Saturday, September 27, 2014

Three Weeks - Three Social Media Events

Besides being "The Computer Guy," I like to dabble in Social Media.  I do this for several reasons, MAINLY to build my own business through Social Media, BUT, to guide others.  I've been asked many times, "Pat, why don't you start your own social media business??"  My answer has always been similar to the presentation from Jason Falls "There's no fresh broccoli."

Every idea that's ever been thought of has been done.  Now Facebook is controlling Fan Pages by giving them a massive beat down UNLESS you pay to play.   I can only imagine that others will follow suit.  Sure, hire me and I'll help you....but I won't do it FOR you.

On 9/9/14, 9/17/14 and 9/25-9/26 I have been at three social media events in three weeks.  Let me give you a QUICK synopses of each one.  My rating scale of 1-10 is my opinion....your mileage may vary.

9/9/14 - Creating The 'Buzz' In Social Media -  Sara Broers at Social Connections, LLC was the organizer of this event in Mason City and it went off well.  I happened to be the lead-off speaker, which is fun and enjoyable, as I can sit back and listen to everyone else.  There could have been a bigger crowd.  Rural Iowa NEEDS these conferences and Sara has a good handle on it.  

Between the four afternoon speakers, I thought that Katy Flint hit the home run of the day.  Armed with 2 phones, she gave a 45 minute presentation (well, 40 minutes, because she spent the first 5 minutes telling people it was hard to follow me) that went VERY well.  She presented the iphone and it's features, the Android phone and it's benefits and something that needs to be stressed more, cell phone courtesy.
Katy Flint

I appreciate Sara asking me to speak at this event.  I think the event was a 7 on the day, as a bigger crowd would have spurred more audience participation and livened up the group.  This will happen, just give it time.

9/17/14 - The Social Media Rockstar Event - The event was put on by Sarah Kuglin and her staff at Redwood Valley Tech Solutions in Willmar, MN.  This was my second year attending and aside from lunch and a highly technical and slightly un-organized Facebook presentation, I think it was a solid 8 in my ratings.  The room was full with a lot of new faces, which is always a good sign, but the energy was a bit lower than the Rock N Roll enthusiasm of last year's event.  Yeah, I don't know why?

Several speakers were re-runs which made me nervous about going, however, Jason Falls and Lee Odden hit the mark by providing new and exciting content.   Jason Falls, a Bourbon swigging, no bullshit, Kentucky country boy never disappoints with his humor and his down to earth, warm-fuzzy presentations.  No one would ever come away from one of his presentations by saying, "I didn't get that."  Lee provided new insights on Blogging that made me come away with the "Yeah, I can do that" type of thinking.  The rest of the speakers were spot on as well, aside from the two guys talking about Facebook at the end of the day, when people's heads were full anyway.  

Rockstars Sarah & Pat

One thing that stuck with me was that when I was eating some pizza with some of the speakers the night before, one said, "I wonder when she'll (Sarah) will move this to Minneapolis??"  I told him, "People in RURAL Minnesota NEED this.  If this was in Minneapolis, it would be just something else to go to downtown, parking would be a bitch and no one would really show up.  Put this in a rural setting and the people who need this will show up."  I feel bad that a speaker was put out by driving 2 hours.  I drove 4 hours and I paid for a ticket.  He was there last year, so I didn't hear him speak....I heard him last year.

With a few new speakers, I will probably go again next year, as it will be back at Jackpot Junction, from what I have heard, but there will have to be a few new speakers.

9/25 - 9/26/14 - Social Brand Forum 2014 - This was the biggest risk of the three conferences.  The lineup was a powerhouse of Social Media Celebs.  Chris Brogan was the keynote of the day on Friday, while Thursday was a great day in itself with a more rehearsed Jason Falls and many others. Nick Westergaard and his staff (and children) of Brand Driven Digital lined this up and it was very good.  I had dealings with Nick at another conference once and left early in disgust because I didn't care for the subject say the least and so I was very critical of anything that he would ever do again.  I heard him present at EntreFest and he promoted his event there as well.  Like I said, the lineup was stellar, so I knew it wouldn't be one guy talking the whole time for 7 hours straight.

Highlights -- Chris Brogan of course, Jason Falls, Kerry Gorgone, Amy Schmittauer and John Jantsch who actually filled my brain with so much info, it nearly shut off.  Excellent topics!

With Chris Brogan

Things I didn't understand or really wrap my head around -- The Live podcast, the presentation from Hubspot with bad sound and poor graphics and what I thought was going to be a funny and enlightening presentation from Matt Ridings turned into something else that only participants who were there would understand.  I'll leave it at that.

