Yesterday I attended Ottawa’s first-ever “Social media learnathon” at the University of Ottawa, which saw about 150 marketing, communications and digital aficionados in the nation’s capital come together to discuss, learn and share social media experiences. I was one of, if not, the youngest attendee of “Social Capital Ottawa,” or “SoCapOtt” — an all-day event sponsored by companies like Chevrolet, Rogers, Ottawa Marriott, and local businesses such as Taste Catering and Sara McConnell Photography.
The title of this post says it all, because for me, that’s what this learnathon was all about. Not only to meet in person the people we interact with in our daily lives online (often to much surprise: “she looks way younger in person”) but it was about learning deeper insights into today’s social media tools – tips and tricks – and hearing and sharing stories about online engagement.
“We’re living at a time when attention is the new currency. Those who insert themselves into as many channels as possible look set to capture the most value.” - Pete Cashmore, Founder of mashable.com
We can’t get away from the core concept that what people are looking to provide and obtain through social media channels is, essentially, value. And this is different for each user. Aside from the overarching theme of “community building” in the conference, the reason people flocked to the hot lecture halls of Lamoureux Hall on a gorgeous summer day was to find out how they can gain more value from social media and how to provide more value to their customers or clients through digital tools.
Underlying theme: community building/city building
Here are some key points I found relevant/interesting from the three sessions I attended:
“Enterprise 2.0” with @nickcharney and @joeboughner
- Be (a) radical if you want to affect social change in your government organization
- Be proactive about disclosing your social media strategy
- Use a TED video as your pitch to include social media in your dept’s comms efforts
- Urge the enabling of comments and interactivity on branded channels
- “Govern the behaviour, not the tools”
“Finding the Right Social Tools for You” with @suzemuse and @melgallant
- Think of social media as a community:
- Your website is your home (home base), and other websites are other houses
- Twitter is your coffee shop
- Facebook is your community centre
- Flickr and YouTube are your town square
- Six steps to getting started in social media:
- Clean up your home base
- Go out exploring
- Plan your content
- Just hit publish
- Manage and maintain
“Don’t Double Down: Take the High Road with Social Media Strategy” with @denvan and @knealemann
- “There are great business opportunities through social channels. We don’t work for free. My banker doesn’t care about my Klout score” – Mann
- You’re building a social business, not a social hobby
- “We need to live a life of purpose” –Mann
- We are too focused on the “R” of ROI, what’s your social investment?
- Why so much concentration on the social web, and not the human web?
- Brands are about people: human values, human creativity, human community – Van Staalduinen
- People are hardwired to like stories, and respond to simplicity
- Brands are owned by customers
- Who owns the promise? The customer
- You know you have a successful brand strategy if it doesn’t go supernova to your brand equity
- Build brand values off human values
- “Let’s get away from the idea that making money is evil. Making money being evil is evil” – Chris Brogan
- “Find the champions that are already in the channels and use them” – Nick Charney
While this was the first SoCapOtt ever, and I hope there are more to come, what would a balanced post be without suggestions for some improvements for the conference? After all, what’s a learnathon without continued learning?
Overall, I thought the sessions were all going to be a bit more advanced than they were. I went to one from each stream (fundamental, business and advanced) and I suppose I was under the assumption that those there were firmly-established social media users. I found much of the content to be redundant and recycled. That being said, there were times (last session) which seemed more of a conversation, more two-way, rather than the presenters preaching at the crowd. Learnathons should be more interactive like this as the tools we’re talking about are all about the conversation; the interactivity. We learn more when we share more stories and experiences. I would advocate for more audience participation and inclusion in the sessions in the future. Other comments:
- only one session I went to included the use of videos – utilize the tools being talked about
- provide links to the Prezis to attendees
- mention where the funds go
Overall, it was a great experience and opportunity to meet up, tweet up and generate fresh ideas. To end, one final quote that sums up a predominant reason we engage in social media – to become better versions of ourselves.
“The difference between PR and social media is that PR is about positioning, and social media is about becoming, being and improving.” – Chris Brogan, author of “Trust Agents”