The beginning of last week was an educational whirlwind for me while I was at the 2008 Public Relations Society of America International conference in Detroit. I engaged in many sessions, met a ton of new people and felt inspired and motivated by the keynote speakers (let’s just say it was money well spent). Over the next while, I’ll be recapping my time in Detroit. Whether it is posts highlighting major take-aways from the presentation or putting my two cents in about a speech, you’ll get an inside look at what you missed (and perhaps be motivated to attend in San Diego next year).

For now I’ll give you an overall synopsis of what I really got out of the conference and what I see in the year ahead for those of us in the social media, public relations and communications industries.

This year’s theme, The Point of Connection, couldn’t have been more appropriate. Throughout my time there I saw the point of connection being illustrated as the point where change becomes mainstream and turns into action. I see 2009 as a revolutionary year filled with many accomplishments and changes in perceptions. Here’s where I started to make that connection:

  • Craig Newmark from CraigsList.org is proof that nice is the new black. His keynote proved that a strong focus on community is where it’s at; it’s not only more rewarding than a focus on ROI but also is a financially sustainable business model.
  • Calling what a PR practitioner does as ‘spin’ is usually considered suicide, especially when done 40 times in a room full of 3000 PR practitioners. However, Penelope Trunk’s keynote proved that your perception is reality and we have the ability and the opportunity to change perception.
  • The communications profession hasn’t experience such a drastic change since the invention of the TV. Common sense and old rules apply but social media techniques allow us to communicate in different ways. We need to learn to optimize the way we communicate and be flexible to that change.

And finally…

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