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Advertising in the age of social media

Ten years ago, Drake alumna Abbey Klaassen didn’t have Facebook. There was no Twitter. No MySpace.

“We didn’t even have Friendster,” she said. “We had hotornot.com.”

But now, as the executive editor of “Advertising Age” magazine, Klaassen deals with social media on a regular basis. It’s something she couldn’t have foreseen as an undergrad magazine major at Drake. She has had to evolve with the times in order to keep up with today’s ever-changing trends, which was the focus of her lecture “Resume for Success in the Digital Age” last Wednesday night in Cowles Library.

The reading room was packed. Without one empty chair, clusters of students stood in the back and sat on the ground against the walls to take note of Klaassen’s advice. The vast majority of students were journalism majors.

“I learned what the professional world expects of modern journalism students and how our role is a lot different than even five years ago,” said sophomore Kerri Sorrell, a magazine journalism and graphic design major. “It’s scary to realize we have to be immersed in everything and all the technology.”

While studying at Drake, Klaassen said that she knew she wanted to work for a business publication one day, so in the summer of 2001, she headed to New York to intern for “Advertising Age.”

“I had an eventful internship,” she said. “I had two pieces that were pretty impactful. They showed up on the front page, and I got noticed.”

Little did she know, 10 years down the road, she would become the editor of “Advertising Age.”

Upon graduating, Klaassen was unable to land a job in New York, so she settled for a fourth magazine internship in Plymouth, Minn., which turned into a full-time job for the next two years — until she took a visit to New York to visit a friend.

While there, she decided to give some old editors from “Advertising Age” a ring so they could meet for lunch, which is when she was informed that they had a reporter position open to cover radio and television.

Radio and TV? Klaassen knew nothing about it. So, she picked up her phone to contact a friend who worked for Radio Disney. Over beers, he taught her everything she needed to learn about covering that sort of topic. And when she met the editors to discuss the position, she thoroughly impressed them and landed the job.

Soon enough, she was promoted to digital editor, when she earned a great amount of experience and new skill sets.

“It gave me a really great sense of where the marketplace is going,” Klaassen said.

When “Advertising Age” needed a new executive editor, they didn’t go out looking. The executive editor was already under its own roof — they chose Klaassen.

“We (“Advertising Age”) are the authority in the advertising industry,” Klaassen said. “Our word is taken as the industry Bible.”

According to Klaassen, the “Advertising Age” mission used to be “to cover the news and set the agenda for the business of advertising and marketing.” However, that statement has since evolved to include “on multiple platforms.”

“More recently, we’ve thought a little bit bigger,” she said. “We stepped back and thought, ‘What is it that AdAge does when we’re doing our job really well? We make people smarter about the business of advertising and marketing media.”

Throughout her lecture, Klaassen stressed the importance of effectively using social media. She and “Advertising Age” recently hired a man they initially discovered through Twitter for a social media position.

“We’re living in a world that is social by design,” Klaassen said.

As Klaassen’s presentation came to a close, she asked the students to consider what the next 10 years would bring. She reminded them of the ever-changing world of technology and social media, and she invited the students to ask themselves if they were prepared for what was ahead.

“It was really nice to hear from someone who has been so successful in the journalism world and is leading the way in new ideas and technology,” Sorrell said.

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