My trip to Social Media Marketing World this year wasn’t about me, so neither is my recap. I want to share, instead, the stories of the connections I made while serving as a volunteer.
Case 1: The value of serendipity (and a shout-out to the organizers of #SMMW17 for encouraging everyone to be on the lookout for it!).
Enter, scene left: Social Sonja.
Social spitfire, ambitious speaker, and rising expert on customer profiling. And fortunately, in need of a last-minute place to stay after our volunteer training on Tuesday! That bit of serendipity impacted the entire conference experience for me — and being open to the opportunity to connect with a stranger by sharing a hotel room led to many more connections I never would have made on my own.
Not only do you know that if she says something, she means it; if she means it, she’ll say it. That is exactly the kind of person I need to push me out of my comfort zone. Thank you, Sonja, for making me talk more, stay later, and get moving on my dreams faster. We now have a weekly video meeting to challenge each other to act on what we learned at the conference. The project I’ve been thinking about for years…thanks to serendipity, I’m going to be ready to launch it this month!
That’s what connections do, people. There is the real treasure of #SMMW17.
Case 2: One-person marketing teams need tacos and margaritas (#TacoTuesday).
There is no lack of amazing networking events at Social Media Marketing World — the opening night party on the USS Midway, networking power walks at the crack of dawn, and social karaoke and craft beer tasting at Parq. But there’s also a plain old Google Sheet where we’re encouraged to sign up to host or attend an unofficial eat & greet at a local restaurant. I signed up to host a Tuesday night pre-conference dinner, and it turned out to be the best networking event of the conference!
Puesto was loud, crazy, busy…and a blast. Somehow we managed to swap stories about how we got into social media marketing (all of them interesting!). It was lovely to have familiar faces to see at the conference the rest of the week, and we of course connected online to keep in contact and support each other!
The highlight of the night was definitely getting to be there for our new friend Owen’s very first taco (!). Through the magic of animation, you can be there too:
Case 3: A glimpse of the future (or, the holodeck is near!)
I was continually impressed by the energy and brilliance of everyone I met at #SMMW17. But I have to say, I was disappointed when I showed up at the VR/AR Table Talk on Thursday and didn’t find it overflowing! I would have guessed there were more than a couple forward-thinkers in the 3,100+ attendees. Where were you all?
Well, I took full advantage of your missed opportunity to discuss the current technology and possible future applications of VR/AR with Cathy Hackl of Future Lighthouse. Did you know she’s an Emmy-nominated communicator turned virtual reality & augmented reality speaker? And you missed talking to her? If you weren’t at the conference, you get a pass. But everyone else…tsk, tsk.
Thank you, to everyone who smiled as I welcomed you to Room 31, to the speakers who so graciously shared their experience and insight, and especially to the team at Social Media Examiner for putting together such an incredible conference with a dedicated focus on serving the attendees. See you there next year! (Get your tickets here. Do it now.)