I was asked to speak at today's Visa e-Commerce Summit 2007 in Toronto. I got the coveted after-lunch slot to do my Six Pixels of Separation presentation for e-commerce people (I know, it sounds like a repeat of last week's Shop.org Online Marketing Workshop in Florida - but this was for Visa Canada and a whole different crowd), so my travel plans were to fly in mid-morning until I realized that For Immediate Release co-host and communications expert, Shel Holtz, was doing the morning keynote. While Shel and I have become friends over the past year (and have met in our protein forms on more than one occasion), I have never had the pleasure of hearing him speak (and this was my big chance), so I booked a stupid-early flight out and was up at 4:15 am. Naturally, my flight was delayed (it's always the case), so I wound up walking in while Shel was mid-way through his presentation.
Shel does not disappoint, so if you get a chance, please make sure to catch him live. He adds a communications hue to the social media circus and is able to cut-through the "wow factor" and explain the tactics, results and implications of what companies are doing to engage their communities.
Shel and I spent the rest of the day watching the other speakers and challenging one another on different uses of marketing and communications in our currently crowded environment. After lunch, Shel sat front and center for my presentation and even posted my live Six Points of Separation as a video clip on his Blog, A Shel Of My Former Self, here: Mitch Joel Live!
We also had a small dinner for about ten people tonight that included Inside PR co-host, Terry Fallis (where o' where was David Jones?), Radical Trust's Colin Douma (it was great to finally meet him in person), my little PR buddy, Chris Clarke, and many more.
It is days like these that make me wonder what an MP3 or Podcast of a full "day in the life" would sound like? There were so many gems, insights and lightbulbs. Most of the personal brain flashes were surrounding the concepts of "connectivity."
Clearly marketing success revolves around two forms of connectivity.
1. Being connected.
Plugged into the many channels that now exist. Realizing that being "connected" is the way it is, and it's harder than ever to unplug (and why would you want to?). Being unplugged is quickly becoming equal to living in a cave with a stone to wipe your butt.
2. Connecting to others.
Since we are all connected, connecting to others by creating, sharing and adding to the conversation is more critical than ever. This is as true for e-commerce sites as it for people with portal plays.
I'm not sure how I would have ever become friends with someone like Shel Holtz were it not for social media, Blogging, Podcasting and real-life meet-ups? I'm not sure if Marketers truly respect that everything happening in social media, Web 2.0 (or whatever you would like to call it) is not, simply, another form of online marketing. It seems to me that social media has become the new gateway to meeting others who are like-minded and passionate about the same things as you are. People who want to connect to one another because of similarities and interests.
There's that word again.
I'm just glad Shel and I were able to connect today.