It was a very wet night as I trudged towards The Northern on Tib Street. And cold. And windy. Did I mention it was wet? Yes. Ok, the scene is set.
I knew what was going to happen. I was going to spend the next 3 hrs locked in a pub with 'long haired new media type' people. People who think that Twitter will save the world and SEO is done by people who don't understand the internet, don't know squat about the web and are usually seen on watchdog - people that hate with an unimaginable passion - people that do SEO.
So it was with some trepidation that I went along to my first Social Media Cafe event in Manchester.
I think maybe 40 or 50 people were there, and I have to say it was very interesting and enjoyable. I very much enjoyed listening to Mario Cacciottolo talk and demonstrate his website www.someoneoncetoldme.com. and how it came into existance.
After a break we split off into 3 different groups, I chose the Social Marketing in Marketing and PR group and the conversation was lively, to say the least! During the session we talked about how social media (which in this session was represented mostly by Twitter) played a part in each of our industries which included journalism, Public Relations, SEO and Marketing.
What I learned from this meeting was that we all have an idea of what social media is - and each idea is unique we all have a somewhat skewed perspective of what we think each other does.
Twitter is a perfect example: what some see as a communications revolution that will change the world - others see only as a new tool that can be used to target and talk to people.
My own opinion on this is that Twitter is fun, it allows you to find like-minded people. It can also play a part in bringing traffic to your site. However, I do believe that it is a fad and unless it changes and adapts it will die out eventually. Sorry, but I have to be honest!
I believe I summed it up last night by saying "The words of the conversation come from our minds, Twitter is just an alternative to vocal chords!"
At the end of the session we have agreed to meet again and start a blog for professionals in Manchester and how we can use social media together, which I-COM has volunteered to host for free because we want to do our bit to help foster discussion within the industry that will benefit everybody.
Today, thinking about the Social Media Cafe today and what I learned from it, I have to honestly say, "not much."
Last night there were lots of voices shouting about how what they did was right and how others were wrong. However, what DID happen was by the end of the meeting the professionals in Manchester who use social media within their industries agreed to to co-operate and work together. In this city, if we can agree how to use social media together, sharing our ideas then as professionals and as a city we will be one step ahead.
Got to go now, I need to tweet lots of new people...
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