Yesterday I headed down to Miami and attended Social Media Camp. This event was scheduled to coincide with Mashable’s summer tour stop in Miami. After partaking in several Bar Camp style get togethers in the past, I had high hopes for this Miami event as well. I guess with hope always comes disappointment.
We arrived to the venue late, only to find we hadn’t missed anything yet, except for getting free t-shirts. The opening remarks start about 45 minutes late, and were given by Erica O’grady. She is awesome, and definitely had a friendly aura about her.
For those in the crowd that actually chose to listen instead of surfing the web and posting twitter remarks about irrelevant stuff, Erica brought up some decent points. What I learned from her speech was that if you want to make money on your site you need to combine two important buzz words. Green, and Social Media. Therefore, a tremendously sucessful blog would be about doing social media in a more green way. 😎 Erica defines Social Media as the word of mouth or community based marketing that leverages technology as a platform for conversations. She made the comparison to America in 1908. Back then at the turn of the century in America, there were ample amounts of small towns. The folks in these small towns talked to eah other and gave advice and opinions about the places around town. If you needed a suggestion for a good barber, you asked your neighbor. Nowadays this is the way things are happening again. Somehow we have recreated a culture where relationships matter again. Obviously they did not have the technology we possess now, back at the turn of the century. Outside of the fact that us new, modern, lazy types, just talk to friends and family on computers, it is basically the exact same concept.
After this opening speech, the entire event went downhill, and consisted pretty much of self promotion. The next speaker was the most shameless of them all. Anyone who can get up in front of a crowd of tekkies, and say he is the guy to go to, but doesn’t use twitter or facebook, is not necessarily the guy to go to. So, my time was completely wasted thinking I was going into a panel to learn something, and instead, it was like watching a terrible infomercial.
The next panel I attended was about Reputation Management, presented by John Carcutt, from Agencyweb. His suggestion was to use social media profiles to help push down negative articles about you. He suggests you are proactive and play where your customers are playing around, like yahoo answers etc. Answering questions can help built your reputation and also make you look like an expert in the given field.
This was the last panel I attended at the conference, although I almost participated in Half Baked. Attendance was minimal at this event, and for those that didn’t attend, you didn’t miss a thing. Well, I guess you could have missed something if you wanted to hear a few people/companies go up and give a panel about themselves and why you should hire them, or use their products. The whole purpose of a Bar Camp, is to learn from others and gain experience from things they might have done right and wrong. I tip my hat to yoono for acknowledging this and waiting until their panel, which was deserved, after sponsoring the event. Yoono also did something daring, by allowing a few attendees to test their product and give feedback in front of the crowd. The rails developer who tested it found quite a few inconsistencies with the functionality, which yoono took in stride. Guess that rails guy found himself an employer if he ever found himself in the market again. As someone who personally uses flock, I look forward to testing yoono and giving my review on it in the near future. Sorry yoono for cutting off your logo in the photo I used below.
The Event organizers and sponsors tried to make this a good event, but sometimes the venue is only as good as the people attending it. Social Media like Erica said is about leveraging technology as a platform for conversations. In order to converse, you need to pay attention to what is happening around you, and not twitter or instant message or rudely talk to your neighbor during a discussion. As I looked around the room, approximately 75% of the attendees were doing something else, besides paying attention to the speeches. I wonder what would happen if they made these events twitter-free.
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