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UT’s Social Media Week kicks off Monday and will be the most interactive in the event’s five-year history.

Panel discussion topics will include politics, crisis, entertainment and business, while local and national experts will lead workshops that will give students hands-on experience with online crisis management and content creation.

Participating professionals, many of whom are alumni, represent organizations including ESPN, Scripps Networks Interactive, the Los Angeles Rams, Buzzfeed, Politico, Jupiter Entertainment, The Brunswick Group, New Heartland Group and Publicis One Team NYC.

“Social Media Week brings today’s digital world to campus to benefit our students, who will soon be working in that world, and our faculty who help prepare students for succeeding in that world,” said Courtney Childers, event organizer and associate professor of advertising.

Social Media Week organizers invite other members of the UT and Knoxville community to attend the week’s events to hear professionals share valuable insights about how social media influence their jobs and businesses.

In addition to panels and trainings, “The Sports Animal” will broadcast live from the College of Communication and Information Wednesday morning. Attendees will get a sneak peek Thursday at the new Adam Brown Social Media Command Center. The only one of its kind at a university, the command center will be named for advertising alumnus Adam Brown, executive strategist for Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. Brown, who is also Social Media Week’s keynote speaker, made a generous financial gift and provided assistance in gaining access for UT faculty and students to Salesforce’s cutting-edge Social Studio software for teaching and research.

Panel titles and speakers include:

  • “A Newsfeed Divided: How the Digital Revolution Is Changing Our Politics,” Laura Brown, Politico
  • “Empowered Audiences: How Digital and the Grassroots Voices Have Changed Corporate Communications,” Mark Palmer, The Brunswick Group
  • “Branded Social Media: An Introductory Crash Course,” Andrew Vollmer, Publicis OneTeam NYC
  • “Music, Murder, and Entertainment: How to Kill It in Social Media,” Mike McCloud, (BS/JEM ’90) World Food Championships, Paul Jankowski, (BS/AD ’89) New Heartland Group, Deborah Allen, Jupiter Entertainment, and local singer-songwriter Erick Baker (BS/PR ’01)

Social Media Week was founded in 2011 after Brown and fellow alumnus Ed Patterson recognized the need to bring real-world professionals to UT to better prepare students, faculty and staff to succeed in an increasingly digital world. Since then, they have generously served as primary financial sponsors for the event. Other sponsors this year include Insomnia Cookies and WATE.

Most workshops are held in the Scripps Lab in the Communications Building. Specific locations, times and details can be found online.


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,