PR + Social Media Summit Recap

Yesterday was the big day. The PR + Social Media Summit at UW-Whitewater. Apologies to all my Twitter followers who were annoyed by my frequent #PRSMS updates.

Overall, I thought the summit was very informative and provided some great networking opportunities. My one recommendation for next year is to supply extension cords and power strips throughout the conference rooms. Those of us using laptops were forced to either drain our batteries, or sit on the edges of the room in search of an outlet.

My favorite presentation of the day was from Paula Berg of Southwest Airlines. Paula told the story of Southwest’s journey into social media and provided some very valuable case studies. Here are a few takeaways from Paula’s presentation:

  • Where social media is concerned your first job is to listen, second is to engage and third is to address criticism.
  • Southwest started the “Nuts About Southwest” blog by handpicking 30+ employees from all different departments. Southwest let their employees blog as often as they wanted and encouraged them to blog about things they were passionate about.
  • Once Southwest added more valuable content to their blog (photos, news, podcasts) page views rose.
  • Southwest's blog proved to be a great resource for conducting focus groups. A blog post about their open seating policy resulted in hundreds of comments. Most praised the company for its policy and gave them the courage to stick it.
  • Rapping flight attendant video resulted in coverage on Oprah, CNN, Tonight Show, etc.

A little while later it was my turn to speak. I must admit, I was a bit nervous because it was my first opportunity to speak to a group that large, but thankfully it went well. (Thanks to Al Krueger and Ann Knabe for inviting me to speak.)

*Photo courtesy of Abigail Lynn (@justabs06)

During my presentation I discussed ways to create a successful online brand by merging your professional and personal identities. And yes, I also discussed my brief moment of so-called "fame" from February.

Other great presentations from yesterday include:

  • Bringing it all together for PR + Social Media Success, Al Krueger and Sara Meaney of Comet Branding
  • How Social Media is Impacting Job Search, Jeff Carrigan of Big Shoes Network, Abby Gutowski of, Joyce O’Brien of Laughlin Constable and Briana Rygg
  • How Harley is Revving up Engagement with Social Media, Randy Sprenger of Harley-Davidson

I am told all the presentations will be posted online within the next couple weeks. (I will link to them once they’re up.) If you are interested in learning more about the PR + Social Media Summit, Abby Gutowski has also posted an overview here.

What were your thoughts on the summit?

EDIT: To view photos of #PRSMS visit To download videos and audio of Southwest Airlines and Harley-Davidson's presentations visit


Congratulations on your speaking opportunity, that is so impressive!

November 15, 2009 at 10:40 AM  

It was a fabulous summit. Thanks for sharing your story! Look forward to speaking (and hopefully presenting!) with you again in 2010 at the PR + Social Media Summit. Joyce O'Brien, Laughlin Constable.

November 17, 2009 at 3:10 PM  

Thank you, Kristine and Joyce! I had a great time.

November 17, 2009 at 8:20 PM  

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