Social Media Club Phoenix

by francine Hardaway on December 14, 2006

Tonight was the second meeting of the Social Media ClubPhoenix.  I gotta say, it has generated a lot of buzz here in Arizona.  First of all, bloggers are coming out of the woodwork; I didn’t know there were so many "professional" bloggers in town, and so many people creating tools for sharing content. Once again, I have found out that Phoenix is underrated for the amount of tech activity and energy here.

And there seem to be so many people who need to connect with others who are already active in this space. They were calling me all afternoon for the details on the meeting. Quite a difference from other meetings I’ve tried to convene, where we have had difficulty getting those butts in seats.

What was really crazy was that people came into the room who had read each others’ work or used each other’s tools but had never met in person. It made me realize that we connect with so many more people over the Internet than we could ever meet face to face.

Tonight’s meeting was an attempt at a definition of Social Media.  Next month, the group will have a discussion of the "Social Media Press Release," a concept that is going to change marketing significantly. For a long time, people in public relations have realized that the old style press release no longer generates significant interest, and the press conference is even worse. These are terribly outdated and inconvenient tools for both the client and the journalist. And now, because of the collaborative nature of social media, we are finally developing new marketing tools. Not that there is really anything new under the sun; Steve Epstein brought up the point that the Mike Roykos and the Jimmy Breslins of the past, columnists who wrote about whatever was happening in their worlds from a unique perspective,  were the equivalent of today’s bloggers.

After January, I have received a request for a meeting on all the little tools we social media nuts use: Technorati, tags, RSS, feed readers, etc. So I guess that brings us up to February. We will continue to meet on the 2nd Thursday of every month.

I am so hot on the potential impact of this whole social media thing that I want to make the next entrepreneurial mini-conference, which we will have on March 1 at Grand Canyon University ,  about "The Revolution in Marketing."  Save the date. Also save November 8 for the Second Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference. Some big surprises coming there, too, but no firm plans yet so no revelations.

Man, we are a far cry from the 90’s,  when people were afraid that Internet addiction was a lonely, solitary pursuit. I can remember when people spoke to me very seriously about the amount of time I spent online Now, everything on the Internet is interactive, and we can share every moment of our lives if we want to. I, for instance, brought my Blackberry to the hospital and started blogging about my hip replacement as soon as I came out of the anaesthetic.

Tonight, the group decided that the mantra of social media is "it’s the people, stupid." Social media is a way to collaborate and share information, to empower individuals, to create untold numbers of writers, publishers, communicators, and videographers, to find friends, compatriots, and customers. From an individual perspective, it grants power to the consumer, who now controls the brand (as I did, when Scottsdale Healthcare North found out I was a blogger and began to treat me like a VIP). From a corporate perspective, it creates new channels to communicate with customers.

However, what really struck me tonight is how powerful social media can be for non-profits.  We had some representatives in attendance from the Foundation for Blind Children, and I could see immediately how parents of blind children would make use of blogs and wikis to strengthen their ability to cope with difficult situations, in much the same way that breast cancer survivors have banded together to spur on the research and treatment options. And I could also see how the charity itself could communicate with its donors about the mission and the programs.

Through social media, every non-profit can develop a mission-driven community, harnessing the power of many and ending the isolation that comes with affliction. That, in itself, is enough of a reason to foster the development of these tools.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Brent Schlenker December 16, 2006 at 12:58 pm

I was very sad to miss the second meeting as well as the first. I’m so glad to see so much enthusiasm around social media as well. I love the mantra! Anyone up for t-shirts? I’m looking forward to the next one. I’m so anxious to meet everyone.Cheers!

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