herein the first of a couple of quick posts relating to my experience at podcamp boston (aka #pcb4) this weekend. the conference offered a bunch of informative sessions on different elements of the social media phenomenon. some of these were led by recognized leaders in the new field. other sessions were led by people who were just interested in a given topic. some of the best and most useful seesions were not officially scheduled at all – plenty of space was not formally scheduled to accommodate informal discussions, organized by attendees, on whatever topic on the organizer(s)’ minds that day.
anyway. I was reading one of the (increasingly unmanageable number of) blogs I follow, and came across this post about an expedition, a mishap, and a happy ending. while my friend jeff cutler gads about cultivating his notoriety, his girlfriend gretchen has her own quietly adventurous life. she recounts select pieces of it in her blog the collected works of clownface. the most recent post recounts a recent trip to martha’s vineyard with her mother. while boarding a bus, gretchen’s mom twisted and broke her pinkie finger. the intrepid duo elected to continue their journey. the remainder of the post describes a series of positive experiences that transpired thanks to the kindness of strangers.
in reading the post, I was struck by the parallels to my experiences this year and particularly this weekend in learning about social media. true, I did not have a badly broken finger skillfully reset in one of the most picturesque spots on martha’s vineyard. what I did have was a bunch of good, but generalized, work experience, no job to which I could apply it, and a lack of interest in continuing on the same track. starting with one person (thanks @pistachio), I discovered a whole world of relationships and conversations. even better, I saw ways I could help businesses and organizations engage in those conversations to know their customers better. social media offered the business benefits of a plethora of marketing aconyms and buzz phrases, but in a way that dismissed theory in favor of real interaction.
I didn’t have any contacts in this world, but I wasn’t afraid to talk to strangers or even ask them for help (note to gender self: application for driving?). just as gretchen and her mom encountered a succession of helpful strangers, the various people I have met during this learning process have been uniformly smart as all get out, accomplished and eager to share what they know. this weekend’s podcamp was further evidence of that. I would gladly accept a lollipop from any of these folks!