Monday, May 10, 2010

The Big Boys and Girls in Social Media and me

Pictured left to right: Carol Rossio, Ed Borasky, Ken and Wilma Doane.

The SoMe Awards—Pacific Northwest Social Media Awards—night was a fast-paced adventure of meeting new people, making first time connections with Twitter followers, rallying for future meet-ups, and waiting to find out if I won the Scrappy & Engaged category.

I LOVE marketing people. They know how to make you feel good. I'd social media'd my birthday party into a blood drive for Southwest Washington Blood Program and I was running with the big boys and girls. I received an email from organizer Sean Lowery stating I was a TOP FINALIST for a SoMe Award.

My present? Standing toe-to-toe with the men and women of social media agencies who deftly crafted winning campaigns for Intel, Air New Zealand, Travelocity and local Portland businesses such as Hotel Max and networks such as Portland Fit.

I arrived ten minutes early with my posse (Mom and Dad) ready to move the People's Choice Award votes to Carol's Save a Life Birthday PartyMy parents have no idea what social media is, and while trying to explain it on the way over, Mom gazed out the car window as we passed Propstra Stadium, and said wistfully, "Look at the baseball players."

Yes. Baseball they understand. Social media makes my posse A.D.H.D.

Ed Borasky, met us at registration swearing he wanted his money back if I didn't win, which brought my fan base to four (counting me), but you have to minus two because Mom and Dad don't have iPhones, let alone a concept of Twitter, and the People's Choice Award votes would be tabulated using a hashtag.

When I patiently began my explanation of a Twitter hashtag, Mom glanced desperately around the room for a ball player, or anyone in uniform. She grabbed the sleeve of a Multnomah Athlete Club employee and held on until he'd guided her to the dessert bar. Chocolate. Lemon. Vanilla. A vast array.

I ran into Jeff Bunch, Web Editor of, and we traded a few quips on web tactics. Our engaging conversation enveloped jazz singer Carol Rossio a friend of Carri Bugbee, president of Portland's Social Media Club. Carol didn't bring a phone, I noted and concluded, no votes from her.

Two big screens promoted the finalists by client and hashtag. I fingered my glass. Jeff plus Ed and me equals three votes. I downed my wine, and left the safety of the high-top table to work the room. I flitted from group to group asking, "Who are you voting for?"

"Ourselves!" said 90%.

I raised my brows, curled my hand into a fist, thrust it their direction for a fist bump, and enthused, "I hope you win something!"

If they paused too long, I suggested, "Vote for me, I'm #SM24. Carol's Save A Life Birthday Party."

"Okay!" noted one very nice stranger.

I scrutiznied her face to see if she was joking. I realized I knew her. She was a Twitter follower I recognized from her avatar. We introduced ourselves, orienting each other to our jobs and other people we had in common. She pulled out her phone and voted. I gave her a huge smile, thanked her for her hastag, and floated off musing, Ed, Jeff, Carmen Hill and me. That's four. Good grief. I could shamefully lose this People's Award for lack of proper scheming, er, planning. I flipped through my Twitter stream and noticed that Step Change had promised that supporters would be entered into a raffle for a pony. Dang, why didn't I think of that?

#SM24 was short lived.

An astute audience member noticed duplicate numbers. The big screen screeched to a halt for course correction. I got knocked from #SM24 out to #SM26. Adriane assured me she'd counted my four votes before she made the change. I scanned the room, conversations buzzed in a happy roar. I could not insert myself into everyone's private space again, so I quietly slunk off to find my seat.

Music, snappy introductions and awards flowed with cheers and laughter. 
Rob Sample, crooner and emcee, did a fabulous job. He dove straight into the internet ocean with a SoMe rendition of the Love Boat theme. When he leaned in toward Dad, his voice slowing into a smooth vibrato, and warbled, "♫ exciting and new," I thought I might bust a gut. 

Proving that results count, Anvil Media shone as a great example of creating a winning social media strategy. Their fabulous campaign for Hotel Max produced 4,000 retweets, 80 guests, and a 37% increase in hotel revenue, which they detail in this after party video.

Those results won them an award, The Scrappy and Engaged category.  Congratulations!