Social media is a force that is reshaping not only the way that people are interacting with each other, but how businesses are interacting with their customers. It is no surprise that it was the topic of Facebook co-founder, Chris Hughes’, keynote speech and the central topic of the 41st Annual Regents Business Symposium, which was postponed for a month by Superstorm Sandy.
The Regents Business Symposium is a considerably large, annual event organized by the Saint Peter’s Board of Regents to hold forums concerning topics of business. These forums are designed for audiences involving people of many backgrounds and it also serves as a networking opportunity for Saint Peter’s students. This year, students, business people, and faculty crammed the Manhattan Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency to learn about social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, which have revolutionized how both big and small businesses conduct their affairs in a society dominated by the Internet.
The speakers presenting along with Hughes were Patton Boggs LLP’s Elissa J. Glashand, marketing strategist David Meerman Scott, and host of MSNC’s Your Business and co-founder of GoodSearch.com JJ Ramberg. Ernabel Demillo, current Journalism Professor at Saint Peter’s University and a former host of Good Day New York, served as moderator for the event.
Hughes delivered the keynote presentation entitled “Social Business: It’s More Than Just Facebook.” In his speech, Hughes discussed the development of Facebook and the dramatic inaccuracies represented in the box office smash hit ‘The Social Network’ released in 2010. He also talked about how the social media site he created with Mark Zuckerberg and his other friends at Harvard was a project of great ambition and a simple, yet revolutionary idea that changed interaction on the internet to how we know it today.
“I characterize it as the second most important revolution in human communications ever,” said Scott, who has 10 years of studying social media to back him up. “The first most important was 547 years ago with invention of the printing press.”
JJ Ramberg, an expert in small business, finds social media to be an “incredibly important” element in any businesses plan to succeed. “If people aren’t using it then they should take the time to learn how they can effectively use it,” he said. “I think it’s here to stay.”
Along with discussing the biggest of the social media websites, less popular and untapped networks, like Tumblr and Pinterest, were also brought up.
“I felt like the theme has been done before,” said sophomore, Stephen Kenny. “But noticing who the speakers were and then coming to (event), my thought was reaffirmed that it was going to be a really in-depth, really mature look at it.”
Following the theme of the event, there were volunteer tweeters walking around with iPads that could help spectators at the event ask Chris Hughes and other featured panelists questions via Twitter and the hashtag “#RBS41.”
Law firm Patton Boggs and United Way of Hudson County were among the dozens of sponsors for the event.