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UT Social Media Week 2016


UT Social Media Week, March 28-31, 2016 proved to be the most interactive in the event’s five-year history. Over 700 students and faculty attended the week’s events. On Twitter at #UTSMW16, a series of tweets provide highlights of the week from the perspective of students, faculty, staff and presenters.

Panel discussion topics included social media and: politics, crisis communication, music and entertainment, sports and business, while local and national experts led workshops that gave students hands-on experience with online crisis management and content creation. Many of the panelists also provided students with tips and recommendations on how to best take advantage of opportunities while still in school and how to land their dream job once they graduate. The details about each session along with biographical sketches of the panelists and their social media handles can be found at

Social media professionals, many of whom were CCI alumni, from ESPN, Scripps Networks Interactive, the Los Angeles Rams, Buzzfeed, Politico, Jupiter Entertainment, The Brunswick Group, New Heartland Group and Publicis One Team NYC, etc., shared their expertise throughout the week.

“Social Media Week brought leading experts to campus from today’s digital world to help our students and faculty keep up with the rapidly changing landscape of social media,” said Courtney Childers, event organizer and associate professor of advertising and public relations. “The insights provided by these experts will inspire our students to work hard to develop their skills and expertise as they prepare themselves to become working professionals.”

Some specific numbers about the week that I think you will find interesting include the following.

  • reported that on Twitter alone “utsmw” reached 137,556 accounts and generated 220,778 impressions. The special event hashtag “utsmw16” reached 119,546 accounts and garnered 182,826 impressions.
  • 12 classes served as official “anchor classes” for the week, including one class from the Haslam College of Business. Students from at least 20 classes across campus attended the event. Thanks to everyone who brought their classes to the sessions!
  • 24 social media experts participated as speakers, moderators or panelists; 13 were UT alums and participants came to Knoxville from across the U.S. (from Dallas, Austin, New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Indiana).
  • Total in person attendance across the Week’s events equaled 739+.
  • Sessions were streamed live and will be archived in the near future at

In addition to the week’s panels and workshops, “The Sports Animal” broadcast live from the College of Communication and Information on Wednesday morning, and, on Thursday, the newly opened Adam Brown Social Media Command Center held an open house to provide attendees with an overview of the center’s capabilities. The most advanced of its kind at a university, the command center is being named for Salesforce Executive Strategist Adam Brown (BS/ADV ’94 and CCI Board of Visitors member).  Brown, who served as the keynote speaker for this year’s Social Media Week, provided the lead financial gift for the Command Center, and he played a major role in its visioning and creation.

Social Media Week was founded in 2011 when Ed Patterson (BS/PR ’89 and CCI Emeritus BOV member) recognized the need to bring real-world social media professionals to UT to better prepare students, faculty and staff to succeed in an increasingly digital world. Since then, Patterson and Brown have generously served as primary financial sponsors for the event. Other sponsors of this year event included: Insomnia Cookies, Moe’s Southwest Grill and WATE-TV. A full program line-up can be found at


Article By: Donna Silvey

CCI Circle Park News