Thursday, May 13, 2010
Be Social - What's Your Sawubona Moment?
Last month, Ben Smith (@benasmith) and Whitney Mathews (@whitneymathews from The World Company, successfully hosted the first Free State Social Conference with a bevy of amazing speakers; a local discussion panel (that I was lucky to be a part of); great old school, in real life conversations; and, an interesting mix of local/regional/national attendees made up of online newbies, powerhouse techheads, marketing/PR SMEs, and publishing whizkids.
My next few posts will not be recaps or reviews of the conference. Lots of local bloggers have provided excellent Free State recaps and review posts, Whitney captured most of them here. Remember the "here" link, we'll come back to it in my next post...promise.
Missed the conference? You can take it in via video archive. So no recap for me, I'm going to tap into a vein of thinking that lots of us have discussed before. It was the underlying theme of the conference. It's something that started with Chris Brogan's opening remarks and continued through out the day...to GET social media you need to DO social media, in order to REALLY do social media, you need to BE social.
I See You and I Am One of You
Since I'm talking about what getting, doing and being social mean to me - and I'm chatty - it's going to take a series of posts. I can't wait for you to share what it means to you. With all of us contributing, this series could go on a while. Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) kicked off the Free State Social Conference keynote using his iPad. No talking just words on the screen. The first screen said "I See You" and the second is pictured with Chris above, "I'm One of You." Thanks to Simon Kuo (@simonkuo) of The Westside Studio for the use of the photo.
You Matter To Me, You Are Worth My Time
The first time I met Chris in person was in early 2008, we were both at the SNCR NewComm conference looking (via Twitter) for a late lunch buddy. I had been reading Chris' blog since early 2007, we conversed via email and Facebook. He had helped me develop Embarq's social media road map, got me going on my blog, we talked kid stuff and shared telcom shop talk so when we met in person, we had history. But knowing Chris, he would have had lunch with me whether he knew me online or not. That's just his M.O. He breathes the essence of what makes social media um...well, what makes social media social.
Though Chris shares content freely (some 2500 words of advice a day) via his blog, see Chris really excels as an in-the-moment, get out from behind the (insert whatever face-to-face barrier you use here) ie keyboard, screen, etc. sharer. He knows the secret sauce is in the big share and he knows sharing it will not only help others, but will ultimately propel Chris.
Back to our first in-person meet up, Chris and I sit down for lunch. I take my phone out of my purse-mom-bag-laptop tote and put it on the table in front of me. It's my barrier, well actually for me, it was my crutch. I'm thinking of it as my "cool kid" badge because I'm all smart phone hip, right? Yeah, well no.
Leave it to Chris to school me within 15 seconds of sitting down. At the same time, Chris takes his phone from his trouser pocket, hits a button (I'm thinking mute) and sits it on the table. But no...He says, "This is a distraction, so I'm turning it off."
The dude was not pulling a "this is what I need to do" lame "look at me, I have big ears" pulpit play. No posturing going here. This was early 2008, this is just part of Chris' DNA and it's something we all need reminded of:
Let the person (yep, the one right in front of you) know I see you and you matter to me.
Chris uses the Zulu term Sawubona to describe this common courtesy which is rare in practice and he has written many a post on it. The first post I remember is The Community Ecosystem.
That one gesture of shutting his phone off with the four words after "This is a distraction" is my best Sawubona moment to date. Can't wait to hear your Sawubona moment.
Next post will continue with me getting a lesson on "I am one of you" over salads. Yep, about five minutes into lunch.