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Department of Communication, RIT College of Liberal Arts
Social Media and Communication Symposium (SMACS) II
September 29, 2011

Keynote Speakers

Clay Shirky

Clay Shirky...

is an American writer, consultant and teacher on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. He has a joint appointment at New York University (NYU) 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 (ITP). His courses address, among other things, the interrelated effects of the topology of social networks and technological networks, how our networks shape culture and vice-versa. His eclectic background includes graduating cum laude from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine art and in 1990 founding Hard Place Theater in New York City where he created and directed several "non-fiction" theater pieces using only found materials such as government documents, transcripts and cultural records. One project titled "United Airline," included the transcript of the air-to-ground conversations during a plane crash, interspersed with quotes about flying and falling. During the 1990s in New York City he also worked as a lighting designer for numerous experimental theater and dance companies, including the Wooster Group, Elevator Repair Service and Dana Reitz. In the early 1990s, Shirky was vice-president of the New York chapter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and wrote technology guides for Ziff Davis. He appeared as an expert witness on Internet culture in Shea v. Reno, a case cited in the U. S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Communications Decency Act in 1996.Shirky was the original Professor of New Media in the Media Studies department at Hunter College, where he created the department's first undergraduate and graduate offerings in new media, and helped design the current MFA in Integrated Media Arts program. In the fall of 2010, Shirky served as the Visiting Morrow Lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School instructing a course titled: "New Media and Public Action.” Shirky has written and been interviewed extensively about the Internet since 1996. He is the author of six books including Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organization. His columns and writings have appeared in Business 2.0, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review and Wired. Shirky divides his time between consulting, teaching and writing on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. His consulting practice is focused on the rise of decentralized technologies such as peer-to-peer, web services, and wireless networks that provide alternatives to the wired client–server infrastructure that characterizes the World Wide Web. In The Long Tail, Chris Anderson calls Shirky "a prominent thinker on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies." His appearance at SMACS is made possible by the generous support of the Lab for Social Computing a gathering space and clearinghouse for faculty and students across RIT interested in the use and study of social computing technologies.

Maggie Fox

Maggie Fox...

is the founder and CEO of Social Media Group, one of the world’s largest independent agencies helping business navigate the new socially engaged Web. Social Media Group has developed social media strategies for some of the best-known brands in Europe and North America, including; Ford Motor Company, SAP Global Marketing, Yamaha Motor, Corbis and Harlequin Publishing. Maggie has been interviewed about social media by The Washington Post, CBC Radio, The Globe and Mail, CTV News, The Toronto Star and Marketing magazine, among others. She was recently included in Women Who Risk, a listing of influential women who head up Internet-based firms, and is a member of both The Social Media Collective, an invite-only group of "the web’s best thinkers on media, marketing and web 2.0" and the Enterprise Irregulars and she was also named one of the Top 100 Marketers in the 100th anniversary edition of Marketing magazine. Maggie is frequently asked to speak to the media and business groups across North America about Web 2.0, and sits on the Advisory Board for SMToday Media, operators of The Social Media Collective and MyVenturePad sites. She also has a seat on the advisory board of Humber College’s Public Relations program. Her participation in SMACS is made possible in part by Verizon.

Pam Moore

Pam Moore...

calls herself “half marketing, half geek and a social media addict,” and is the CEO and Founder of FruitZoom, Inc., a digital marketing, brand and social media agency. She is the author of Social Media Relationship Age (with Mari Smith) and a contributor to Game Changers: America’s Leading Entrepreneurs and How They’re Changing The Game, and You Can Too!” (by Nick Nanton). She has 15+ years of experience helping small startups to Fortune 100 companies, with everything from building brand awareness to growing new markets to Web 2.0 ecommerce for online retailers. She is a thought leader frequently published on such sites as Social Media Today, B2C Marketing Insider, and has been called upon by publications such as USA Today for contributions to articles related to social media and business. Her Pam Marketing Nut blog ( is listed on the Technorati top 100 Small Business. FruitZoom helps companies build social media communities and maximize their time and investment in Web 2.0. Her appearance at SMACS is made possible in part by the generous support of the Office of VP for Student Affairs.

