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.


Anonymous said...

Mack! I fully agree with this as I was in your same shoes coming to Scottsdale and meeting so many great people.

Not only was it the many people that I connect with already but I met so many other great people that were also super personable like I've known them for awhile.

Conferences should not be underestimated. The event itself was amazing but networking and connecting with fine folks is even better.

Beth Harte said...

Mack, I echo your sentiments! Meeting people in real life after connecting on-line is very powerful. And, oddly, when you finally do feels like you've known each other forever. Now image the power of this at at a company/customer level!

Francine Hardaway (@hardaway) told a story at MP DMM about how Frank Eliason (@comcastcares) helped her with her service and how they became friends after...I would venture a guess that Francine is a loyal Comcast customer now.

Mack, it was great to see you again! Looking forward to the next event...perhaps SXSW?! We shall see.

Anonymous said...

There's literally one meet up every night of the week in London! I totally agree with you - we have to go out there and meet the person hiding behind the screen!

I'll hopefully be in NYC next year and I am planning on making the most of my trip ;)

Anonymous said...

Despite all the talks about social media, I think that networking has not changed. It fundamentally is the same as it was before the advent of IT, but the new technologies have facilitated establishing the connection, they have reduced the distance… Unfortunately, those that believe that simply connecting on ecademy, LinkedIn, or twitter will create a (lasting/valuable) relationship are dead wrong. As said in the blog post, it's the personal contact that will ultimately make for the qualities of such relationship: commitment, friendship, understanding, … Whenever I travel, I check out my contacts and select a few people that I want to meet, not in a big tweetup or similar, but rather in one-to-one meetings where we can afford the time to get to know each other...

Donna Tocci said...

Mack, very true words. Social media is great, but there is no substitute for face-to-face interactions whether that be in a networking environment or with your customers (and potential customers).

On a personal note, it was so, so nice to meet you in person. As Beth says, for the Plurk folks, it felt like I'd known you all before was like seeing old friends. Very cool.

Anonymous said...

Don't I feel like the ugly girl at the prom? Next time, send me a DM when you're taking a group photo!! ;-) Definitely agree with you on the importance of face to face time. It was great to see you as always.

Anonymous said...

Mack....! I am so happy you were there. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Mack, meeting you in person was one of the highlights of the MP Digital Mixer. Thank you for being as encouraging in person as you are online! :)

I think the reason these connections work so well is the reason that social media works so well: it is all about the people. We are not trying to make connections with some twitter handle in cyberspace; there is a real live human being on the other end of the keyboard, and that makes all the difference in the world!

Looking forward to the next meeting!