We started a little informal gathering we dubbed “PR 3.0” back in 2009 as a way to stay up to date on the latest social networking trends. PR and communications were changing rapidly so we assigned staff members specific areas of study so they could educate the rest of the team at the weekly get-together. In the beginning we religiously monitored Facebook, Twitter, social apps like Four Square, SEO and video. We held our meetings every Thursday at 4pm over drinks in our office or at a cool spot with wi-fi. We started inviting peers and clients and anyone who was interested, and the gatherings evolved.
Four years in social network time is like 40 human years. Changes in social networks are happening daily and the list of social networks worth paying attention to has grown substantially. Our jobs as communicators are increasingly more complicated with so many challenges to take stock in, while traditional media outlets shrink, and catching the attention of overburdened reporters becomes an Olympic-sized challenge.
We recently realized the name for the group was dated when a 17-year-old high school student came to our office for an informational interview to learn more about PR. She asked what 3.0 referred to. She had never heard of Web 2.0. The name hadn’t been cool for years. We must have looked like dinosaurs.
We decided then to give our PR 3.0 meetings a makeover. With the addition of new team members, new interests, new strategy, and tactics and technology making waves in our industry, we began the search for a name that fully encapsulates this wild industry (and sounds professional enough so that our colleagues from other companies can talk their bosses into attending). After several failed attempts at witticisms, a visitor named Brie Shea suggested the name “Speakeasy.” Perfect.
So, there you have it. We’ll be hosting Speakeasy gatherings twice a month.
We’ll try once a month to have a special honored guest we think is extra smart about a topic. Kelli Matthews, University of Oregon’s most popular PR instructor, has already agreed to make a special trip up for one to talk about what she’s teaching the next generation of PR pros. Our next Speakeasy gathering is planned for September 19, 2013 in our office. We’ll have some adult beverages on hand to get your big thoughts flowing. Who knows what could be happening in communications three weeks from now? If you can predict it, you’ll win.