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If you are in business and trying to understand how to use Social Media, anyone you ask will likely give you a range of answers as broad as the definitions available. So where do you turn? Of course, finding an “expert” to guide you would make sense. However in this emerging field, many experts are “self proclaimed” and lacking some background, you may even be in more trouble by seeking the wrong person’s advice.

If you look up a definition for Social Media, you are going to find what is probably the broadest collection of definitions of any word. It would be like asking the question, what’s the best food on earth. Always a different perspective and approach to the answer. I tried the exercise for myself, here is a great example of what you might find from “The Social Media Guide” a whole collection of definitions, all centering around the same idea, but all slightly different in how they identify the key attributes and in who has written the definition.

So here is my advice: the best place to understand social media and really get a sense of how to succeed is by getting involved within social media, and if you are not sure how, do it “IRL” (in real life): attend conferences where true experts make themselves available to share in their expertise using concrete examples.
Blogworld Expo Losa Angeles 2011 Photo Mila Araujo David Armano, Ric Dragon, Mitch Joel, Julien Smith

 

In the Social Media world, its the missing piece of the puzzle.

Well organized conferences that provide opportunities for learning and networking give business people the ability to interact, ask pertinent questions, and get feedback on what an experts opinion is for their specific business. Sharing experiences and learning from what other organizations and brands have been doing give a spectrum of experiences and answers that no one book, or simple definition could ever portray.

@reneemmartinez @peterfromottawa @debweinstein @Ramon_deleon at the VIP #SMBS12 party

Meetups are also excellent opportunities to meet people in your region who also share similar interests. Again, mini versions of what you can find at conferences, meetups are a great place to share ideas and learn about new projects, different approaches, and connect with new people.

Live #Blogchat
This is a photo from #BWELA where I was so honored to be a part of live #BLOGCHAT  and meet the awesome @MackCollier IRL along with @lttlewys @jackinessity @prosperitygal along with many other incredible friends and inspiring role models.

 

If you don’t get out of whatever your daily routine is, you will never find the inspiration and energy. If you want innovation and positivity – if you truly want to learn, develop, evolve and find new levels of understanding, meetups and conferences are the way to go.

I attend or speak at several conferences a year. In 2012, I felt attending these kinds of events was so important, I produced the 140 Conference Montreal. The connections that came from this event, and the business developments that I saw bloom from there were outstanding.

Local or Global Events are the Best Way To Learn

Listening and sharing experiences is critical to professional development and gaining understanding. Check out sites like Meetup.com and see whats being offered locally, or hire an expert to come and speak to your organization or give you some coaching. In Montreal, SocialMeex produces many small and interesting events like #ContentMTL , I wrote about one of my favorite events of theirs here: Golden Rules for Start Ups.

Find opportunities : Start driving change

Whether they be big or small, every one of them has deep value on both personal and professional levels.

Social Media has presented us with remarkable opportunities, I strongly encourage you, in your journey, to attend meetups and conferences and connect. There truly is no substitute.

I am so grateful for all the friends and connections I have made, I could not even begin to measure the value that has been brought to both my life and my workplace by engaging beyond the online realm.

The best part?

The learning never stops, the relationships just begin there and together as we connect, we accomplish so much more.

You can continue your connections online; continue to share and evolve in your thinking by keeping in touch on Facebook groups, Twitter chats, Google+ – Don’t understand those? You will because you’ll find others to share the experience with and learn from!

You want to understand social media, marketing, blogging, tweeting?

You want data and solid information for your business development, or customer service strategy – jump in, it’s all there!

Are you convinced?

Have you attended conferences or meet ups?
What are your favorites?
If not, what has held you back?

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  • deleted_2698155_BruceSallan1

    Mila, you are RIGHT ON with this post and the advice of getting OFF OUR BUTTS and out there IRL. I just returned from attending the first Dad 2.0 Summit and it was a BLAST. Met great people, learned, ate, drank, and came away with a pile of legitimate and real contacts for potential future collaborations. If I’d had the time and energy I’d have gone to SXSW but I have too much skiing planned for the rest of this month and that usually comes first (after my family). 
     
    As to the definitions of Social Media, I can’t help but offer a fun look at the many Social Media expressions bandied about these days with a link to my new post that has  MY definitions of such things as Authenticity, Content Is King, Ping, Tweeple, etc. Just for fun, enjoy this post: http://www.brucesallan.com/2012/03/09/the-real-definitions-of-those-social-media-terms/
     
    Forgive the link post…I don’t usually do that when I comment but it seems so fitting this time. Mila, I can’t wait for when you and Josepf co-host #DadChat – coming up very soon!

  • Mila, you are RIGHT ON with this post and the advice of getting OFF OUR BUTTS and out there IRL. I just returned from attending the first Dad 2.0 Summit and it was a BLAST. Met great people, learned, ate, drank, and came away with a pile of legitimate and real contacts for potential future collaborations. If I’d had the time and energy I’d have gone to SXSW but I have too much skiing planned for the rest of this month and that usually comes first (after my family). 
     
    As to the definitions of Social Media, I can’t help but offer a fun look at the many Social Media expressions bandied about these days with a link to my new post that has  MY definitions of such things as Authenticity, Content Is King, Ping, Tweeple, etc. Just for fun, enjoy this post: http://www.brucesallan.com/2012/03/09/the-real-definitions-of-those-social-media-terms/
     
    Forgive the link post…I don’t usually do that when I comment but it seems so fitting this time. Mila, I can’t wait for when you and Josepf co-host #DadChat – coming up very soon!

    • [email protected] BruceSallan Thanks Bruce! First of all, your links are always welcome!! Its great to collaborate and share thoughts, thats what it’s all about right??!
       
      Even though we first met online through #usguys , we met IRL for the 1st time at Blogworld #BWELA and it was fantastic! Doing the live #dadchat together was totally great, but nothing beats having a chance to get together and spend face time talking – so many countless ideas were inspired from that time! It used to be that at a conference people go, watch a speaker, and move on, but at Social Media focused events I find the atmosphere is so much more collaborative, its such a new field that no one has all the answers and often its the conversations that keep going that give added value beyond any other event… We share, learn and move forward together, and thats something really special.
       
      And for next weeks #Dadchat, I am totally excited and deeply honored! Thursday at 9 EST…. its going to be great!
       
       

  • MackCollier

    Hi Mila!  The online connections we make are great, but there’s no substitute for meeting these people offline and taking the connection to the next level.  What really struck me when I started attending events 4 years ago was how seamless the connection flowed from online to off.  It was as if I was meeting old friends, instead of strangers.
     
    Glad I got to meet you at Blog World and that you could attend the Live #Blogchat there, it was better because of you 😉 

    • [email protected] mackcollier Mack, it was fantastic finally meeting you in person. There is such an advantage to social media events and relationships and I think this is because when you “follow” someone, you usually do so because their interests align with yours. As this develops into “conversation” over tweets, blog post comments, twitter chats, you get to learn more, so that when you finally do get to meet in person, there is that established relationship and you can really get into talking about shared interests, or questions, etc. One of the things I really enjoy about finally meeting in real life is that I get to thank someone in person for what they have contributed to my life, professional development, or whatever. it is so nice to have the chance to just say thank you, and then get to know the person even better. There is no substitute for IRL – another reason the popularity of Social Media conferences is so nice. We connect online, then there are a multitude of ways that the people you get to know online are also accessible for that added connection offline. Meeting good people, its amazing.
       
      Looking forward to the next time we get to meet IRL Mack, and until then, happy to get to participate in #Blogchat on Sunday nights, its been such a great resource and conversation! 🙂 Thank YOU!

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