In my previously addicted MMORPG days (that’s massive multi-role playing game for the uninitiated) we used to refer to our player relationships off-line as RL or “real life”. Players in game would ask clan members (yes, I guess I was somewhat of a nerd; although not so much from the computer technology aspect, but from the highly competitive aspect of being the best with the highest player stats….that’s a blog post for another day!) if they knew each other in RL or just via the game. Well, last night was a night for the Cincinnati Social Media Community to take their “game playing” completely off-line and meet up in RL.
The venue was Jag’s in West Chester, an upscale steak & seafood restaurant that was beautifully decorated for the holidays. We had the entire back room and patio of the bar section and had live music playing on top of the bar. You gotta see the pictures to truly appreciate this feat! The aim was to mix up the local social media community with other friends and colleagues from a variety of professional backgrounds to get a conversation started and facilitate learning. Anne Castleberry, Julie Sweeny Bogart and I are members of the New Media Cincinnati (NewMediaCincy) and Cincinnati Social Media (CincySM) social/digital networking groups. We met virtually through Twitter and Facebook this past May and became great friends. In fact, the three of us attended a recent REO/Styx concert and tweeted, twitpic’d and facebooked our hearts out as we swayed and clapped to the music. (Note: the flashlight app for iPhone works great in lieu of a lighter for classic songs like Come Sail Away!) It was at the pre-concert dinner that we hatched the plan for the Social Media Holiday Happy Hour. I think that several people were glad that we did!
Over 100 people registered for the free event which featured complimentary appetizers, drink specials, live music and prize drawings. Approximately 60 to 70 people representing a wide variety of backgrounds from social media folks, politicians (Charlie Luken was on the list), writers, non-profits, corporate types, attorneys, real estate professionals, bloggers, etc. made it out to Jags and from the comments that have been running on Twitter and Facebook, I think it was a very successful event.
Here are a few:
“Thanks for a great event, it was a good time and a great chance to network and catch up with people.” -Brandon Kilby
“Thanks to Anne Castleberry, Michelle Beckham and Julie Bogart for a FANTASTIC party!!! Those appetizers were delicious. I got to see people I hadn’t seen in a while; make new friends; catch up with friends; and had an absolutely wonderful time. Thank you SO MUCH for planning this. I look forward to the next one.” -Vickie Sceifers
“Wow-what a great party. Thanks for all you 3 did. We had a wonderful time. Everything was perfect and the place was just gorgeous. Met some interesting new people and many special friends.” -Ann Lightfoot
Thx to great girlfriends @julieunplugged @michellebeckham and @CastlePoint for fab & fun SM party last night!- Debba Haupert via Twitter
Cincy social media holiday party is a huge success w @benjaminmccall & Rhonda Silbiger @michellebeckham see pi http://tweetphoto.com/6563893 -Margo Rose via Twitter
@michellebeckham It was a great time! I’m glad I went and was able to meet you! Great job! -Annie of ArtsyGirtie via Twitter
Many folks asked the name of the organization putting on the event. They seemed surprised when I replied that there was no group, this was just about three friends throwing a party. No hidden agendas, no ulterior motives, just the pure desire to bring people together in the act of being social. I met someone who had been directed by his boss to come to our event in her place. He had no idea about the evening; just that there was a social media element and it made sense for their company to be involved. Gotta love it! Ended up having a great conversation with him and I’m sure he is thinking that his substitute attendance was time well spent.
The point of this post is to simply say that social media is a starting place and a conduit for building relationships that lead to community; but somewhere in the process one must take the connection off-line and into the real world. It is a fact that we all do exist in Real Life and it is here that we can create and establish deeper and more meaningful relationships, both professional and personal. Cincinnati is on it’s way to becoming a Digital Hub, I’m just glad to be along for the ride.
Want to know more about how you can become involved in the local Soc Med scene? Feel free to contact me at: http://twitter.com/michellebeckham
Warning! Shameless Request Here: Become a Fan of my Facebook page to stay connected and be in the know about breaking news in social media and local happenings: http://www.facebook.com/C3.CreatingConnectionsConsulting
Happy relationship building!
Thanks to Daniel Johnson, Jr for manning Eventbrite, spreading the news through the New Media Cincy community and offering great tips!
Thanks to Christiaan Todd Photography for the great shots!