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UT Social Media Week 2014 #Rocks

2014 Social Media Week Kickoff

Paul Finebaum, ESPN radio personality and commentator, was the keynote presenter at Social Media Week 2014 (SMW).  Leading up to the keynote on the final day, students and faculty participated in a wide range of sessions rich in learning opportunities.  The session presenters represented a broad spectrum of professions and experiences within the social media realm, and they engaged  attendees with thought provoking social media ideas, strategies and challenges. 

Day one kicked off with a proclamation from Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett declaring March 31 – April 3, 2014 as University of Tennessee College of Communication and Information Social Media Week in Knoxville.  The two mayors, along with Mike Cohen of Cohen Communications Group, then answered questions presented by moderator Gene Patterson (BS/JEM ’80), WATE-TV anchor about using social media in the political arena.  The sessions were captured on video including Paul Finebaum’s keynote address. The sessions can be viewed from the CCI video library at The full program listing is available on the CCI website at

Courtney Childers, advertising associate professor led the 2014 UTSMW Program Planning Committee team of: Suzie Allard, Megan Fields, Nick Geidner, John McNair, Mike Wiseman, Patrick Powell, Karen Robinette, Donna Silvey and Sharon Toedte.  Some of the week’s highlights include:  

  • 14 classes served as official “anchor classes” for the week. Students from 22 different CCI classes attended at least one session. Students and faculty members from three other UT colleges also attended.
  • 26 social media experts participated as panelists; 11 were UT alums (including 15 from outside of Knoxville).
  • Total attendance across the Week’s events was over 700. 
  • UTSMW had a total of 323 likes on Facebook and 119 followers on Instagram. Twitter was the most successful UTSMW platform, with 898 followers of @utsmw on Twitter, an increase from 342 at the start of the week. Engagement reports show @utsmw and the event hashtag #utsmw generated well over 640 mentions on twitter.
  • UTSMW was a featured story each night between March 31 and April 3 on WATE News (6 pm and 11 pm broadcasts).
  • Daily website stories ran for UTSMW on during the week.
  • A story about UTSMW keynote speaker, Paul Finebaum, was published on on April 2, 2014 and on several Finebaum affiliated blogs on April 3, 2014.
  • UTSMW was featured as a front-page story in The Daily Beacon on March 31 and April 3, 2014.
  • provided strong event coverage throughout the week.
  • Coverage about and promotion for UTSMW was also provided via WUTK.
  • UTSMW 2014 was made possible through funding from CCI alumnus Ed Patterson. Additional sponsors of the week included Calhoun’s, Coca Cola, and WATE-TV.

Nick Bowman, assistant professor of communication studies at West Virginia University was one of the session panelists.  He also attended several other sessions over the course of SMW and had his class participate by viewing the video streamed sessions.  “To be frank, UTSMW was by far one of the best small conferences … I’ve ever attended, with an incredibly rich mix of perspectives from industry, government and the academy. I was remarkably inspired and energized by the discussions at #UTSMW,” said Bowman.