Let's be frank, I thought Twitter/MySpace/Facebook/Narcissism.com et al was just dumb. Not for me. Do I care about the minutiae of other people's lives? No. Do I think anyone should be interested in mine? No.
So when Richard Carpenter of Enterprise Assist suggested attend Like Minds Social Media Conference in Exeter, I was sceptical. But it is always worth listening to Richard. He's is a smart cookie. So I booked in, scrubbed up and turned out.
There was a definite buzz in the queue at the venue. Everybody, and I mean everybody, had a nailed on, maximum battery-drainage, iPhone/PDA. Was it a press launch for a new Apple iTeacup? A rumour that the next-best-thing band might turn up? Bit geeky for me surely? This Social Media gig has to be a blizzard of personal trivia meeting an avalanche of marketeers digital junk-mail? Sign-up bandits . . . bullshit detectors on stun.
Wrong! This is one class act.
At every stage the LikeMinds event was slick, organised, fast-paced, informative, highly professional and very good-humoured. I sat up and just listened- and listened. Blimey! Great speakers, lively panels and open floors to lively participants. Heard how the NHS was effectively reaching out to youth advising on STDs. How information could outpace the bad guys. Why everybody loses when big business tries to coat-tails youth vibes. How major corporates can engage with, and respond to, customers as multiple-individuals. How SMEs can communicate with some character and personality. How ideas can light a wild-fire. Hang on, that's where I live!
Still percolating my thoughts, but in kernel-form it comes down to this for me. Content and quality tops my list. And yup, you can Tweet "Starbucks, 11, cool!" but "E=MC2" fits in 140 characters too. Social Media may be in need of a better name (?) but a lot of smarter people than me are finding a gazillion ways to use this phenomena for good, for profit, for better communications, and still evolving . . .
So now I am a Week Two Newbie on Twitter @GaryDayEllison and learning how to engage with people online while living and working somewhere beautiful. And present ourselves and our skills in a way we can feel comfortable with.
More than just a Thank You, these are smart people you should check-out. LikeMinds, JonAkwue, Kevin Anderson, John Bell, Olivier Blanchard, Trey Pennington, Steve Bridger, Heléna Holt, OK, too many to list - Follow the LikeMinds link. There is not a dull one there. Chris Brogan - come and live in Devon!