When social media was new, conferences were rare special gatherings of early adopters eager to see how to use new tools. People looked forward to their local BarCamp or PodCamp. As the years progressed the novel barcamp, evening networking events and social media conferences became an every day occurrence in major markets. The best ones spilled over on Twitter into hashtag conferences.
Today, with adoption passing its peak, social media conference #hashtags and events trade faster than delivery pizzas on Saturday. There are so many events to meet the crush of information demand.
More is not better, ironically. It’s hard to get a consensus on quality events. In some cases, the event quality offers little more than an excuse to talk about Twitter and Facebook. Again. Get your pizza, faster cheaper, and tastier! For only $9.99!
Some signs that can clue a potential attendee that the event may not offer the robust content they would like. Does the event offer the same topics that get repeated over and over again in online memes? What’s new about this event, how will it take the conversation deeper? Or if it’s a 101 event, what’s the curriculum, what are the takeaways? Does it seem smarmy and hucksterish?
In addition, there’s a perception of an A-List who bring their song and dance to every local con across the country. Not that seeing a renowned speaker isn’t worth it, but what are they talking about? Is it the same old schtick as last year? One wonders if these folks will be speaking in 20 years in dimly lit coffee shops and pubs, headlining small gatherings of Facebook loyalists.
Some quality social media events that have retained their value over the years:
1) SOBCon, curated by the incredible Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker, is by far the best pure social media event out there. This is where top ranked bloggers and influencers go to school.
2) SxSW, from the name dropping and shoddy crowdsourced content to the exorbitant partying and philandering, everything that’s bad about social media events happens here. It also attracts everyone in the business, making it dollar for dollar the best online business networking experience possible. Just bring your Advil.
3) NewComm Forum, run by the Society of New Communications Research, uses a research-based model to drive content. Led by experienced and often accredited communicators, this event often attracts some of the best of the corporate and nonprofit social media leaders.
In addition, industry specific events like NTC offer great value, too.
What social media events do you like?
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