“All of you are experts,” was my starting message Wednesday night at the first-ever social media gathering in New Brunswick. My argument was two-fold. First, there were 30 people or so there, which is less than one 20th of one percent of the population of Fredericton. By walking in the door and expressing the interest, they were the social media leaders in their community. Second? Social media and the understanding of it as a practice or specialty is so young there really aren’t any true “experts” so why not?

Lisa, Jason and DavidThe beautiful thing about the event, organized by David Alston of Radian6 and Lisa Rousseau from MeshEast and WalkingSpree, both pictured with some ugly guy, is that people were there. Seth Godin’s thoughts on what he did to improve his blog in 2007 were simply that he showed up. These folks came, some knowing a lot about social media, others a little and probably a few none (perhaps the speaker was in that last group). But there we were, asking questions, learning and exploring together.

To help illustrate the point that we’re all experts and thinking about social media and/or implementing strategies that qualify as social media programs, I walked them through the Beam Baja Twitter Tracker and how it came about. To simplify it, we wanted to provide a community of consumers with something of value. Instead of looking at social media as the strategy, we looked at social media as the set of tools we’d use to accomplish that strategy.

You want to drive a nail, use a hammer. You want to twist a screw, use a screwdriver. You want to cut the board in half, use a saw.

Being a social media thinker doesn’t mean you have to have a deep-seeded understanding of computer programming or software. You don’t need to have spent years moderating chat rooms or be an early adopter of MySpace. I’m not a carpenter yet I own a circular saw and a power sander. Being a social media thinker means you have to be able to see the tools available and know which ones might be best suited to meet your end goal.

The last comment of the evening was made by Susan Nind, who runs an e-learning program development company. It couldn’t have been a better summary of what I was hoping to get across. To paraphrase, she said it sounds like you either make the waves or get swept away by them and we are at a point with social media that we can still be the creators of the wave.

Well said.

Check out the Flickr photos from David here.

See the roster of folks and what some of them are saying at the MeetUp page here.

[tags]social media, exploring, New Brunswick, Radian6, Jason Falls, Fredericton[/tags]

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls 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 Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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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?

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  • http://www.radian6.com David Alston

    Thanks so much for a great presentation last night Jason. You know that people are enjoying and engaged when after a presentation which ends after 10pm at night has a lot of people hanging back for close to an hour to continue the discussion. You provided a ton of great examples and your presentation style was highly engaging and entertaining. I fully expect to see you on the speaking roster of social media conferences because you are the type of speaker people love to hear. Enjoy the snow today :-)

  • http://www.yourteamonline.ca Chris Nadeau

    Thanks for the bang up job last night. I really enjoyed the conversation and I still can’t believe you saw the Huntington Blizzard play.:-) Small world. Good luck with everything and I look forward to following you as you explore social media.

  • http://www.thebigfish.co.za Jansie Blom

    good post. wish i could have been there.

  • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

    David … Thanks for everything. The set up, the introductions, the meals, the drinks, the camera work for both SME and Daily Idea … can’t thank you and the folks at Radian6 any more.

    Chris … I actually hung out and had beers with a former Huntington Blizzard hockey player. The pleasure was all mine, my man.

    Jansie … Great time was had by all. Wish you could have been there, too! Maybe I can make a road trip to your country one day for some fun!

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