Last year, I posted a blog about SNW Spring 2009 and the blog is here. It was somewhat of a cheerleading post, as I have been to 11 of the last 14 conferences and I do enjoy being there and have worked with great brands at the conference (Disclosure: we currently represent the SNIA who co-hosts the event with IDG). Last year, I was pretty curious that social media hadn’t really taken off. Sure there were some solid online conversations and interesting blog posts speculating about the conference, its future, etc. But there just wasn’t a lot of buzz about the event.
Not to say all of this changed suddenly over the last six months or that suddenly everyone has figured out the ‘right’ thing to do…but at SNW Spring 2010 this week, there was a significant uptick in activity across the social Web – and that was exciting. Check out the activity with the #SNWUSA hashtag to get a quick look.
I have a few theories as to why this has happened:
1- A year has gone by and quite a bit has changed within the storage media landscape. Traditional media at the conference have all but dried up. At SNW Spring 2010, you could count them on your fingers. Actually the fingers on your left hand…and still have a few to spare. Sure meeting with media, analysts and, more importantly influencers, on-site to share news, updates or just to catch up still plays an important role. But the game started to change long-ago and in my eyes SNW Spring 2010 marked the tipping point for the industry.
2- Brands are realizing that having staff on-site and a booth, is a check-box. Important indeed, but not the end-game and there are new ways to engage users and attendees. Some are allowing if not encouraging their employees to use the tools they have available to engage with their peers and prospective customers.
But it is increasingly apparent that attendees at this SNW were also listening to social networks and he voices on them – and at the event – like never before. Every day, throughout the day, I’d hear, “did you see that tweet from X” or “look at this post by Y” or “get involved on our wiki/blog/site here…”
Just because there was a lot of activity also doesn’t mean that we all nailed it or got it right. There were rumblings of “I can’t believe this person was speaking about Social Media” and “XYZ brand doesn’t know how to spell Twitter, let alone use it.” Sure, that’s a natural element in Social Media and most is done in with a good natured spirit.
My point is, we should embrace new voices and opinions and help point them to the resources (if not guide them ourselves) that they can learn from and be inspired to engage online. This may be a bit too good natured, but we’re all students…some may be in grad-school and others just arriving for freshman orientation, but we’re all learning as we go. To me, this is all exciting and I’m already looking forward to SNW Fall.
So welcome aboard newbies, celebrate your status and jump in head first…see you in Dallas (if I don’t connect with you @dlarusso15 first!).
David Carlson: Social Media and Traditional PR