“To Blog or Not To Blog” – Social Media Breakfast Syracuse 7

By Joe Cunningham, Internet Marketing Manager

Poe has been sitting on my desk bothering me about writing this for some time now.  The next one is next week, and I intend these blog posts to help promote the next one.  (“Say ‘next’ again, Joe!”)  Enough said.

I have neither pictures nor notes from this event because, well, I was a little preoccupied.  After all, Poe and I have been to every Social Media Breakfast Syracuse, but at this one, we were presenters!

Hot lady at Jazz CentralAt Jazz Central

The “Blogging” SMB was hosted at Jazz Central (@CNYJazz) in Syracuse, located on East Washington Street on the east side of the city.  It’s one of two such greenhouses for jazz in the state, together with Winston Marsalis’s at the Lincoln Center in NYC.  Our gracious host, Larry Luttinger, gave some warms words of welcome.  (For more info on CNY Jazz Central, visit www.cnyjazz.org.)

Cool People

I am always impressed by how cool, kind, and bright the people are who present, organize, and attend these events.  Our moderator (it was a Q&A panel), Kate Brodock (@Just_Kate), is as smart and “bubbly” as they come.  Kevin Morrow (@UncleDuke) – who emceed – of the SMB Advisory Committee, is extremely friendly and quick-witted.

I held the door for a few folks and friends and let Poe (@PoeTheGnome) save my seat on stage (which is a useless job since I was guaranteed a seat on stage, but a perfect job for a sometimes useless gnome).  [Arg! WT*!  Just got assaulted by a gnome, I’ll be right back…]

Some friends of mine showed up that I met through these things: @iTingTrout, @Chris__Malone, @JoannaGiansanti, and I’m sure I’m forgetting somebody that’s going to hate me.  My parents and bro showed up too (thanks guys), along with some coworkers from @CowleyAssoc.

Panelists at SMBSyr on Blogging“To Blog or Not to Blog”

One of the bright attendees (@KristySmorol) called the event’s panel “impressive” (why, thank you.) and @SaraRRoche, “So much talent!” (thank you, thank you).  We had Matt Mulcahy (@MattMulcahy) for cryin’ out loud!  I don’t know anyone in Syracuse who doesn’t know who he is.  Notwithstanding the fact that he got an Emmy (!!!!) – thee highest award in his field – he was a really cool, nice, down-to-earth guy.  That was cool.  Period.

Matt talked about how he’s found time to blog for CNY Central’s website as the web has risen to become a more prominent resource for news media over the years and how effective it has been for engaging an ever more online audience.

Also speaking was Erin M. Kane (@EMKprgal), Associate VP for PR at SU (that was fun!).  As a “Mommy blogger,” she told her story of how she developed a real-life blog (www.manicmommies.com) into a large syndicate that included podcasting, which hit the top of the charts on iTunes and picked up many large advertising endorsements.

And then there was Poe and me.  Honestly, I felt about as tall as Poe; and Poe was probably as tall as I, from a fame perspective.  Still, we had something to say, having resurrected the Cowley blog into an effective and formidable SEO machine.

Having not taken notes, I’ll bullet some gems I remembered from the convo, stealing from #SMBSyr Twitter faithful:

  • SMB Peeps TogetherMatt talked about “responsibility: ‘pulling back’ when online audience grows.” - @AnneMessenger, meaning: in short, you have to think about how you want to react to ignorant readers online and how you should react to them.
  • Erin talked about her experience of unplugging: “‘Real living’ vs. constant online connectedness: the balance dilemma.”  - @JonMRogers  As a popular “Mommy blogger” (and human being period), as the digital world becomes so “at your fingertips,” it is essential to just live life, plain and simple.
  • “Use the blog to keep up the SEO momentum.” - @iTingTrout  That was me.  You can tell because it’s got “SEO” in it. #LoL
  • Matt talked about how “using social media” helped him “stand out from competition” which was way behind. - @AnneMessenger
  • Erin’s blogging beginning: “I just had to figure it out.” – @AnneMessenger
  • Matt was very quick witted throughout the “show.”  “Did not expect @MattMulcahy to keep making me laugh!” - @SarahRRoche  I especially enjoyed his fun quip to Erin after she said she had been endorsed by a major auto manufacturer at one point. “What kind of car did you drive here?” he asked.  [Audience uproar.]
  • “Make blogging a conversation.” - @CarrieLuber  Also me.  I explained a tip I learned in college: to write your articles in response to others on online forums, thus engaging active online convo’s – a great way to get traffic!
  • Peeps 2“Make time for blogging by getting your team involved.” - @KathPurdy  Me again.  I got the Cowley folks involved in the blog, thus creating more and more diversified content for our website.  A great idea.

And that’s where Poe the Gnome came in.   “Poe started as a reminder for our staffers to write the monthly blog post…” and since he’s developed into an effective company mascot that’s helping us by leaps and bounds in our social media and SEO.

I wanted to showcase this for the presentation so my team was cool enough to make a VideoKix! for me instead of having to show up with a lame PowerPoint slideshow.  (My team at Cowley is awesome!)

I actually got people to laugh by intro-ing it as, “My team is great.  They told me, ‘You suck at speaking so we’ll make you a video.’”  Everybody laughed.  #greatfeeling

Watch the video here.

My phone was blowing up with Tweets after that on the vid, which was very cool.  Poe was in his glory!  That was our 15 minutes of fame.

Joe and Poe videoBlog!

That’s the answer to the title question, by the way.

You really have to show up to these things to get all the juice out of them.  Sitting next to Matt and Erin and being considered somewhat of the same ilk was very humbling and a real honor, even if it was for just an hour or so.  Just the fact that they had “been there and done that” – successfully – was something that spoke volumes without words.

Blogging is by far, my favorite part of my job.  “How awesome that your passion evolved into your career,” said @KathPurdy.  Most definitely.

I got a Tweet later that day from @JonMRogers: “Thanks for your time and expertise… You didn’t have nearly enough time to present today.”  (These #SMBSyr people are really nice.)

I just laughed and sent him the link to our Cowley blog “Blogging” category with all my blog post on blogging (click here to read more) and replied: “That’s why I blog. ;)”

Both Erin and Matt were present that day under heroic circumstances.  Erin had a near-death case of poison ivy (but was looking great if you asked me), and Matt was covering some big news story that afternoon concerning THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES visiting Syracuse! #ObamaInCNY!!!  Yeah, no pressure.  (I’m sure he did great.)  Just shows how cool these people are that they’d go the extra mile to chill with us and talk a little shop.

CRAVE SyracuseHave to thank the sponsor also: the CRAVE Festival – which was another reason I had to get this out this week.  It’s this weekend and it’s gonna be cool!  Click here for more info via their Facebook page and follow The Connective Corridor (@SyracUSE_CC).  It’s an all-arts crazy fest party that’s gonna knock your socks off.  Check.  It.  Out!  (Poe is going on Friday, by the way.  Don’t be shy if you see him.)

And of course, come to the next SMB which is on “Social Media and Not-For-Profits” on September 26th at the SU Warehouse.  It’s free but you have to sign up (click here) and only 5 tickets are remaining (as of right now!).  Yes, it’s still 7:30-9.  A.M.!  (It’s a breakfast.)  Which brings me to…

…my closing, where I wanted to include perhaps my favorite Tweet ever using the hash tag #SMBSyr:

“I just have one question-- do lunch versions exist anywhere? #NOTaMorningPerson” - @LeahStacy

I had Poe look into it; which means he did not look into it.

“Not that I know of but I feel ya.’” - @PoeTheGnome

Nice Poe.  See all the morning people and the rest of us at the next one.

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