SoCon13 Recap (or, Better Late Than Never)

SoCon Conference

SoCon ConferenceBetter late than never (as they say). So much for keeping up with the speed of social media following, you guessed it, a social media conference.

To all my clients…do as I say, not as I do.

SoCon13, the South’s longest running social conference, has come and gone from Kennesaw State University for the seventh year. I’ve had notes from the conference to share for weeks and, yet, couldn’t find time to post a recap. Chalk it up to business travel and a hectic motherly schedule. Le sigh.

Thanks to the SoCon organizers for inviting me to speak on The Art of the Hashtag. It was a rousing #success (if I do say so myself), and the excitement of the day made it well worth getting up at the crack of dawn on a chilly winter Saturday.

High points of the day included:

1. The Keynote. The SoCon13 organizers did a great job of bringing together folks from different sectors to discuss the state of social media today. Jeffrey Mirman of Turner Sports, Mathilde Piard of Cox Media Group, Russell Sauvé of The Fox Theatre and consultant Ema Carr provided social insights in the context of their own digital strategies while keeping the auditorium laughing and on the edge of their seats. And, I’m pretty sure everyone took away some valuable insights too.

2. The Breakouts. From consumer engagement and organic marketing to digital rhetoric and the fine line of law in the digital space, there were plenty of truly educational breakout sessions at this year’s SoCon (and even some cat memes thrown in for good measure). One standout was Content is King, Curation is Queen by Eric Moran of Flashissue. I’ve worked with Eric before, so I know he’s a bloke at the top of his game. He didn’t let me down as he waxed poetic on the topic of content curation.

3. The Networking. It’s always fun to catch up with old friends (and meet new ones) at a conference, but SoCon goes above and beyond to ensure there’s plenty of time for some good old fashioned networking. The extra long lunch in KSU’s brand spanking new student caf and the after party at The ‘Shroom afforded plenty of quality time with my college buddies Heidi Paruta and Matt Duffy, fellow TEDxPeachtree volunteer Ashley Sasnett, and iFusion Marketing’s Jacqui Chew and David Ahn. I even got some time to chat it up with other social fanatics previously unknown to me.

And, as per usual, there were even some lessons learned along the way:

1. Bribery Works. When speaking in front of a ravenous group of conference attendees just before lunch, there’s really no substitute for some free candy to hold attention. Seriously, that bag of Jolly Ranchers was the best $3 I ever spent. Plus, it didn’t hurt that YelpOTP had donated some super sweet swag for me to hand out at the end of my session–thanks YelpOTP!

2. Lectures Suck. Being a social media conference, SoCon is all about interactivity. Take it from me, sitting through an hour-long lecture feels a bit like stabbing yourself in the eye. To avoid my attendees wanting to blind themselves (and since my session was on Twitter best practices), I took a cue from the guys at Hypepotamus and had everyone put their Twitter handle on an index card to share with the group. I’m sure the candy didn’t hurt here either.

3. Don’t be a Dick. This is my life mantra and also, as I explained in my session, my golden rule on social media. Apparently, something about this sort of colorful straight talk resonated with the crowd because it was the most Tweeted sentiment from my breakout all day. Okay, so I didn’t learn this at SoCon13, but a room full of other folks sure did, and I have a feeling the mantra stuck–if not, well, I’ve got their Twitter handles and they’ll be hearing from me shortly.

And with that, my friends, another successful SoCon is under our collective belts. Best get thinking on my session topic for next year–if they’ll have me back that is!

If you’d like to see slides from my presentation, you can view them on SlideShare. Of course, there was a lot of commentary you can’t see in the slides, so if you’d like an outline please leave a comment on this post or drop me a line. I’ll be happy to send it on to you.

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