The precedent for inaugural gatherings of local Social Media Club chapters, at least from my anecdotal gatherings, is to invite a bunch of people, open the doors and see who shows up. Last night, my friend Todd Earwood and I did that in Louisville. We emailed several folks in the market we thought might be interested, started a Facebook group, posted a few blog entries talking about it and crossed our fingers.
To our delight and despite the imposing potential winter weather, 33 folks joined us at Greater Louisville, Inc., to attend the first social media gathering ever in Louisville. (Unless you count our friend Ben Thomas’s Louisville Geek Dinner, which while very cool, isn’t quite the same thing. And yes, Ben was there last night.)
Keep in mind a lot of the folks in the room (10 or so raised their hands when we asked who was there to learn and didn’t really feel like they were actively using or promoting social media programs) had no earthly idea what we would say or what we would get into. Frankly, neither did we. In addition to the 33, we have several others who couldn’t make it but want to be involved. We have 59 people on the list and I’ve only forced five of them there!
What we discovered was our suspicions were correct: Louisville has a vibrant and healthy community of digital talent thirsting to discuss, learn and share the world of social media.
A variety of topics and directions were thrown out as suggestions for what we want to learn (dare I say, “explore”) and how we’d like to do it. The popular need on everyone’s mind seemed to be just knowing who the others were and their specialties so we could perhaps develop a pool of resources from which to pull when we need web talents.
The dumb guy in the room (read: me) sent around a note pad of paper for folks to jot down contact info and specialties. Then a couple people much smarter than me (read: that’s not altogether that hard) suggested we go around the room and introduce ourselves. Despite the sometimes corny nature of that approach, it seemed to be just what everyone wanted.
The gang from CNet (yes, that CNet with main offices in the Bay area and … oh, yeah … Louisville) suggested we develop a Basecamp project management site. By the time I got home, Shawn Morton had it set up and ready to roll. (Members: We’ve turned off the auto email function due to the volume of emails you’d get if we didn’t. Subscribe to the RSS feed or just keep coming to the blog.)
WebProNews was there to cover the event. We can’t wait to see the videos as they also took the time to interview several individuals about their businesses and projects including Shawn and the Profilactic gang, Aaron Marshall from ChurchSMO and Brian Wallace of NowSourcing.com. (If they interviewed you, too, I’m sorry. Those are who I saw.) Earwood and I pimped a bit. He more so since he talked about Daily Idea while I talked about Social Media Club mostly.
WebProNews also snapped some pictures. As did Michelle Jones from Consuming Louisville, which is one of the best city interest blogs I’ve ever seen, Louisville or not. I tried to get Flickr’s tag badge based on our universal “smclouisville” tag, but it says there aren’t any with that tag, despite the fact it also shows this page, containing the 13 pictures WebProNews and Michelle tagged with it. (Come on Flickr. You’re better than that.)
I know, Photrade, I know. You were going to come, then give me hell for using Flickr and this is my penance. Everyone go check out Photrade. They’re up the road in Cincinnati and have promised to show up at a future meeting.
As you can tell, I’m excited. Several of the folks I talked to, some of which into the wee hours while staring down the barrel of a frothy lager, are as well. We have a start. Now let’s see where it takes us.
Other Postgame Posts From The Evening (If I miss any, please let me know!):
- “New Shows, Brands and Bands” A pop from Rick Redding at TheVilleVoice
- “Social Media Club Louisville A Success” Actually my Utterz posted on new digital friend tojosan’s blog, The Broad Brush, out of St. Louis.
- “Inaugural Gathering Wrap-Up; Thanks To All” My post last night before finally getting sleep.
- “Profilactic Participating In Social Media Club Louisville” from Shawn Morton and the Profilactic gang.
As others roll in, we’ll refresh.
To anyone in the group, tag posts, images and videos “smclouisville” and thank you, so much, for the enthusiasm and interest.