IMC faculty, students take part in Social Media Week

IMC faculty and students took part in Social Media Week for the second year in a row, presenting research and explaining how social media can spawn social action.

Social Media Week (SMW) is a biannual series of talks and events that showcase trends and new ideas in online communication. Around the globe, eight cities hosted the September 2013 series.  In February 2014, 13 different cities will host the next SMW series.

On Thursday, Sept. 26, Medill took part in two discussions at the McCormick Tribune Center. The first, “How negative is negative word-of-mouth?,” featured IMC Professor Ed Malthouse and Research Associate Su Jung Kim on the subject of how social media affects customer purchases.

Kim and Malthouse’s study, created in conjunction with the Medill IMC Spiegel Digital & Database Research Initiative, indicates that when brands stay out of the online discourse among angry customers, the brands suffer.

“You should actively participate in the public forum and show that you care,” Kim said.  “People who experience intense emotions, they are more likely to decrease their purchase behaviors.”

The second discussion, led by a team of IMC students, explored the topic of “Not Social Media, Social Action” with Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Davidoff. campaigns to bring an end to extreme poverty and death by preventable disease.

“Weirdly enough, a big part of the fight against extreme poverty is literally an integrated marketing challenge,” Davidoff said.

Medill’s Social Media Manager Marc Zarefsky also took part in SMW as a member of the panel for the discussion “Building (and managing) a social media all-star team: college edition.”

In 2012, Medill hosted three SMW events: “Using Facebook and Google+ to Engage Prospective Students,” “Research Proves Social Media Engagement’s Link to Purchase Behavior” and “Big Data and Social Analytics: Voxsup’s ABC Approach.”

“Social Media Week is a leading media platform and worldwide event,” said Tom Collinger, executive director of the Spiegel Research Initiative.

“Because of the shift we're experiencing and the changes happening in our lives, society, culture and business, our mission is to capture, curate and share the most meaningful ideas, trends, and best practices with regard to technology and social media's impact on business, society and culture.”

All events are available for viewing on