Celebrating Social Media Day in Atlanta

John Stepp, President of Free Tech Consultants, attended the Social Media Day meetup in Atlanta on Wednesday at The Hub. Below are his thoughts from the event.

After reading about all the Social Media Day events publicized by Mashable around the world, my interest was piqued and I decided to attend the Atlanta event (Twitter hashtag #smdayatl) billed as the seventh largest in the world. There were a number of people involved in Social Media spearheading the gathering and it included a round table discussion on relevant Social Media topics. The event was held at a place called the Hub, which is billed as a “new member’s space for people working to create a better world” which sounded pretty new age to me, but is really a workspace for members by day and meeting rental facility by night. As I reached a parking place around 8pm, I wondered if this was just going to be a big party or if it would really be relevant.

Once I arrived at The Hub, I networked around a bit then settled in for the panel discussion to see what I could learn. The panel consisted of:

  • Joe Hamm, the moderator from Modernization Labs
  • Tessa Horehled from Think Interactive and driveafastercar.com
  • Amanda Lauter from MailChimp
  • Andy Meeks from Scoutmob<
  • Christina Warren from Mashable

The panel answered questions on a range of Social Media topics from analytics to getting more followers to helping non-profits utilize social media. I found the discussion to be spontaneous, informative and entertaining. An audience of around 175 asked questions and the tone was lighthearted and smart. After the round table discussion wrapped up, the panelists stayed to talk to people one on one. The networking continued with a DJ, in earnest until around 11pm. The energy and camaraderie at the event was striking, especially for a middle of the week evening event.

I learned some useful tips and made some new connections at the event. But the thing that struck me most was the level of curiosity and the desire to learn that almost everyone exhibited. Social Media is usually viewed as a purely online experience in your room or marketing office at work. The Mashable Meetup and the Social Media Clubs are changing the dynamic to create more personal interaction. I highly recommend checking out future Mashable Meetups in your area at http://www.meetup.com/Mashable/. Just as videoconferencing will bring more personal interaction and learning opportunities to all forms of communications, social media will morph to bring people together to accomplish more for business and personal growth as well.


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