Ed Nicholson of Tyson Foods Talks Social Media Before BlogWell Conference

Tyson Twitters

Tyson Twitters

I signed on with Twitter waaay back in March 2007. Back then, the Arkansas Twittersphere was a sleepy little town of early adopters who — let’s be honest, folks — really didn’t know what the heck they were getting into.

But more Arkansas Tweeters arrived. And among the first “big” local entities I noticed aggressively using Twitter was Tyson Foods, the meat processing giant headquartered in Springdale. And the man behind that effort was — and remains — Ed Nicholson, Tyson’s director of community and public relations.

Nicholson had been using blogs to further Tyson’s hunger-relief goals nationwide, and Twitter was another tool he decided to put in his media toolkit. Today, Tyson Foods’ Twitter account is a crucial rallying point for the publicly traded firm’s food donation efforts throughout the country.

Next week, Nicholson is among the speakers at the BlogWell conference in New York, which will be attended by some of the nation’s biggest companies. At BlogWell, they’ll talk social media by sharing best practices and examining case studies. Nicholson is scheduled to be one of the speakers.

Earlier this week, Nicholson spoke to SmartBlog about his social media efforts and shared some advice for other groups looking to dip a toe in the water to promote philanthropic goals:

First off, get to know the media.  Participate and engage yourself; don’t depend on your agency to do it all for you. If you want to be perceived as a thought leader within philanthropic issues, you can’t do it by proxy. Don’t assume the community is going to come to you. Sometimes you have to be the one who initiates the connections and the conversation.

Social media tools should be used in the context of well-constructed overall communications strategy. Use your communications resources to add value, not simply to broadcast your key messages. Talk about the issue or challenge. Point the spotlight to people outside your company who are doing great work. You’ll look better in reflected light.

Much more with Nicholson here.

And you can follow Nicholson/Tyson Foods on Twitter here.

A Nice Day at the University of Arkansas at Monticello

The music hall at UA Monticello

The music hall at UA Monticello

It was a great day to take a drive to southeast Arkansas and speak to journalism students attending the Arkansas College Media Advisors conference at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Thanks to Dr. Ronald Sitton at the School of Arts and Humanities for inviting me to talk about print and broadcasting journalism and how it’s all coming together on the Web.

Also on the day’s roster: Kelly Kissel, new editor for the Associated Press in Arkansas, who talked about breaking news online; Arkansas Free Press editor and publisher Dotty Oliver, who talked desktop publishing and multimedia; activist and former gubernatorial candidate Rod Bryan, who spoke on covering and influencing state government via his various Web initiatives, including the Arkansas Conservation Alliance and Anthro.tv; and news photographer Liberty Parks (a former Arkansas Business intern), who talked about photography in a wired world.

And there was much more — too much, in fact, to list here. Hopefully, students got a sense of the possibilities that exist in journalism, despite all the gloom and doom of layoffs, newspaper cutbacks and closings and general uncertainty about the future of what we do.


Star City

Tweets from the road

Hello, Monticello Twitter Geeks!

Apparently, I wasn’t the only traveling

Speaking on Broadcast Convergence at the Arkansas College Media Advisors Conference



Blogging will be light today as I head to beautiful Monticello to speak about broadcast convergence and journalism at the Arkansas College Media Advisors conference at UAM.

Having never been to UAM, I’m looking forward to it. And, while I’m not the greatest presenter in the world, it’s always fun to speak to a room full of students who’ll soon be “boots on the ground” in remaking how journalism is done as the industry continues to work through its myriad changes and challenges.

It might be tough out there right now, but I remain positive about the new opportunities all this upheaval will leave in its wake.

Check back for my notes and handouts from today’s presentation.