Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, told more than 2,000 attendees at the PR Society Conference in San Francisco Oct. 14 that his mission is to help people to connect with each other.

He described Twitter as a "triumph of humanity" rather than a "triumph of technology."

Stone's view is that the more connected people are the more likely they are to be happy and successful.

Biz Stone

Not only Stone but others have said that Twitter played a major role in fomenting unrest against dictators in Tunesia, Egypt and other Middle East countries.

Life began, he has noted, when amino acids organized into proteins. He recalled he originally worked in Boston "as a single cell." But then he started working with others and "our organism grew more complex and cool things happened. Twitter was a cool thing. Twitter allows people all over the world to join forces and make amazing things happen."

Stone told the PRS audience to "manufacture" their own opportunities and look for "creative solutions" to problems.

He also urged them to be committed to what they are doing including being "emotionally attached" to their businesses.

Success in a capitalist society, he said, should include not only financial success but "joy."

Steele, Westergren, Cotte also Speak

Other speakers on the program include Michael Steele, political analyst for MSNBC and former Republican National Committee chair; Tim Westergren, founder of digital music service Pandora, and June Cotte, Ph.D., consumer behavioral specialist and assistant professor at the Richard Ivey School of Business.

The opening night reception last night was at the Sony Metreon, a 350,000 sq. ft. space on four levels that includes 15 motion picture theaters and numerous entertainment and technological attractions.

The Metreon was a short distance from the conference hotel, the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

Six Directors Are Now At-Large

Election of officers and board members of the Society went off as scheduled since there were not contested positions.

Chair and CEO for 2013 will be Mickey Nall, managing director of Ogilvy PR, Atlanta. He will succeed Gerard Corbett. Joseph Cohen of MWW Group will be chair in 2014.

Kathy Barbour, who has left Mayo Clinic to become director of employee communications and organizational effectiveness, Baptist Health South Florida, will be secretary, and treasurer will be Blake Lewis, of Lewis PR, Texas.

Named directors at large were Kelly Davis of Columbia, S.C., and Susan Walton, VP for university and PA, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D.

They join other directors at large Jane Dvorak of Lakewood, Colo.; Diane Gage-Lofgren, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif; Mark McClennan, Schwartz MSL, Waltham, Mass., and Elizabeth Pecsi, Unisys Corp., El Cajon, Calif.

O'Dwyer Reporters Barred

For the second straight year, reporters for the O'Dwyer Co. were barred from the Assembly, opening night reception and all plenary sessions.

Hotel security at first said O'Dwyer reporters were not to step past a line that led to the hallway where exhibits were set up.

This reporter stood on the correct side of the line as instructed by hotel security personnel and talked to several of the registrants as they arrived.

Security then decided that the line of demarcation had been moved two levels up which were reached by escalators. That brought this reporter to the lobby where more security guards were stationed.

They told me that I could not hand out any literature to anyone heading for the PRS meeting rooms and exhibit hall. After several conversations with arriving attendees, the security guards said I was not to have any "interchanges" with any of those heading to the PRS meeting rooms.

Some of the people I talked to, including reporters for non-PR trade papers, were not registered with the conference.

The guards insisted I could only remain mute.

When another conversation took place with an arriving person, the guards escorted me out of the hotel with orders not to come back.