For the last three years, I’ve hosted a Tweet-up at Blog World & New Media Expo in Las Vegas. No, it has never been an “official” Blog World party, but Rick Calvert and the BWE organizers have always come and since it didn’t typically interfere with the official goings on, have appreciated my efforts in getting folks together for a little fun.

Last night, we had our third version of the tweet-up and this year we blew it out a bit. Whrrl and Murphy USA sponsored it, Planet Hollywood and the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood officially got involved as hosts (since we were probably going to cause a fire hazard otherwise) and 250 or so folks migrated in and out of the open area in front of Fat Tuesdays Daiquiri Bar for a couple of hours. Eric Berto has a nice photo set of the event on Flickr.

The story behind the somewhat famous “Mall Bar Tweet-Up” has been documented before. My college buddy Kevin manages Fat Tuesdays, I took Chris Brogan and some friends there three years ago thinking it was a sit-down, dinner and ball game, kinda bar only to find it was a TCBY with liquor. We made the most of it and had two of the most fun hours you could have. The evening became a tradition and evolved into a fun event last night.

Baby Berto, Mama Berto and Jason Falls at the 2010 Mall Bar Tweet-up

Kelci Berto and Baby Berto with me at Mallbar 2010. Photo by Eric Berto

Those who have come to the Mall Bar Tweet-up rave about it. But it’s very different from other parties at conferences. It’s these subtle differences that make it the talk of the town for a couple days and bring people back every year. I was thinking about those differences this morning and realized I had some tips to share on throwing a killer event. Here’s why the Mall Bar Tweet-up works:

It’s Got A Story

Take your pick: Either going back to see my old college buddy or luring Chris Brogan out for dinner only to find the only thing on the menu was boat drinks. Both are good tales to make the event have a reason for being. We stumbled into a night of fun and just want to have that night of fun again. If you’re going to throw a party, have a reason and a story. It makes luring people there easier if they think, “Hell yeah! I’ll come experience a little of that, even if it’s just to mark the occasion.”

It’s Got A Host

I try to circulate and thank everyone for coming, chat for a second or two and introduce folks who don’t know each other. Without someone to connect the dots officially, you’d better invite natural dot connectors or you end up with junior high lunch table cliques. The party isn’t about people coming to see me. It’s about people coming to see each other. I’m just making the connection possible.

It Allows Connections To Happen

The Tweet-up isn’t in a club with loud music. You can sit (or stand) and actually hear other people talking. It’s in the middle of the Miracle Mile Shops … a mall. There’s no obnoxious deejay or dance beat, sweaty people bumping into you, crazy loud televisions or drunk tables arguing. You can sit, relax, chat and still be with a fair number of folks in a group having a cocktail. Most other officially sponsored conference parties you see (at least in Las Vegas) are sad attempts at making middle aged people act like they’re 18. At a Tweet-up, you just chill.

It Has People

Good parties don’t happen because of the performer, music, sponsors, venue or even the host. Good parties happen because of the people. And while having some A-list folks in the industry or niche your party is in helps attract a few people (thank you to my friends of that status who come), you don’t need celebrities or even cewebrities to make a party good.

You take the social media crowd, which is by nature extroverted, put them in a venue where they can meet and greet and put a fun drink in their hand and you’re going to have a good time. The people make the party.

The Slushie Mall Bar Tweet-up could happen in a coffee shop, a conference room, at poolside, on a cruise ship or in someone’s office. It could happen with neat sponsors and prizes or with only the tab at the end of the night. It could happen in Las Vegas, Louisville, Lafayette or Lincoln. It could happen with a ball game playing on the TV, a deejay spinning some tunes or crickets chirping in the distance.

But it couldn’t happen without the people who came.

Thanks to those of you who did. If you didn’t … see you next year.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://bit.ly/b3dtHS Katie Harris

    This sounds like a lot of fun. That would have been pretty awesome to participate.

  • http://mytwittertoolbox.com David Perdew

    What a great idea, anybody with a few trusted friends could throw one of those and make it a regular event. That's the beauty of it, as you say. You could even bring a few laptops and post “on the scene” to local friends. I might have to try this idea out soon with some of my groups. Thanks for sharing, Jason.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      You're welcome. Good luck building your own cool event!

  • http://rt-now.com Ruthless25

    Thanks for the interesting post, Jason.

  • http://www.kherize5.com Suzanne Vara

    Jason

    Once again you gave us the best evening event. The atmosphere is perfect for talking to people and spending time as we all decide where we are going next. It also is the unveiling of the Jason Falls Mall bar t-shirt which never disappoints.

    Thanks so much for brining us all together and also this year for taking time out to come in for it. Cannot wait until next year and of course the t-shirt.

    @SuzanneVara

  • http://impulsemagazine.net Impulse Magazine

    I think hosting Tweetup are going to become a common theme

  • http://twitter.com/CherylHarrison Cheryl Harrison

    Sorry I missed your Tweetup but glad I got to chat with ya before you headed home! :)

  • http://twitter.com/Larryphoto Larry Lourcey

    Great way to put the “Social” back in social media!

  • BryanPerson

    Glad Eric's Flickr photo collection didn't include a shot of me on my a*s – I slipped and fell hard after moving my bags in a wet spot that hadn't get cleaned up. Otherwise, it was a fine tweetup! Thanks for organizing it again this year, Jason.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for coming BP. Glad to see you, even if briefly. Sorry about your

      ass. Heh.

  • http://twitter.com/smallact Small Act

    All great points. I would especially underline the importance of circulating and introducing people – not everyone is networking-proficient and having a consider host always helps a lot!

    For anyone looking for further resources on this topic, we hosted a webinar about hosting successful networking events by Melanie Spring, AKA @sisarina. You can find it here: http://www.smallact.com/blog/connect-your-community-by-hosting-great-networking-events/

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  • Anon

    Don't forget to give free stuff so people can act like they are interested or pretend to be your friend. I find tweet-ups interesting and I've been to my share, but it gets really old when everyone there is fake and only talks to you when you have a cool service to provide (or if you're an attractive female). If you're not a rock star, don't bother going. Oh, don't forget about half the people there are socially award and spend most of their time on their phones or iPads anyway.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Sounds to me like you need to come to a GOOD Tweetup. Under the ones you're

      describing, I'd agree … waste of time. But if you get the right people

      there, have a connection-friendly host and make the event so that the

      downed-heads and cliques aren't really cool, it works out really well.

      Of course, another thing I like to emphasize is that people should expect to

      come and go, ebb and flow. If you get there and it's not your thing, don't

      stay. No one likes a downer so its best if those thinking the thing blows

      can move on.

      Love to have you at one of mine sometime. Just to see if you find it any

      more appealing.

      Thanks for the comment.

  • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

    Nice pic of you and Kelci. That must be one of those “trendy” baby carriers I've heard so much about ;)

  • http://www.brosix.com/ Brosix

    I've always wondered how a Tweet-Up can bring in good numbers. Thanks for the tips.

  • heatherwhaling

    You're a great party host! :) Glad we got to chat for a few. Hope to see you again soon!

    Heather
    @prTini

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Heather. It's all you guys. I just invite ya. ;-)

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