Yesterday was the BizBuzz Social Media Conference at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Liverpool, NY at Thruway Exit 37. It was an all day conference that had seminars on all aspects of social media and social media technology, and it was definitely the place to be.

It all started in this very large room that was set up for nearly 400 people; possibly more. By the time things got started it wasn’t close to full, maybe 75%, but as the first presenters were doing their thing people kept coming, and I’d estimate that there ended up being at least between 300 and 400 people throughout the day. Some people came for the entire day while others came for short portions to get what they wanted and then left. I was a presenter so I didn’t have to pay, but it wasn’t inexpensive, though reasonable for an all day session, and I know I wouldn’t have left early.

The first presenters were Brian and Eddie Bluff from Site-Seeker Inc, a company that does internet marketing SEO, web development, etc; a company offering services I offer and then some, based in New Hartford, NY. It was an interesting give-and-take session with the two brothers kind of riffing off each other but it was a very effective presentation on how companies are benefiting from social media marketing. Brian made a statement that I retweeted because I thought it was pretty powerful: “What does it take to trust?

Once they were done it was time to look for the next session. The sessions were each 40 minutes long and they had multiple sessions going on at the same time. One in the large room, which they actually divided into 3 sections but left one as the largest room, and then many other smaller rooms.

An associate professor at Syracuse University talked about emerging technologies and social media services that many people didn’t know about. I knew most of them but a couple I didn’t, which is always cool. He also made a great statement in comparing Facebook to Twitter: “Facebook is for catching up with people you used to go to high school with. Twitter is for reaching the people you wish you went to school with.” I thought that was fairly profound because he’s right for the most part; you rarely connect with someone on Twitter that was someone you used to know, but it always happens on Facebook.

After that presentation we had a 10 minute break, then it was onto the next session. Since I felt I knew a lot about all the other topics I went into the one being put on by attorney Philip Frankel of Bond, Schoeneck & King, one of the sponsors of the event, on legal concerns of social media. This was a pretty good presentation, which I have to admit I wasn’t expecting, and though it wasn’t all that well attended, I thought it was a very important topic.

Something I thought he said that was fairly important was this: “All interactive computer service sites should post disclaimers against content they didn’t produce.” His recommendation was that bloggers should think about doing it as well to protect themselves against comments made on their blogs by visitors, but did acknowledge that those of us writing individual blogs are probably safe.

Then it was lunch time, and one could decide to go to the large room to listen to some case studies, or go to what they were calling the Cloud Lounge to eat and talk with people. I did that instead and got to meet a few new people while also talking with my friend Sunny, who was hosting a table for people who might want to learn more about other aspect of social media.

I was a presenter at the conference, as I stated earlier, and I was starting at 1:40. I went to the room early, and as it turns out it was way earlier than I should have gone, but I’ll get to that. I wanted to make sure they had the presentation that I’d sent ahead of time so that I didn’t have to bring my laptop. Nope, it couldn’t be found, but I was a Boy Scout as a young kid so I’d brought the presentation on a flash drive, just in case.

I wasn’t sure how many people were going to show up because there were a lot of presentations going on at the same time as mine that I thought looked really good. Six minutes before I started there were only 2 people in the room, one of whom I knew, Bill Pfohl (thanks Bill), and that was it. Two minutes before I was going to start people began filing in, and the room was more than half filled when I decided to start. Just about 10 to 15 minutes later the room was pretty full, which was nice since I had a small room and thought I’d look kind of goofy in there with only a few people. It turns out, I learned later, that I had started 10 minutes too early; oops! lol

No matter; I talked about business blogging as a social media platform and it seems that I did okay. What surprised me later on was discovering that I actually said a couple of things that a few people thought was important enough to retweet. I’ll share those tweets, all in a row thank goodness, as one:

How neat being quoted; never thought of myself as a quotable type. 🙂 Anyway I ended right on time, which means I was actually 10 minutes over, but I entertained questions during the session as well and so I’m glad it worked out as it did.

Next it was time for the final break out session. I decided to go to a session in the large room that had been given earlier in the day called Herding Cats and Chasing Whales, put on by Ric Dragon of DragonSearch Marketing, based in Kingston NY. There were no pictures of either cars or whales, but ways to try to identify which types of social media each company needs to look at to be able to compete with others that do what they do. Unfortunately I didn’t get a quote from him, but it was pretty cool.

Finally it was time for the closing keynote, and that was presented by Mark Russell (no, not the piano guy) of Eric Mower & Associates (who looks like they might be trying to change their identity to EMA; stay tuned…), and it was a lively presentation with videos emphasizing how companies are coming up with unique ways to brand their businesses using social media these days. It included a cool commercial with a gorilla drumming to In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins and a, well, “interesting” tampon ad that made the guys squirm a little bit and the ladies laugh. lol

Finally it was over, and everyone I talked to later seemed to have a good time. A few people who weren’t all that savvy in social media said they learned a lot but were still confused by much of it. I could understand that; I figure that one can only take in so much information if it’s not something they’re already familiar with. Still, it was a success, and I hope that if (when) they do it again that I’ll have another opportunity to be a part of it all.

The one answer I never got was whether they would take all the presentations they got beforehand and put them up in one place so people could download them. Oh well, nothing’s perfect.

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