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Pacific Northwest explores social media’s impact

Wednesday, May 22, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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More than 50 Network of Executive Women members learned to leverage social media for professional advantage at the NEW Pacific Northwest spring networking event, May 16, 2013 in Bellevue, Wash.

Ashley Brown, director, digital communications and social media at The Coca-Cola Company; Libby Catalinich, director, corporate communications at REI; Brooke Angles, principal and founder of Admosis Media; and Katie Ryan, reporter, employee communications at Costco Wholesale Corporation, shared their experiences and knowledge of social media and its impact on women in today's workplace.

Women lead the "social media charge,” as Twitter users are 64 percent female, according to discussion moderator NEW Pacific Northwest Co-Chair Programs Gillian Crossan, director, strategic relationship management for Deloitte. Individuals spend an average of 12 hours a week on social media, she noted.

Women’s involvement in social media translates to a unique sphere of influence, panelists noted.

View event photo album on Facebook

Catalinich said she uses social media daily "for issue management or idea generation.” REI’s mobile website, she noted, allows employees to engage regularly. "We’ve had it for about a year,” she said. "They can speak to each other and we can make announcements before the news goes public. There is credibility that comes from one-on-one employee conversations, more so than hearing just from the leadership.”

"Employee-to-employee communication through social media is huge,” Ryan agreed, praising its impact on companies exercising strong ethical philosophies with employees who become the organization’s advocates.

Despite its benefits, social media as an employee communication tool has yet to be embraced by many companies. The challenge is "figuring how to take all of the feedback and information and make all of it useful and relevant,” Angles said.

Angles also spoke to managing a personal brand through social media, saying she has become more selective in what she talks about as her social media circles include more colleagues and business connections.

Social media is relevant across generations, Brown said. "Generations Y and Z get 90 percent of their news from digital and 10 percent from paper,” she said, adding companies need to rethink internal communication for the digital age. 

(From left) Event panelists Libby Catalinich of REI, Ashley Brown of The
Coca-Cola Company, Katie Ryan of Costco and Brooke Angles of Admosis Media
join NEW Pacific Northwest Co-Chair Programs Gillian Crossan of Deloitte,
who moderated the discussion on the the impact of social media in the workplace.

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