Saturday, October 25, 2008

Speaking on Social Media

This past Thursday, I spoke to Boston University's chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America about social media. The presentation marked my first official talk on social media, in any organized fashion. Possibly the most important piece for me was that it felt like a reunion; I had been president of the same group a few years prior. Familiar faces speckled the room, but there were a good deal of underclassmen that were new to me.

The room had such a wide range of knowledge, or perceived knowledge. In my informal poll of the room, I was able to get a sense for what the average PR student knows about all this stuff. Every single person in the room was on Facebook; not a single person in the room was on MySpace. There were a handful of students who knew what Twitter is, and fewer who were actually Tweeters themselves. And, surprisingly, only one person in the room had taken the new media for PR students (taught by my COM advisor @stevequigley).

I found myself asking, "does that make sense?" or "am I talking jibberish?" a lot, just to make sure everyone was on the same page.

I had my slide deck, then we went live to the 'Net. I did the "I'm talking to BU PRSSA now, do you have anything to say" tweet, and got heckled by the audience tweeter, who will remain nameless.

I spoke. In front of people. And enjoyed it.

I don't necessarily know what that means for me in the future. But I expected to be shaking and terrified, as I had been in the past with public speaking, even to this group back in the day.

Maybe it's because I got the sense that I was teaching or sharing knowledge, instead of wigging out about being the expert (which doesn't really feel right).

Have you noticed that the way you think about public speaking has shifted with age? I'd love to hear your experiences with it.


b said...

We loved having you, Sandy! I'm taking Prof. Downes' oral presentation class now and I think the only reason I'm improving is because I have to speak in front of the class every week. Practice makes perfect...or at least makes us more comfortable :)

Heather said...


That anonymous Tweeter probably is super cool, and you should be glad you know her. ;) Quite the opposite- we're so glad to have you be an active part of the PRSSA alumni network! And please, if you ever want to practice any more social media speaking, or public speaking in general, we're your guinea pigs! I think you did splendidly, and I'm so impressed at how increasingly professional you've become! Don't worry, you're still fun, and still so Sandy. :)