Event Recap: Social Media the Main Focus at PRSA’s T3 Conference

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I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this week’s T3 conference (Theory, Tactics & Technology) hosted by PRSA. I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t get out to half as many conferences and workshops as I’d like to. It’s always great to see and hear what people are up to.

The T3 conference was heavily geared towards social media featuring some of the top bloggers, journalists and social media consultants in PR and technology. I participated in a great panel with Paull Young of Converseon and Aaron Uhrmacher of Text 100. We got a great response on our content which was very factual, logical and did a pretty god job of demystifying social media. We compiled a Delicious account with links to some great content and a copy of our presentation. Check it out if you have chance.

I used Twitter to share the experience and post live tweets from some of the sessions I got to attend. Instead of taking notes, I decided to capture thoughts in 140 characters or less. It was great and sparked some dialogue beyond the conference with people following the #T3PR hash tag on Twitter. I also got comments from a few folks back at the Fleishman-Hillard ranch and beyond about the value of these “notes”. I’ll definitely be doing that again. I never have time to Twitter, so to do so with such great content and focus made it really useful. Here are some highlights from where I was sitting:

  • My Twitter posts started with some small talk and chuckles back and forth with Colin McKay (@Canuckflack). It was great seeing him. He’s definitely one of the most entertaining PR bloggers, and a fellow Canadian. I also had a chance to connect with a couple of the guys from Radian6 (@Radian6) from Canada at the cocktail reception. I gave them a shout out from the stage.
  • The keynote speakers were pretty good. Paul Gillin (@pgillin) spoke of the demise of newspapers and how their business model needs to completely shift to embrace digital or risk death. Peter Shankman (@skydiver) was an entertaining keynote speaker. Here are a couple of comments that struck a chord with me that I posted up on Twitter.
  • There is a fine line between social networking and being annoying.
  • Once things become popular, they’re no longer cool.
  • Phil Gomes (@philgomes) of Edelman moderated a great panel with Colin (@Canuckflack), Jeremy Pepper (@jspepper) and Joe Ciarallo (@jciarallo). The topics were wide ranging. There was mention that the press release is irrelevant online which parked a bit of a Twitterspat between Jeremy and Todd Defren (@tdefren – not at the conference but paying attention).
  • During a video panel, the concept of video snacking emerged. People log on to sites like YouTube to catch a quick clip while waiting for something – a lengthy download, the laundry, dinner, etc. Online video doesn’t always need to be entertaining but it definitely needs to engage the viewer. It also needs to extend into a broader experience to keep the message evolving.
  • I also had a chance to connect with Brian Solis (@bsolis) following his session. He and I sat on the working group for the social media release standards definition through Social Media Club with Chris Heuer and co. I learned that the standard has been passed along to IABC to formalize and socilaize. Cool. Brian gave a great session called Return on Participation. He talked about how to track conversations, how to use Web metrics to help evaluate PR activity and the challenges associated with measuring engagement.
  • The final session I took in was given by Deirdre Breckenridge (@dbreakenridge) on Micromedia. The session ended up being an intro to microblogging (a la Twitter) and was really educational for those unfamiliar with micromedia formats.

It ended up being a nice break from the office and was definitely worth my while attending. If you’re interested in more of what went on, check out Aaron’s great conference wrap-up. He includes a post to the Delicious profile called T3PAD (T3 Paul Aaron David).