SMAZ 2 – Social Media Arizona 2010

Conferences work when you hear that one thing that makes you say, “Yes! That’s what I needed!” It’s when you get that one chunk of information you were either hoping to find out, or that you didn’t know you needed until you heard it.

Today’s Social Media Arizona event had several of thoseĀ momentsĀ for me, but here are the two that stick out:

1) Leave off the last paragraph of a blog post. If you don’t wrap up the story you tell, it leaves readers wanting more, and gets them to want to finish it with their own comments.

2) If you want to convince your company it needs to explore social media, find the 1 or 2 executives who are the forward thinking ones, the ones most likely to get it. If you can win them over, they will win the rest over.

"SMAZ 2"

SMAZ 2 in Tempe, AZ

I like having thoughts like these given to me. You can read blogs and watch training videos and you won’t necessarily find these important bits of philosophy in them. It’s encouraging to me when this happens. Mostly because, unfortunately, a lot of conferences don’t have a great deal of new, useful information in them. Especially when you’re talking about social media.

I don’t claim to know all there is about social. But I’ve heard enough presentations now that I hear the same things being taught repeatedly: Be real, have a goal, it’s about the conversations not the tools, and measure your progress. (Which, frankly, is good advice whatever marketing you do.) Beginners will doubtlessly find all of this interesting and exciting. They should. Social media is a brave new world. It’s the wild west. But once you hear these axioms enough, you hit a ceiling, where you hunger for new information, some new take.

Maybe at that point, you just need to go out and create your own stories, your own eye-opening study or tactic to share. Or maybe the best parts of any seminar can be gleaned from the Twitter posts that come out of it.

This isn’t a slam on conferences, mind you. Like I said, I was floating from room to room, and may just have missed the really good parts everyone was sharing. Still, I wonder if there’s always enough new information to share at all of the SEMPO, AZIMA, and even SMAZ events.

So, seriously – what do you think?


  1. I actually got a lot out of the event. It really depends on how long you have been involved in social media, what your objectives are, and what you are struggling with.

    For those who consider themselves social media experts, it is good to occasionally refresh yourself with some basics, like being more personal and tracking your progress in relation to your goals. It’s easy to get too advanced into your usage of something that you forget simpler prinicples.

    For two of the sessions in particular, the best part was at the end when the audience started weighing in with their questions. For the most part, they were asking about more specific, advanced topics.

    Probably the most helpful thing would be for these kinds of events to give more details each of the presentations, that way people will know if they will have the opportunity to learn something new, or if they should just save their money for the next conference.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Kristi!

      I like your idea about pre-attendee notes. Sort of like a syllabus: “For the first 20 minutes I’ll be covering basics, then I’ll move into the hardcore stuff.”

      1. Usually seminars have that sort of thing. I know the company I used to work for had an annual conference, and they actually gave an outlined synopsis of each presentation, that way people would know if it was too basic or advanced for their tastes. If I get included in the interview feedback group, I’ll be sure to mention that.

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