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.
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?