The last time I attended the annual SSATB conference was four years ago while Facebook and Twitter were in their infancy and the idea of inbound marketing hadn’t been fully developed. While I’ve always enjoyed attending conferences this particular event was truly a new experience, and very different from my last SSATB conference, as a result of my involvement in social media and blogging. I’d like to share the lessons I learned this year at the SSATB conference.
1. There Is No One Way “To Do” Social Media
While I’ve already learned that you shouldn’t be scared to participate in social media, I learned this week that there really isn’t a correct way to do social media. I was fortunate to have two social media friends attend my presentation at SSATB, Peter Baron (@peterdbaron) and Jonathan Martin (@jonathanemartin), and after my presentation I was able to have great discussions with them about social media and it’s use. My greatest take away from that conversation, besides that both men know a thing a two about social media, is that we all do and implement social media in a slightly different way but get to the same end: connection, sharing, and engagement.
2. Schools Are Interested In Inbound Marketing But Are Struggling To Take The Next Steps
After asking, “Why Aren’t More Schools Using Inbound Marketing?” and presenting about inbound marketing at the SSATB conference, I realize that there are a good number of people who are interested in using inbound marketing for their schools but that they either don’t have the expertise to take the next steps or they just don’t know where to start. Do I smell an eBook?
3. Social Media And It’s Implications for Education Are Still Misunderstood
During a number of different conversations I had over the course of the conference I was blown away with the potential for social media and it’s use in education. I feel that the educational community is really only in the beginning stages with regard to using social media as a learning tool and for teachers to truly grasp its application for learning they are going to have to shift the basis of teaching from where it currently exists. I’m not really sure where social media and education are going but I’m very excited that I’m along for the ride.
4. Meeting Social Media Friends F2F is Great
I learned a new phrase from Jonathan Martin last week, “F2F,” which stands for face-to-face. What a great concept! I’ve written a few times about the opportunities that have opened up for me from my participation in social media including connecting with so many wonderful people that I wouldn’t have met without social media. The SSATB conference confirmed for me that connecting on social media is great but meeting F2F is even better. Over the course of the conference I was able to finally meet @peterdbaron, @jonathanemartin, @tina_barr, and @schoolyardinc and it was great meeting and having our first conversation in person. Social media is great but F2F is better!
5. The Greatest Knowledge Sharing Occurs After The Presentations
While this concept is not new and not first introduced by me – the SSATB conference confirmed for me that although I heard many wonderful presentations, keynotes, and workshops the most valuable conversations I had during the conference occurred after the meeting over coffee, at dinner, or during break. The chance to get together with colleagues from different parts of the country and “talk shop” proved once again to be incredibly valuable.
The SSATB conference proved to be an invaluable professional development event for me this year and I can’t wait for next year. I hope to see you in Chicago in 2012 and make sure that if we haven’t connected F2F yet that you say hello in Chicago!