Nichelle Stephens

Nichelle Stephens...

is a blogger, cupcake enthusiast, editor, event organizer and social media strategist. She is the co-founding editor of Cupcakes Take The Cake, the most popular blog about cupcakes. Nichelle is also the founder of Keeping Nickels, a personal finance and business accounting blog for freelancers and entrepreneurs. She is currently the social media strategist of She was formerly editor of the NAACP Image Award winning Pepsi We Inspire, a branded lifestyle blog and community for African American women. She has spoken at BlogWorld, BlogHer, SXSW and TECHMunch. Nichelle has written for, Black Table, Gothamist, NewYorkology and PSFK. Nichelle has appeared on CNN, The Today Show, Martha Stewart Living and The Food Network. She was also founder and co-producer of former weekly stand-up comedy show, Chicks and Giggles, an improv comedy event where the funniest female comics performed 2004-2008 as well as a panelist at BlogHer and the SXSW Interactive. Her participation in SMACS is made possible in part by Dollop Gourmet Cupcake Creations.

Speakers, Panelists and Discussion Leaders

Business Track:

Michelle Ashby

Michelle is the CEO of Tipping Point Media, a marketing firm that develops engagement-driven communications strategies between organizations and their target audience(s). Most recently, Michelle became the CEO and a managing member of Tipping Point Public Relations. Her specialties include media strategy, message deployment, business development, public relations, social media strategy and traditional media. You can find her on Twitter: @tippingptmedia

Nicole Black

Nicole is a Rochester-based attorney and author. She co-authored Social Media: The Next Frontier, a book published by the American Bar Association and is currently working on a book about cloud computing for lawyers that will be published by the American Bar Association in October of 2011. She also writes a weekly column for The Daily Record and has spoken at many conferences regarding the intersection of law, technology and social media. She publishes 3 legal blogs and regularly contributes to 2 other legal blogs. You can find her on Twitter: @nikiblack

Jennifer Cisney

Jennifer Cisney, Chief Blogger and Social Media Manager, Eastman Kodak: Jennifer has been with Kodak for 12 years and helped create and manage the corporate blogs. After launching Kodak's social media initiatives, she oversees Kodak's presence on social media sites Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr. Jennifer has been a speaker at such social media conferences as BlogWorld, BlogHer, Marketing to Women, 140 Characters Conference and The Inbound Marketing Summit. Jennifer was also recognized as one of Advertising Age's 2009 Women to Watch. You can find her on Twitter: @KodakCB

Thom Craver

Thom Craver is a Web and Database specialist for the Saunders College at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), implementing the business school's online and social presences. Thom founded and operated one of Rochester's original Web marketing firms for eight years until leading a successful merger with a local interactive agency in 2004. Afterward, he piloted the agency's initiatives in search marketing. He consults to businesses across New York on search and social media marketing. He has been building Web sites for 18 years, been involved with search engine marketing for 11 years and jumps on new social media services as they launched. Thom is a regular contributor to Search Engine Watch and has a monthly gadget column in ComputerLink magazine. You can find him on Twitter: @thomcraver

Michael Deichmiller

Michael Deichmiller, Social Media Strategist, Butler/Till: Michael is a social media professional with a passion for all things marketing. At Butler/Till since 2006, he worked to develop and is currently co-leading the social media service offering at the agency. With a strong desire to explore and understand the ever-changing media and marketing landscape that exists today, he is always considering, researching and testing new and innovative strategies to help his clients reach their objectives. Outside of work, he enjoys being outdoors, working on his historic home and spending quality time with family and friends. You can find him on Twitter: @MikeDeichmiller

