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Industry leaders discuss bridging the social media skills gap

Event was part of a new speaker series for communication professionals
September 29, 2016

The social media skills gap was one of many topics discussed during the first installment of Talking Points: Exploring the Future of Media and Communications, held Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the Humphrey Forum in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Alex Tan, executive director of digital at Golin, and Matt Rozen, director of social media at Adobe, took center stage to discuss the future of social media, new trends in organizing digital talent and how to keep up in an ever-changing online landscape.

For Tan, he hires a team of specialists who become an expert in their area of work. However, he still believes employees need to have a wide set of abilities and knowledge in identifying trends to be successful.

“It has become really important to have multiple skill sets,” he said.

Rozen agrees that multi-skilled employees are essential in the workplace so they can adapt  to the constantly changing media landscape.

“[Social media] is changing all the time,” Rozen said.

Since Rozen started his career at Adobe, the social media department and the work they do  has greatly changed. Many employees did their own PR and tweeted out their projects when Twitter first launched, creating problems for the department. Now, those duties have been passed over to Rozen and his team, but he still sees basic social media skills as a crucial qualification for all employees.

“Everyone, at this point, needs to be able to write a tweet,” he said.

Ava Beilke was interested in the stark contrast between companies and agencies and the ways their work differ.

“They are so vastly different,” she said. “It’s hard to jump from one to another.”

Arik Hanson, principal of ACH Communication and moderator of the program, said it was encouraging to see a mix of junior and senior level employees.

“[The program] helps them and sparks an idea,” Hanson said.

Hanson drew inspiration for the series from events around Minneapolis regarding the future of advertising. Hanson, however, wanted to focus on the public relations side of the industry and issues not typically discussed.

“Hopefully this will fill that gap,” Hanson said. “They’re not topics you hear about often.”

Talking Points: Exploring the Future of Media and Communications is a quarterly, interactive speaker series focused on future issues facing the media, PR and communications industries. The series is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Journalism Center, University of Minnesota School of Journalism & Mass Communication and ACH Communications.

The next event is set for 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7, in the Humphrey Forum at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.