It always amazes me.
As the lead up to events such as Social Media Day, I get excited and want to share the event with more than just the community of bright minds that work in social media or related fields.
I want to share it with the people I network with. Some spends loads of time on online communities or social networks. Others stay away from the social web as much as they possibly can. But the one thing that unifies all of these people is that they are people I want to socialize with.
Ideally, at an event.
Yet, in my experience, attending something like Mashable’s San Francisco event today can be a daunting, if not downright terrifying experience.
For example, I have recently spent quite a lot of time working on projects related to small and medium business owners. In learning the persona of these entrepreneurs, many are social media savvy, but almost all characterize themselves as “behind” or unable to understand how much time to spend on social networks versus their core business.
These issues can lead to frustration and the feeling that they won’t be able to make conversation with the ‘experts’ that attend these events – when they may be the ones who could benefit the most!
All this to say, I often find the term ‘social’ in ‘social media’ funny in that it’s not an all-inclusive, accessible world for all.
At Social Media Club San Francisco / Silicon Valley we try to keep events accessible and are collecting attendee feedback through surveys at events – and outside them (more to come on that soon). I guess, what I’m trying to say is that – looking from the outside in – we need new blood, new ideas, new inspiration at all levels of expertise more than ever.
But we must be mindful of seeming like an ‘old boys club’ when the industry is so new and ‘influence’ changes on a minute-to-minute basis. It has an air of competition as a result (and I say this as someone who comes from the TV news industry! I know from competitive). I strongly believe that this means we must try harder to be inclusive.
Even if someone does end up ‘competing’ with you, the cream always rises to the top, right?
Be wary of the tit-for-tat, of scaring newcomers away. They might just create another ‘club’ without us.
UPDATE 7/2/2010: This post was mentioned by Phil Bronstein on the Huffington Post as part of the on-going discussion about how daily human interaction has been affected by online social networking. You can read Phil’s insightful post here: Is the Next Hot Social Media Site ‘Real Life?