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Social Media Week – 2012

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Communication and Information’s School of Advertising and Public Relations will host Social Media Week, April 25-26, in the Communications Building on campus.

The two-day event, cosponsored by Dell Inc., will feature presentations, panel discussions and open forums with social media experts from Dell, Scripps Networks Interactive, Cox Enterprises and McCormick & Company, Inc., as well as Knoxville-area advertising, marketing and public relations agencies.

The event concludes on April 26 with presentations from students in the school’s social media class to a number of Dell executives including Adam Brown, executive director of social media for Dell and a 1994 UT advertising graduate.

Student groups in the class are developing social media campaigns to promote the XPS 13, Dell’s new entry in the “ultrabook” class of lightweight laptop computers.

Brown and his colleagues will review each team’s campaign materials and observe each team’s conceptual plan presentations. Brown will then announce which team has the best overall campaign plan, and each member of the winning group will be presented with an XPS 13.

In addition, Brown has personally funded an endowment for the school to support this event as well as future social media research and activities.

“As an alumnus of the college, I couldn’t be more pleased that the school is putting such an emphasis on social and digital media,” Brown said. “This endowment will help ensure that UT and its graduates will be at the forefront of the intersection of advertising, public relations and technology, and be poised to capitalize on upcoming opportunities. It’s an exciting time to be in this industry.”

Private financial support for Social Media Week also comes from Ed Patterson, senior director of public affairs for Cox Enterprises and a 1989 UT public relations graduate.

Patterson said he was delighted with the impact his support has had on preparing students for the future of this growing field.

“Social media may have started as a way to chat, connect, talk to your friends and meet others, but it has turned into the single most important marketing tool of our generation,” Patterson said. “I’m thrilled that my support has helped UT launch Social Media Week. As the rules of social media change daily, I look forward to being part of this event for years to come.”

“We are very grateful to Adam Brown and Ed Patterson for their vision and financial support of Social Media Week,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “With an outstanding lineup of presentations, panels and interactive sessions featuring top social media professionals from across the U.S., the event will provide our students, faculty and the Knoxville community with a great opportunity to gain leading edge knowledge about the uses and impacts of social media.”

Presentations will be held in the Scripps Convergence Lab and in the CCI Auditorium. All presentations are free and open to the public.

The two-day event is scheduled as a lead-in to Social Slam 2012, set for Friday, April 27, at the Knoxville Convention Center. Social Slam is Knoxville’s yearly one-day social media conference, drawing nationally acclaimed speakers and experts in all aspects of social media. For more information on Social Slam 2012, visit

UT’s Social Media Week presented by CCI’s School of Advertising and Public Relations and Dell culminated in the 490 Social Media student competition on Thursday, April 27.

The students presented their social media campaigns for the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook to a panel of judges: Adam Brown (BS/AdvPR ’94), executive director of social media at Dell; Melissa Lentz, senior vice president and managing partner for MR YOUTH; Michael Palenchar, associate professor of advertising and public relations; and Margie Morrison, interim director and professor of advertising and public relations.

In addition to the student competition, Social Media Week included a keynote address by Adam Brown and seven outstanding sessions provided by panelists from UT’s Athletic Department, HGTV/Scripps Networks Interactive, Cox Enterprises, The Tombras Group, MR YOUTH, Mary Beth West Consulting, Ackermann PR, Information International Associates and Moxley Carmichael. UT alum Ed Patterson (BS/ JEM(PR) ’89), senior director of public affairs for Cox Enterprises, along with Adam Brown of Dell were instrumental in providing the funding for the events.

Courtney Childers, assistant professor of advertising and public relations, chaired the Social Media Week planning committee and was instrumental in obtaining a significant amount of media attention for the week’s activities.

Coverage from local TV stations, bloggers and print media enhanced the buzz surrounding the events. UT President Joe DiPietro submitted a tweet with a link to the streamed video of the student competition at the end of the day on Thursday to add his acknowledgement of the great work done by Childers and the rest of the planning committee. To view all the tweets from the events, see #utsmw.

Childers has already received tweets and emails from social media professionals interested in taking part in next year’s event. “It is obvious from the success of this year’s sessions that we are off to a great start in providing our students and the greater Knoxville community with access to the most current information about social media,” said Childers. “We hope to build on this inaugural event to make next year’s program even better!”