Mark Frisk

Mark Frisk, Senior Social Media Specialist, MVP Health Care: Mark has over 15 years of interactive marketing and public relations experience, and before joining MVP this year was the CEO (Chief Engagement Optimizer) of Brandvisory, a Rochester-area consulting firm that that helps organizations identify, understand and effectively engage with customers and prospects. He also helped launch Ogilvy & Mather’s digital media practice and has spearheaded campaigns for brands such as IBM, Kodak, SAP, Russell Investment Group and Birds Eye Foods. You can find him on Twitter: @MarkFrisk

Bill Griffin

Bill Griffin, is an entrepreneur and Account Marketing Manager at Cazbah. He develops and implements search engine marketing, social media marketing, online branding and business strategies for small businesses, as well as being Cazbahs’ chief blogger at You can find him at and Twitter: @bgriffin04

Steve Hall

Steve Hall, Founder of Adrants, a site that rips the ad industry a new one on a daily basis: Steve has worked at major advertising agencies, including Leo Burnett, and launched social networks and founded several editorial properties, including Adrants where he spends his days trolling the web for the best (and worst) in advertising. You can find him on Twitter: @stevehall

Beth LaPierre

Beth LaPierre, Chief Listening Officer, Eastman Kodak Company: The world's first Chief Listening Officer, Beth provides the leadership, strategy and governance for Eastman Kodak's Social Media Intelligence program. As CLO Beth develops, implements and evolves the people, process and technologies that handle over a million conversations a month. With over 10 years in brand and interactive strategy, Beth is an experienced practitioner, having working on both the agency and brand sides of business. When she's not in front of her computer, Beth can be found on the Lake, in her studio or on her snowboard. You can find her on Twitter: @KodakCL

Eric Miltsch

Eric Miltsch, Internet Director, Auction Direct USA Used Vehicle Superstores: For the past five years, Eric has created and managed Auction Direct's successful online presence which is helping change the way automotive consumers buy used vehicles. Auction Direct is one of the fastest growing used-car dealer groups in the United States and has been named the #1 Independent Dealer in the U.S. for the past two years. He is the co-creator of CarZar, the first location-based automotive photo-sharing app. You can find him on Twitter: @emiltsch

Aaron Strout

Aaron Strout, head of location-based marketing at WCG, a global agency offering integrated creative, interactive and marketing communications services to clients in healthcare, consumer products and technology. Prior to joining WCG, Aaron spent time as the CMO of social media agency, Powered Inc., VP of social media at Mzinga and director of interactive at Fidelity Investments. Aaron has more than 17 years of online marketing and advertising experience, with a strong background in integrated and online marketing. Aaron is on the advisory board of the prestigious Social Media Club. He is co-author (with Mike Schneider) of Location Based Marketing for Dummies. You can find him on Twitter: @AaronStrout

Gavin Thomas

Gavin Thomas, Social Media Strategist, Butler/Till: Gavin has spent the last five years in the digital space while at Butler/Till in Rochester, N.Y. A graduate of Nazareth College, Gavin places much focus on constantly communicating and collaborating with others in order to learn as much as possible. Gavin has worked to implement and develop Butler/Till’s social media offering and is currently co-leading the department. He is a devoted music and sports enthusiast who believes heavily in the power of “good” that the world has to offer. Check him out on Twitter: @gavth

Academic Research Track:

Anas Alahmed

Anas Alahmed, Indiana University. "Cyberactivism and the Challenges of Social and Political Change: The case of Saudi Arabia" Abstract: In non-democratic societies, new media social networks have played a significant role in changing political and social positions, not necessarily through virtual life, but instead through cyber life. This was a new phenomenon in Saudi Arabia. The current young generation of Saudis, who use the Internet and social networking sites, played a significant role in the public sphere by making use of place and space within cyberspace. This paper discusses cyberactivism and its potential to flourish in Saudi Arabia. It will examine how and why cyberactivism in Saudi Arabia can be effective. The paper will also show that social networking activities have the power to change political decisions and society. This project will outline knowledge related to cyberactivism in general and cyberactivism in Saudi Arabia specifically and it implications.

