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Media is Social and Social is Media

Grehan Building

Media is Social and Social is Media

James C. Bowling Executive-In-Residence Lecture Series: Wednesday, October 26, 2016: Torod B. Neptune

For the past 16 years, the College of Communication and Information has hosted the James C. Bowling Executive-In-Residence Lecture Series, where a nationally recognized public relations or communications professional comes to UK to interact with students and faculty, attend a reception in their honor and give a lecture.

Last night, the man of the hour was an important one. Like, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Verizon important.

And like so many Bowling lecturers before him, he did not disappoint. I mean, his name is Torod B. Neptune…I feel like with a name like that you are destined for success. He had a calm, collected, Darius Rucker vibe about him, with a hint of Don Draper’s suaveness that only added to his name’s allure (we also learned he is a Gamecock alumnus, but considering we’ve beaten their football team three years in a row, we forgave him for that).

Over the years, I’ve learned that Bowling Lecturers can take one of two routes. They either focus on the public relations and communications industry from a general standpoint or they tailor the presentation to reflect the specific practices and policies of their company.

What I particularly liked about Mr. Neptune’s lecture was that he found a way to combine those two routes – speaking in general terms as to how best address communications issues while gently weaving in Verizon’s work – making his words more relatable while not making us walk out of the lecture feeling like we just sat through an hour long commercial.

I thought the most memorable and thought-provoking line of the night was when Neptune said that, in regards to the current media landscape, “media is social and social is media.”

Years ago, before the emergence of social media, bloggers and other interactive media platforms the above phrase wasn’t necessarily true. Old-school, traditional media outlets like newspapers were people’s sole source of information, but there was little back and forth between the journalist / editor and the reader.

However, as I soon begin to carve out my career path in the public relations and communications industry, keeping in mind that “media is social and social is media,” can only help my success (or so I hope…).

But really, it’s a simple thought that makes a ton of sense if you think about it.

Media is social.

No longer are readers and viewers sitting back and simply accepting the news they are reading and watching. Whether good or bad, they are engaging with other readers and viewers and the site itself. And from the source’s standpoint, that social engagement is what they are looking for, because it means that people are talking about them (aka being social).

Social is media.

Even the basic ways that we communicate with others nowadays is more often than not through a media platform. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GroupMe, Snapchat and any other app you might find on the “social” page of a millennial’s phone apply. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the new norm.

Not only is this the most exciting time to be practicing the public relations and communications craft, like Neptune said, with a future that’s brighter than it’s ever been, but in my opinion, it’s even more exciting to be practicing (or hoping to practice) as a millennial. Social media is all but engrained in our DNAs at this point and I think I speak for most of us when I say that there are just some things about social media we inherently know without ever needing to be taught it. It’s thrilling, invigorating and, even if it’s not necessarily true, makes me feel like I have an upper hand (which is always a nice thing to think while trying to get hired).

Overall, the night was a success. It was a lot to take in on a Wednesday night, but easy to process at the same time, and the icing on top of the cake – I made it home in time to watch my Cubbies even up the World Series 1-1!

Editor's Note: Jordyn's Cubbies won in Game 7 last night and she couldn't be happier!