RIT Communication Symposium Examines Impact of Social Media in Business, Academia

Sept. 29 conference features talks by industry-leading movers and shakers

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Let’s face it. Most of us have some kind of connection to social media. Whether you’re asking for relationship advice on Facebook, tweeting about a product launch or letting people know where you are right now using Foursquare, social media is part of our realities.

How can businesses and communication professionals measure the impact of our social media usage in industry? This question and others will be answered during the Social Media and Communication Symposium, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Sept. 29 at Rochester Institute of Technology.

The symposium, sponsored by RIT’s Department of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts, will include presentations and panels on the business of social media, academic research into social media and the skills students must know in order to successfully navigate through social media.

Clay Shirky, an Internet technologies analyst and author of six books including Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, joins other notable speakers including Pam Moore, CEO and founder of FruitZoom Inc., a digital marketing, brand and social media agency; Maggie Fox, founder and CEO of Social Media Group; and Nichelle Stephens, editor, social-media strategist and co-founding editor of “Cupcakes Take the Cake,” a popular blog about cupcakes.

Shirky is a writer, consultant and educator on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. He has a joint appointment at New York University as a distinguished writer in residence at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and assistant arts professor in the new-media focused graduate interactive telecommunications program. His courses address the interrelated effects of the topology of social networks and technological networks, how our networks shape culture. His columns and writings have appeared in Business 2.0 magazine, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and Wired.

“This promises to be the biggest social-media-for-business event in Rochester this year, and we expect attendance to be well up over last year’s nearly 500,” says Mike Johansson, conference organizer and lecturer in the communication department at RIT. “We are fortunate that these big names in social media want to come to RIT because they see our combination of the communication arts and the science of technology as an intriguing venue for such a conference.”

The daylong symposium is free for RIT students, faculty and staff, and $35 for the general public.

Additional program sponsors include RIT’s Laboratory for Social Computing, RIT Office of the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs, Verizon and Dollop Gourmet Cupcake Creations.

To register, go to www.rit.edu/smacs. Those interested can follow the event and interact with organizers on Twitter, #smacsrit, or Facebook at www.facebook.com/SMACSRIT.