Recently I attended a social media conference in Sydney called ConnectNow, and even though I only managed to attend Day 2 of the three days, I find I’m still pumped weeks later and full of hope for how the socialmediasphere will continue to evolve!

My main motivation to attend, apart from catching up with some Twitter friends, was a chance to see 2 men live, speaking in glorious 3D technicolour: Darren Rowse aka @Problogger and Gary Vaynerchuk aka @GaryVee.

The former I feel a kind of kinship towards as he is sort of indirectly responsible for propelling me to where I am today. A few years ago, when I started my virtual assistance business whilst living overseas, I stumbled upon Darren’s blog and my journey into the blogosphere began. Shortly after, he posted about an experiment called “Social Media Love-in” where he asked his readers to promote their social media links in the comments so that they could easily connect. Not surprisingly, he received nearly 700 comments in a space of 24 hours!

What I noticed in those comments was many included their Twitter profiles, and at that stage I had only heard some buzz about it, but chose to stay away. I thought it was just another time wasting gimmic site (like Facebook!) which I certainly didn’t have the time or patience for. But, curiousity did get the better of me, and I joined to experience myself what all the hype was about. Little did I know how it would positively alter the course of my professional and personal life!

Anyhoo, I was excited at finally meeting Darren and having the opportunity to personally thank him, and he struck me as exactly the person I had come to “know“ online which is a bonus. No fakery there, just intelligence, kindness and a totally unassuming disposition.

Then there’s Gary. Well what can I say other than this outspoken American pocket-rocket just tells it like it is, which is really refreshing in this day and age where most water down their opinions for public consumption. What I also found appealing is after all his success, he’s still down to earth and unjaded. The thing that impressed me the most however, was not his knowledge of social media, but the way he interacted with people, looking them straight in the eye when speaking or responding to a question. To be honest I had been skeptical up until that point, but he really does give a damn, and it’s not all for show either.

He easily enthralled the audience with his enthusiasm and shared many wise insights, but the one phrase that has stuck in my mind since then is “Out-care the competition”, and his success is a true example of this. Now I’m really looking forward to his next book about what he terms the “thank you economy” (If you haven’t read his current publication “Crush It” then do yourself a favour!!)

So all in all, it was an awesome day of learning, especially about the importance and value of authentic human interactions – be it online or offline.

I have to send a BIG thank you to the ConnectNow organisers, @iconic88, @monikava, @iggypintado @transcribe, @jaysingh and also @jadecraven @sammutimer who came up from Melbourne for also making my day!

Free Smileys & Emoticons at Clip Art
* pics by @jadecraven & @iggypintado


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