Speaking at the Direct Marketing Association of Washington’s “Era of Conversation” conferencePhoto by CC Chapman
Last Thursday, I had the unique pleasure of speaking before a group of marketing executives at the Direct Marketing Association of Washington’s confab in DC. I spoke to one of the many break-out sessions on “new media basics” – fitting for me as there there is SO much I’ve yet to absorb about the social web. In fact, I began by telling my breakout session: “I have no business speaking before a bunch of marketing executives, but..”
From that jumping off point, I discussed my nascent (only been blogging since March of this year), but reasonably engaging blogging efforts, and my use of Twitter as primary tools of social media. Essentially I riffed that if I can do it, you can do it, and basic tools are a good place to start, especially when shifting from less conversational communication. Fortunately for me, and for the rest of the attendees, there was an abundance of thought leadership on wide-ranging strategies for launching social media efforts. Overall I think it’s key to find the tools that are right for you or your organization.
For me, blogging is most rewarding when I leave my posts open-ended, and people WAY smarter than me complete my thoughts in the comments section. Sure, you can be confrontational, and link-bait to generate traffic, but I like the notion of what Stephen Marino, of Ogilvy’s 360 Digital Influence practice calls “Return on Involvement”. The day was filled with terrific speakers, and I had the chance to meet some of the brightest minds in this space like keynote speaker Valeria Maltoni (she’s not yet convinced of Twitter so get over to her blog and give her a nudge!), and keynote speaker CC Chapman, who I’ve been eager to meet for some time. CC connected me with Geoff Livingston, another keynote at the conference who really did a great job of blogging the event with the help of Larissa Fair. Geoff pointed out, in support of Marino’s premise, that participation IS marketing.
In my presentation, I demonstrated how Twitter can be used and misused an engagement tool. At one point i called out to all of YOU on Twitter and asked if you’d say hello to the DMAW session. While waiting for some responses to generate, CC Chapman, in what can almost be described as a movie moment, stopped me and said almost chillingly: “Jim.. refresh the page”. You guys had come through!! Imagine if that hadn’t worked . There were no less than 80 immediate responses. (thank you!) I think that aptly demonstrated Twitter’s immediate, conversational, attention directing value. I also pointed out that Team Twitter had helped shape my presentation in the comments on my blog. (again thank you!)
So despite this being my first ever presentation before a professional group, I think I was able to get people thinking about social media and what tools are right for them. Social media allows us to connect on a deep human level across social, cultural, and corporate barriers in a way we never could before. Conversations no longer happen from the top down. More importantly they are no longer controlled by corporations. Media that aren’t conversational or social are becoming less and less relevant. Funny that I felt like odd man out speaking at this event. At the end of the day I’m a network news cameraman, not a social media consultant. Ogilvy’s John Bell advises on his blog:
Spark ideas by mixing up odd-fellows and odd exepriences. Oh, and let go of the reins a bit.
I think that’s fitting here. Social media enables the exchange of good ideas and allows the the best ones to take root and propagate, creating value, involvement, and engagement. So maybe that’s why I was invited. I want to thank Donna Tschiffely, Executive Director of DMAW, for bringing this all together. I hope i get a chance to do this again soon.