Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My awesome time at Social Media Week, Bangalore!

The awesome event I was a part of! Photo credit 

I still have the draft from last year with my thoughts on my first Social Media Week in Mumbai. From a participant who heard about the event for the first time 6 months ago to a volunteer as part of the twitter team, it’s been a very exciting, informative and fun journey. From a novice who was just learning about social media to almost a partner in the event who got a glimpse into the nuts and bolts of how this mammoth event comes to reality, social media is an inseparable part of my life now. While social media continues to baffle me with the sheer magnitude of information on it, I think the recent event helped me wrap my head around a few things.

I’ll start with the thoughts I had jotted down last year. And they pretty much hold true even today. Not any less true, at least. 

1. Social media is bang in a middle of everything
2. Everyone is a brand
3. No matter who you are and who you do, you can't escape social media
4. Whatever your profession, social media can help you

So, last year at that time, I was beginning to learn how to set up a blog and leverage on the power of the medium. I also spent, and still do, hours online to read up blogs, articles that I feel can help me make my journey of setting up my online presence easier. As a soft skills trainer, it becomes harder sometime to keep the worlds separate since social media has so much to do about communication and presenting yourself to the people out there. But, blurred as it may sometimes get, I make sure that the lines between corporate trainer, Image consultant and a social media professional are respected and I try to stay within my territory. The more I read, the more it helps me gain perspective. 

The Learning stage last year was exactly what a student of social media like me was looking for. Topics from content writing to should you make an app, it covered a whole range of subjects. Unforgettable also is the food and hospitality of Novotel, Juhu! 

The awesome SMW Twitter team in 2015! Photo credit
This year was a whole new ball game. 3 twitter handles, 2 blogs and 1 FB profile (and now aspiring to G+) later, I seem to have dabbled enough in the media to have my own nuggets of wisdom to spread. But excited and curious as I am to learn about new things, being a part of the Twitter team this year was a total riot. Both at the learning and at the fun parts. I also got an opportunity to understand how these sessions are organised. All the speakers are honorary which speaks volumes about the willingness of people to give back to the community. Also, the sheer range of topics covered, like last time, is mind boggling. There’s something for everyone - novices, professional, techies. 

While I am not too keen on analytics - which I know is important for my own blogs - I did have a blast tweeting away to glory indulging in my creative writing skills. The character limit is a problem but I guess the challenge just adds to the thrill of expressing more in less. So, no matter who won the race, I definitely had a great time. 

Hacking away at my keyboard! 

The group of friends on the same team were no less fun. I definitely made some friends for life. And thank you, SMW for that bonus! We would all gather at our respective venues, plug our devices (put on jackets for some freezing venues!) and type away to glory. Not a very click-photos-a-minute person, I’d wait for others to click them and add them to my tweets! The sheer thrill and excitement of sending out events that were unraveling live before us through tweets was unparalleled! 

Just a sample of the endless selfies! 
Another phenomenon that I got to look at closely was concept of Twitter celebrities/influencers. No, I am not still sure about what makes them celebrities or what they do to become one. But to my limited understanding, these ‘Twiterratis’ (though I am not sure what this word means too!) are supposed to be very active, very popular and a following of a few thousand people hanging on their every word. Like I said, I don’t know what gets a celebrity status. But I did meet a few of them and I am touched by how down to earth these people are. I almost doubt that we just put them on a pedestal where they appear exclusive and inaccessible. I am sure it isn’t very easy to keep up with all followers but one can’t do it unless one has a genuine interest in keeping in touch and talking to people. Inspirational!

With Shakthi - India's most followed differently abled person. 

With Tinu Cherian - one of the founders of @WeAreBangalore and a Twitter celebrity himself!

With Sean Gardner - the Forbes no. 1 influencer on social media

So while I am still reeling under the impact of Social Media Week, Bangalore, there are already talks of the next one in September! While I am so looking forward to it, I also have a blog to run and should get back to work. So drop me your comments below and I will see you around! 

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