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06/02/2009 Social Media Breakfast Reflections

Others have done a great job in describing what actually happened at the Burlington Social Media Breakfast on June 1 that I thought I’d take a stab at describing what I took away from a community level.

One of the reasons I wanted to put this event together was that even though Burlington is small, we’ve done a pretty poor job of pulling our digital and marketing people together. There are a few exceptions, but they feel very focused and limited, in some way.

In Boston, for example, MITX (formerly MIMC) does a great job in giving people reasons to connect. I got involved with them in 1998 and stayed involved even after I moved to Vermont. Up here, though, every time someone pulled something together, it was more like “Breakfast and a Sales Pitch.” And because it’s so small here, everyone was worried about inviting competition, lest they try to steal a client. That’s my take, anyway, and I’ve been poking around this issue for the last 10 years.

If you look at what both C.C. Chapman and Todd Defren said on Monday, they both stressed two points:
•    Give people a good reason (excuse) to gather
•    And make sure you’re bringing something enticing to the table (like Fruit Salad)

That’s what happened on Monday. That crowd was exactly who I had hoped would come. There were lots of PR, interactive and traditional agency people there, there were small entrepreneurial business people (we have lots of those in VT), there were people from non-profits (lots of them, too) and there were marketers from some of the biggest and best brands in VT (best brands in the U.S. for that matter).

In short we all came because we wanted to know more about social media, we brought our openness and curiosity to the party, and we partook of something delicious with no strings attached.

The energy of that event and the feedback I’ve received was overwhelming, from all different sorts of people. Some were just happy to meet old friends, others were happy to put faces to Twitter tags, and everyone felt that their marketing wheels were spinning.

What happened on June 1 was a Social Event, even if it happened to have the label social media. That was the most exciting part, that’s exactly what C.C., and Todd talked about. Social Media. Public Relations. It happened in person, and during and after we passed what we experienced on through Twitter, blogs and more.

It was a living, breathing example of what we were supposedly learning about.

And now, it’s time for us in Burlington and Vermont to do more of it, now that we saw how much fun it could be. [Thanks @cresmer for proofing and catching this last miss! I owe you.]


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