Social media meets social advocacy


Photo Courtesy of Oakland University

This is an event flier from the most recent public relations event. Discussions focused on the most effective ways to use social media.

With the world being mostly online nowadays, Oakland University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) held an event for Social Media for Social Advocacy to help students in PR better understand their social media presence. 

PRSSA’s main focus is to help students in public relations find resources that will be helpful outside of class. This event was aimed at giving attending students more knowledge about PR in the real world. 

“Seeing what is going on in our society right now, we don’t just want it to be an event about PR,” Chiaoning Su, assistant professor and faculty advisor for PRSSA said. “We want to make it an event that also addresses the ongoing social issues. That’s why we want to combine the promotion aspect of PR with social advocacy.”

Some other points this event focused on included, understanding the growing multicultural market within the United States. Su had many students from her PR classes, she hopes that after this event they realize they need to develop a sensitivity to diversity to better serve their consumer’s needs.

“I hope they are inspired to think about how to use social media platforms for social advocacy,” Su said. “Like how do you not just use this to promote a brand or a product, but a social cause as well.”

The guest speaker for the first event was Lydia Michael because she has an expertise in multicultural marketing with her company, Blended Collective

“I really wanted it to be something that is about PR but also social awareness,” Su said. “So I thought Lydia’s background in multicultural marketing would be really good for this event where we wanted to simultaneously show PR and diversity.”

Michael studied marketing management at Wayne State. While she was there, she had an internship with the Detroit Jazz Festival, which led her to a full-time job in the music and entertainment industry. 

“I put aside the master’s degree and all the ideas that I had upon graduation and just kind of spent that time in that space for five to six years,” Michael said. “That’s really when that cultural passion was a part of my job.”

After that Michael moved back to her home, Germany, and she hosted a program there, working with people from different cultural backgrounds again. 

“Coming out of school, you think, or say to yourself, I really need some more experience,” Michael said. “When really, you’re ready for whatever it is that you want to do.”

Students were able to ask Michael questions they had about social media and PR balancing together, and she discussed how to develop a presence on social media. She also discussed being aware of what is being produced online and understanding the global context of it.

PRSSA will be continuing their guest speaker events throughout the year. The next event will be on Nov. 24 and focus on how to get a PR job in a difficult economy. This will feature three staff members from Franco, a PR agency in Detroit. 

Students that are interested in joining PRSSA can go to and  fill out a form, or reach out to President of PRSSA Drake Lambright at [email protected]