I’ve just returned from the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.
Before I left, I exploited my existing social media activity. I did not approach any potential contacts directly but used social media in what I called the etiquette of permission networking.
I got my digital kit ready for the Web 2.0 Expo: I would use Twitter for networking and microblogging; I also intended to shoot several short interviews on a Flip camera.
Web 2.0 Expo is an impressive four day event of workshops, lectures, networking and an exhibition (disclosure: the event is co-produced by a sister company of my own). What struck me most, however, was the wall of social media that surrounded the event at all time.
Whether it was projected Twitter feeds, such as #smfail for a session with Jeremiah Owyang, Peter Kim and Charlene Li, or Nancy Duarte’s use of Meebo’s Brainstorm, the conference not only preached social media. It lived it.
You might start out with 300 people in one room all linked to each other through their laptops or mobile devices. But, as the session progressed, we were joined by hundreds then thousands of others from across the world who followed and then interacted with the Twitter feed.
So, how did I do? Was my permission-based approach to networking effective? Was my digital kit the right approach?
- Permission networking rocks. Every single person who approached me for a meetup, showed up.
- Online networking can never replace face-to-face contact. The most intense moments were when I met people I had only known online.
- Be ready for people’s assumptions about you. Listen to their view of what is the difference between your online and your real identities. If they make sense, integrate them into your social media profile. For example, I’ve changed the photo on some of my profiles since people said I did not look like my picture.
- Video posts are not a time-saving device. Uploading the videos onto Vimeo always took longer than I thought. The checking and double-checking of headlines and links was as intense as for a written post.
- Do not let “cabin fever” during a conference influence your media strategy. As the week went on, my subscriptions declined dramatically. I use Feedburner so I am used to dramatic ups and downs but I began to think my subscribers hated what I was doing. I stuck to my guns and my subscribers returned to normal.
- Remember to disable existing feeds if you change kit and platform. I forgot to disable an earlier process for video interviews on my blog that I had set up six months ago. So, one morning, I was alarmed to have sent out three Tweets with links to my Vodpod (video host) profile. It looked and felt like spam and was entirely my fault and oversight.
- Do some traditional note taking. Most delegates spend every session with their heads over a laptop, interacting with the speakers online. It is very addictive. But you are far less likely to walk out with decent notes or even listen properly. So, just occasionally, close down the laptop, shut off the mobile device, ignore the Twitter feed and open a notebook instead.