Holidays, hashtags, and the Herkimer: The birth of #tweetcrawl

What do you get when you combine Twitter, holiday drinking, and a few dozen geeks in Minneapolis? Answer: #TweetCrawl!

This is a fine example of how social media can be used to build a community. And it was really great to be a part of this one. Here’s how it went down…

December 25th, 2009 – Erica and Tracy came up with the hashtag, #tweetcrawl,  to accompany their tweets about not heading out to the bars and instead staying at home to enjoy a little holiday beverage. Turns out a lot of people in the Twin Cities were doing the same thing and joined in on the conversation. Before we knew it, about 20+ people were participating in #tweetcrawl. People were sharing what their drink of choice was, posting pictures of them and their beverage, and engaging in some very hilarious conversation. It was so geeky. And so great.

A snapshot of the #tweetcrawl conversation

So then the conversation progressed to organizing an IRL (“In real life” for you non-techies) #tweetcrawl gathering the next day (which also happened to be my birthday). Fast forward to…

December 26, 2009 – About 15 or so participants from the previous night rendezvoused in Uptown at The Herkimer to continue the geeky conversations in person as well as meet new people. The cool thing? Most of us didn’t know each other prior to Twitter. I walked away with some new friends and a greater appreciation for the awesome community that is developing here in the Twin Cities. I was also very glad to have spent part of my birthday with so many nice, intelligent, and hysterical people. Starting off another year of existence making new connections may sound a little nerdy to some, but for me it was completely fitting.

Me and Desarae at The Herkimer for #tweetcrawl

What was missing from this whole thing? Participation from The Herkimer. Granted, this event was put together very last minute. But had The Herkimer had a Twitter account, they could have reamed the benefits of so much free publicity and actually participated in the conversation surrounding their brewery. A missed opportunity if you ask me. And a reminder why it is so important for businesses to be tuned into social media.

At the rate the #tweetcrawl following grew in just a couple of days, it will be interesting to see how this catches on with more people and restaurants in the Twin Cities. It would be smart for establishments to reach out to groups like this and try to incorporate their business. Invite #tweetcrawl to your bar. Offer some specials. Then see how that puts butts in seats. Not to mention tons of chatter surrounding your business. Oh, the power of Twitter…

Have you participated in a hashtag conversation that grew to something more? Led to face-to-face connections? Helped gain exposure for your business? Please share!

Two iPhones, two weeks, and many lessons learned

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably got wind that I graduated from an 18th century Nokia cell phone to an iPhone because I tweeted about it every 5 minutes. As I got familiar with all its features and starting downloading the cool apps, I started to put together a blog post in my head about all the ways an iPhone was going to make my life better.

And then, exactly 14 days later, I was mugged in Uptown walking down Lyndale Ave. Two guys snatched my purse and ran off into the dark with just about all my identification, keys, credit cards…and my iPhone. Thank goodness neither my friend or I were hurt and she was able to call the cops right away.

But as soon as I started to comprehend what all had been stolen, I freaked out about just how much information I had on my iPhone. All my contacts, e-mail, home address, and other personal information could pretty much be found on there with enough digging. Certainly not what I want a couple of thieves to have in their possession.

If it wasn’t for the Passcode lock I had set up on my phone, all that information could have been there for the taking. Thank you to Desarae for encouraging me to set that up just a few days prior to this whole incident. Seriously, what a relief.

So the moral of the story? Protect your phone. Set up the necessary locks, codes, ect. to access all of your information. Sure, it might be annoying to punch it in every time, but in the event it gets lost or stolen you’ll appreciate knowing that all your information is safe.

Also, this was a good reminder for me to be more aware of my surroundings when I’m out and about. Don’t walk alone (we’ve all done it, but just don’t). Don’t keep all your valuables in one spot. DO continue to live your life, but just be smart.

I was lucky enough to be able to get another iPhone thanks to my Dad’s awesome plan and his 20+ years of business with AT&T.

Here is a picture of me with iPhone #2:

Me with iPhone #2

Young Professional Communicators – Twin Cities event

Mark your calendars!

Based on the response from previous posts, a date has been set for a get together and networking opportunity for young professionals in the communications industry here in the Twin Cities. The idea is to give those starting out in their careers an opportunity to connect with others in the same boat and learn about all areas of communications.

