Social media conference teaches lessons Weiner didn’t learn


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Social media experts are meeting at the Wilmington Convention Center this week trying to teach businesses the benefits of the new technology. But as the controversy surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner shows, there are also many risks.

“Your smart phones have a camera on it,” SocialCrush cofounder Kelly Burnette said. “If they are pointed at any part of your personal body that is probably a bad idea. Your face and up, OK.”

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Burnette’s advice is clearly something Weiner, a Democrat from New York, did not follow. The scandal over his sext messages to women across the country is why some public figures avoid social media. New Hanover County Commission Vice Chair Jason Thompson is one of them.

“I don’t put myself out there for any of that stuff,” Thompson said. “There’s just no reason for it. If you want to get in touch with me you can call me, come see me, make an appointment. I don’t really need social media in order to communicate with any of my constituents.”

At the Convention Center the Weiner scandal was a point of conversation, but the point of the SocialCrush conference was to improve business marketing.

The event has many speakers addressing the to do’s and don’ts of these media outlets.

Although there are many risks and dangers involved with the use of social media, experts say the advantages to these tools outweigh the risks, especially when it comes to small businesses.

“The great thing about social media is it levels the playing field for small businesses in our Wilmington community, because they are all free” SayItSocial CEO Ty Downing. “It does take some time and resources, but in the amount of time it takes you to type an email you could also type an engaging post on your Facebook wall.”

After two days at this seminar, experts hope businesses should be able to better utilize social media than Rep. Weiner did.

“The message that we want to give to the people who are at this convention is that social media is a way for you to engage with your consumers to really help them understand and know your business and really communicate with them on a completely different level,” Manobyte social strategist Kevin Dean said.

The conference also includes speeches from social media experts John Yi of Facebook and Ellie Miram of Hubspot.