Photo via: toprankonlinemarketing on Flickr
It has been a busy year for me in the terms of speaking and traveling to attend various conferences accross the United States. It started in January where I was on a panel at a conference called Chicks who Click in Boulder, CO where I met @GeorgeGsmithjr & @GeekMommy. Then I attended the Future of Web Apps in Miami, FL., next came PubCon Austin where I was on a panel with Chris Brogan, Reem Abeidoh and Lee Odden. Then I was able to speak at SXSW on a panel with Angela Benton. After that I stayed local for a while, working on the Triangle Social Media Club Chapter and attending one day conferences, such as (ConvergeSC) in South Carolina and (New Media Atlanta). Somewhere in between those two conferences I was on a panel at Jason Keath’s Social Fresh conference and after that Ted Murphy asked if I could moderate a panel at IZEAFest. Recentlly I was humbled to be able to speak at Blog World Expo with Robert Scoble, Amber Cadabra of Radian6 and Patrick O’Keefe aka @iFroggy. You can see a full list of my 2009 speaking events here: http:/FriendWayne.com
To say it has been a busy year is an understatement, all while launching a company called “OurHashtag” and planning local events in the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC ). But last week my partners and I, along with the help of a great team of volunteers planned the Social Media Business Forum in Durham, NC at North Carolina Central University. The conference goal was to bring in national and local speakers together with businesses, marketing agencies and individuals who were looking to have conversations about using social media in their work environment. Basically to discuss “how social media is changing the way businesses communicate”. Personally another goal of the Social Media Business Forum was to bring the experiences I’ve collected while traveling to various conferences to the Triangle. Also I wanted bring in some of the industry leaders in social media marketing, Twitter, marketing, video and blogging to the area so others can learn from people who I consider my peers.
Another reason why we planned the conference is because if you look at your Facebook inbox, gmail and Twitter stream, I’m sure you see a tone of “social media” bootcamps, workshops and meetups from all types of individuals. Everyone from beginners, to copy cats, to other experienced individuals are planning events to share their knowledge on how to use social media. While there is nothing wrong with that, as Brogan would say, “you have to feed the babies” or something like that, my only caution is take a step back look at what your needs are, look at the agenda, speakers, “teachers”, your budget and other attendees to make sure you get the best ROI (return on your investment) while spending time at various “social media” events. Evaluating the ROI of attending meetups / conferences is a blog post by itself that I’ll touch on next week.
But back to the post title, why did we plan a Social Media Conference in North Carolina? Why not? Social media is about sharing, relationships, community, information, business and people; North Carolina has some of the smartest people in the technology / social web living right here in the Triangle and we wanted to bring some of them together and let everyone know it. So to all the speakers, sponsors, volunteers, my partners and attendees Thanks for making the Social Media Business Forum a success and we’ll see you next year.