Robert Berkman

Robert Berkman, Keuka College. “Mining Social Media Posts for Market Data: A new ethical dilemma?” Abstract: This paper presents novel ethical dilemmas facing market researchers who use social networks for performing business and market research. The paper discusses the spirit and fundamental thinking and guidelines behind the existing principles towards accessing data from social networks. Further, suggestions will be made as to ways to approach the market research activity that preserves current ethical principles while still adapting to the realities of the data now so easily available on social networks.

Rachel Clapp

Rachel Clapp, Wake Forest University. “Southwest Airlines and US Airways a Dialogic Analysis of Twitter Accounts” Abstract: Twitter provides an effective communication tool for companies and organizations that maximize its potential. Research has shown a dialogical approach to social media creates a more influential platform for organizational communication than traditional forms of one-way communication like press releases and newsletters. This paper analyzes the information presented on Twitter by Southwest Airlines and US Airways over a 17- day period. Both companies have very different approaches to the medium. Southwest maximizes Twitter’s dialogical strengths by responding to customer concerns, thanking customers, and providing useful information. US Airways uses the medium as another avenue to push press release type information and primarily uses Twitter to promote company news. It is clear Southwest maximizes Twitter’s potential for communicating with stakeholders and interest groups. This analysis shows how organizations can use Twitter to maximize a dialogic relationship with interest groups by responding to followers and providing useful information.

J. Grant Cupp

J. Grant Cupp, West Virginia University. “Diffusion of Innovations and Facebook: A viable source for Marketing” Abstract: The study of CMC can be useful in market and social marketing research. The author demonstrates the possible benefits and costs of utilizing Facebook in conducting market research or social marketing research following the Diffusion of Innovations Paradigm (Rogers, 1962, 1995, 2003). In specific, the author utilizes two components of the diffusion of innovations paradigm; the innovation and communication channel elements, to speculate and suggest how a marketing strategy would benefit from utilizing Facebook. The author also incorporates the relatively new suggestive tier of mass personal communication (O’Sullivan, 2005), and how marketing with the communication channel of Facebook can serve as support to this new tier. The author also incorporates the concept of presence and how it can be formed in the diffusion of marketing a new product on Facebook and how a company can benefit from this creation. This essay suggests how utilizing Facebook can have many advantages for marketing such as; a cost-effective creation and implementation, the ability to reach a broad and narrow audience simultaneously, and increase interpersonal closeness, trust, and satisfaction in the consumer. The author also offers suggestions for future research.

Federica Fornaciari

Federica Fornaciari, University of Illinois at Chicago. "The Role of Social Capital and Social Support in the Phenomenon of Mommy Bloggers" Abstract: The Internet has meaningful consequences in the way people communicate, share experience, ideally divide what is public from what is private, access social capital and seek social support (Wellman, 1999). Communication research focuses mainly on the most popular social sites with the risk to forget a number of minor communities who populate the long tail of the Web (Anderson, 2004). Blogs are very popular ways to communicate online discussing a variety of topics; most scholars still focus on political blogs often written by men and forget the importance of a bigger picture that portrays the social discussion of minor communities (Harp & Tremayne, 2006). Mommy bloggers are one example of these communities (Lopez, 2009). Historically the occupational world, which celebrated the masculine values of efficiency, production, and profit, represented the public realm; the house, place for the feminine values of intimacy, represented the private realm. Today there is an attempt to change the shape of public and private sphere, and to insert the issue of motherhood in the public discussion. This theoretical paper attempts to understand how minor communities use technologies to gain encouragement, how the issue of motherhood is developing, and what is the role of social support when mothers decide to have their own blog.

William Hart

William Hart, Norfolk State University, "Social Media Use within Mass Communication and Journalism" Abstract: Along with the skyrocketing increase in the number of social media users in the past several years, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have also grown in terms of influence and importance. Given the popularity and importance of social media and given that mass communication and journalism departments and schools have the knowledge, skills and equipment to write and produce social media content, it would be expected that these departments and schools are strong proponents of social media use. However, results of this study show otherwise. Using diffusion of innovations theory to help explain the results, this paper answers the following three sets of questions: (1) How many mass communications departments or schools offer a social media course? How many courses include some coverage of social media? (2) To what degree are social media covered in introductory mass communications textbooks? (3) How many mass communications departments/schools have adopted the use of social media to help promote and building community within the department or school? How does this compare to social media use by their universities as a whole? Is there a difference between small departments and larger schools?

