It was my pleasure this week to speak to Lee Schoentrup’s University of Washington PR Certificate class about social media. It was the 10th year I’ve done a presentation for one of Lee’s classes, and we always marvel at how much the social media scene changes in the 11 or 12 months between talks.
Two years ago I focused on interactive social media. “Dancing with Your Audience” was the title. Earlier this year I didn’t feel as optimistic about the field, and titled the early 2016 version of the presentation “How to Stand Out in a Busy World.” My feeling was that social media had maxed out audience bandwidth; people were experiencing more than enough social media interaction. I told the class that social media professionals were facing a battle for attention, a battle that would be won by people and organizations delivering the best (most valuable or most entertaining) content and the best user experiences.
Post-election, I’ve rewritten the talk with a new theme “Survival & Success: Surfing the social media tsunami.”
Currently, it’s critical for communications practitioners to acknowledge how uncontrollable, risky, and powerful social media has become. It used to be possible to just dive into the waters and follow traditional communications best practices. It is now important to know specific social-media best practices and — particularly if you want to avoid wasting organizational resources — to extensively plan your social media activities. And that plan needs to include how to rapidly deploy an effective, coordinated response when your organization gets caught in a fast-moving social media crisis.
I also talked about the media’s, and social media’s, loss of credibility because of the proliferation of fake news sites and the appearance of poorly researched “news” stories on legitimate news sites.
Here, for Lee’s class and other interested folks, is the new presentation, SME_UW_2016_Nov, in PDF form.