Why Social South Worked

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Of all varieties of fopperies, the vanity of high birth is the greatest. True nobility is derived from virtue, not from birth. Title, indeed, may be purchased, but virtue is the only coin that makes the bargain valid.
– Robert Burton

Did you know I have a tattoo on my arm with the saying “Virtus sola nobilitas.” on it?  It’s part of my family crest. As cool as that is, what’s more important is what the words mean. Essentially, it means that virtue is the only coin that makes the bargain valid.

Why do I bring this up? Because the words mean a lot to me. They resonate. I like people who carry themselves without pretentiousness. Especially when they so easily could. I think it’s an amazing quality to possess. Humility. Especially in today’s personal branding, all about me world.

At Social South I was amongst the most unpretentious, unassuming, group of high profile social media thought leaders assembled in one place at one time. Sure, I could have gone to a half dozen “larger” more visible cities and had just as many social media thought leaders assembled. And I have. But I would have gotten the attitude thing along with the assumptive title of social media thinker, high brow, I’m better than you, thing.

There would be none of this at Social South.

Beyond a list that included the incredibly down to earth Beth Harte, the humble Mack Collier, the classy Toby Bloomberg, the social media handyman Paul Chaney who has a book coming out, the incredibly smart Jason Falls, the genuine Christina Kerley, the effusive Kellye Crane, the solid Tom Martin, the refreshing An Bui, and of course the giving Lionel and talented Richard from Dell, There were a host of “other” people that deserve recognition in their own right.

From Andrew Keen, Dave Barger, Mitch Canter, Robert French, David Griner, Tammy Hart, to Dana Lewis, Andre Natta, Phyllis Neill, Will Scott, Jeff Vreeland, Stacey Hood and of course Ike Pigott all of them brought value, humility, a sense of community and a sense of “leave the ego at the door and lets learn from each other.” You don’t get that at 95% of the conferences that you attend. That’s why Social South worked.

Of course I would be remiss to not bring up 2 more people. The first is as finest an individual that I’ve met from practically meeting for the first time. This person essentially pulled Social South together and shaped it into the conference that it was and did it in a way that it was seamless and looked effortless. Scott Schablow you rock.

Esra’a Al Shafei

What can I say. This person gave one of the most riveting non-keynote keynotes I have ever heard. And it was via Skype. The night before Scott Schablow mentioned that every time he heard her speak, it gave him goose bumps. I had no idea what he was talking about. Yet, this was no exception. Not only did it give me and everyone else goose bumps, it also reduced more than half the audience to tears and the rest were giving her a standing ovation.

Esra is the founder and Executive Director of MideastYouth.com, and what she did was she showed the crowd gathered at Social South the true power of crowdsourcing people for the cause of freedom and human rights via  social media, via video, via the internet and really any other means possible. She showed what’s possible. What is possible.

In short, it was the perfect keynote for a group of people who were so into what they were doing. People who were so genuine, that it made perfect sense for them. As I said, you don’t get that at other conferences. You hope to, but you generally don’t.  And That’s why Social South worked. Thank you #Soso!

I could go on, but it might take days to highlite everything! But one more thing before I go, here is that tattoo and remember,”Virtus sola nobilitas.” 🙂

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Twebinar #2 review: Who owns your brand? We do.

Yesterday Twebinar #2 brought it on home. Huh? What I mean is that, though the first one was good, the second one was great! For those of you who are wondering what the hell I’m talking about, this is what a twebinar is and was.

The twebinars are a series of  mashups in which Chris Brogan and David Alston have assembled the best and brightest from PR, Marketing, and Social media into a series of video interviews, live sound bites, and live video, into a massive twitter round table. What occurs is this healthy discussion on a certain topic, in this case the brand, and more specifically, who owns your brand. The discussion is rapid fire, the tweets even faster, and this is something that has gotten better, and not only combines the best and the brightest as a focal point, but really what makes it work so well, is the conversations that occur with stars in their own right from companies far and wide. 

I was amazed at the depth and breadth of the tweets. Combine this with Chris Brogan moderating the stream of videos, the conversation with some live guests via web cam and phone such as Richard Binhammer, as well responding to questions via twitter and you have this organized chaos of free flowing discussion about a very poignant and hot topic at the present moment. Your Brand.

I have to give props to how quickly things have evolved from the first twebinar. Given the improvement and the depth to which they took constructive criticism to heart from the first twebinar, this bodes well for the next, which means that we will be seeing more of these in the future. For me, the twebinar produced 18 new followers in twitter, which is very cool.

What I would like to see for the next session is a way for a lot of us to be able to see the videos and the flow of discussion at the same time. I was using Summize-recently bought by Twitter. I was also using Twhirl too, which had some latency issues, which caused me to use Twiiter as my main client, So I toggled from the videos to Summize to Twitter. It worked for me since I was listening more than I was watching. But ultimately it worked.

What I took away from the mashup was simply that brand management is as important as anything that a company might do, and yet sometimes the brand gets ignored through complacency, smugness and ignorance. Often times, when this happens, it’s too late to try and grab marketshare back.

Yet, the companies that do value the customer, and who ultimately realize through an epihpany sometimes, that the customer is the one who defines the brand, are the ones that realize that YES they(the customer) are the brand as much as the company is.

Bottom Line, the twebinars give marketers, social media champions, PR peeps and N00bs all a chance to voice some very valuable opinions and thoughts and what it tells me is this. There are soooo many superstars out there who DO get it. I want to connect with them as much as I want to connect with the true superstars in the space.

For those of you that did participate yesterday, what did you think? What did you take away from it? and how will use what you learned? What should happen in the next Twebinar?