Recently I was asked by a friend “So, what is it exactly that you do?”. Great question, as most days there is no set schedule – yes, there are certainly duties for clients as a community manager, webmaster and public relations rep, but as the business has quickly morphed into the realm of social media much of the activity is serendipity. This type of ‘consulting’ and active representation is not taught at colleges – there is no certificate or degree – in fact as with many in similar businesses we spend much of our time teaching, along with research, as communications is an ever changing paradigm.
Which is why a conference like Social Media Camp in Victoria BC is such a delight. Not only an opportunity to both teach and learn, but also to collaborate and put into perspective what ‘we do’. A ‘camp’ is somewhat a misnomer – now in its third year, it has grown quickly attracting keynote speakers like Chris Brogan and Erica Ehm (so cool to meet them!) and this year over 650 attendees.
Often it takes a colleague or presenter to define, or provide the ‘imagery’ to what we as ‘new media’ folks provide clients. In this case, on the first day of the conference one of the best take aways was provided by City of Victoria Councillor Lisa Helps. In her presentation she urged the audience to have courage and jump into social media – or as we both tweeted later for a summary “have the courage to connect”. Those connections make the difference, and having the courage to do something different, or bring something already proven to a new location, is what makes a difference.
We have been running #YYJchat for about 6 weeks, and gaining a wonderful, engaged audience, and it seemed perfect to do it live from Social Media Camp – so we did! Very little planning, no set advanced guests, just dive in… the results, frankly were amazing. Proving, don’t be afraid. The plan was simply to grab speakers and get them to spend sometime live on the chat – result: Mike Russell, (@VicPDCanada) engaged for the full hour, and we were joined by Russell Lolacher (@russlol) who IS @drivebc (among many other great programs) and Louise Hartman (@CTVnewsLouise). A very eclectic group, but it worked – and had it been pre-planned would never have happened.
So the lesson today is, sometimes not planning is better than nailing the details when it comes to social media!