywhere, but it is good to know what people are talking about. The issue about leaving a footprint also holds relevance to your last post about checking up on people using the internet and social media, and speaks to the lack of transparency that the internet affords people.

    I wish you the best of luck with your presentation and I hope your appendix has stopped giving you trouble.


  • Hi Joseph,

    Good to see you back in the fray! Hope you’re feeling well.

    I won’t be there, so I’ll be brief and please take my thoughts with a pinch of salt.

    The short piece you posted is a great starting point. I would emphasize how to avoid some of the pitfalls of social media – astroturfing, poor blogger relations, etc. I’d also focus on case studies of successful social media efforts to make the case for change.


  • Sameer, Elianna and Dave,
    Good suggestions all round. Thanks for them.