The “Meetup” was held at The Brooklyneer, a new bar located at 220 West Houston Street in Greenwich Village. The bar literally had their grand opening last night on November 15th, and it was a perfectly hip place for the event.
The evening started mundanely enough, with everyone filling out name tags and affixing them to their chests. Everyone had a drink or two and maybe a bite to eat. I was unsure if the “Meetup” was just going to be a lot of handshaking and industry “professionals” stroking their egos and extrapolating on their prowess with respect to Social Media or if it would be something more. It started out with the handshaking and ego-stroking, but it turned into so much more.
By about 7 pm, one of the girls from McGraw-Hill, who seemingly “sponsored” the event (due to the fact that both speakers have written books published by the aforementioned publisher), thanked everyone for attending and introduced the evening’s speakers.
First up was Greg Verdino, VP, Strategy & Solutions at Powered, Inc. He began by telling an anecdote about a recent plane trip on which he was virtually forced to pay for the on-demand video service and then commiserated about the worry involved in the possibly of missing a connecting flight. He ultimately ended up asking the audience who had “checked-in” or Tweeted about being at the event and then proceeded to expound about how location-based services and marketing were taking over the social space. He made some jokes, tried to sell some books and eventually set up the evening’s next speaker.
Then came Steve Rosenbaum, TV producer and filmmaker, also of Curated Content and founder of magnify.net. Steve began speaking about Facebook‘s new “modern messaging system”, which Steve called “not e-mail”, even though we all know that’s exactly what it amounts to. Steve asked the audience how many people had checked their e-mail before they had their coffee in the morning and who checked it before they went to sleep the evening before. His point was simple: communication is king. It’s the first thing we look to at the beginning of our day and the last thing we do before we call it a night. In the world of Social Media, communication is the key, and to me, that was Steve’s point.
For me, after Greg and Steve wrapped up their talking points was when the magic began. These two “experts” were just real people. They were ready and willing to talk to anyone and everyone that approached them. I introduced myself to Steve Rosenbaum and thanked him for ReTweeting one of my earlier Tweets about the event. He said, “I always ReTweet, It’s easier than typing.” We parted ways for the moment but I made sure to say goodbye before I left and told him how I hoped our paths would cross again in the near future, as we are both in the NYC Metro Area.
I made my way through the crowd and saw Greg Verdino. I initially intended only on introducing myself and moving on, but a conversation ensued. I introduced myself saying, “Hi Greg, I’m Justin.” He said, “Justin Digital?”, which is coincidentally my Twitter handle. I was floored. He knew who I was. I kept my composure and replied in the affirmative, thinking how cool it was that he “virtually” knew who I was. We talked about the Davanti Digital Media, the Social Media Marketing Agency I am heading up, among other things. We spoke about Digital Media versus Social Media, and the space in the market for an agency like ours, who offers Online Marketing Solutions to small and mid-sized businesses. I was obviously interested in everything he had to say, and I can honestly say that he seemed equally as interested in our conversation. He asked for my business card (which was a huge stroke for my ego) and we parted ways planning to connect in the future.
All in all, it was a very productive night. I met some great people in the Social Media industry; not just the “experts” and featured speakers, but many other professionals who are all carving out their own space in the market. I added some FourSquare friends who had also checked-in at the venue and collected and handed out a ton of business cards. I learned what the experts are thinking about the industry and ultimately discovered that in the world of Social Media and Online Marketing, even the “celebrities” are accessible and approachable and always willing to share their insights and opinions.