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A Look Back at 2019 UT Social Media Week

Leo MorejonMore than 420 students attended panels at the eighth annual UT Social Media Week, which was held February 26-28 in CCI’s Scripps Lab Theater and Patrick Auditorium. #UTSMW2019 also generated 59,000 impressions and over 2,000 engagements on Twitter over a two-week period.

This year’s event featured 21 guest speakers over eight sessions, including one that involved a hands-on workshop. Eight CCI classes served as official anchor classes with 14 total classes attending. Topics ranged from incivility and politics on social media to the business of running social media accounts for companies and events, to social marketing and influencers.

Leo Morejon, an adjunct instructor at West Virginia University, served as the spotlight speaker at this year’s event. His presentation focused on the much-hyped and failed work of Fyre Media, “The Fyre Festival—They Couldn’t Even Spell Fire Correctly.”

The Fyre Festival was a 2017 “luxury music festival” founded by Billy McFarland, CEO of Fyre Media Inc., and rapper Ja Rule. It was heavily promoted by celebrities who are social media influencers. The festival ended up being indefinitely postponed, and the organizers have been sued multiple times.

This year, documentaries on Hulu and Netflix have rekindled conversations about the festival fiasco.

Morejon said he sees teaching lessons in the festival’s marketing.

“The Fyre Festival has brought a lot of attention to influencer marketing and online marketing in general—and not all of it good,” Morejon said. “As a marketer, I want to shed light on the positive side of things and give people a different perspective for them to think about.” UTSMW19

Morejon is an award-winning sales leader, speaker, content creator, and educator known for his work as a pioneer in real-time social media including the Oreo Super Bowl blackout tweet and a campaign for the most likes on Facebook in a 24-hour period. After his presentation on the Fyre Festival and the importance of being honest with consumers on social platforms, he fielded questions from students about social marketing trends and platforms.

UT Social Media Week was made possible through the generous financial support of Dan and Melanie Peterson (pictured right with UT Social Media Week student ambassadors). CCI’s four schools sponsored at least one session, as did the Ad Club and the UT chapter of PRSSA. A summary of UTSMW 2019 sessions and speakers is provided below.


Session Topics and Speakers

Session 1 – “I’m Right, you’re wrong—you stupid jerk.” Incivility toward Journalists on Social Media

Speakers: Jack Lail, Heather Harrington, Mark Harmon


Session 2 – Getting Social @ AC Entertainment

Speakers: Rhett Talbert, Luna Brewer, Emily Harenza


Session 3 – The Role of Social Media in an Evolving Political Landscape

Speaker: Michael Sullivan


Session 4 – Social Media: Nurturing Connections with Retargeting

Speaker & Workshop Leader: Joe Pecor


Session 5 – Library, Museum, and Science Organizations Social Media Innovators Panel

Speakers: Mary Pom Claiborne, Zack Plaster, Jenny Woodbery, Sarah Zimmerman


Session 6 – MELT Culinary: Social Media Influencers in the Age of Sports

Speakers: Jenna Cook, Tristan Watson, Snigdha Dhar


Session 7 – Influencing Tennessee: The Life of a Social Media Influencer

Speaker: Marianne Canada


Session 8 – The Fyre Festival – They Couldn’t Even Spell Fire Correctly

Speaker: Leo Morejon