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Twitter exec talks about company's growth and impact

Brent Herd CSS
Brent Herd, director of Southeastern U.S. Sales for Twitter, speaks to students and community members about the rise and operation of Twitter.

To help students understand how social media can affect the value of other companies and brands, the Center for the Future of North Georgia and the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia (UNG) invited Brent Herd, director of Southeastern U.S. Sales for Twitter, to the university's Dahlonega Campus to speak.

Herd's presentation was part of the 2013-14 Cottrell Speaker Series, titled "From Ideas to Reality: Leaders in Entrepreneurship and Innovation." The event was also broadcast live to UNG's campuses in Cumming, Gainesville and Oconee, where students were able to tweet questions to Herd during the event. In response to one student, Herd shared his advice for undergraduate students seeking job opportunities after college.

"Everyone is really good at something," Herd said. "I like to think that everyone has a superpower. If you can figure out what that superpower is sooner rather than later in life, you can be successful."

Herd talked students through the founding and infancy of Twitter, supported by some 250 employees, to the company's current success, maintained by more than 3,000 employees and millions of users who generate more than 500 million tweets per day across the globe. Herd is responsible for revenue and business partnerships on the Twitter platform throughout the region.

"We have created metrics that give direct evidence of how using Twitter can boost a company's sales or image," Herd said. "For example, we can track tweets to show the amount of social interaction that takes place related to a specific television show, and when spikes in that activity occur."

Herd also spoke about how companies are leveraging the Twitter platform to promote their social events, and how society is "co-evolving" with Twitter.

"Since the advent of the internet, our culture and communication methods have changed immensely," said Dr. Donna Mayo, dean of the Mike Cottrell College of Business. "Brent's presentation was extremely insightful, but also very beneficial and relevant to all of our students as they prepare to enter the workforce. Every business student will use social media in some way in their professional positions: as common business practice, as a marketing tool or in simple communications with their customers."

The Cottrell Speaker Series allows students to actively engage leaders of business and industry by providing opportunities for one-on-one communication between the experts and students.

Prior to his position with Twitter, Herd served as senior vice president at ShareThis, where he was responsible for North American revenue generation activities and business development partnerships for the company. Previously, he also helped grow online revenue and introduced innovative partnerships for the combined AOL –, managing a team of 55 people and generating more than $250 million in annual revenues.

The Cottrell Speaker Series continues on April 8 with the Inspirational Leaders Award Luncheon at the Forsyth Conference Center in Cumming, Ga. Kat Cole, president of Cinnabon, Inc., will be the keynote speaker for the event. Tickets for the event are $35 and may be purchased at Table, student and other sponsorships are also available.

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