How often have you met someone for the first time after tweeting or communicating with them for years, and found it hard to believe you’ve not actually met in person?

That happened to me twice this week when I had the pleasure of meeting Karen Freberg and Tim Lloyd. It’s been a reminder of the true value of face-to-face and the role social media has in creating relationships.

Karen_picIt was excellent to meet Karen Freberg @kfreberg on Tuesday. Karen is Assistant Professor in Strategic Communications at the University of Louisville @UofL, Kentucky and online instructor for the Integrated Marketing Communication programme at West Virginia University.

She’s a researcher and consultant in PR, Crisis Comms and Social Media and recently completed her Ph.D at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

We have been tweeting each other for years and she contacted me a few months ago to let me know she was due to be in the UK after attending this year’s BledCom in Slovenia.

I couldn’t let the opportunity to finally meet in person pass by, so we arranged to have afternoon tea at Fortnum & Masons in London and were joined by her research colleague Sabrina Page @spage2 (pictured).

We discussed all things social media, communication trends and the similarities and differences between professional communication here in the UK and the US.

I was fascinated to hear Karen describe the realities of being a Professor and the role social media plays in her students’ lives. I could have talked with them both all week!

You can read Karen’s blog about our meeting here. (Karen – apologies for copying your headline, I really liked it!).

The good, bad and ugly of digital in large organisations

TimolloydOn Thursday I hosted the latest Social Short at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations @CIPR_UK, Headquarters in London.

It featured Tim Lloyd @timolloyd, Head of Digital Communications at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills @bisgovuk.

I am on the CIPR social media panel, who organise Social Shorts (formerly known as Social Summers – but are now taking place all year round). They are informal sessions where professional communicators come together to learn something new and to hear from a guest speaker.

You can learn more about them here.

I spoke at one last year on employee engagement and and social media and was delighted to welcome Tim to speak to the gathered crowd of 50 comms pros. Tim and I have also tweeted for years and it was brilliant to finally meet in person and discuss all things comms.

socialshortsHe spoke about the good, bad and ugly of digital in large organisations and gave an engaging presentation, which led to lots of questions from people in the room and discussions after his talk.

One of my favourite parts was…

Eight behaviours for a changing comms team:

  1. De-geekify
  2. Identify the hidden skills
  3. Practice and preach
  4. Talk about what works, and what doesn’t
  5. Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise
  6. Be confident about where digital can contribute
  7. Evaluate as one comms team, not just as a digital team
  8. Establish baseline skills for everyone.

You can see my Storify online and below to read all the Tweets and see what was discussed. I believe his presentation should be uploaded to SlideShare, and will update this article with that link as and when I discover it.

Well done to the Social Media Panel and CIPR employees for organising another cracking session. Keep an eye on the CIPR website for details of upcoming sessions from the Autumn onwards.

You can also follow the panel on Twitter @CIPRSM and see tweets from the members by searching #CIPRsm as we mark up content to share among ourselves and others on Twitter using it.

Further reading: Want to know what events are on for comms pros to attend? See my comms calendar.

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Social Short at CIPR in London featuring Tim Lloyd @timolloyd who gave a talk for 50 comms pros and PR professionals on 10 July 2014. #CIPRsm

Post author: Rachel Miller

First published: July 2014.

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