SoCon09 Conversations

originally posted on Concept Hub

Yesterday’s SoCon09 event was record breaking. We hosted more than 300 people at Kennesaw State University.

Each year SoCon starts with a welcome message by Dr. Richard Vengroff, Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

This year he greeted us through a live stream.

Leonard Witt also had a surprise for everyone (including me). I knew about Leonard’s success in blogging about his Representative Journalism idea, but we were able to learn the details and meet with with his partner Ruth Ann  Harnisch, President of The Harnisch Foundation, who was visiting us from the TED conference who announced a $1.5 million gift to Kennesaw State for a journalism program.

Jeff Haynie returned to Atlanta and provided a session on lessons learned from Silicon Valley.

His slides can be found here.

His assessment that Atlanta had a branding problem was an interesting lead in to Andrew Wilson’s discussion about what is Atlanta’s niche? or as Andrew tried to stress, should we be so narrow as to try to find a niche?

That was an interesting interactive discussion where we heard the passion of the arts and creativity that exist in this city, we discussed how the Atlanta Brand encompasses both OTP and ITP (many, many counties and cities). One participant asked the question about the challenges Andrew faces with the ATL Insider, which led to some discussion about creating an online commuity.

As our keynote speaker we welcomed Chris Carfi. Chris led a very interactive discussion which started with the idea of reverse marketing. “Yesterday’s vendor driven world had 3 things:marketing, sales, and support. but what happens if things are driven by the customers?”

I heard many positive comments about the afternoon breakout sessions. The session I chose to lead was Social Networking 101. I expected a small group of people; the room was packed. We discussed how online social networking is very much like offline social networking and then we got everyone in the room to sign up for a new site. I happened to mention that Delicious is my favorite network, which resulted in many people in the group signing up for Delicious 🙂

There was A LOT of twittering going on. Yes I heard all your ideas about having twitter projected on a screen during the conference. I have experienced that a couple of years ago at another conference, and in my opinion it is distracting. But, the idea will be up for discussion for next year.

I also have to admit, I really miss the days of live blogging the conferences…

Here is the Twitter Stream.

I also want to thank everyone who posted photos on Flickr. Josh Hallet, as always, has some amazing shots.

Big thanks  to Amber and Rusty for podcasting the morning sessions.

I was very impressed that Amani Channel live streamed the morning sessions.

Thank you to everyone who helped us promote SoCon09