Taking Louisville’s Web Community Off-Line

by Jason Falls |

We talk a lot in the social media space about building communities. I’ve long had the theory that the organizations, corporations, brands and even individuals who will survive the ebb and flow of the Internet as a business are the online communities we can migrate off-line. For it is there, with real people, face-to-face, that a higher value can come from a community.

Louisville just so happens to be a blossoming community of social media thinkers, internet marketers, web geeks, dynamic developers and so on. If some of you big city folk are skeptical of us in the “aw, shucks” states, here’s a brief list of what Louisville has to offer in terms of social media talent:

  • One of the top business bloggers, several years running
  • A developer of a popular social networking aggregate/management tool
  • Two developers/entrepreneurs who are partnering with Google to reinvent the way the health care industry works
  • At least one (if not more) very influential social news site user
  • One of the first  off-line network gatherings of Internet, web and computer professionals (see more below)
  • Social media strategists and developers who touch national brands like Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Humana, Louisville Slugger, UPS, GE and virtually ever whiskey on the shelf
  • An entrepreneurial community which includes at least one VC firm with over $300 million under management

Louisville Geek DinnerThe point being, we’ve got a nice foundation of accomplishment in our little community. Many of us know each other on- and off-line. But Todd Earwood and I have been working hard to expand that community off-line, with apologies to Brian Thomas, the founder of Louisville Geek Dinner, who set the precedent with his group. (We’re meeting with them on Thursday, Jan. 24 and I’m pumped about my first LGD event, too!)

But Todd and I wanted to gather a community of a slightly different sort to expand the community and conversation (hence learning) about social media in Louisville and the Kentuckiana area.

Social Media ClubOn Tuesday, Jan. 22, we will officially host the first meeting of the Social Media Club Louisville. A lot of thought and discussion has gone into the effort, including several conversations with Chris Heuer, one of the original SMC founders, who has been both helpful and excited about this.

More information on our meetings, our club happenings and what-not can be found on our blog (temporarily a free WordPress thingy) at  or via our Facebook group. If you’re interested in coming, all are welcome. Directions and times can be found at those links.

Surprisingly, there aren’t that many Social Media Club chapters in surrounding cities. Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Nashville, Lexington … all nearby and with burgeoning web talent … don’t have chapters as of yet. To those of you there, please come if you can. But I would also challenge you to step up and lead the charge where you live.

The Social Media Club is a community of champions of social media and those seeking to learn. If you consider yourself in that group and don’t have an SMC club in your community, email me and I’ll share with you what I’ve done plus point you in the direction of those who have helped us get our legs under us here.

Outside the Social Media Club, what kinds of off-line communities have developed around the web in your town? Ben’s Louisville Geek Dinner is an informal networking event that has garnered rave reviews here. What’s happening in your city? Let us know in the comments.

Other Posts About Our Event (If you don’t see yours, email me!)

1. SMC Louisville Hosts Inaugural Gathering
2. Social Media Club kickoff meeting in January 22, 2008

[tags]smclouisville, social media club Louisville, social media club, socialmediaclub[/tags]

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).