So, Paolo Tosolini and I were chatting at NME 2008 about how so many of us attendees really get what social media is about and how many comapnies still haven’t figured it out yet. However, despite all the talk about cool new/social technologies (e.g. Twitter, Seesmic, PKS, Qik, etc.), we both came down to the same conclusion:
The most important part about social media is the “YOU and ME” — the social interaction that occurs face-to-face.
Indeed, though I blogged about some of the interesting talks that I attended at the expo, the more important part of the conference was really the interactions that occurred outside of the formal sessions — the meetups, the tweetups, the random gatherings at the bar, the impromptu (room) parties, and the hallway conversations; basically, the water cooler effect at any conference (NOTE: For further insight and a great discussion on this topic, read the What Comes Next section of Chris Brogan’s post, as well as watch Greg Cangiolosi’s video from Gnomedex 2008).
Sure, new and social media have really allowed people to connect across space and time (OK, time-zones) and provide (almost) instantaneous updates in text, audio, and/or video formats, but the whole idea is NOT to replace face-to-face meetups, but to supplement them; making for a better, more informed, and more personal experience when you next meet face-to-face. For instance, there was prolific use of Twitter at the expo this year (more so than any previous expo that I noticed), but it was mainly to figure out where people were, so we could meet up F2F.
So having said all that, it would only be appropriate to tell you about some of the really cool/fun/interesting people that I met at the conference (mostly outside of the formal sessions)…
Overall, I met quite a lot of people this year (both new and old) outside of the formal sessions, including: my ol’ expo buddies –George Krueger & Mary-Lynn Foster (Bigg Success) and Greg Cangiolosi (Blue Sky Factory), (P)NME veteran Mike McAllen (Grass Shack), Matt Gunn and Carina Stanton (AORN), Dane Falkner (Surgeworks), John Blue (Truffle Media), Tracy Evans (Tracy Evans Productions), Karin Hogh (Podblog.dk), Andrew McCaskey (Sales Channel Network), Donna Papacosta (Trafalgar Communications), Eric Larson (Projectline), Ken Piner (FINRA), Ken Arturo (Odeo), and many more whose biz cards I failed to obtain (oops, sorry!).
As you can see, I had a wonderful time at the NME 2008 and met a lot of really good people, mostly outside of the formal sessions. Once again, new and social media technologies surely do play a big part these days in helping us facilitate the pre- and post- conversations, which ultimately leads to the real value of the expo, which is realized by the people you meet and the interactions that occur face-to-face.