Wednesday, March 18, 2009

24 Top Social Media People You Should Know

One of the best things about being a member of PRSA is the generosity of spirit that all members seem to possess. I haven't met a member yet who wouldn't come to the aid of another member with a problem or issue. That must be why I gravitated to this group! It reminds me so much of the song I learned as a Girl Scout years ago, called "Pass it On."

This week, another group with a tremendous generosity of spirit were honored by the Austin American Statesman during the area's premier networking event, SxSW or South by Southwest. The Statesman took nominations for the Lone Star State's top social media figures and called it the Social Media Awards (though many of the honorees suggested jazzier names to the sponsors!).

To say that our state is big is silly -- just look at the real estate on any classroom globe. But to say that our state is big on social media is worth shouting about. Here's a complete list of the honorees and how you can find them. Some were surprising, like Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams' use of social media to keep constituents informed. Or David Guenthner, whose nomination was linked to his in-depth reporting on public policy issues.

It was good to see some familiar faces nominated as well. Kami Watson Huyse, former San Antonio chapter member, and Bryan Person, who recently spoke to the chapter in a professional development seminar were also lauded at the Sunday afternoon event.

Some new people that I will be watching as a result of attending the awards are Michelle Greer, who was the overall winner and was described as the geek's geek and who has also used social media to help raise money for causes. Also, J. R. Cohen, a coffeehouse owner in Houston, has a devoted customer following and a way for them to Tweet their orders in. He, too, has social causes in mind with his social media efforts.

One thread ran through the entire awards presentation: generosity is alive and well and living in social media (and PR!) in Texas. Take some time to learn about these 24 newly famous Texans.