Monday, February 20, 2012

Silicone Bitch: No Rest for the Social Media Weary

News and notes about the South Florida social media and blogging scene, with a little tech thrown in for good measure. And maybe some other random events, too.

WordCamp Wordpress Engine
Super cute geeks from WP Engine were giving out t-shirts and basic free hosting to WordCamp attendees this weekend.

No sooner did HeartCamp end than a flurry of activity ensued with Social Media Week, WordCamp and BarCamp taking place in a span of seven days, in some cases overlapping. There was definitely no sabbath for the hardcore last week.

Yours truly is still recovering from HeartCamp plus one panel and one presentation on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Here are a few thoughts on last week's social media orgy -- three very different yet somewhat related conferences done in three very different ways.


A packed house at Social Media Week for the Real and Organic Panel. Photo by Soul of Miami.

Social Media Week was great to attend either virtually through the hashtag (#smwmiami) and/or in person at the beautiful Arsht Center in downtown Miami. A full week of panels with diverse professionals from all walks of life made this a cross between a curated conference and a free camp style unconference. Some folks complained it was too 101 (good point) but it seems that the audience was hungry for information at that level. (Yours truly was on a panel with colleagues, Keeping Social Media Real and Organic, to a packed house. Check out the live stream recording.)

There were fabulous parties, too, some officially organized through the event host BRPR group at the Mandarin and Betsy hotels, as well as one rogue tweetup by the Miami Rat Pack ("drinkers with a social media problem").

Kudos to the BRPR Group for organizing this intense week of panels. Pulling this off ain't easy, so it's very much appreciated.

Yet Silicone Bitch is not so sure the idea of a Social Media Week should even be an entire week. While the idea of Social Media Week is brilliant -- founded and owned by Crowdcentric in New York City -- each community should really tweak to its own needs. In Miami, workshops from beginner to advanced, as well as solo presenters, would have been useful.

Also, something so broad as this shouldn't be owned by any one particular agency but designed with community think tank -- including local chapters of Social Media Club -- in what could very well become Miami's own version of SXSW if you throw in WordCamp and BarCamp. This week had "interactive" written all over it. And while many panels at Social Media Week Miami were crowdsourced, voting SXSW style by attendees would have provided community vetting. Silicone Bitch is also beyond perplexed why the Social Media Week Miami Facebook Page has a closed wall. Isn't it all about community sharing?

Silicone Bitch feels that while we have made great strides in Miami's social media community, there is still too much division between the public relations agencies that are selling social media services and those who are actually pioneers in the movement or are have just been simply living social media. No one is a guru, remember?

We should work together, not apart. Social media is open source in nature. Let's not forget the original mantra of Social Media Club: "If you get it, share it."


Ah, the beauty of WordPress.

And speaking of open source, WordCamp Miami gathered WordPress novices and professionals from all over the country, featuring a beginner's track on Friday followed by sessions the next day for beginners, power users and developers. All curated sessions included blogging basics, community building, using BuddyPress and widgets, networking skills for geeks, how to avoid and recover from a site hack and all kinds of code technique that's even way over Silicone Bitch's head. What's the beauty of open source? You can see slide versions of many presentations even if you couldn't attend. Yours truly posted her Blogging Basics presentation over at SlideShare.

It wasn't all just shop talk. Great times followed at Bougainvillea's in South Miami where many of the geeks gathered for cocktails.


The truest of the true -- a complete unconference schedule.

Back-to-back with WordCamp, BarCamp finished off the weekend with a full day of talks at Miami Dade College downtown in the true camp style, followed by a happy hour at Amuse Lounge. Speakers who showed up discussed Pinterest, career coaching, a beta social search called Tawlk, social networks, Startup Bus and even mental health, plus so much more. What really impressed Silicone Bitch this year was the diversity of the audience -- it wasn't just your wonderful software and game developers but also folks from legal, law enforcement and other industries not necessarily related to this kind of tech. The cross-pollination was refreshing.

Even more impressive? The event was fully crowdsourced in about three weeks, with no website other than an Eventbrite host page. Over 400 people signed up.

Thanks to Social Media Week Miami, WordCamp and BarCamp organizers and volunteer teams for giving us an intense week of activities.


Don't forget: Superconf and Refresh Miami are this week.

Yours truly is working with a hotel partner in Key Largo to plan a SOCIAL MEDIA WEEKEND sometime this year either before or after the SXSE tweetup. This will probably be in the community crowdsourced, unconference camp style though some sessions may or may not be curated. Any agency or individual interested in more information or being part of a think tank, please follow @sxse. Everyone is welcome to participate.

We missed adding She Streams to our last post about upcoming social media events and conferences. It takes place in Fort Lauderdale, March 30 to 31. Yours truly will be on a panel on producing quality content. Details to follow.


Got anything newsworthy coming up? Don't forget to pitch me by email (find it via my profile). Silicone Bitch loves to hear about what cool things you are doing and we can also feature you on my co-hosted radio show at Social Chats.

If you were part of all or any of these events, please feel free to share below in comments -- anything you want, including links to other posts about the events.


Mike said...

I don't know how you keep track of all this stuff, plus your stuff, plus everyone else's stuff.

You're a huge reason why Miami is on the map. I kid around a lot, but you're truly amazing.


Maria de los Angeles said...

Awwwww, thanks Mike! People like YOU, the rat pack and others truly inspire me. I love my community and all the great stuff that you guys do. That's how I do it. :-)

Thank you for the kind words.