Posts Tagged ‘conferences’

Social Media Gets UnSocial

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

by Lauren Shapiro*


The evolution of social media’s impact on the way we communicate is so vast and is changing so rapidly that experts can’t write their text books fast enough. New developments in social media technologies seem to be positioning themselves in a manner that allows users to find each other online through friends, interests, location, and connecting them offline with tools such as Facebook’s location application, FourSquare and, the communication professional’s favorite, the TweetUp. Thankfully, the world of technology has realized that users seek interaction beyond the computer screen and are finding new niches in the marketplace to make that happen.

According to this TechCrunch article, UnSocial, the newest app for iPhone and Droid, is “geared towards professionals who want to connect with other professionals in similar or related fields, who happen to be nearby.” But don’t let the name fool you, the whole point of UnSocial is to help users bloom into social butterflies within their industry. Using your LinkedIn login/password, the application will ask you to input words that describe your professional background, as well as characteristics of people you are looking to connect with. The app searches for people who match your criteria within close proximity of your location. If you find someone you want to connect with, you can then message, email, or even call that person.

The application is geared toward professionals, but even more specifically toward users attending conferences. The program will help users to more easily indentify the people they most want to network with. I wonder if we will see this app at next year’s PRSA?

How do you see this or similar technology helping media relations and public relations professionals build their offline networks? Do you think that the communications industry will be quick to adopt this type of application at industry events? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

*Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now serve as Director of Client Services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Highlights From PRSA 2010 Travel & Tourism: Chris Chrystal, Nevada Commission of Tourism

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE:  Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the  PRSA Travel and Tourism Conference with Chris.

Chris, will you please introduce yourself?

CHRIS CHRYSTAL:  Yes, I’m Chris Chrystal.  I’m media relations manager for the Nevada Commission of Tourism.

BURKE:  Chris, now, you know, a lot of conversation is going on around social media.  And I know that you’re a member of PRSA, SATW and NASHTA.  Can you talk a little bit about how you’re making the most out of your memberships in these times of the hype of social media?

CHRYSTAL:  Yes, and that’s a good question. Being a member entitles us to be able to attend the conferences, and when we go we meet our peers and from–people from all over the country who are in public relations or are travel writers.  And it’s been very, very useful for us. It’s a wonderful tool because you get to find out what’s going on, what they are doing, what they are saying, what’s happening. You get to catch up on all the latest tactics and industry activities that we need to know.  And there are things that you–you might not find that out just sitting behind your computer in your office. You’d have to do a lot of research online to be able to get the same things that you get at a conference. And with the membership in your organizations, you also can communicate with people.  You’ve got a built-in network, you’ve got people you can e-mail that they will accept you because you’re one of them, you’re one of the members of the–their organization. And networking’s really important now more than ever, because the industry is changing really fast and really drastically. And it’s a challenge for everyone to try to even keep up day-to-day. It’s never been like this before, it’s never been moving as fast as it is now.

BURKE:  Well, thank you so much, Chris.  And where can people connect with you online?

CHRYSTAL:  Well, our website,  If they want to contact our media relations department, I’m cchrystal, C-H-R-Y-S-T-A-L, at

BURKE:  Great.  Thank you so much, Chris.

CHRYSTAL:  My pleasure.

A Public Relations Cliché I’m Really Tired Of

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Steve Shannon

If you are going to play business buzzword bingo at any public relations conference, the one phrase that should sit square in the middle as the free space is “seat at the table,” as in, “PR needs a seat at the table in the C-Suite (another buzzword) and/or the boardroom.”  I’ve been associated with the PR industry for 17 years now and I heard “seat at the table” at my very first PR conference, and I’m still hearing it today. No matter the topic, session, or agenda, that gem is sure to come out multiple times. How is it, in 17 years, PR is still wandering the halls, looking for the conference room with the meeting that has their “seat at the table”?

I’ll tell you why: Because the vast majority of PR professionals cannot tell you, in numbers, how their 71926867_14.jpgcommunications efforts impacted the bottom line of the organization and, if not the bottom line, how their communication efforts supported the organization’s overall business objectives, again in numbers.  In fact, other than senior communicators at any given organization, I’d wager you’d be hard-pressed to find PR pros who can rattle off their company’s business objectives, as defined by the CEO.

Why the emphasis on numbers? Simple: it is the language of the C-Suite and the Board. That’s a cliché too, but it’s the hard truth. No CEO or board member worth their salt focuses on clipbooks, story counts, impression counts, and the like. Numbers like that get a SO WHAT, as in “so what did that do for the organization’s bottom-line or business objectives?” Buzz and 50 cents get you a cup of coffee, bub.

