The digital age promises global change. Already new media has leveled the communications field between consumers and marketers and companies are turning to crowdsourcing for research, development and, even, product support.

Collaborative solutions, like email, chat, video conferencing and remote access have paved the way to tele -commuting, -education, -medicine and virtually any type of exchange. Community networks have been born and are our digital darlings, begging the question of who they want to be when they grow up.

We know that information moves faster, response time grows shorter, demand is higher and communications professionals are tasked to tame the beast that is the non-traditional social media.

This week, media minds will gather to explore the social, cultural and economic impact of social media at the Social Media Week (SMW) conference held in 14 major cities around the world. SMW is devoted to sharing information and best practices for collaborative and shared communications. Thanks to the technologies in subject, we will be tuning in to sessions remotely, including 10 Principles for an Open, Connected and Collaborative World, The Social Brand: Connecting with Customers Through Social and How Social Media is Transforming Journalism.

I had the pleasure of exchanging a brief Q&A with Rich DeMuro – reporter for the nationwide “Tech Report” show and SMW panelist speaking on How Social Media is Transforming Journalism – to bring to you:

What are you most looking forward to at this SMW?

It’s always fun to have so many different people come together at events like this. While most of us are connecting socially these days online, it’s nice to have that face-to-face meeting and conversation. Many of us are longtime followers/friends online, and get to meet for the first time in person! It’s also great to learn from others on what’s working and not working for them.

What is gained and lost when turning to social media versus traditional reporting?

Social media has been a great resource for reporters. It makes real-time communication possible and helps us get immediate images from the scene, figure out who to talk to about certain stories or just gather more information faster than ever before. While hitting the ground and being on scene will always be the best possible circumstances, that’s not always possible and social media can help keep up with important people, companies and places. What’s lost is that personal interaction, but that’s why we have weeks like this. Also, reporters must be on guard and remember to always check and double check facts. Social media moves fast, and you don’t want to get caught up in re-tweeting or reporting something that just isn’t true.

Do you have a favorite social media outlet?

I love Twitter for its immediacy and the fact that no one is expecting more than just a few sentences. You can give people a quick look into what you’re thinking, doing or where you are going. Since I’m on local morning news TV shows across the country, Facebook is primarily where my audience is so I love connecting on there. Plus, I love how Facebook posts can “gain steam” throughout the day when they get a lot of likes and comments – they don’t go away as fast as Tweets so a good post can live much longer on there.

How has social media changed the PR approach to traditional media, such as TV broadcast news?

I’ve seen it all – PR companies will respond to my tweets with pitches, post on my FB page and do whatever they can to get in front of me and get my attention.  It’s also moved the timeline up much faster.  You can’t wait for a tape of b-roll either. Get that product demo video on YouTube as soon as possible so when your press release goes out TV folks have something to show.

What advice do you have for PR professionals programming campaigns with traditional and new media?

Have a good presence on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, complete with great photos, explanations and videos. Also, have your press release easily accessible online with that supporting b-roll and pictures. It’s no fun when you visit one of these social media sites when you hear about a new product and you can’t find any more information and the pages haven’t been updated in ages!  Stay on top…otherwise it makes the launch or product seem less relevant.

You can follow the Social Media Week events streaming live at livestream.com, or via your mobile phone with the Social Media Week Official Mobile App powered by Nokia, available for Windows Phone, Symbian, Android, and iOS (both iPhone and iPad).