I had dinner with Chris Brogan: Real implications for social media

The following is a guest post by Kathleen VanderVelde, Communications Manager at Davenport University.  Kathleen blogs at davenblogger and has a personal blogThings I’ve Seen, that she has been writing since the beginning of blogging, ok maybe not quite butis a long time in blogging time.  You can connect with her through Twitter or LinkedIn.  This is the eighth post in the .eduGuru Blogger(s) Search Contest.

So Chris Brogan is a pretty well known social media guru who had a gig recently as keynote speaker at  Stamats Integrated Marketing Conference: Technology, Collaboration, Results. I am a some-time blogger, a regular blog reader and I was an incidental conference attendee. So how did I end up at dinner with Chris and the conference “cool kids,” and more important, why should you care? It’s all about creating conversations and building relationships through social media. Here’s the story:

A few weeks before the conference, Stamats created a social network for conference attendees using the build-your-own network tool, Ning.   Discussions started right away among the attendees, including presenter Brad J. Ward‘s  “Twitter Rollcall.“  Chris Brogan, who I doubt knew any of the presenters or attendees before the conference, started following those of us who listed our IDs.

When he arrived in Tampa, we were already in session. The Twitter users, who included a good share of the presenters and a handful of attendees, were doing what we do - blogging, shooting video, snapping photos, posting comments on Twitter (aggregated at TwitterSearch with the tag #stamats08 ). Pretty soon we saw this:

hello tampa I had dinner with Chris Brogan: Real implications for social media

Yep - Chris was “crowdsourcing” his way to the conference venue, and he got there easily with the help of the network. Once there he spent two days hanging out with, not the conference sponsors who’d invited him, but with people he’d conversed with online ahead of the conference. And on that last evening a group of us - all “old friends” by now, including Chris - rehashed the conference and traded stories over some nondescript Southwestern food and plenty of beer.

the bus to dinner I had dinner with Chris Brogan: Real implications for social media
The bus to dinner

Which is all a long-winded way of pointing out what should be obvious, but isn’t always, when we’re thinking about how to entice prospects to our institutions: People are going to spend their time, money and personal capital with those they know and trust - people they’ve talked with and built relationships with. People they care about and who care about them. Social media tools offer us ways to initiate and establish those relationships.

When I am reading this blog, I feel like most in the audience already have solid social media efforts in place. But I also know that there are others out there - my own school included - who are still struggling to get started. What to do? Take one step at a time, as they say. (We started with sharing tools on our website.)
Listen to what they’re saying out there about you. And join the conversation.

Oh - and keep reading and participating here. There’s a whole network here to support you.

2 Responses to “I had dinner with Chris Brogan: Real implications for social media”

  1. Says:

    This really is a cool story and I say that not because I was there, but it is a common theme that I’ve noticed this year. I’ve made all these twitter friends that I’ve followed and when we finally meet we’re like old buddies. I first met Head of Marketing @ Stamats and a lot of people couldn’t believe we had never meet before.

    It really just goes to show that when you find people that you can relate to and understand the actual meetup is so easy and comfortable.

    I do rememeber seeing something about a problem with tweetups is that people arrive and while meeting they can’t put their phone away long enough to actually carry on a conversation. Luckily I haven’t really encountered that with my twitter friends.

  2. Says:

    One of the hard things to explain about Twitter to people is how it extends the friend experience into the “before meeting in person” and far into the “after we hung out” phases.

    Thanks for the great write up, and I’m really happy I got to spend time with all the celebrities of higher ed at the Stamats conference.