The Western Region Leadership Conference was extremely innovative in more ways than one. A new addition to this conference was the opportunity for members and State Officers from the Western Region to participate in a “Social Media Internship”. These interns plus one mentor were charged with using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and the getdeca.org blog to optimize the experience for members attending WRLC, while also helping the members who were unable to attend the conference still get some of the conference experience. Through an application process, 10 interns were selected: Saurabh Mahajan from Oregon, Brittany Lucero from Arizona, Victoria Cana from Nevada, Ross Snyder from Arizona, Kavya Methukupally from California, Dallas Davis from New Mexico, Tyler Dyer from Washington, Kyungna Kim from California, Vincent Velez from Arizona, and Ling Zeng from California. These interns were mentored by Jonathan Block, a Communications Consultant for Accenture, a Fortune 500 company, that coaches top military officials on how to best communicate with the use of technology. Mr. Block also served as the Assistant Press Secretary for former First Lady Laura Bush, and traveled all across the country as an Image Consultant for the 2008 McCain-Palin Presidential Campaign. By live blogging and live tweeting workshop sessions and panels, interviewing conference attendees, and creating videos that were uploaded onto social media outlets, the team was able to successfully enhance the experience of attendees, and convey the conference experience to members back home, all while obtaining real world experience in the field of social media and public relations. This was an experience that is priceless on any resume, and one that can hopefully be adapted by other CTSO conferences throughout the nation.
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