Brian G. Southwell

Brian G. Southwell, RTI International and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Brian G. Southwell, RTI International and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Jacob B. Depue, Professional Data Analysts; Anne E. Betzner, Professional Data Analysts; Barbara M. Walsh, Connecticut Department of Public Health. "Encoded Exposure to Tobacco Use in Social Media Predicts Subsequent Smoking Behavior" Abstract: Assessing the potential link between smoking behavior and exposure to mass media depictions of smoking has been a popular pursuit in recent years (Dalton et al., 2003; Sargent et al., 2005; Farrelly et al., 2010). Much of that work is predicated on the idea that smoking depictions can shape behavior through influence on social norms, attitudes toward smoking, and even notions of smoking as a behavioral option. There are reasons to ask whether social media content specifically might act in a similar manner or may even predict subsequent behavior to an even greater extent. Our work represents an advance for public health and communication scholars interested in the role of social media content. While previous work has assessed the prevalence of tobacco use in social media content (Freeman & Chapman, 2010), ours offers new contribution to the search for the potential impact of that content. To the growing literature on the role of social networks and social context in understanding health-related behavior we can add the possibility that reported exposure to tobacco smoking depictions through one’s social networks online positively predicts future smoking behavior.

Ellen Taricani

Ellen Taricani, Penn State University. "Time Issues in our Communication using Facebook" Abstract: Read, respond, delete. This is the series of thought involved in many of our Facebook transactions. But, what happens when we have such a large group of “friends” and the demand grows. Social networking provides many opportunities to be in touch with people. It is different than face-to-face in that we have some sense of power in our reply time. In our online communication methods we have a way of controlling the response time and the overall pace of the discussion. Some of these consist of silence (measured in time), lack of response and type of response. There are several questions that arise in our methods and use of social media communication. In this study of Facebook users, the issue is whether a posted note or status receives a deliberate response and what is the speed of this or is it totally ignored? The hypothesis to be explored is considering the factors involved in managing our use of time in our Facebook lives.

Student Skills Track

Patrick Ambrons

Patrick Ambrons, a 2009 Syracuse University Graduate, is the co-founder and CEO of, a company that helps individuals control their top search results. BrandYourself has been recognized by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the Top 5 innovative young companies in the nation and honored as one the Top 50 most innovative young start-ups by the Kairos Society. Most recently, it was named New York's No. 1 Emerging Tech Business. Patrick and the BrandYourself team were the youngest to ever win the $200K prize. You can find him on Twitter: @pcambron

Nick Rovisa

Nick Rovisa, Digital Account Executive at Ruder Finn, a New York City public relations firm with a worldwide reputation. He landed his job in February of this year using a mix of social media and networking. Nick graduated from Nova Southeastern University (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) in 2008 with a degree in marketing. You can find him on Twitter: @NickRovisa

Julie Skowronek

Julie Skowronek, Assistant Marketing Manager, Whiting Consulting. She is a native of Schenectady, N.Y. and a 2010 graduate of the State University College of New York at Geneseo. She earned her B.S. in Business Administration, and also the Emerald Employee Development Leadership Certificate, while focusing her studies on marketing. You can find her on Twitter: @Jskow1

Chernee Vitello

Chernee Vitello, Founder of Whiting Consulting. She has more than 16 years of experience in sales and recruiting for high-tech companies. She has managed in-house recruiting teams for high-tech organizations including enterprise software companies and IT professional services organizations. As both a staff recruiter and an outsourced consultant, she helped numerous technology companies meet their aggressive hiring goals in periods of rapid growth and high competition for top candidates. She has consistently won awards for exceeding recruiting goals. Chernee has a degree in marketing from the Rochester Institute of Technology. You can find her on Twitter: @cvitello