Friday, August 6, 2010

Social Media Conferences & Abandoned Allies

Note: This blog post is an attempt to win a free ticket to Social Fresh Charlotte in response to their call for blog posts.  As a first-time, independent filmmaker, attending would be incredibly helpful, fruitful and fun; however, justifying the expense is tough.  Have no doubt, though, attending would help us make this film even better.

There's a lot to learn about social media and how it's impacting your daily life.  It changes constantly because that's the nature of it.  People are constantly moving and changing, and social media is all about people.  It'll become increasingly important in your life, too--no matter whether you love it, hate it, or simply have to use it at work.  It's been an integral part of making Abandoned Allies in the past two years.  With that, here are some of the things I love, hate and hope to learn at a social media conference.

Social Media Conferences
If you're interested in learning about social media then attending a social media event or conference focused on it is one of the best places to start.  You'll find yourself surrounded by really smart and dedicated people, if you attend one of the great social media conferences like Social Fresh (@SoFresh).

Learn more about Social Fresh Charlotte at
Some attendees are in the same place you are: still learning, exploring and seeking an understanding of social media.  Talking with them will help you feel more at ease because, let's face it, this is still new territory for most of the world.  It's constantly evolving, so keeping up is challenging.  Are you doing what you should be doing, or wasting time on something that's unimportant?  How do you know where to start?  Whom should you trust for guidance?  Conferences can help you sift through it all, and make better decisions for you and your business.

The presenters at conferences are the people shaping the industry right now and you can be there while they share their experiments, success, failures and new rules they've learned.  You can ask them questions after they present, and find someone that might be a good fit for you and your business. 

Hey, you might even find yourself having lunch with one of the social media celebrities.  And because many of them are so down to earth, you might not know you're sitting with one until they take the stage to make the keynote presentation.  They are just that cool and curious.

Social media conferences are so much fun.  Everyone hustles and bustles to get to presentations, then they slow down to converge and converse. The atmosphere is addictive at the really great events like the Social Media Business Forum and Social Fresh.

While there are so many great things that happen, there are things that can make it rough on attendees.  Here are a few suggestions to social media conference organizers.  Keep in mind, I understand how much work goes into organizing a conference.  I have nothing but respect for how successful the ones I've attended were, and hope only that these small suggestions might make them even better.

My Social Media Conference Pet Peeves
  • Internet Connections
    Social media conferences are based on being online.  It can be frustrating when the internet is either (a) not free or (b) not capable of keeping up with demand.  Include the cost of internet with registration, and make sure it's powerful enough to let all of us tweet, blog and post pictures about your conference. 
  • Real Life Connections & Ergonomics
    If social media is all about people and conversations then allow time for that to happen in real life.  Give us a chance to meet new people, put a face with an avatar, laugh and learn from one another.  Allow this to happen naturally and comfortably.  Don't use venues with spaces that are too small, because people stop to talk without getting in each other's way (like in hallways).  Leave a big open room for the talkers to linger.  Always, always, always have water and coffee available throughout the day so the audience is a captive one.
  • Electricity
    We have a lot of gadgets.  We need our laptops, cell phones, and cameras to take notes, check email tweet, blog, and post pics.  That takes up a lot of battery life so we need outlets, equipped with power strips and chairs close by them so we can power up when needed.  Some of us will forget a charger, so a place to buy, rent or borrow what we need to keep up at the conference is helpful.
  • Provide Different Tracks
    Some of us are ahead of others in our education.  Label presentations as introductory or more advanced. 
What I Hope to Learn
Social media conferences are absolutely wonderful, in my opinion.  I have such fun at them because I'm a social person who loves to learn.  Social media has helped create our documentary film titled Abandoned Allies, and I hope to continue making improvements to what we provide to our audience by attending Social Fresh Charlotte.

If I were able to attend with one of those six free remaining tickets, I would learn so many lessons to apply to Abandoned Allies.  The past few months have had me focused on many things offline, and I rather miss it my social media events.  It would be great to see old friends and make new friends.  Learn from the pros about what's been happening in the industry.  Find ways to apply those lessons to filmmaking, to keep improving what we're doing.  And, perhaps, make the world a little better in the process. 

The film is wrapping up well, and we will start sharing it with audiences soon.  That means I need to be prepared for continued conversations online, so that people can keep learning more about the Montagnards, Special Forces, and the Vietnam War.  I have a lot of ideas, hopes and dreams, but I need a lot of help.  Attending Social Fresh would, I believe, help make so much of that come to life.

Here's hoping that this little blog post might make that happen.  :)

1 comment:

Jason Keath said...

Thanks for grabbing one of our free blogger passes. = )

To redeem. Please email me at jason AT