05.31.2012Personal Tech

My Experience at Explore Nashville

I recently read a post by Julien Smith that underscored the importance of getting out and meeting people in person. He listed a number of individuals who had impacted his life, and while many are out there in social media (and considered to be influencers), the common thread was that they all had met face-to-face and developed relationships over the years.

I attended my second social media conference last month in Nashville. Explore Nashville was produced by Jason Falls, and I had met him at a previous conference in Milwaukee two years ago. I looked forward to seeing him again. Among the featured speakers were Amber Naslund and Mark Schaefer. I had high expectations, but I was also pleasantly surprised!

The format was fast paced, and we were introduced to new topics every 30 minutes. Two men stood out, and I found myself taking more notes and tweeting (on my Droid 4) more frequently during their presentation: Tom Webster, of Edison Research, and Sam Ford, of Peppercom.

The day’s program was super informative. I LOVE data, and Edison Research had just published the results of its 20th survey in the Edison Research/Arbitron Internet & Multimedia Research Series. It involved 2,020 Americans as a representative sample. Here are some key insights:

  • Nearly nine in ten Americans own a cell phone (88% in 2012 up from 58% in 2004).
  • More than four in 10 own a smartphone (44%).
  • Nearly two-thirds of 18-34-year-olds own a smartphone.
  • More than half (52%) of cell phone owners always have their phones within arm’s reach. The number goes up to 60% when the sample only includes smartphone owners.
  • More than half (56%) of Americans have a profile on a social networking website.
  • More than one in five (22%) Americans check their social networking site several times a day.
  • Almost 80% of Americans hear about tweets almost every day in the media.

I especially loved that last point. Twitter is my favorite thing, yet most of my "real life" friends are not active there. I have an entire community I have built over time that I have never met in person, and I’ll share tweets with my husband often.

Of course, I monitor news, and I find it interesting to watch how trending topics end up getting coverage. I don’t want to spill the beans on his entire report, so I’ll encourage you to check it out for yourself. My head was spinning with all the new stats he provided!

Then, Sam Ford discussed how to create “spreadable” media. He contrasted the difference between “distribution” and “circulation” of information. And, he pointed out that people define themselves by what they share in their social networks. Loved that! If you look back at your tweets (or Facebook likes), how have you defined yourself?

Jason closed the day with a very succinct, compelling keynote address. For anyone who is responsible for communications and social media, I highly recommend checking out the schedule to see if Explore is coming to your town!

Did you attend Explore Nashville and learn something new?