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Thoughts on Attending the First Social Media Breakfast - Tech Valley

4 Comments 22 June 2009

As a stay-at-home Mom (SAHM) who homeschools and does social media consulting as well, one thing I’ve discovered is that online social media is only part of the story.

The rest is meeting people in real life.

There’s something about matching a name to the actual person, shaking a hand, or giving a hug to a friend you’ve never met before that makes relationships Velveteen Rabbit real.

Which is why I was so disappointed over the past year as social media conferences came and went and I couldn’t get to any of them.

It’s also why I was so excited when Patrick Muldoon (d00n on Twitter) sent a plurk telling me about Social Media Breakfast - Tech Valley.

At last, here was a meeting I could actually get to without needing my husband to take several days off work to watch our boys.

If you’ve never heard of Social Media Breakfast, don’t feel bad. I hadn’t either until I received doon’s Plurk. Here’s what I discovered about them:

The Social Media Breakfast was founded by Bryan Person in August 2007 as an event where social media experts and newbies alike come together to eat, meet, share, and learn.

Oh boy, I thought, this is right up my alley!

So, this Friday, with a mix of excitement and trepidation I kissed my boys, grabbed my backpack with my Mother’s Day laptop in it, and headed to breakfast.

First impression: It’s feels a little disconcerting walking up to someone and saying “Hi, I’m Te-ge…uhh, Teeg” and having them respond, “I know, I recognized you from your avatar.” That’s what happened when I met doon.

After getting a name tag and wandering around a few minutes peering at others’ tags and introducing myself, it was time to find a seat and listen to the discussion. A pleasant surprise was finding a mug from CAbunga waiting. Yay swag!

First Amy Mengel of Mengel Musings introduced the three speakers, Rhea Drysdale of Outspoken Media, Mike Germano of Carrot Creative, and Stuart Foster of TheLostJacket.com, and then each one talked a bit more about their background:

In 2004, Rhea discovered that her new job had really wanted an SEO, but didn’t know how to advertise for one. Talk about on the job training.

Mike Germano and a friend created a social site for Dave Matthews band when he was in college. Eventually, he received a call from the band complimenting him on the site and asking if he could help with theirs. Now Mike works with companies such as MLB.com, The Onion, MTV, and Oscar Meyer.

Stuart Foster writes a blog focused on social media, public relations, marketing, and brand management.

I ended up sitting beside Chris Wessell (albanymba) and Meghan Butler (MeghanButler) who kept making me laugh during the discussion. I managed to return the favor since I was checking Twitter as well as TweetChat and saw this come across my stream (I just had to share it 😉 ):

Unmarketing's Twitter Shirt

A few quick thoughts from the discussion:

Mike commented that social media is one of the only areas where the grownups listen to the younger people. This bothered me, because I think it’s just touching the surface. I know way too many social media experts who aren’t college age or even just out of college. Instead, I think social media is one of the few fields where experts in other areas will listen to anyone who seems to know what they’re talking about (and unfortunately, will sometimes listen to the wrong person).

Rhea mentioned that you need to be on every social network, protecting your name and your brand. I’ve read way too many stories of people who were moderately well known and waited to claim their name on a major social network, then discovered to their horror that someone else had taken the name and was posting things they’d never want anyone to even think came from them.

By the way, this is one reason Facebook‘s name goldrush bothered me.  What if you’ve worked hard to create a brand, only to discover that your brand had already been claimed by someone else, with few recourses to get it back?

A question asked, I think, by Mike, “If you had to choose between Facebook and Twitter, which one would you choose?” I think it would depend on whether I was choosing a site to be my only social media site or just between one of the two. If it was my only one, I’d keep twitter. If I could keep all the rest (and still link to twitter via them), I’d choose Facebook.

Something I found fascinating was when Mike mentioned that they friend all potential employees on Twitter, Linked-In, and Facebook to do background checks. Anyone applying for a job has to accept them as a friend or they won’t get the job. He also mentioned that they don’t advertise their jobs, but still received over 1000 resumes last month!

Jimstagnitti tweeted that he’s “been using sm to research candidates for years. Remember its just part of who that person is. Still have to look them in the eye.” Wish I’d have caught this during the discussion, I definitely would have retweeted it!

One problem I ran into on Facebook (before they revised the site) was friending a couple people who would frequently leave inappropriate (well, inappropriate if you have clients or your mother visit) videos and pictures. I solved it back then by removing apps that allowed anything except text messages, now, I would do what AlbanyMBA suggested, and customize what different people could see/do on my site, since you can do it with each user.

Rhea mentioned an idea that I thought was great, setting up an editorial calendar for your blog. For example, I could have Twitter Tuesdays, every Thursday could be about StumbleUpon, Fridays for homeschooling, etc.

Especially for someone like me who’s horrible at posting with any kind of frequency, a calendar might be just the ticket!

All too soon, two hours was over and the gathering broke up. I said good bye to some new friends, thanked Amy for bringing Social Media Breakfast to Albany, oohed and aahed over doon’s Palm Pre and headed back home with my Geek badge shining brightly. :)

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4 Comments so far

  1. Joy says:

    Stopping by to welcome you to the SITS community! It’s great to have you as a SITSta!

  2. Mercedes says:

    Welcome to SITS! We are excited to have you.

  3. amymengel says:

    I’m so glad you were able to come to Social Media Breakfast! It was great to meet people locally who share an interest in Social Media and enjoy some healthy debate and discussion on the topic. I hope you can make the next one!


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  1. Link Love: Take Your Social Media Up A Notch | Work at Home Moms Talk Radio - 02. Jul, 2009

    […] Munson, a homeschooling WAHM, tells us her Thoughts on Attending the First Social Media Breakfast (Tech Valley).  Ever wondered what it would be like to meet up with your tweeps?  Kristen has great […]

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