Clever Marketing by @GariFusion during PCB4

MarketingGenius I was browsing through tweets tagged with the #pcb4 hashtag for this past weekend’s PodCamp 4 in Boston when I came across what I thought was a genius marketing campaign on Twitter for Brookline sushi restaurant Gari Japanese Fusion

These people have worked it out – they locate local events in the Boston area, pick up on the hashtag and then tweet specials and coupons to the attendees around dinner time. It’s absolute genius if you ask me. 

More restaurants looking to get into using Twitter should take their lead and try to catch the eye of event attendees by tweeting the specials to their event hashtag. 

Very cool marketing plan that seems to be working out well for them! Can’t wait to try their sushi! 


Did being a woman influence my decision to present at PodCamp? Not in the least!

So, there's a conversation on a couple of women's blogs (linked to below) right now that highlights a concern about the lack of women on the session agenda at PodCamp, and now I've decided to weigh in with my own thoughts, as I've been thinking about this a lot in the past couple of days. I'm really upset with the suggestion (even in the faintest) that the organizers of PodCamp did not do their best to make sure women were on the agenda. I simply cannot even begin to see how this could be true.

To read the posts that got me thinking, click on the links below:
Podcamp Boston, lack of women speakers, and bringing things to neutral

Not so processed thoughts from the Girl Power Session at PCB4

The power of language – what does sexy mean?

Is it blind arrogance or good upbringing? The idea of the ballsy woman in today's society...

I value knowledge, not gender
The key organizers of the event, one in particular Michelle Wolverton aka ChelPixie to most of us, was a rock star as far as I'm concerned in bringing this all together. After reading comments from Chris Penn, I've just learned that the Director of Operations for PodCamp is also a woman, Whitney Hoffman. If you ask me - the two heaviest lifters of the entire event were women - and were again and again acknowledged and thanked by the likes of CC Chapman, Chris Brogan, Chris Penn and many others during the event. All the rest of us had to do was show up and converse! Anything beyond that was optional and encouraged, in my opinion.

Leadadiscussion While I wondered why there were not more women facilitating discussions at PodCamp, it did not for one minute cross my mind that it was in any way, shape, or form, the fault of or neglect of the organizers of PodCamp. I've never been to PodCamp before but - to be blunt - it was as easy as can be to find out how to lead a discussion on the website. The link to "Lead a Discussion!" is right along the main navigation at the top for every page. And I clicked it because I’m nosy like that, and as soon as I read what it was all about, I thought “Hey, I can do that and it'll be fun!”

What did cross my mind, however, is that it's a shame that more women didn't volunteer themselves to share their knowledge by signing up to facilitate a discussion that would show up on the agenda. But, sometimes life happens, and priorities change and maybe some women meant to sign up but never got around to it. Maybe that’s what happened, maybe not. I don’t know. And to be honest, I didn’t give it that much thought. Until now.

I didn’t give it much thought because I don’t value information coming from women more than information coming from men, or vice versa. I value information coming from knowledgeable people who converse with me, share their knowledge, and ask for mine in return. I value conversation.

We all have choices We always have choices
I really believe that. I chose to click that button, fill out a discussion topic and facilitate what turned out to be a fantastic discussion. Not because I’m a woman. That didn’t even cross my mind. I did it because I wanted to help people who are where I have been and I wanted to learn from them in the process. And I'm thankful for it because I learned a lot from the folks in that discussion. And in the end, that's what it's all about - not the claim to fame that I led a discussion - the fact that I learned something new and hopefully helped some others do the same.

Others chose not to click that button, and didn't end up on the formal agenda. But you know what - that's ok, too. There were still opportunities to get together at PodCamp, and many people I talked with did just that, including the bloggers referenced above.

Being a woman
The list of obstacles I've overcome is way to long to even begin listing them here, but suffice it to say that being a woman has never driven my choice - or worse yet – dissuaded me - to participate in something I was passionate about. Never. I probably have my own mother to thank for that. She instilled in me that anything is possible if I just put my mind to it, and I believe her to this day.

Did being a woman influence my decision to present at PodCamp? Nope. Not in the least. No more than being a woman influenced my decision to attend.

Take responsibility
What I don't understand is how not clicking that button was someone else's fault other than your own. Man or woman, social media guru or newbie, you had a choice to click the button. If you didn’t, that’s your fault, not anyone else’s.

When we choose to box ourselves into a corner and stop pushing ourselves to be the best we can be – whether facilitating a discussion at PodCamp or anything else – we’ve essentially thrown in the towel and just about guaranteed our own failure. Why would you want to do that to yourself?