So what’s PR to do? How does PR measure its communications efforts in a way that can show bottom-line results or business objective support? Unfortunately, there are too many organizations with differing or unique circumstances and objectives to provide a cookie-cutter approach or it would have happened already.

What I’d like to suggest (and BurrellesLuce is ready to help lead the effort) is that the various public relations organizations such as the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association of Business Communicators, the Council of PR Firms, the Institute for Public Relations, and the Society for New Communications Research, among others, come together, and lay out simple, easy-to-get-started measurement templates for the universal business objectives of the most common business or organization verticals, which do share common circumstances and objectives. 

For example, hotels all share the common business objective of getting guests to book sleeping rooms, meeting rooms, and dining or catering services. How does PR support this? How can that be measured and numerically reported in a way that shows the C-Suite how much PR drives sales of sleeping rooms, meeting rooms, and dining or catering?  With a measurement template out there for hotels, endorsed by all of the organizations above, how much do you want to bet that every hotel PR professional out there not measuring bottom-line results or business objective support would start? 

Imagine if there was a template out there for your industry? Wouldn’t you start measuring how your PR efforts deliver bottom-line results or support business objectives?

Tweeting At Conferences Encourages New Level of Engagement

Friday, June 12th, 2009

JR Hipple (Hipple & Company Reputation Management), Debbie Friez (BurrellesLuce), and Joel Swanson (Risdall McKinney Public Relations) attended the recent PRSA Counselors Academy Conference.Like Steve Shannon, BurrellesLuce executive vice president, I have also attended several conferences, recently. (See “Are You a Conference Commando” post). The live tweeting is an interesting phenomenon, which has really taken off. Most conferences now promote a hashtag (# followed by a short tag) to use when tweeting about the event.

This use of a hashtag has allowed me to achieve a new level of engagement:

1. I’ve found new people to connect with by following the conference hashtag. I really enjoy meeting other Twitter users at the sessions, and adding live interaction to our online relationship. Tweeting gives us instant camaraderie!

2. I rarely take notes anymore. My tweets (or someone else’s) will tell me all the important points.

3. I am adding value for my followers, who are able to get the key points from the conference. Many of the conference tweets have been re-tweeted by followers who are not attending.

Here are some of my recent tweets highlighting the latest industry conferences:

  • Steve Holt of WCBS does not answer his phone. Don’t send follow-up e-mails. Don’t pitch a story CBS network is doing. #mrs09
  • A good pitch is a new idea. Parker-Pope doesn’t have time for meet and greets. #mrs09
  • Old media relations tools still apply to social media. Be transparent and have something to say. #mrs09
  • Remember to optimize your tweets for search says @courtneymbarnes #ca2009
  • Hagler: for pitches-don’t lead with your strength, lead with what you want to grow. #CA2009
  • Tip – Measure relationships i.e. process measures, quality of relationship or value of no coverage. #CA2009

Are you creating a hashtag for your next conference? Are you live tweeting from conferences you attend?

Are You a Conference Commando?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Steve Shannon
Over the last month and half I have attended six different PR conferences and have learned a lot, but more importantly I have met many new people and renewed business friendships with many others (read: expanded my professional and personal networks and engaged possible new clients and business partners for BurrellesLuce).

istock_000008002627xsmall.jpgUnfortunately, to this reporter, it seems like most folks attending conferences just gladly come and go from session to session, not bothering to interact with their fellow attendees. Hard to believe as PR is all about public relating.

For all intents and purposes, meeting people face-to-face is the true benefit of attending conferences these days. In the past, there was no such thing as a conference call or a webinar. So by default, if you wanted to learn about a particular topic, a conference was the natural place to go. But now, in the Internet age, and with the premium put on time, you can do distance learning by phone and/or web. If you’re going to invest the time, effort, and money it takes to travel to and attend a conference, maximize your face time and be as Keith Ferrazzi would say, a “conference commando.”

What’s a conference commando?  It’s somebody who attends a conference not only to learn, but to meet as many people, and the right people, who might be able to help them somewhere down the line. But successful commandos know it’s not all about them, you’ve got to give to get, as Ferrazzi counsels. 

If you’re ready to be a Conference Commando, it’s easy and the benefits are many, follow this link to Keith Ferrazzi’s website for 15 tips on how you can become one.