Social Media Expert Lon Safko Speaks To University of Tennessee Social Media Class


At 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, March 22, as many students sat dozing or paying half-hearted attention to their professors, an especially lucky group of students in Advertising 490 sat excitedly awaiting a video call from a special guest. This special guest took time out of an extrememly hectic schedule to volunteer to share his social media expertise via a Skype video call from Arizona at 5:30 a.m. his time.This social media expert was none other than the highly esteemed author of The Social Media Bible, Mr. Lon Safko.

Mr. Safko was very enthusiastic, humorous and informative in his presentation and the entire class greatly enjoyed it. This post, however, isn’t just a way for me to brag about how blessed I was to have this opportunity. Instead I would like to share with you five of the most interesting thoughts and ideas I took away from Mr. Safko’s presentation.

1. The Importance of the Social Media Trinity

In the second edition of The Social Media Bible, Mr. Safko states that “if you understand the Social Media       Trinity, you will have a good understanding of 90 percent of everything you need to be successful using             social media in your marketing strategy.  While Twitter is great for quick timely updates and Facebook is a       wonderful way to connect with your community, I have been learning this semester that blogging is a very         essential element of the trinity because it hosts the content that you will refer to primarily from other social       media sites and performs many other functions that we don’t even consider at first. All in all, I believe the           blog is the glue that ties it all together. Mr. Safko shared with us a story of Bil Marriott, of Marriott Hotels,         who blogs each week because he sees the importance of interacting on social media. While Mr. Marriott         has never turned on a computer, he comes up with what he wants to say and has his secretary actually type     and publish the blog post.

2. Second Life Isn’t A Game

While I’ve never been one to engage in virtual worlds, I have learned a good bit about them in class this             semester. I did not, however, realize the implications of how useful such a technology could be. Mr. Safko         shared a wonderful story with us Tuesday morning about how he was the first person to interview a CEO in   Second Life. Watch below to check out Mr. Safko’s interview with Mark Kingdon, former CEO of Second Life.

This interview shows that there are definetely a plethera of possibilities of how virtual worlds can be used. It is   yet to be seen, however, how long it will take for people to become comfortable using these virtual worlds for     businesses. Several major companies are already taking a proactive approach to building a presence in virtual   worlds and other new outlets such as gaming. Most likely, we will see great growth in these areas in the near   future.

3. Take Personal Branding Seriously

When we Skyped with Mr. Safko, there was an image of his book in the background. Images of his book as       well as his logo for Extreme Digital Marketing, as well as his website and other information are also                   embedded into his presentation. The examples he uses are from his personal social media usage. In Second     Life, you will notice that Mr. Safko’s book appears in a prominent location throughout the interview. If you visit   Mr. Safko’s website, you will see that there is a visible connection between colors and fonts used on the book   and colors and fonts used on Mr. Safko’s personal site. Mr. Safko tweets advice and tips from his                     presentations and his book to share social media insights with his followers. Since we recently studied             personal branding in class, it was very interesting to see how this was done by a social media expert.

4. Interact and Share With Your Community

Mr. Safko is very generous with sharing his insight and advice with others in the social media community.         Not only did he volunteer to present for our class, but he did so by commenting on one of my fellow                   classmates blog posts. This shows that Mr. Safko is very involved in monitoring and participating in                   conversations that relate to the Social Media Bible and to social media in general. Also, Mr. Safko uses HootSuite to publish tweets frequently and share information about social media with his followers. He also has a site on vimeo where you can find portions of his keynote presentations. Below is a portion of the       keynote presentation that Mr. Safko used when presenting to us on Tuesday.

By actively engaging with his audience, Mr. Safko can help promote his book, but also establish himself as       an expert as specialist (via Klout) in the field of social media.

5. Social Media Provides Strong Connections

Who would have thought that I would ever be able to hear a keynote address by the esteemed author of our       textbook, especially in a small audience setting at my own school via social media? I am referncing The           Social Media Bible in my master’s thesis because of it’s easy to understand descriptions of many social           media outlets. I was ecstatic to learn that the author of the one textbook in my college career that I                   voluntarily read from cover-to-cover was actually willing to wake up at 5 a.m. to speak to our class, due to a       post that one of my fellow classmates made. It shows us how remarkable things can happen with social           media.

Mr. Safko also talked about how social media can provide us with so many amazing connections. Mr. Safko     was trying to interview Mark Kingdon of Second Life, but had trouble getting in touch with the busy CEO. As       a last try, Mr. Safko mentioned his need for an interview to his friend Doug. Doug passed it on to a good             friend of his, Greg, who happened to be the best man in Mr. Kingdon’s wedding.  Greg talked to Mr. Kingdon     and within 30 minutes, Mr. Kingdon was getting in touch with Mr. Safko.

Social media provides endless opportunities for networking, making contacts and staying in touch with old         friends, professors, and co-workers. It is our job, however, to work to make those connections. As Mr. Safko     said, “If you want to win the game, you have to be in the game”.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed the presentation and learned a great deal about social media. I would strongly suggest that anyone who is interested in learning about social media purchase a copy of The Social Media Bible and read it. The very ready friendly content is very beneficial to helping you learn about social media, whether you are a newbie looking for a dummies guide to social media or a professional trying to learn how to utilize social media for your business. Once again, thanks to Mr. Safko for taking the time out of his extremely busy schedule to speak for us. I, for one, was greatly honored by and highly appreciative of the gesture.


4 thoughts on “Social Media Expert Lon Safko Speaks To University of Tennessee Social Media Class

    • Thanks Nicole! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I also appreciate you connecting us with Mr. Safko! For a newbie, you are becoming an awesome blogger!


  1. Hello Nicole,
    WOW! Very nicely done! What a great blog!
    It has great content and good take-aways. It also has a LOT of rich media, videos and images, which keeps it interesting and adds more value to the reader.
    I am very glad to have met you and trust me… You are going to go very far!
    -Lon Safko, author of The Social Media Bible

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