By Christine Manganas, Point Park News Service:
Brandi Smith of Smith Brothers Agency, an advertising company on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, addressed a nearly full Lawrence Hall Ballroom Monday, April 11 about her social media encounter with Lena Dunham.
Smith, the agency’s digital and social strategist, explained how they composed a Twitter response to the Girls creator and star after a remark she made about the appearance of one of their client’s logos, the Skinny Cow.
“We do constantly tip-toe around the line,” Smith said, referring to her company’s decision to reply.
Point Park University’s presentation of #Burgh 2.0 incorporated a four-person panel to address the importance of social media in the communication industry, emphasizing how to do so without crossing the line of controversy.
Joining Smith at the event were KDKA-TV Anchor and Host Kristine Sorenson, LunaMetrics Google Analytics Engineer Kristen Perko, and Editor-in-Chief of Very Smart Brothas Damon Young.
Andrew Conte, Point Park News Service director and Tribune-Review investigative journalist, moderated the event.
In regards to the recent situation with former WTAE-TV News Anchor Wendy Bell, the conversation was frequently directed to the idea of not crossing the line when publishing social media posts.
While not commenting on the Bell case specifically, Sorenson spoke about the importance of promoting KDKA-TV and its website. For her, social media is beneficial, but also has its challenges.
“[Social Media] is both a blessing and a curse,” Sorenson said.
Sorenson spends her social media time on Facebook promoting herself, KDKA, charities and local businesses. She said finding time to post throughout her busy schedule is her biggest challenge.
While posts for Smith Brothers Agency can go through 16 different people before they officially reach the internet, Sorenson said that KDKA provides trust in its employees to use their best judgment in posting to social media. Therefore, Sorenson takes time to construct her posts.
Facebook, for Sorenson, is seen as a way of free advertisement for her and her station. Perko, an analytics engineer for Google, also indicated social media as a means of free advertisement for businesses.
Very Smart Brothas is a digital magazine with a blog style that offers commentary on current news. According to Young, the decision process behind whether or not to post is a matter of “want versus should.”
Questions from the audience were directed to all of the panel members surrounding the topic of taking criticism on social media and criteria and ways to respond back.
One member of the audience sought advice from Young on what it takes to accumulate visitors to her blog. Besides his suggestion to stay up on reading, he recommended patience.
“I would advise you to work,” Young said. “These blogs and works aren’t overnight successes. After some time they eventually find some fruits of labor.”