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.
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 matter....to 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!