There is a fire in my bones and I call it Social Media. I may not be a top influencer, but I do carry the passion. I adore it. I’m in a serious relationship with it. I am, by definition, obsessed. It’s the virtual “golf course” for cultivating relationships and this is good news for me because I don’t golf (unless you count Golden Tee).
However, building relationships is second nature to me. At Social Fresh Tampa, this year, I was reminded that people build relationships through anything interactive, including a barroom video game. Sure, we all conduct business and generate awareness through multiple mediums, but if you engage me, I’m hooked and I’ll learn to share your passion. In fact, this is how my journey to Social Fresh began. It started with a personal invitation from Mike Schneider (@schneidermike) via DM. Not only did he personally invite me, but he also provided me with a code for a discount. I then experienced personal engagement from Jason Keath (@jakrose) through both @ replies as well as DM’s to inquire if there was anything he could do to get me there. I finally decided to register. Due to some PayPal issues, Jason gave me his number to call and he personally registered me. I am officially a #SoFresh groupie and proud of it. This is how it’s done. They could have just posted updates and blog posts about the conference and while that’s a great medium to bring awareness, it can’t stop there. I was engaged, I was hooked, I absorbed their passion…and I will share it selflessly.
Spike Jones from Brains on Fire (@spikejones) led an incredible session dealing with campaigns vs. movements. I believe Social Media is a movement. It’s open, honest, real, and evolutionary. We all have an innate desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and to be bigger than we are and thus the people become the medium for Social Media.
We’ve all had people tell us that all we do is “play” on Twitter and Facebook all day. I don’t argue because unless you’ve been fully immersed or “dunked” (as @cnmoody calls it) in social media, you cannot be passionate about it. Fully dunked actually happens when you are able to engage with the virtual world face to face. The truth is, this was the ultimate lesson I learned/experienced at #SoFresh. The real value was the time I spent meeting some great new people that I can truly call my friends. I came in with the hopes of gaining some knowledge and walked away with a whole new perspective. Some might call #SoFresh a “game changer” for me.
All of this leads me to SXSW/Austin, the largest Social Media gathering of the year. I will be a first timer at the event and I am so excited that I am barely able to sit still long enough to write this. Looking forward to the experience of a lifetime…and if you plan on going, watch out for and come say hi to this 6’tall chick with a camera, on a mission. #SXSW or bust.