The above picture of Jeff Hurt, Michael McCurry, myself and Mike McAllen was taken in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency – Dallas on Saturday, January 9th just on the eve of this year’s Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) convention. For those of you on Twitter, you will more likely recognize these names by their “handles” of @JeffHurt, @MichaelMcCurry, @GregRuby and @MMcAllen.
Immediately after the picture was taken, Jeff posted it to Twitter and labeled the four of us as the “Godfathers of #EventProfs.” Again, those of you on Twitter are familiar with the #eventprofs hour-long chats on Tuesday nights and Thursday afternoon.
Well, if you are going to be a Godfather, you have to have a good nickname to go along with it. So from now on, these gentlemen will be known as Jeff “The Professor” Hurt, Michael “Guitar Man” McCurry, “Baltimore Greg” Ruby and Mike “The Podcaster” McAllen.
Now, onto the real reason for this entry. Until this Saturday, most of us had never met one another. Only Mike McCurry and myself had met previously a few months ago on one of his trips to the Baltimore-Washington area. This is a great example of one of the best values of social media – being able to create relationships online and then following up with a face to face meeting.
PCMA did a nice job of creating an online community for its annual meeting using Crowdvine. Folks had the opportunity to go online to review who had registered to attend and make connections to meet during the event. I know I used this resource and had made arrangements to meet a few folks at PCMA before my travel plans were changed and I had to leave Dallas early.
If a possible attendee is wavering to go to an event, these online communities can be a great tool to convince them to attend. By reviewing the attendee list, I can come across a handful of people that I want to meet and be more likely to attend, rather than attending an event and just hoping to see people.
Another example of the power of Social Media is that shortly after Jeff posted the above picture, we were tweeted by several other folks and then joined in the hotel lobby by Jessica Levin, Christine Melendes, Liz Giannini and a few others. Imagine that you are exhibiting at a trade show, send out a tweet to promote an item at your booth and have folks come by almost immediately.
I’ve had the good fortune to meet with several folks at events I attended, that I had only known online previously. I hope that someday I will have the opportunity to meet you in person.