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Thoughts on #smalt

November 15, 2010

social media atlanta

Last week was the first Social Media Atlanta week, which was a series of free events across metro Atlanta focusing on Social Media.  I had heard someone tweet something about it a week or two ago, and I didn’t think much of it.  I just assumed it was a conference and I was too late to have signed up.  As I started to see more and more tweets about it during the week, I finally looked into it.  Lucky for me, the events were free and there was still some space open.

As you know, I am new to Atlanta so this event came at a perfect time for me.  I was able to meet a lot of really cool people in the industry and learn some new places in Atlanta.  All of the other major cities that I have lived in had great public transportation.  Atlanta…not so much.  City driving has been an adventure for me, and this week gave me a lot of practice!

The events I attended were on Thursday and Friday.

First I went to The Creative Circus and heard Willie Jackson speak.  His presentation was good but was intended for a less experienced crowd.  I really wanted to hear more about new technology and trends in interactive development.  I got a bit more of that later in the week when I returned to The Creative Circus.  I had heard the Circus’ ads on the radio but hadn’t actually looked into them yet.  After the event on Thursday I decided to take my nephew, who is a senior in high school, back on Saturday to their open house.   The Creative Circus provides two year programs in areas like art direction, photography and  interactive development.  Interactive development and design  is a really hot topic, and I feel like few places are offering stellar training in the area.  What we saw at the Circus was really impressive.  If you are at all interested in digital marketing check out the work the students and instructors are doing.

After my time at the Circus, I headed over to Georgia Tech for the GenY panel.  This turned out to be a really interesting discussion.  I’m in the upper bracket of GenY and I’ve spent the last three years working on a university campus, so I feel like I have a pretty good pulse on GenY’s internet activity.   I expected the discussion would take a typical turn of a lot of baby boomers in the crowd trying to pick the panelists’ brains.  In actuality, there turned out to be few baby boomers in the crowd.  The discussion took a turn of Tech vs. UGA, as there were a few UGA students and alumni in the crowd, and then students vs. young professionals.  I think that the general consensus of everyone in the room was that it was a bad sample.  Obviously students studying at Tech with a tech related major, students from UGA with a marketing/comm focus, and young professionals in the marketing/comm industry are going to have a different point of view on the subject matter than an average college student.

Next, I headed over to the Spice Market for The Crave Tweet-up (where no one tweeted).  Crave is a group that supports the growth of female entrepreneurs and business women in Atlanta.  I met some cool people at the tweet-up and had some very yummy drinks (I recommend the mango mojito), but I wouldn’t pick the Spice Market for a networking event in the future.  It is centrally located, which is good in that everyone can get there, bad in that you will have to battle a lot of traffic to do so.  Secondly the bar area just lent itself to a sit down environment.  The group spent a lot of time sitting in a circle.  You had to make a real effort to be able to get around and meet everyone.

I think the most interesting and useful panel that I went to was on Friday.  It was at SCAD and the focus was on Old vs. New Media in journalism.  The panelist were all very knowledgeable and clear leaders on the subject.  It was a great space for the event as well.

Finally the week ended with a closing night party at Fado’s Irish Pub.  It was a fun night and for me a great way to meet some really interesting people.  Overall, the theme of the week was human connections and how to use the tools of the net to increase those.  For a first year, I felt like the event ran relatively smooth.  It was a lot of work on the organizers part and I’m very appreciative.  Already looking forward to 2011! 🙂

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