Let’s be honest: Two years ago when the first impromptu #Blogchat was held, I had no idea it would become as big as it has. And even 2 months ago, I had no idea that we’d be in Austin at the largest social media event/festival on the planet, doing a LIVE version of a popular Twitter chat.
Yet on March 13th, there we were, spread out over three floors at the Social Media Clubhouse. Connecting with each other and chatting about blogging. It was such an amazing group, with 5 co-hosts helping me lead the conversation; Richard Binhammer, Ken Lingad, C.C. Chapman, Shannon Paul and Becky McCray. Much of the success of this event can be tied to these five people, as they all did a wonderful job of connecting with everyone and keeping the conversation going. They are all wonderful speakers, and beyond that (and this is far more important) they are truly good people.
The event itself ended up being a regular #Blogchat, without the laptops and Twitter. Which is exactly what I wanted. We had about 70 people spread out over 3 floors, with each floor discussing the same topic, ‘What can company blogs learn from personal bloggers?’ What was amazing was that each floor had a slightly different take, based on the people in attendance. For example, Ken and I co-hosted on the 2nd floor, and our conversation focused on how important it is for company blogs to find their unique voice, and how that makes it easier for readers to connect with them. While on the 3rd floor, which was hosted by Becky and C.C., creating a social media/blogging policy and guidelines for your company was a focus. This makes sense, since that floor had representatives from Dell and Cisco participating.
Thankfully, the online experience of #Blogchat seemed to translate fairly effortlessly to the offline world. Now there were a few hiccups, but thankfully, these were mostly logistical issues that were a byproduct of never having done a Live #Blogchat before, and not knowing what to expect. And this really was a test to see if there’s a future in this model, and I believe there is. Not only did I get very positive reviews from the participants and sponsors, but I’m also talking to people at multiple events throughout the end of the year about possibly having a Live #Blogchat be a part of their event.
Let me add here that the PEOPLE that participate in #Blogchat are what make it work on Twitter, and y’all made the Live version a success as well. Thank you to EVERYONE that attended. Y’all all brought and shared your smartitude, and I really think the event itself was a nice contrast to many of the ‘parties’ at SXSW, and a fabulous chance for us to get together with some smart friends and have an interesting and informative conversation. I also think it was a wonderful pairing for #AllHat3, earlier in the day. Again, thank all of you that came.
In closing, I have to say how lucky I was to have 1680PR and Dell as sponsors for the Live #Blogchat. This was the 1st time we’d done a Live #Blogchat, so obviously the 1st time I’d needed to bring on sponsors for it. Ken reached out to me directly about being the Main Sponsor for the Live #Blgochat when he saw my post on looking for sponsors that I wrote here back in January. Ken and his team were completely accommodating, and they understood why #Blogchat works, and didn’t suggest we change a thing. And besides that, Ken’s a great guy, what I really liked was having my friends at SXSW meet him, then hearing them later tell me that they enjoyed spending time with him. That means a lot to me to have #Blogchat sponsored by good people and I think/hope Ken and I will be able to work together on future projects.
And my goodness, what else can I say about my friends at Dell? Richard was one of the Live #Blogchat co-hosts, so I was hoping Lionel could join us as well. Not only did Lionel attend the Live #Blogchat, but so did Susan Beebe, Carly Tatum AND Sarah Richardson! Then afterwards when a few of us at the Live #Blogchat event went to the Hilton Lobby to do #Blogchat on Twitter, Dell’s Laura Thomas joined us there!
On Monday I was talking to a member of the social media team at a major brand that everyone has heard of. He was telling me that his team was looking for ways to use social media to connect with and engage consumers. I said “Let me tell you something, in the span of 2 hours yesterday, I got to chat with SIX members of Dell’s social media team here. Yes, social media is hugely important, but putting feet on the pavement still matters.” What makes Dell’s social media efforts so brilliant is that they understand that the interactions created via social media are just the start. They leverage those online connections into offline ones. THAT is where the magic happens. I don’t keep gushing about Dell because I love their products, I gush about Dell because I love the people BEHIND those products.
Again, thanks to everyone that attended the 1st ever Live #Blogchat. If your company would like to talk to me about sponsoring a Live #Blogchat or if you are an event organizer that would like to add a Live #Blogchat to your program, please email me for more details.
If you couldn’t make it to SXSW, here’s a few more pics: