IABC/Detroit October event yesterday, titled “Social Media: Can you Digg it?” My colleague and resident social media maven at Airfoil, Tonja Deegan (aka Twitter alias @tvdeegan), was on a panel with Lisa Platt, director of interactive media, Skidmore, Inc. and Chasen Cunitz, a recent communications graduate of Hillsdale College.

The panel hosted an engaging Q&A session regarding the social media landscape and how it impacts companies and organizations. The audience was comprised of a potpourri of local communication specialists including but not limited to public affairs, marking communications, interactive media, public relations and corporate communications. As social media remains a new concept and the canvas is so broad, most were in attendance to absorb how to dip their toes in and understand how to communicate using social networks.

The panel addressed questions ranging from how to start using Twitter to responding to online community message boards to finding business use for social networks like LinkedIn for business-to-business communicators. I have to say that it was impressive to see some of the cagey communications veterans in attendance engaged and ready to tackle this new medium. I think everyone walked out the Automation Alley boardroom believing that they too can be a part of the conversations that is happening in social media.

Despite what Paul Bautin’s post on Wired says about the death of blogs, it is clear to me that social media (including blogs) is not going away. While it may seem that just as you have mastered MySpace, everyone has moved to Facebook, and as soon as Facebook seems cool to you, all your friends are on Twitter, anyone can join these sites and reap the benefits of connecting online. Bloggers will continue to shout from the rooftops, twittering will continue to be an important tool for businesses to communicate to their customers, and giving your friend on Facebook a poke will still be uhhhh…..fun!

-Allen Arnold (aka Twitter alias @johnallenarnold

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