Archisand sculpts the Intel logo at BlogHer '11
Its been a long hot (hottest on record in Austin) summer and its nowhere close to over.
But it has been rich in experiences and inspiration. The launch of Google+? The fundamental change in the way we experience earthquakes and hurricanes due to social media? Interesting enough to get me to follow @irene, but definitely not over the inspiration bar.
This summer, I have had a number of seemingly chance encounters with what I have come to know as “sandsculpting”. It began when my best friend took her sand work on our annual beach trip just a bit more seriously this year – constructing the “Sand Turtle” still discussed by my 4 year old. But I don’t think I consciously knew that sandsculpting a professional pursuit until it was out in force at BlogHer’11 (see above).
But it was not the beauty of the creations, but the reasons for pursuing sandsculpting that inspired me to find a renewed love of my own work. In addition to doing their thing at BlogHer, Archisand had recently built a huge display of scenes from Sydney Harbor at the US Open of Surfing earlier in the week (Video Here). A colleague who had spoken to them there told me their unofficial story. They were a group of talented architects who got burnt out on what they were using their talents on at work and started making extreme sand castles to blow off steam and flex their creativity. Eventually some of them were able to turn it into a fiscally responsible pursuit.
This got me thinking about the limiting mindset that much of solid social strategy is “block and tackle”. The relentless pursuit of relationship and connection can be tedious and exhausting – if we let it. But good strategy doesn’t have to be “eating your wheaties” alone. While the basics must be done, it is doing them beautifully that will inspire yourself and those around you. I have found new inspiration in big, creative sandcastles of ideas (built on the firm base of solid strategy) and insodoing have reawakened my love of my own profession.
If your social strategy has been in motion for a year or more without a second opinion or a new shot of creativity, use your knowledge the weekend eyes of an architect to sandsculpt it into something new that re-inspires you and will be more likely to inspire your customers.
I wrapped up my week last week in New York at 2 amazing in-person events for active online social media creators: BlogHer Business and Blogger Social ’08. I walked away with more robust connections with people I already knew online and a list of new blogs that I should be reading. It is difficult to wrap up 72 amazing hours, but I’ll try.
BlogHer Business was an eye opening event. Major standouts to me were results of Compass Partners research on women in the blogosphere, hearing about Kodak & DC Goodwill‘s blogging efforts. On the blogger engagement front, Method, Graco & GM shared the results of their respective approaches of working with bloggers – sharing the stage with bloggers when they presented the case study. For any PR person who has ever considered blasting a press release to bloggers hoping it will stick, they would thing again after hearing some of the horror stories of bad influencer outreach told along the way. My favorite comments from bloggers:
Typing my name after “dear” is not a personalized approach.
You wouldn’t knock on my door and ask to put a billboard for a product I have never seen or touched in my front yard – why would you think I would post a jpeg for a product I’ve never seen or touched on something as personal as my blog?
Just an hour after BlogHer Business wrapped, I was off to Blogger Social. The concept for the event was simple – get a bunch of bloggers together to hang out and have fun. That’s it. No powerpoints, no projects, no pitches – social. One of the highlights for me was being able to put a face to The Viral Garden. Mack Collier was one of the first bloggers to pick up and write about the Fiskateers crafting ambassador movement on which I had the pleasure to work during my time at Brains on Fire. Being able to spend time talking to him in person took us from the mutual admiration society to real friends and I look forward to our next meeting.
Overall lesson from the 3 days? Twitter is real – get to know it.
Many, many, many thanks for the event planning/hosting duties of CK and Drew and the friendly welcome from my new BS08 friends (listed below). How many days until BS09?
Susan Bird Tim Brunelle Katie Chatfield Matt Dickman Luc Debaisieux Gianandrea Facchini Mark Goren Gavin Heaton Sean Howard CK Valeria Maltoni Drew McLellan Doug Meacham Marilyn Pratt Steve Roesler Greg Verdino CB Whittemore Steve Woodruff Paul McEnany Ann Handley David Reich Tangerine Toad Kristin Gorski Mack Collier David Armano Ryan Barrett Lori Magno Tim McHale Gene DeWitt Mario Vellandi Arun Rajagopal Joseph Jaffe Rohit Bhargava Anna Farmery Marianne Richmond Thomas Clifford Lewis Green Geoff Livingston Kris Hoet Connie Reece CeCe Lee Toby Bloomberg Seni Thomas Darryl Ohrt Joe Kutchera Paul Dunay Marshall Sponder Chris Kieff Tara Anderson Jason Falls Paul Soldera Roberta Rosenberg Saul Colt Todd Andrlik Nathan Snell Ryan Karpeles Mike Sansone Jennifer Laycock Neil Vineberg Cam Beck Mike Arauz Matthew Bailey Heather Gorringe John Rosen Cathleen Rittereiser Tamar Weinberg Rita Perea Linda Sherman Matthew McDonald Kaitlyn Wilkins Terry Starbucker
Jennifer Berk Jane Quigley John Wall Scott Monty Kevin Horne Virginia Miracle Amanda Gravel Susan Reynolds David Polinchock Shashi Bellamkonda David Berkowitz Vahe Habeshian
I am in the belly of BlogHer Business and loving it.
Bandwidth permitting (200 women live twittering, blogging and vlogging at the same time is hell on a server), my team is live blogging coverage here.
And I am live twittering here.
It’s hard to believe that BlogHer Business ’08 is just around the corner. BlogHer, the community for women who blog, is bringing together leading social media practitioners from across industries and Ogilvy 360 DI will be there. We are sponsoring the track on Successful Social Media Creation and, with trusty videographer in tow, we’ll be interviewing attendees throughout the 2 day event.
Per the Catch Up Lady’s post here, we’d like to get your input on what we ask of the attendees. In her words, like any good 80’s movie – we need a montage! So, what would you like to ask leading female social media creators? What do you want to ask the brands who want to connect with these powerful voices? We’ll be there and we want to bring you the most valuable output possible, so let us know what you’d like to hear.