I also couldn't understand why as many people as I talked to got free tickets.  I heard 5 men joking, "I'd like to meet someone here who actually paid for a ticket!"  When I pointed out that I did, they laughed and walked away -- so much for earlybird entries.  Granted, I got $100 off and 2 free books.   The Marriott was nice as it always is, but add on the $10 per day internet charge and $8 a day parking fee, I left with a $340 motel bill, plus meals.

As far as the conference, this was a solid 9.  I can live with things I don't understand, if it's outweighed by speakers who relate to me, make me feel worth being there and listen to me if I have a question -- and they all did.  Unless I get a free ticket next year, I doubt I will go back next year, but who knows -- this could be an every other year thing, depending on the line up.  Most everyone there was raving about the content, including me.  I met a lot of  "Social Media Managers."

Anyway, I have rambled long enough and I appreciate the time and effort the 3 events put into making theirs great!  I am told I'm a tough customer, but I AM the customer.  I'm a self employed one man show....there's no one back home to fix computers when I'm at these conferences, so I have to choose wisely and I think I did!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

We're Gonna Win Twins -- We're Gonna Score!

As many of you know, I'm a Yankee baseball fan through and through.  However, little do people know that since August 15th, 2008, I bet I haven't watched one full baseball game of any team out there.  You see, my Dad who was the ultimate Yankee Fan died that day and a lot of that love for baseball died with him.  The last game we watched together was the 2008 Yankee Old Timers' Game and he cried through most of it.  It broke my heart.

SO, fast forward to about 3 weeks ago when we were hard-pressed to come up with a birthday gift for our nephew Luke.  He turned 10 and I suggested to Becky that I just take the kid to a Twins game. Becky, stunned, said, "Oh, ok, but you know he's a child and you really don't care for kids."  I told Becky that I thought Luke had matured a bit and he didn't annoy me as much as he used to.  For the record, kids who are well behaved don't annoy me that much, but like most things, one bad apple spoils the bunch.
Not bad seats!

Naturally, I think Luke's mom & dad were a bit stunned on the $50 per seat tickets I got, but if I'm going to invest time in going, I want to see, hear and feel what is going on.  Upper deck to me is a waste of money if you want to see a game.  SO, if he never gets this close again, he can say he was right near the action for this game (Sept 19, 2014) in Minnesota.

I miscalculated the drive, so we got to the night game (7:10pm) at 4:30pm, so we were pretty much first in line at our gate.  The Twins' staff were VERY helpful on telling where to go and giving us direction, even with my Yankee hat on.  Looking back, I can't remember wearing  a baseball cap since working weekend shifts at KLMJ, so it had been 14 years.  (More stats in a bit)  Luke is just so excited and I'm even smiling a bit about it.  The drive wasn't bad and the parking was a snap.

We get our good seats and I tell Luke to go behind the Indians' dugout, say HI to everyone and they would give him a ball.  I don't think he believed me, but on the 2nd attempt, he came back with a ball and he was VERY excited.  I put the ball in my back pocket after Luke dropped it and it rolled down 6 rows.  We ate and it sprinkled a bit, but it wasn't too bad.

Luke and his glove waiting for a ball.

My heart swelled with pride and I got tears in my eyes as the Twins honored an 86 year old POW who got to raise the flag during the National Anthem.  His hands trembling, he saluted the flag just like he would have done in his 20s.  What an emotional time.  The Twins did a great thing.  (More about that later.)
Top Notch Tribute!

Luke watched the game, asked a few questions, and it went into extra innings.  He was very excited when the Twins won the game with a bases loaded single in the bottom of the 10th.

Now for some statistics:

Excellent experience, excellent staff, great section manager who took pride in his work, excellent facilities, and fan engagement with Twitter, Instagram and the MLB App.

My stats:
I am hard pressed to remember the last ballgame I went to, but I think it was taking my Dad to the Royals game in KC and we had press passes in 1996.  I also went to a Cubs game and had press passes to a game at the Metrodome in the late 80's and met Billy Martin and the "good" Yankees.

My Grandpa was a Twins fan and a Harmon Killebrew fan.  If  the Twins won, it was because of Harmon.  If the Twins lost, it was because the "sonsabitches" wouldn't take Harmon's advice on this or that or the other team pitched him outside so he couldn't hit the "goddamned" ball.  Yeah, dyed in the wool Killebrew fan.

The first game I ever went to was when I was 9 and Dad took me to a Twins/A's Double Header at the Old Met.  Great time.  Luke was 10 and this was his 2nd game ever.

Again, hats off to the Twins for the nice time.  I think I will have to contact their Social Media Manager to do an interview with them sometime and post it.

I'll be back.