I grew up in West Lebanon, New Hampshire. It is a small, quiet town that of course I couldn't wait to get out of when I was growing up, but now love going back to visit. So when I got asked if I'd be willing to speak at the first event of it's type in Burlington, VT I jumped at the chance. I drove up on Sunday and had dinner with my parents and sisters and then crashed at their house for the night. In the morning I hooked up with an old childhood friend that I hadn't seen in years and we drove up to Burlington together. It made the trip fly by as we caught up on everything going on in our lives and I learned a ton about raising chickens. Who knew there was so much to know?
I gave a presentation called "Social Media is Like a Small Town" because I do think there is a mentality that comes from growing up in a small town that companies need to embrace to really work and play in this space. I'm not sure if this presentation would work in a big city or not. I knew it would work in Burlington though and I was right. I was even grabbed by the local news for a quick report for their evening news.
Unlike other events of this sort, what I loved about this one was after the speeches were done all the attendees were broken out into small groups to brainstorm around Grounds For Health. This is an amazing non-profit organization helping women in coffee growing communities to get cancer scans. Remembering that I now had the ability to live stream, I fired up Qik and captured some of the ideas that were shared.
I hope more events have brainstorm sessions like this where real world advice and tactics can be developed for organizations who really need it.
Leaving the event I was energized about the community that is forming in Burlington around this space. I felt the same energy when I was in Memphis lately. I love that this is happening more and more outside of the big cities and I think we are going to continue to see it happen more and more. It is a trend I like a lot.