SoSlam: The BIG picture

Social Slam was exhilarating for me! Being with 550 people excited about social media, meeting a score of twitter friends for the first time, and listening to superb talks: how could it get much better?

The Social Media Club of Knoxville and Mark Schaefer did an incredible job of hosting a conference!

The Host

It was a pleasure to meet Mark in person. Even jet-lagged, tired and coming down with a cold, he was full of energy and concern that all of his “guests'” needs were being met. Hard as it is to believe, he may actually be nicer in person than online!

Mark is a friendly, low-key but very persuasive speaker: His talk about influence measuring and warm stories of high-Klout individuals ALMOST made me want to sip the Klout Kool-Aid…

[Read Jeremiah Owyang for an antidote: How ‘Social Profiling’ Will Work In The Real World ]


More later – after papers and projects for the semester are all graded.

But my quick take is that SoSlam has a great format: 50-minute “keynote” speakers, followed by 50 minute slams or panels of 10-minute talks. I loved the short talks, especially the 10 tips in 10 minutes session! Great ideas on blogs, using LinkedIn, etc. I usually circled at least four of the ten tips.

One of the themes I take away from the Slam is to not discard established platforms when chasing after the new new things like Pinterest, Instagram, Viddy, etc. The greatest value may still be in less glamorous platforms like LinkedIn, blogs and even email.

The Innovation Panel

I was looking forward to being part of this group. Amy Kenly and I are both contributors to the upcoming PDMA  Handbook on New Product Development. We are both interested in social media and product innovation, had chatted online a few times, and had ALMOST met at the recent PDMA conference. Jay Baer was another twitter friend, whose content I have long enjoyed. And I was eager to hear from Clinton Bonner from TopCoder about running crowd-sourcing contests and competitions.

I believe this panel showcased Mark’s deft skill in putting Social Slam together. Amy provided an overview of corporate experiences crowd-sourcing, I provided a personal narrative of community-sourcing, and Clinton discussed maintaining community. Three viewpoints of the same phenomenon that I believe really illustrated it.


It was positively weird to address 350 people who were all tweeting about the event! Even my three fellow panelists were typing while I was talking! No wonder everyone’s twitter score increased on Saturday!!

I had a pleasant discussion with a woman over beer and bacon (love Knoxville!), who suddenly said “You’re ProfessorGary – Sorry I didn’t recognize you but I was busy on both Facebook and Twitter during your talk. But I really enjoyed it!” [I had been thinking of easing up on my closed computers policy in my classes, but after SoSlam maybe not!]

The organizers were right to not post the twitter feed – at that point I would have sat down and tweeted to keep up…


It was a social event. I met a score of twitter friends in person and made some new friends. It was wonderful to shake hands with long time twitter friends such as  @markwschaefer @Brad_Lovett @MargieClayman @ProfessorS @HowellMarketing  @akenly and many others.

It was great to meet Kristin Daukas:

And it was truly special to share the Slam with my daughter @christineschirr who does social media for the RBTC, an organization of high tech firms in SW Virginia. She is shown below with some other attendee at SoSlam:

[Another gain from the conference – my daughter showed me how to use instagram!]

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8 Responses to SoSlam: The BIG picture

  1. Love it! Isn’t it great when you can take an online relationship to the next level? Loved meeting you and hopefully next time, Cheryl can join us!

  2. Gary. Thank you for the advice for starting a social media program on the college level. Keep up the good work sir.

  3. Awesome, Gary! So wish I’d been there! Next year for SURE!

  4. Pingback: Social Slam round-ups — Social Slam 2012

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