Vendors Jockey for Attention at PRSA 2009

We’re covering the 2009 PRSA conference from afar today through sources and the #prsa09 hashtag, and the message seems to be tools, tools, tools. Firms need them, and sponsors are there to schmooze and sell them. Among the tiers of sponsors are six of the press release wire services, and measurement, monitoring, and database tools from big to small including Cision, VMS, Moreover and BlueVision. The controversial paid social media facilitator Izea is on the scene too, giving out merch.

Tension and trepidation over social media and the corresponding tools is alway palpable at PR conferences, though much has changed since PRNewser launched in 2007 in time to cover PRSA Philadelphia. According to PitchEngine founder Jason Kintzler, “I think it’s been very telling. The people we’ve met are past, ‘what is social media’ – now, they’re asking for what’s next.”

Still the big trade organization for the industry has some learning to do itself. We’re told that nowhere within the conference is the Twitter stream displayed, and wi-fi isn’t readily available.

Sarah Evans–Kintzler’s TweetUp co-host tonight–reported that wireless access in the exhibitor area is a whopping $250.