MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - The Seventh Annual Youth Leadership Academy held March 10, 2014 at Coastal Carolina University was a success both in the number of students who attended and on social media, where attendees sent the YLA to one of the top national trending topics on Twitter.

Sponsors encouraged the 479 sophomores from 35 high schools and nine counties to tweet about their experience using the hashtag #yla2014, or by sending their thoughts to @YLA_MB. They did it in droves, and sent #yla2014 to the No. 2 national trending topic at one point for Monday, March 10, 2014. It was second only to California.

A large projector screen at Coastal Carolina University's Wheelright Auditorium displayed all the Twitter activity for #yla2014 in real time.

"We want to bring the focus of the Youth Leadership Academy to as many students as possible, so to see it break on through to national recognition via social media is a major victory for all the sponsors," said Shannon Furtick, membership programs manager for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Youth Leadership Academy organizer. "Social media is very popular amongst high school students, and we saw it as a unique opportunity to allow them to engage with their fellow YLA participants and the students from their respective schools."

This year marked the first time the YLA had a Twitter feed.

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