Last year, about this time… I was making a huge life change, ridding myself of 75 percent of my possessions and moved back from Greenville, SC. It was a time of great uncertainty, being back in my hometown of Tampa, Florida. No money, all my old friends had gone away, however as much as I thought I lost in my transition I gained something much stronger, my perspective on life was much different. If I could build a network in a small southern town, I could certainly rock it up a bit in my hometown using social networks. Maybe. As many of you know, the Tampa bay area is huge. Many different communities and cities, not to mention we’ve got an amazing diversity of cultures here.
The last thing I could think ever being possible was a year later being voted by the Tampa community “Best of The Bay” in Creative Loafing magazine, that’s just crazy talk. It’s a big honor in our local community, well, unless you are voted “Best Sex Scandal”. But it happened, just a few days ago… I became Tampa’s “Best Twitter Personality” and runner up for “Best Blogger” and I am still in a bit of shock. Creative Loafing has always been a huge part of my life since the mid 90’s, I could have never thought I would be in it’s pages with such an honor. Thank you all for voting.
How did this happen? I started small, adding a few people on twitter from Tampa here and there. In my first few weeks back I attended Barcamp Tampa which is a local tech/media conference. Attending industry events were key at this point being new, it allowed me to personally connect with my auidence and meet some of the people I call my best friends and most trusted colleagues. I started getting my little blue head out there and teaching people about this new fangled thing called Twitter, it’s importance in media and helping companies create their own online personalities. Getting out there and meeting my community, people in my industry… the social media, new media and old media folks. Next thing you know I am raiding the mayor Pam Iorio’s office with Mark Malkoff and organizing Foursquare Day which put Tampa’s social media scene on the map.
I’ve lived here for 23 years and I can now officially say I am honored to be a part of the Tampa community. You all rock my mismatched socks. So much so, I’ll be sticking around for a bit. This being said if you need social media or community manager help, I’m currently for hire. Looking for a stable position in Tampa w/benefits to help me fuel the next stage of Destructo Deviations. Sorry, NYC… we’ll meet again soon. I’ll send you a postcard from the beach in winter.
As silly as tweets, check-ins, facebooking and blogging may seem to many… this new world of social networking is and will become a large part of the media, marketing and our everyday lives. Get connected with your world, your community or GTFO. Learn it’s benefits, find mentors, be safe, teach others and create yourself.
Again, thank you to all those that voted, Creative Loafing and even random “comment” guy… seriously dude, let’s grab a beer… because I got 30,000 tweets and a bitch ain’t one of them.
Above and beyond online or offline, be real… be kind…be human. Even if you don’t look like one.