Sunday, October 26, 2008
The 'Social' part of Social Media
One of the top goals I set for myself for 2008 was that I wanted to attend and speak at as many conferences as possible. Originally, the thinking was that I needed to do this to in order to network and get my name out there as a social media consultant. I figured that meeting and connecting with people and friends I had met online would be a pleasant byproduct.
Then when I arrived at SXSW back in April, something weird happened. As we all know, I am an introvert, so I was a bit surprised when I arrived in Austin for SXSW to be getting hugs from people I had never officially 'met' before. This was the part that floored me; how easily connections made online passed over to offline connections.
So it was with much anticipation that I was looking forward to meeting and reconnecting with friends at the Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer last week in Scottsdale. It was a good mix, as I got to meet for the first time friends like Sonny Gill, Frank and Pamela Martin, Becky Carroll, and Donna Tocci. And I got to reconnect with so many people, like Ann Handley, AmberCadabra, Beth Harte, Connie Reece, and Chris Brogan.
I cannot stress this enough: go meet the people you are connecting with online. It doesn't have to be at a big conference. It can be a local tweetup, a Social Media Club meeting, or at your grocery store. It doesn't matter, just find a way to take your online connections and cement them into offline relationships. Looking back, I will probably say that 2008 was one of the most personally and professionally rewarding years of my life, simply because of all the amazing people that I have now come to know. And I am getting off track a bit because I wanted to sum up what a great event the Digital Marketing Mixer was. But these amazing people that I got to laugh with and learn from are what mean so much to me. This is what so truly excites me about social media. The tools themselves are pretty boring. But what these tools allow me to do...the people that they let me connect with that I otherwise would never know, that's invaluable.
I'll save my 'official' #mpdm recap for tomorrow's post, but please, if you aren't already, start making plans to meet the people that you are friending/following online. It will literally change your life, as it has mine.