I have been in Chicago these past few days for a communications conference – this has been one I have attended a few times over the years. The first one I did was back in 2010 when I was still a doctoral student.
However, the other times I have attended this conference I had presented research, but that was not the case this time. I did not present research at NCA this year. However, I had the opportunity to be a respondent for the social media and PR panel on Thursday in Chicago. The research that was presented in this section cut across all aspects of PR – from restaurants to NGOs to emergency management to stakeholder engagement measurement.
The level of research that is being conducted now in the field is both relevant and inspiring. It was great to be able to read these papers and respond with some initial comments to the audience. It was a full house!
The social media presence was felt as well at the conference. The PRD for NCA was active on Twitter sharing updates, insights, and comments from the presentations. Sarah VanSlette was in charge of the engagement we saw at the conference and did a tremendous job! As someone who has live tweeted, managed multiple accounts, and covered various panel sessions on social media for conferences like AEJMC, I know the amount of energy it takes to do this and Sarah has done this extremely well. The NCA PRD is super fortunate to have an engaging, hard working, and innovative professor and professional managing social media for the PRD. Well done, Sarah!
Another great thing about conferences is you get a chance to see fellow professors, mentors, and friends at the conference as well. It was great not only catching up on what everyone was doing – but checking in to see how they were doing outside of work. Some of these professors I have known for almost ten years, and then there are others I got to finally meet in person after years of corresponding on social media.
It was also fun to see graduate students who are now professors and being referred to as “Dr. So and So.” This last part made me realize it has been three years (going on four) since I was in their position. Time has certainly flown by when you’ve been busy!
Overall, even though it has been a short trip to Chicago for me, it was well worth it. I feel energized, excited, and inspired by the conversations and research I have heard these past few days. I also feel the field is in good hands with the graduate students who are entering the workplace and the professors who are mentoring them.
If you are interested in finding out more about the NCA PR Division, make sure to follow them on Twitter at @PRprofs and save the date for the conference next year in Las Vegas.
Safe travels everyone from Chicago and I wish you all a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving.