Who Needs a Social Media Club Anyway?

Do we really need to get people in a room to talk about social media? Seriously, won’t SMC Vancouver just become some kind of self-referential echo chamber where everyone is an “social media expert” or consultant or “social media marketer”? Come on who needs to talk about social media, haven’t we got it all figured out by now? Does anyone really need our advice on how to navigate the morass of social media that we currently live in?

In answer to all those questions—yeah we do.

Oh sure, there is a great risk with any professional organization that it just becomes an insular bubble. Doesn’t matter if the group is for bloggers or plumbers or accountants, sometimes the only other people who want to talk about the details of what we do are other people who do it too.

Social Media Club, started by my friend Chris Heuer and something I was involved with early on, is built on the mission of education and outreach. Social Media Club Vancouver has had an on-again-off-again history. Part of the problem with a lot of social media people, we get tremendously busy in the blink of an eye. Social Media Club Victoria has some great folks behind it (they could be happy that I didn’t try to get SMC Victoria going, ugh that would have been disastrous).

I think it’s easy to dismiss social media as “easy” and “common sense” when you’re in the midst of it all. Come on, what’s so hard about talking to people? Isn’t working with social media just another core competency that people just have now?

Not so much. As much as I think that everyone marketing themselves as a social media consultant isn’t a great idea, I do think helping people learn the ropes, especially for their businesses, is an important thing to do. It’s hard not to be accused of hyperbole when I say that social media has changed everything that we do now, but it has. Newspapers, shopping, learning, reading, computing, even dating has been influenced and changed by social media. Ten years ago if a company screwed a customer, you were extremely lucky to get local news coverage. Today any company can have its image tarnished in a few hours or days.

I don’t read newspapers often, but I write for one.

When I’m looking for something from a new game to something as mundane as groceries I turn to social media—and I get the answers!

What I hope Social Media Club Vancouver becomes is a true educational group. We need to have both higher level discussions about where the whole industry/medium is going as well as help people learn how to use the plethora of tools available to them. We don’t need another group for parties and tweetups. We need a group to hold hands-on workshops and media days. We need to connect investment money and the startups who need it. We need to help foster careers that people can make an actual living doing, not something that people love to do but can live doing.

I think the time is right and we certainly have the talent in Vancouver to do it.

So who needs a social media club anyway?

We do.

Comments

  1. says

    Great post and you are right … We do need a Social Media Club. I agree on the educational aspects too. I’m on the board of SMC Seattle and we strive to insure our events help people get plugged into what is going on with Social Media no matter whether they are new to the party or have been involved with Social Media from the start. Thanks for the post. Nicely put.

    Open Invitation — Please visit the SMC Seattle events (smcseattle.com). We hold them on the last Tuesday of the month. The next one is Jan 26th. We hope to see you there.

      • says

        True. Eric is great. Fortunately he comes down to Seattle on occasion to share his wit and wisdom. I hope to make it to one of your meetings. I’m also looking to share best practices with other SMC groups.

        • says

          Aww, shurks. Thanks, Jeff!

          We have a very exciting vision for the group that I’m eager to share with everyone. It’ll be just a bit different than earlier incarnations, but hopefully, very rewarding for everyone involved.

          Great post, Tris! See ya on the 14th. :)

  2. says

    Great post and you are right … We do need a Social Media Club. I agree on the educational aspects too. I’m on the board of SMC Seattle and we strive to insure our events help people get plugged into what is going on with Social Media no matter whether they are new to the party or have been involved with Social Media from the start. Thanks for the post. Nicely put.

    Open Invitation — Please visit the SMC Seattle events (smcseattle.com). We hold them on the last Tuesday of the month. The next one is Jan 26th. We hope to see you there.

      • says

        True. Eric is great. Fortunately he comes down to Seattle on occasion to share his wit and wisdom. I hope to make it to one of your meetings. I’m also looking to share best practices with other SMC groups.

        • says

          Aww, shurks. Thanks, Jeff!

          We have a very exciting vision for the group that I’m eager to share with everyone. It’ll be just a bit different than earlier incarnations, but hopefully, very rewarding for everyone involved.

          Great post, Tris! See ya on the 14th. :)

  3. says

    As you know, I volunteered for the board of SMC Vancouver early on, and I’ve participated in several of the organizational meetings (before Eric and Mitch, but I’ve also stayed in touch with them). I had some chats with our common friend Chris Heuer and as you also know, I’ve been a big proponent of having higher-level discussions on social media. So, despite the fact that this semester is extremely challenging to me, I do plan to be at the organizational meeting.

  4. says

    As you know, I volunteered for the board of SMC Vancouver early on, and I’ve participated in several of the organizational meetings (before Eric and Mitch, but I’ve also stayed in touch with them). I had some chats with our common friend Chris Heuer and as you also know, I’ve been a big proponent of having higher-level discussions on social media. So, despite the fact that this semester is extremely challenging to me, I do plan to be at the organizational meeting.

  5. says

    Like Raul, I was one of the very first SMC604 people. Chris and I spoke about it one evening after Northern Voice. We had some excellent dreams, and then it began to fall apart. I don’t know who is involved in this one, and I unfortunately no longer have the time that SMC604 would require, but I sincerely hope that this time around, it really does work, and gets off the ground in earnest. With some of the original crew on the committee, I’m hoping that some of the mistakes that we made are learned from and not repeated.

    • says

      I think all the past work that you and Megan Cole did will certainly be the foundation for having a successful SMC here. It’s tough when busy, passionate people want to start things like this, we just can’t always manage all the great things to do.

  6. says

    Like Raul, I was one of the very first SMC604 people. Chris and I spoke about it one evening after Northern Voice. We had some excellent dreams, and then it began to fall apart. I don’t know who is involved in this one, and I unfortunately no longer have the time that SMC604 would require, but I sincerely hope that this time around, it really does work, and gets off the ground in earnest. With some of the original crew on the committee, I’m hoping that some of the mistakes that we made are learned from and not repeated.

    • says

      I think all the past work that you and Megan Cole did will certainly be the foundation for having a successful SMC here. It’s tough when busy, passionate people want to start things like this, we just can’t always manage all the great things to do.

  7. says

    I’m not familiar with past SMC604 efforts, but would be willing to help and participate. Please keep me posted. Where can I go to get more information to bring me up to date?

    • says

      Hey! Well there is a Facebook group. And the first organizational meeting is next week. I’m going to try to help as best I can, but knowing full well that I can’t do everything all the time.

  8. says

    I’m not familiar with past SMC604 efforts, but would be willing to help and participate. Please keep me posted. Where can I go to get more information to bring me up to date?

    • says

      Hey! Well there is a Facebook group. And the first organizational meeting is next week. I’m going to try to help as best I can, but knowing full well that I can’t do everything all the time.

  9. says

    Tris, Thank you for your intelligent comments about Social Media and specifically Social Media Club Vancouver. As Eric mentions we have an exciting vision for the future of SMC Vancouver and look forward to sharing it with present and future members of SMC Vancouver. Our Facebook group can be found here for anyone who is interested in more information. http://groups.to/smcvancouver/ or http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=57269097014

    Jeff, Thank you for your comments, I look forward to meeting you at an event. Rumor has it a few of us will be coming to Seattle to see SMC Seattle in action. I’ve had contact with some of the board members who have been very helpful. Your group in Seattle are leaders within Social Media Club.

    Raul, Thank you for your past contributions to SMC Vancouver and for your open door to communicating with me about the future of SMC Vancouver over the past months. I/we look forward to your continued support.

    Colleen, Thank you for your contributions to SMC Vancouver. We stand upon your and other’ shoulders as we move forward. The door is always open. I look forward to seeing you at future SMC Vancouver events.

    Guacira, Thank you for your interest. I’ve posted our Facebook Group link above and sent to you through Facebook as well.

    • says

      YW Mitch. I’m looking forward to the first meeting next week.
      From the Twitter discussion a couple nights ago, it’s clear that many of us in Vancouver are hoping a business as unusual with SMC. I think we’re on track to do just that.

  10. says

    Tris, Thank you for your intelligent comments about Social Media and specifically Social Media Club Vancouver. As Eric mentions we have an exciting vision for the future of SMC Vancouver and look forward to sharing it with present and future members of SMC Vancouver. Our Facebook group can be found here for anyone who is interested in more information. http://groups.to/smcvancouver/ or http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=57269097014

    Jeff, Thank you for your comments, I look forward to meeting you at an event. Rumor has it a few of us will be coming to Seattle to see SMC Seattle in action. I’ve had contact with some of the board members who have been very helpful. Your group in Seattle are leaders within Social Media Club.

    Raul, Thank you for your past contributions to SMC Vancouver and for your open door to communicating with me about the future of SMC Vancouver over the past months. I/we look forward to your continued support.

    Colleen, Thank you for your contributions to SMC Vancouver. We stand upon your and other’ shoulders as we move forward. The door is always open. I look forward to seeing you at future SMC Vancouver events.

    Guacira, Thank you for your interest. I’ve posted our Facebook Group link above and sent to you through Facebook as well.

    • says

      YW Mitch. I’m looking forward to the first meeting next week.
      From the Twitter discussion a couple nights ago, it’s clear that many of us in Vancouver are hoping a business as unusual with SMC. I think we’re on track to do just that.

  11. says

    Withthe support of non-profit groups like this, the amount of time and effort it takes to people to collaborate will help shape the future of social media and its use. Thank you to those who put in the dedication and effort to share their time, resources and passion.

    • says

      Thank you James. It’s almost like if we do our job well, we’re putting ourselves out of a “job” … because social media skills will become part of the standard skill set.

  12. says

    Withthe support of non-profit groups like this, the amount of time and effort it takes to people to collaborate will help shape the future of social media and its use. Thank you to those who put in the dedication and effort to share their time, resources and passion.

    • says

      Thank you James. It’s almost like if we do our job well, we’re putting ourselves out of a “job” … because social media skills will become part of the standard skill set.

  13. says

    You’re right Tris – meta groups like this can easily slip too much to the left or right, ie become too navel inspecting (norwegian term) or so broad noone really understands what it’s for. The only way to avoid this is by having a very clear idea of exactly what the group is for and to have strong leadership with a clear vision. Unfortunately this in some ways goes against the very nature of social media which is more of a go-with-the-flow type of atmosphere. But then that is also why social media can be so out of focus at times: Too much go-with-the-flow means a wide river with hundreds of individual dingies rather than a smaller one with one big boat.

    I’d very much like to take a part in focussed meta level discussions about social media, especially where the social aspect is concerned. I find that social media in general has a tendency of moving toward the extremely cliquey and that a log of social media is actually very anti-social. In addition the rapid rate of evolution within the field means that it’s very hard to keep up unless you are fully immersed and that in turn means social media, which is meant to make the web more accessible and inclusive, actually runs the risk of creating a true schism between the haves and the have-nots (“haves” being the ones that understand and use social media). It’s a technological, financial, cultural, generational and educational gap that is worsened by other factors like literacy and it is one that should be tacled sooner rather than later.

    Personally I think social media can be a true uniter in the world – but only if we make it so that all people have the ability to use it and understand what to use it for. That’s an enormous educational task that demands full openness from those of us that have the knowledge and a demystification of the whole realm. It’s not easy but it can be done. And I want to be part of that process.

    • says

      Morten you’ll be happy to know that SMCYVR, thus far, seems like it is going to be based on teaching/outreach and higher level discussions. Everyone at the meeting last night expressed the same concerns as you have. Believe me, no one there wants SMCYVR to sink into an abyss of the echo chamber.

  14. says

    You’re right Tris – meta groups like this can easily slip too much to the left or right, ie become too navel inspecting (norwegian term) or so broad noone really understands what it’s for. The only way to avoid this is by having a very clear idea of exactly what the group is for and to have strong leadership with a clear vision. Unfortunately this in some ways goes against the very nature of social media which is more of a go-with-the-flow type of atmosphere. But then that is also why social media can be so out of focus at times: Too much go-with-the-flow means a wide river with hundreds of individual dingies rather than a smaller one with one big boat.

    I’d very much like to take a part in focussed meta level discussions about social media, especially where the social aspect is concerned. I find that social media in general has a tendency of moving toward the extremely cliquey and that a log of social media is actually very anti-social. In addition the rapid rate of evolution within the field means that it’s very hard to keep up unless you are fully immersed and that in turn means social media, which is meant to make the web more accessible and inclusive, actually runs the risk of creating a true schism between the haves and the have-nots (“haves” being the ones that understand and use social media). It’s a technological, financial, cultural, generational and educational gap that is worsened by other factors like literacy and it is one that should be tacled sooner rather than later.

    Personally I think social media can be a true uniter in the world – but only if we make it so that all people have the ability to use it and understand what to use it for. That’s an enormous educational task that demands full openness from those of us that have the knowledge and a demystification of the whole realm. It’s not easy but it can be done. And I want to be part of that process.

    • says

      Morten you’ll be happy to know that SMCYVR, thus far, seems like it is going to be based on teaching/outreach and higher level discussions. Everyone at the meeting last night expressed the same concerns as you have. Believe me, no one there wants SMCYVR to sink into an abyss of the echo chamber.

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