Well I’m back from my first real conference! I’ve never been to a conference of any kind so today was a completely new experience. I made it there on time despite getting lost twice and after some orange juice and a cinnamon roll we all moved into the main auditorium for the keynote speaker panel. There were five speakers from different business backgrounds who had varying views on the different aspects of social media that were discussed. You can read about the five speakers here.
The only panels I’ve ever been to are those at DragonCon where a question is asked and they go down the row of people getting each answer. While it is fair, this method tends to get very monotonous very quickly. The panel at SoCon was run differently, with a general question on social media being asked and then whoever wanted to answer just went for it. These were five successful and outgoing people who knew what they were talking about so there was no issue with fairness and no one monopolized the conversation. All the questions were very relevant for me (educational, since I’m not trying to run a business) and all the answers from the panelists were thorough and gave a variety of opinions and strategies. I’m going to go ahead and say that this panel was the highlight of my day, with the most interesting and useful information for me personally. I also went a little crazy with the tweeting during this hour.
After the panel was over, I headed upstairs to Rip Off the Band-Aid and Blog Already! This was the breakout session I was most looking forward to because it seemed to cover everything I was hoping to learn today, but unfortunately the speaker had a family emergency and couldn’t make it, so I’ll never know if that talk could have changed my blog forever.
Nonetheless, I carried on and relocated to Maintaining Your Company’s Voice in Dynamic Social Media. While the idea of voice was interesting, the speaker was working with a large brand and many of his social media strategies were outdated and not incredibly helpful. I heard it was interesting at first, but since I came in late I didn’t get to see that part.
After an incredibly long lunch (I mean really we didn’t need 1 hour and 45 minutes to eat some pizza from the dining hall), I headed to breakout session number three Social Chaos: Moving from Panic to Plan. I really enjoyed this session, and although not all of the information was useful to me I did find it all very interesting. This session covered all the areas of social media including building your message (look at what’s being talked about and go from there, not vice versa), determining the correct social platform to spread your message on (don’t try to do them all, find out where your users are and focus on that), spreading your message effectively (planning posts in advance and posting on a regular schedule), and crisis management (have a plan in place for if something goes negatively viral). This session definitely showed me how incredibly important social media is for companies.
For the fourth and final session of the day, I went to The Power of Personal Branding Through the Use of Social Media. This speaker was very entertaining and seemed to use social media differently from most people there. She repeatedly said that she preferred LinkedIn as her main platform and didn’t do much structured planning (the opposite of the previous session I was in). She did suggest posting at least five times a day on your main platform to make sure you have good visibility and to help people get to know you and your brand.
Do I have a lot of detailed notes from today? No, but SoCon14 was a really great experience where I got to see real people talk about all the things I’ve read about. Everything I had heard about is much more concrete now and I learned a lot of new things that I’m excited to work on. Hopefully SoCon14 will help me send my Verity experiment to where I would like it to be and prepare me for future blogging projects.