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What I Learned from Next Level Hawaii

The first ever Next Level Hawaii conference happened last week with great speakers talking all things social media.  The caliber of speakers was top notch, and while the emphasis was aimed at social media for business, general social media usage and tips flowed throughout the day.

So what did I learn from Next Level Hawaii?

Chris Pirillo kicked off the first session and provided a good backdrop for branding via social media.  He reiterated how social media is a long term investment and takes time to build your community and following.  You need to find your business niche, be passionate, and uniquely own the mindshare of your market .  And Chris being Chris, flitted from subject to subject offering his personal, entertaining commentary.

Next up was Geoff Livingston whose highlight was a comparison of Madonna and Lady Gaga.  This was an excellent lesson of branding and social media and illustrated how the landscape has drastically changed over the years.  While only in her early 20’s, Lady Gaga’s network empowered by social media is definitively impacting the entertainment scene, previously dominated by the diva Madonna.  What’s taken Madonna decades to build is being quickly eclipsed by Gaga.

Technosailor, Aaron Brazell, the author of WordPress Bible, followed and overviewed popular WordPress social plugins.  My main takeaway from Aaron’s sesson was BuddyPress.  I’ve heard about this software and seen it mentioned on my WordPress dashboard, but I didn’t understand it until Aaron said BuddyPress is “Facebook in a box.”  I’m sold.

Andrew Hyde was a last minute replacement and talked about the startup market.  He mentioned “Ignite” events which sound like a variation of pecha kucha.  But Andrew’s most sobering point was asking if anyone cared about your site/service/business.  If it shutdown tomorrow, would anyone care or notice?  Side note: check out balsamiq for quickly designing site mockups.

After Andrew, Jesse Stay took the stage to talk Facebook.  As the author of Facebook books (yes, real books), Jesse showed the crowds the new Facebook social plugins.  By the way, Jesse rocked his presentation using Apple’s Keynote and iPhone app that allowed remote control of his presentation.  Sorry, my pics of Jesse were all blurry.

Lastly, local video blogger, Roxanne Darling made a compelling case to start using videos for business branding.  Video consumption is growing, it’s getting easier to do, and companies can further their customer engagement with video.

Whew!  That was a full day of social media!  One interesting point was the “forgotten blog.”  Many conference go-ers wanted to know if the key to social media success was Facebook or Twitter or YouTube.  Several speakers said the same thing which was that your blog should be your central hub of social media activities.

And I almost forgot!  One more thing I learned from Next Level Hawaii is watch your tweets when a live tweet stream is involved.  You (and everyone else) might see something embarrassing. 😉

Thanks to HawaiiRealty for coordinating and hosting Next Level Hawaii.

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2 Responses to What I Learned from Next Level Hawaii

  1. Roxanne Darling May 7, 2010 at 2:27 am #

    REALLY nice summary of the event, and woohoo for taking the time to add photos and links of the speakers, not to mention your awesome tweet fame! I love hearing what others take away – it's so easy to get immersed in the details of my own assignment. How do you think we can attract mainlanders to attend our Hawaii events? The Hawaii Convention Center is SO perfect I think, especially for socially-inclined people.
    My recent post Cam Conversation: Business Travel to Hawaii, NextLevelHI, Facebook Privacy

  2. Roxanne Darling May 7, 2010 at 2:27 am #

    REALLY nice summary of the event, and woohoo for taking the time to add photos and links of the speakers, not to mention your awesome tweet fame! I love hearing what others take away – it's so easy to get immersed in the details of my own assignment. How do you think we can attract mainlanders to attend our Hawaii events? The Hawaii Convention Center is SO perfect I think, especially for socially-inclined people.
    My recent post Cam Conversation: Business Travel to Hawaii, NextLevelHI, Facebook Privacy

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