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BYU Professor Named Social Media Innovator of the Year

Adam Durfee BYU

Y Digital Manager Adam Durfee, who was recently recognized by The Social Shake-Up. (Gabriel Mayberry/BYU Photo)

Adam Durfee was recognized for his work to quench the spread of fake news during the Utah wildfires

School of Communications professor Adam Durfee was recently recognized as the social media innovator of the year by The Social Shake-Up. The organization holds an annual conference featuring cutting-edge social media techniques and the people behind them.  

The Social Media Innovator of the Year award is given to someone who pushes the boundaries of what social media can do and introduce social media solutions to solve problems, said Durfee.

“Awards are given every day to people across all industries, but this one is incredibly respected and I’m honored to be a recipient,” said Durfee. “As a professional, it also means that I’m being looked at by other members of my industry as someone who is going to solve problems and use social media in ways it’s never been used before.”

Durfee said that minutes after the announcement was made, he received hundreds of new followers on social media who were interested in his work.

The award recognized the work Durfee did during Utah’s wild fires last summer. Durfee, along with Y Digital students, created a social media chatbot to help spread reliable information about the fires. According to Durfee, 25,000 people used this resource in the first 24 hours it was live online. Durfee worked with the sheriff’s office and firefighters to make sure any important announcements would immediately be pushed out to the public using social media.

Adam Durfee, BYU YDigital, Misinformation

Adam Durfee (center) works with students. Durfee involved Y Digital students in his work with the Utah wildfires. (Ty Mullen)

“Brilliant social media practitioners are coming up with great campaigns and innovative ideas every year,” said Durfee. “However, this campaign touched souls because we weren’t selling products, we were helping people. This was new, this was powerful, this was innovative.”

Durfee said without the students who volunteered to help him with the project, it never would have been such a success.

“These students, though they aren’t recognized in this award, need to know that their willingness to work on this project was instrumental in the it’s success,” said Durfee.