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TSU’s School of Communication Conference Goes Viral

Texas Southern University’s School of Communication went viral as the global community joined in on its live 32nd Annual Intercultural Communication Conference that featured music moguls, noted journalists, scholars, a Hollywood actress and the advertising guru who created Oprah’s car-giveaway campaign.

“The week-long conference helped us learn and understand why it is important for students and the community at large to be social media savvy and actively engaged, “ said Dr. Chris Ulasi, chairperson of the TSU ‘CommWeek’ 2013 committee. “We are increasingly affected on so many levels in our daily lives by messages disseminated through the vast array of social media platforms,” Ulasi added.

The conference ran April 15-19; however, by April 17, at exactly 5:01p.m. (CST), the entire world was raving about the university in Texas that was defining the impact of social media across cultures, multiple professions and real-time interaction. Nearly 2,000 tweets, 282 photos, 442 links, a live blog and webcast sealed the school’s conference as a global trendsetter.

 “We got #TSUSMC13 trending!” tweeted Senora Harris. “Journalism day at #TSUCommWeek was awesome.”

#TSUSMC13, short for Texas Southern University Social Media Conference 2013, and #TSUCommWeek, short for Texas Southern University Communication Week, were hashtags used on the social media networks Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Vine to group virtual discussions.

Mathew Knowles, adjunct professor of communications, music magnate and former manager of Beyonce and Destiny’s Child, said while social media networks are powerful instruments, it takes a certain skill set to be successful in any endeavor.”

Roland Martin, multiplatform journalist of TV One, is known for thinking outside of the box. The Houston native has over half a million followers on his social network platforms, has millions of hits on his YouTube channel and has appeared on television and cable networks across the globe to discuss timely topics.

“This [social media] is the world wide town hall,” said Martin simultaneously via /, Google Hangout and LiveStream. “At the end of the day, the gatekeepers no longer control access to information.”

Tatyana Ali, the actress best known from the Fresh Prince of Bellaire, said she used social media as a mobilizing tool when she supported President Obama’s 2012 re-election bid.

 “There’s a sense of responsibility [you feel] when you see a leader willing to lead,” said Ali across the school’s global platforms.

Larry Woodard, President of Graham Stanley Advertising, is an ‘advertising genius.’ Woodard was the mastermind behind Oprah’s 2004 car give-away. He said it takes hard work and ingenuity to succeed in a career. He convinced General Motors that Oprah would be more powerful than any ad campaign to pitch the Pontiac G6 towards it targeted audience, which was women.

Other highlights of the week included presentations from scholars from across the nation who presented at the 32nd Annual Intercultural Communication Conference. Their presentations addressed social media’s impact culturally, politically, socially, and economically. TSU students also decoded social media’s effects on pop culture.

A panel of radio heavy weights said social media and syndication have had far reaching effects on their medium.  Some of the panelists said syndication has been very bad for local markets because it has cut them out of being employed. Internet start-up creators Misha Leybovich and Wayne Sutton said the tech-route has been their road for employment.

African-Americans have created only one percent of Internet businesses.  They encouraged the audience to seriously consider entrepreneurship.

 The week rounded off with a student film festival Friday featuring three student films and a Hollywood limited released feature titled Holla II. The student’s films demonstrated impressive potential, production value, and were well received by the audience. “This makes me so emotional,” said RTF Professor Tyrone Dixon as tears streamed down his face. “You guys [student filmmakers] are just amazing.”

A jazz festival was held outside on the MLK building plaza featuring some of Houston’s noted jazz musicians.

The Dean’s Stellar Scholarship Awards ceremony was held Friday evening to honor faculty, student and community accomplishments.

“This has been an impressive week and you have done a stellar job showcasing the great things we do here at Texas Southern University,” said School of Communication Dean, Dr. James Ward.

For more on about Communication Week, go to




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