Finding Value in Diversity

Utah State University’s Regional Activity, “Finding Value in Diversity” provided students with a plethora of knowledge regarding the future of public relations. The speakers at the two-day conference included public relations executives and professionals, event planners, non-profit representatives and legal professionals.

One of the featured speakers was Nicole Farrell, an attorney at Parsons, Behle and Latimer in Salt Lake City. Farrell spoke about the exciting world of social media and the legal implications of using social media in public relations. Farrell highlighted the potential problems social media creates for public relations professionals including branding and reputation, transparency and accountability, rules of conduct, professional vs. private life and crisis management. As many businesses are increasingly expanding their online presence, public relations professionals must be ready to handle employers and employees who may post questionable statuses or complain about a company on their social media profile. Public relations professionals must also be ready to quickly and adequately respond to crises via social media. Farrell successfully tied in many current events to show the devastating effects social media can have on individuals’ careers, as well as companies as a whole.

Another topic of discussion came from vice president and co-founder, Jacob Moon, and vice president Alex Koritz from Method Communications. Moon and Koritz explored using social media to pitch stories. They spoke one of their clients, Orabrush, as a case study; they discussed creating YouTube videos personalized to individual reporters, editors, etc. as opposed to written press releases. Although they have had quite a bit of success with this approach, they stressed the importance of traditional public relations in conjunction with social media.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Mountain West Regional Public Relations Activity and felt like I gained valuable insight and information, especially regarding the use of social media. Social media is the future of public relations; to be effective and competitive in the job market, we as future professionals must have a working knowledge of each social media platform.

Cami Stephenson is a student at Utah State University.

Did you attend Utah State University’s event? What information interested you? What new information did you learn that benefits you as a pre-professional public relations student?

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