Last Thursday, August 13, I attended the Blogwell conference at General Mills, HQ in Minneapolis, MN. It was my first social media conference and I really did not know what to expect but I was excited to check it out. The afternoon was filled with 8 different social media case studies from a variety of corporations.
From the moment I arrived at the Ridgedale parking lot, to wait for the shuttle that would transport us to General Mills, I was observing my fellow conference mates. I was fascinated from the cross section of people that were waiting in line for the shuttle. The demographic spread was pretty cool; young, old, male, female, purple, green, small business, Fortune 500, and pierced. The variety of individuals on the van was pretty amazing to witness. This same variety carried over into the larger conference. I was intrigued by the attendees and wondered what does this mean…was social media the catalyst for this gathering of way cool people? My thought – definitely yes!
For the next four hours I would meet some amazing people and I was impressed by how friendly everyone was and how open they were to helping each other out. The wall of pretenses that usually surrounds conference attendees did not seem nearly as prevalent in this crowd. In fact, I sincerely believe that the authenticity of social media was present in this group and maybe that is it. Utilizing the various social media tools fosters authenticity and transparency so it should not have been surprising to me that meeting the real people behind their twitter and blog names were ‘real’ people! They were genuine, sincere, eager to listen, teach, and share their knowledge and expertise.
One of the presentations that I enjoyed the most was Scott Monty from Ford. Ford is one of the top 10 brands utilizing social media. Scott Monty has really paved the way for integrating social media with business processes and communication. He shared a video where he and the CEO, Alan Mulally were utilizing twitter (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaaKNcovfdQ). I really enjoyed this snapshot because it showed a unique collaboration. I smiled when Alan Mulally stated that what has prevented him from twittering is his typing ability so Scott Monty was typing for him so Alan’s, “brain could be unleashed into the world.”
Can you imagine how many other voices are out there that are not sharing their incredible talents because they lack a particular skill? It makes me wonder and it also makes me hopeful that even if we lack a particular skill the drive to learn can be a powerful motivator to help unleash our brains into the world!