This past weekend I had the opportunity to actually ATTEND a conference, rather than go as a speaker or to network as part of a business development strategy. I went to Blog World Expo in Las Vegas simply to learn. I am a blogger, after all. I got to wander the expo floor without trying to see who I'd run into–I actually got to talk to people in the booths. Okay, it helped that Macallan Scotch had a booth. But still, it was nice to be there just in learning and exploring mode. That said, here are some of the things I learned.
Many nonprofits are ahead of the corporate world in social media. Not all nonprofits, mind you, but listening to the corporate people, I heard a real gap in understanding community. Instead, there were lots of questions about how you "get" customers to talk about brands online. I've always been a bit humble about the association social media community–we're exploring this very new world, and we certainly don't have all the answers. But dang, I think most of us are ahead of a lot of people in the corporate world.
Social Media people are in a bubble (like any niche). Every industry or niche lives in a bubble. That's just the way it is. We in the association community have our own bubble, within which we can talk about our nondues revenue and whether strategic planning is dead, and how critically important progressive governance is. It's all good stuff, but we probably take it a little too seriously, just like social media insiders take the debate as to whether "social CRM" is a buzzword or not too seriously. I, for one, appreciated being around people in their bubble, because it helped me some of my own more clearly. And when you see your bubble, you are less likely to be controlled by it.
I am a leadership blogger. When you go to a blogging conference, you actually have to tell people what kind of blogger you are, and this was a first for me. I don't usually think of myself as a blogger (I'm a consultant, I'm an association executive, I help organizations, etc.). But in fact, I am a leadership blogger. I talk about conflict, strategy, generations, etc., on my blog, but I see those as aspects of building a system's capacity to shape its future. So I'm a leadership blogger. I suppose this is not a huge surprise to anyone, but it was clarifying for me.
I need to improve this blog. Time to take it to the next level.