How To Throw A Great Tweet-Up

by Jason Falls |

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 the Author

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).