Social Fresh Tampa was a great meeting of the social media minds in Tampa and beyond. It was an early morning for me awakening at 4:30am to head to Tampa but I didn’t want to miss a minute of the So Fresh action. Upon arrival, I was notified that they would soon be putting out a nice spread of danishes and coffee for the guests. This was music to my ears, since I didn’t want to be that guy in the McDonald’s commercial “Sorry, I haven’t had my coffee yet” since I knew there would be many faces that I haven’t yet met beyond the screen of the twitterverse.
Great video by cate.tv of me blowing bubbles and talking social media.
As guests started piling in, I found that there was a multitude of different options for me at this point being there was at least 2 social media themed panels going on at once. At conventions of any kind, I usually take the road less taken. When people are running for the panels, I usually use that time to get the most out of my time at the convention by networking with people arriving or learning from the tweets that people are tweeting from the different panels. I find that I learn more from the tweets and opinions of others in the panels than having to choose between two panels at once.
Some people wonder how I end up learning anything by not going to the panels. I am an observer, I watch the tweets using hashtags (example #sofresh) from the panels, then if I have any questions… I see the speaker directly after the panel to talk with them one on one, gaining personal connections and sometimes they’ll give me tons of tips that weren’t given in the speech. I think I learned this method after having so many distance learning classes in college, I learned more from interacting with someone one on one than in a formal classroom setting. Plus, I just generally like to use my time to get to know people on a personal basis and learn their methods more directly. That’s what I like about these type of conferences, it brings the social to social media.
I think I spend so much time behind a screen, that when I encounter a group of wonderful minds that I have been talking with for so long, I just want to run all over and meet everyone. Sometimes I wish we all had floating avatars above our heads since trying to find people is the hardest, without being really weird and looking at everyone’s name badges. So if I missed any of you, there’s always next time! If you see me at an event, just come and find me… most likely I will be the only person with blue hair!
One thing I learned yesterday, is that if you are passionate about what you are doing. That gets other people passionate about it too, and ultimately starts a movement of success. If you are interesting, people will generally be interested. Social media is above just business, it’s about people… people want something different, be different and social media becomes less of a tool and more of a lifestyle. You don’t have to have tons of money or an advertising budget to succeed in social media, you just need passion… for people and your product.
Huge thanks to Jason @jakrose for inviting me and all the wonderful volunteers and staff at the Doubletree Hotel in Tampa (You have got to try the Doubletree cookies!)