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NAPLES — Businesses that have yet to board the social media train better do so fast, if it's not too late.
Media experts Monday discussed that topic and related ones about the Internet during the Imagine Solutions Conference at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples.
"Every company has to communicate with its constituents," said Larry Kramer, USA Today president and publisher. "They'd be nuts not to, frankly."
Joining Kramer on the panel titled the Future of Information were Eric Newton, program director of the Knight Foundation, and Ellen Levy, LinkedIn vice president of corporate development and strategy.
More than 600 people were expected to attend the daylong conference.
The conference, with the first one in 2010, offers presentations from practitioners on a variety of subjects. Other scheduled speakers Monday included David Jones Jr., former chairman of the board for Humana; Jim Rogers, Duke Energy president and CEO; Susan Hockfield, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and astronaut Catherine "Cady" Coleman.
Craig Kielburger with Free the Children, an international charity and youth movement he founded in 1995, said it's crucial to empower youth "to be engaged in the cause they care about."
He said he once met Mother Teresa, and asked her how she manages to continue her life's work.
"She said, 'You have to realize, we do not do great things. But we can do small things with great love,'" he recalled.
During the social media discussion, Newton began with a video filled with various social media information, including the fact that if Facebook was a country, it would be the third largest in the world.
He also showed the following quote from Kramer on the large screen on stage: "Every company is a media company."
The lightest moment of the presentation came from Levy. She mentioned the power outage at the recent Super Bowl in New Orleans, and how Oreo was out with a video on Twitter five minutes later. The ad's message was: "You Can Still Dunk in the Dark."
Thousands of Twitter followers had clicked on the video to watch it within a few minutes.
"We're in an era where storytelling is changing," Kramer said.
Before parting, Levy urged conference attendees to filter information they receive because there is so much out there.
"If you don't like the news," Newton added, "go out and make some of your own."