Wednesday, January 13th – 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Green Mill – Uptown (banquet room)
2626 Hennepin, Minneapolis, MN 55408

Happy hour specials will be offered until 7:00 p.m. which include:

$2.50 Classic Drafts
$2.50 House Wine
$2.50 Rail Drinks
$1.00 Off Preffered and Superior Drafts
$4.99 Appetizers

Wednesday Daily Drink: $3.00 ABSOLUT (selected) All Day Long

For all you Twitter people who want to start a conversation around this, let’s try using the hashtag #YPCTC for Young Professional Communicators – Twin Cities.

Please feel free to pass this along to anyone who might be interested – the more the merrier!

This is sure to be a fun night and I’m looking forward to connecting with so many of you.

And thank you to the ever-so-helpful Jess for helping coordinate this with Green Mill :-)


Blog of the Week – Sydney Owen: Unfiltered

Sydney OwenThis week I decided to talk about the girl who really got me turned on to blogging in the first place. Though she’s not from Minnesota, she is a close neighbor living in Chicago. And her blog is too good not to share – regardless of where she’s from!

Sydney Owen is the author of Sydney Owen: Unfiltered which I have read religiously for a number of months now. I think what has made her so intriguing to me is that we have a lot of basic things in common. She’s my age, she works in public relations, she loves to network and integrate social media into her personal and professional life.

I first started reading her blog when it was called Sydney Owen: On New Media. Her focus was her documenting her progress towards landing an internship (and then full-time job) in public relations. She was basically doing everything I was trying to do – except better.

Along the way, she wrote about the risks she took, the people she met, and the things she learned that would ultimately lead her to accomplish what she set out to do. It has been really fun to watch her learn and grow through her blog.

After reading her posts for so long, it got to a point where I thought, “Okay, this girl is smart. Why am I not following in her footsteps?” And that’s when I decided I might want to take a stab at blogging myself.

Now that Sydney is working in the big leagues as an Assistant Account Executive at Weber Shandwick in Chicago, her blogging has taken a slightly different focus as well as a whole new name.

On Sydney Owen: Unfiltered, she still writes about some of her original topics (I mean, they’re all still an integral part of her life!), but now she’s taken a more personal approach to her writing. While slightly different, I still love her writing style and getting to know a different side of Sydney.

Sydney is definitely one of those people I can expect to make it big in this industry. I mean, she’s already found herself on a speaking panel at 2010’s SXSW convention in Texas. Not to mention her blog is wildly popular and generates about 500 comments per post (okay maybe not that many – but a lot!). And she’s only 24. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

Her writing is smart, sassy, and innovative. She is full of great insight that someone just starting out can really relate to. That’s why I’d encourage any college student or young professional to follow her blog.

Great posts:

SXSW – My trip to self-discovery – part one

How to: Find a Mentor

From A to B: Part Four – network your face off

Guest post on Pokenology

Me? A guest blogger? Yep, it’s true!

Have you heard of Poken? It’s a small device that captures all of your social sites and contact information. When you want to exchange information with someone, you simply tap your Pokens together and your profiles transfer to each other’s devices. It’s a really nifty tool to have for anyone involved in networking. Check out this video for a demonstration on how it works.

The very fabulous public relations and blogger extraordinaire, Sarah Evans, even listed it as one her must-have tech accessories and products for holiday 2009.

So how does this relate to me?

Well, Poken has started a new blog focused on networking topics called Pokenology. They were in search of people to contribute ideas and when I heard about it I happily volunteered.

My blog post: “Using Social Media as a Starting Point for Networking”

Special thanks to Heather Whaling for giving me the opportunity to participate!

Young Professional Communicators Group: Update

Based on my last post and much feedback on Twitter, it looks like there is enough interest to organize a meet up for Young Professional Communicators in the Twin Cities. This would be open to anyone interested in public relations, marketing, advertising, journalism, or other form of communications.

I’m currently in the process of figuring out a date and place for this to happen. But it will most likely take place on a weekday during a happy hour time frame.

I realize there are other great groups out there that have a similar focus, but I haven’t come across one that caters to all three criteria:

  • Young professionals in the Twin Cities
  • Communications industry
  • Free and casual meeting time/space

With that said, I’m very excited to see how this all pans out and would love any advice from those who have put something like this together.

If you’re interested in making sure you know when the first meet up will be, send me an e-mail and I’ll add you to a list. Otherwise check back here or follow me on Twitter.

Thanks!