Thursday, June 26, 2014

Two Great Events in One Month: CTA Women in Technology Conference and The Digital Summit Denver

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend two great events: The Colorado Technology Association’s Women in Technology Conference and The Digital Summit Denver.  Here’s recap of the highlights from both events:

Women in Technology Conference 

This sold out event was hosted at the beautiful Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield and had an attendance of over 500 women.  My main purpose in attending was to learn more about getting involved in the CTA and to network with the local women in technology. I had the pleasure of sitting with some very accomplished women who were not afraid to share their stories of both success and failure during our roundtable discussions.

My favorite session of the day was the luminary leadership dialogues. A lot of time was spent discussing the recent article in The AtlanticThe Confidence Gap which talks about how most women are not as confident as men in the workplace and how that affects everything from promotions to salary.  “The problem, argue the broadcast journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman in The Atlantic’s May 2014 cover story, is that women are less self-assured than men—and that this persistent disparity between the genders is what keeps women from achieving at the highest levels……despite being just as qualified as men, women often hold themselves back.” It was very interesting to hear this discussion as it related to women in the male-dominated technology industry.

I always walk away from these types of events motivated to do more. It is amazing how easily I can feed off of the energy of others. This conference inspired me to focus on getting out of my comfort zone and to take more risks.

I will definitely be attending the Women in Technology Conferences in the future. Another bonus – at this event, I won tickets to the Denver Digital Summit the following week!

Denver Digital Summit 
 The focus on this event was on content marketing and the new tools and tricks of the trade. I loved the “Tech Media” app, which allowed me to easily follow the conference conversations on Twitter and see who else was in attendance. My main purpose in attending was to learn the latest strategies and also to network among my peers.

The highlight of the event for me was the keynote from Joe Fernandez, Co-Founder of Klout. I loved hearing his story on how the company began up to its recent acquisition by Lithium Technologies. He said many people ask him what the most popular social media sites are or what is coming next and his response is that the channels are constantly changing. Instead of focusing on the channel, you should focus on the people.  He also talked about Klout scores and his experience getting death threats from people who didn’t like their scores!  Unbelievable! He said the average Klout score is around 42, so I was pleased that mine is currently at 46, phew!

Another highlight from the event was the presentation by Skye Sant, UX Manager Consultant. She talked about “Navigating the Visual Social Sharing Culture.” One key take away was her slide on what a successful social campaign looks like:

My favorite tweet of the day was this one:
Jeff Perkins @jeffperkins8  ·  Jun 18 Official digital marketer uniform for guys at #DSD14 - jeans and a blazer.

I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who noticed!

Monday, April 7, 2014

An Evening with Katie Couric

My fellow PR colleagues and I with Katie Couric

As a communications professional, I work with the media on a daily basis and know what it takes to tell a good story and get someone’s attention.  I have a special appreciation for journalists and the demands of their job. One of my favorites is Katie Couric. I admire her passion, personality and ability to connect with the many people she has interviewed over the years.

I actually have a few things in common with Couric. I grew up in her hometown of Arlington, Virginia, went to the same high school (Yorktown) and pursued a career in the communications field. That is probably where the similarities end, although I think we are probably close to the same height too.

I would definitely say that meeting her was on my bucket list. So I jumped at the chance to join my fellow public relations colleagues and the Denver Press Club in honoring her as the recipient of the 20th Annual Damon Runyon Award

The Denver Press Club hosted an awards banquet in her honor last month and at the event Couric shared some great stories and advice from her career. She told us what one producer from Today wrote to her after she announced her move to CBS – “A boat is always safe in its harbor, but that’s not what boats are for.” 

I remember when I heard the news that she was leaving Today and that they had offered her all sorts of incentives to stay. Most people I talked to felt like she had it made and that she was crazy to give it all up. While I agreed for the most part, I also understood that underlying desire for change, to do something different or face a new challenge. 

I am sure it with this same determination that she will rise up while serving as Yahoo News Global Anchor. In speaking of her new position at Yahoo, Couric talked about how the online world is transforming journalism and expressed her desire to bring more depth to her stories. 
It was a great honor to meet Couric in person and I look forward to seeing much more from her in the future.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Top Social Media Moments From the 2014 Winter Olympics

During the 2012 Summer Olympics, I wrote a blog about the use of social media and how people were calling it the year of the “socialympics.” It was the first time that the use of social media was so widespread during an Olympic competition that it became one of the many channels of information for updates and activities related to the games.

Fast-forward two years later and social media was center stage at the 2014 Winter Olympics. So much of this year’s games were played out on social media and the updates featured not just the results, but many of side stories that became headline news.

USA Today sports reporter Kelly Whiteside, wrote this article “If London Was the Twitter Olympics, Sochi is the Viral Games,” about how the earliest news from the games was not the first athlete to earn a gold medal, but rather the horrible conditions reported by the media as they arrived in Sochi. The hashtag #sochiproblems quickly began trending on Twitter.

It is probably safe to say that many of us first heard about the wardrobe malfunction of Russian skater Olga Graf and the bobsledder Johnny Quinn getting stuck in the bathroom via Facebook or Twitter.

And there was another role for social media during this year’s events – security. BAE Systems partnered with Homeland Security Magazine for a daily analysis of social media to find “trends in the public dialogue around security, infrastructure, transportation, cyber events, and environmental concerns.”

As the world watched their favorite athletes compete, they also witnessed many other events unfold via social media. I believe these types of events underscore power of social media today and how easy it is for something to go viral whether we want it to or not.

Social media is no longer a separate tool in the public relations toolkit. It is an integral part of sharing our messages and communicating the most important and interesting things to among our key audiences.