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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

PR summit explores new media opportunities

Although virtual communication is changing the way students interact with each other, hosting an event to talk about these changes could bring the social media world to physical reality.

Students and professionals alike are invited to introduce themselves in person at today’s PR+Social Media Summit on blending communication and social media, using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and others.

The Public Relations Student Society of America will bring 15 speakers from across the country to present the second installment of the series from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today in the Weasler Auditorium. The first event in October first drew about 300 people at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

PRSSA president Alyssa Westling, a senior in the College of Communication, said PRSSA is encouraging students to attend because the summit is an educational, inexpensive, “come-and-go” event.

“This (event) will help students better understand the importance of social media and where it’s going with communication in general,” Westling said. “It will help them to better market themselves for the professional world.”

Daradirek “Gee” Ekachai, event co-organizer and an associate professor in the department of advertising and public relations, has been actively involved in the social media sphere by using Twitter and teaching it in her classes.

She said all profits will be donated to the Marquette PRSSA chapter so members can attend the annual PRSSA National Conference. Funds will also go toward awards for outstanding PRSSA members, Ekachai said.

Online registration at costs $75 for professionals and $10 for students.

Al Krueger, founder of Comet Branding in Milwaukee and event co-organizer, said his company decided to partner with Marquette to raise awareness about how businesses can use social media.

Comet Branding wanted to find a way to benefit PRSSA members and give them exposure to multiple forms of social media. The summit, he said, was it.

Speakers and interactive question-and-answer sessions are featured at the event, Krueger said. Each speaker has a 40-minute time period to present a “case study” accomplished through social media, with the goal of improving communication, Krueger said.

“We want to help students get thinking about how they can utilize these skills now and also how they can utilize them with their companies after they graduate,” Krueger said.

Krueger said two-thirds of registered attendees are professionals. The summit will help them by exposing what is possible in their daily career to help make their companies more successful.

Timothy Blair, a 1991 Marquette alumnus and vice president of marketing and communication for IBM, said he is excited to return to campus to speak about the evolution of IBM’s communication department.

Blair said the most important point for students to remember from the summit is how to communicate with new audiences. According to Blair, businesses can also utilize social media in areas that are already familiar.

“The value of social media has to be derived from your business model as well as from your corporate culture,” Blair said.

Despite all the talk of virtual communication, Westling said a post-event “tweet-up” will take place following the summit. This will provide event attendees and the general public the opportunity to meet the speakers and ask personal questions. The tweet-up will take place at the Clear Lounge in the InterContinental Milwaukee Hotel, 139 E. Kilbourn Ave., from 5 to 7 p.m.

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