Chris Penn just made an interesting post with a great quote that I’m stealing:

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” – Richard Bach Sky's the limit

Me? I'll argue against them any day because the only thing that limits me is me. 

I think that’s a perfect note to close on.

---- Jamie
Blog: http://jamiepappas.typepad.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jamiepappas

PodCamp 4 Boston Wrap Up

UMB Campus Center, photo courtesy of mass.gov http://www.mass.gov/Eoaf/images/dcam/umb_campctr4.jpg

This past weekend, I attended my first PodCamp here in Boston at PodCamp 4 at the beautifulUniversity of Massachusetts Boston Campus Center right on the waterfront.

The anticipation 
While I’ve heard good things about PodCamp in past years, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of participants – would they be seasoned users of social media, newbies or somewhere in between? Would there be folks there that don’t use social media at all, don’t see its value and really don’t even understand what all the hype is about? The answer is yes on all counts. And you know what, it made for some interesting and rich conversations, in my opinion. It was fun being taken back to the time before I used social media daily and hearing all of the “how do I?” and “what if this and that?” questions. It was also very rewarding to have an opportunity to help even a few people see something in a new way. And I look at a few things differently myself, thanks to PodCamp. The sessions looked interesting enough, and I even proposed my own discussion session that made it onto the schedule of events (more on that below), so off we went! 

The first day 
PodCamp Boston, photo by @JamiePappas
My favorite session of day one was “What’s on our minds?” an extension of Chris Penn's Marketing over Coffee podcasts with guest commentators CC Chapman and Chris Brogan. This session more or less consisted of Chris facilitating a discussion with CC and Brogan chiming in with their wisdom and responses for the first part, followed by audience participation for the last 2/3 or so. 

Two important points that stand out in my mind came out of this session: 

1. Charging for Social Media events, even a nominal fee drastically changes the crowd, reduces no shows and changes the conversation. Once people have committed money to something, they’re much less likely to blow it off, and much more likely to participate. It also helps to bring in the people who are interested in the event for its true intent vs. the ones just there to rub elbows. 

 2. If you really want people to find your blog or website, you really need to focus in on what they believe their audience is going to search for when naming your blog/website, using key words, etc. This seems like somewhat of a “no brainer” but it’s often overlooked when people try to come up with a unique and clever name for their website, they often miss out on great opportunities to connect with people that are actually very interested in the topic they’re blogging on, but don’t have any reason to search phrases or key words that have no meaning for them. 

The second day 
Day two was Mike Langford’s “Whatchutalkinabout?” The purpose of the session was to explore the conversational web and how we use it to create conversations of value with friends, colleagues, and customers. This session, however, took an interesting turn when it became apparent that most of the folks in there were not active users of social media, rather they were trying to discover what all the hype was about. Most had been enticed to join Facebook to view family photos or event photos after they had been directed there. A few were also using Twitter or trying to figure out what value they could get out of using Twitter. The conversation was filled with tips and ideas from participants for making use of Twitter by searching, using organization tools such as TweetWorks or TweetDeck

The topic of privacy concerns came up in this session, as well. Lots of examples of people’s photos ending up in marketing materials and even a billboard, I believe. Mike gave good advice in that you should be aware of what level of detail you’re sharing when you’re using any social media or social networking sites. I couldn’t agree more. 

My session 

@JamiePappas PCB4, photo courtesy of @PappasNick I signed up to facilitate a discussion entitled “How do you get your company to see the value of social media?” and I have to admit, I am thrilled with how the session went! It was hard to know how it would go, if people would show up (since I didn’t know the make-up of the attendees), and I was the last session slot of the last day before wrap-up. It’s understandable that at the end of day two of intense conversations and learning, folks would be exhausted and might bow out early. I sure hoped that wasn’t going to be the case, but I was prepared for it. 

The conversation was great! It was interesting, lively and continued for the whole time. The reason is that the people in the room were passionate and interested in social media for business use, how to pitch the idea, what others have done, and how they might be able to go about making it work in their own situations. They were having a discussion, sharing tips with one another, asking questions and advice, and generally engaging much more than I had seen in most other sessions. All in all, I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out, and I’m excited to facilitate another discussion next year! 

In case you’re interested, here are my slides from the session:
Overall, I am pleased with how things went at PodCamp, and am very much looking forward to next year’s unconference! I’m hopeful we’ll see more of a mix of social media being used in both personal and professional fashions next year as more and more companies figure this stuff out. 

Thanks to all the folks who were friendly and engaged in open and reciprocal dialogue both in my session and in the others. And a great big thanks to ChelPixie, Chris Brogan, Chris Penn, CC Chapman, and others who made this event a success!