Lead in the Collaborative Economy: Attend KC’s Inaugural Resilient Summit

Mary Noulles

Guest post by Mary Noulles, Marketing Communications Manager at Triple-I, Kansas City’s premier technology consultancy focused on the application of emerging technology. With more than five years of experience in brand and marketing strategy development, she proudly supports Triple-I’s efforts to help build the Silicon Prairie. Triple-I are also a sponsor of Social: IRL’s Resilient Summit. We are grateful for their support. 

A few years ago, our family decided to spend the Holidays the right way – with each other, disconnected from work and the day-to-day distractions of social media, our busy lives and just plain noise. So what better way to escape than in the remote town of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. We booked our flights and later, our rental home via AirBnB. Then, all we had to do was wait for sunny Costa Rica.

The above story is relatively commonplace for most vacationing families and couples. However, there was a growing movement happening right before me. Our inclination to reserve a room via AirBnB was natural – we didn’t browse major hotel and resort sites nor did we compare prices with a travel agent. Instead, we researched and selected a home, someone else’s home, we thought would be the most accommodating – all from the comfort of a couch with a glass of wine and nothing but daydreams.

Founded to connect travelers with unique accommodations across the globe, AirBnB is an online portal for people to research, list and reserve rooms or homes for vacations. Want to stay in a penthouse in a New York? No problem. House in the trees? It has that, too. In fact, in a recent Forbes article, AirBnB stated it will “eclipse Hilton to be the world’s largest hotelier in 2014.” To me, it’s because AirBnB isn’t selling a rental home – it’s selling an affordable lifestyle, an experience, that many years ago seemed only attainable for the Joneses.

Our increased adoption of sharing services, like AirBnB, is indicative of a movement identified as the “collaborative economy.” As subject matter expert Jeremiah Owyang says, the collaborative economy is the global shift toward “human to human” marketing and business collaboration. The collaborative economy removes silos of “corporate America,” allowing employees, clients and consumers to be a part of the decision-making process at all levels.

With the rise of the devices and an increasingly mobile workforce, the collaborative economy leverages the intersection of creativity and technology to make us more efficient and to enable enterprise collaboration. And nowhere is this global trend better positioned for growth than in the Kansas City region.

With our unique blend of Silicon Valley innovation and Midwest values, our business ecosystem represents a symbiotic approach to success; “we” versus “me.” From Sprint’s increased investment in the startup community – whether it be in the newly established Sprint Accelerator or in its partnership with Local Ruckus – to Kansas City’s effort to be “America’s Most Entrepreneurial City,” our region is poised to be a leader in the collaborative economy; we will lead in the New Reality versus follow in the new normal.

We blend industry and academia, connect students with corporations and invest in our community to fuel innovation. With grassroots efforts like Athena League, led by representatives from PoslinelliKauffman Foundation and Triple-I, as well as groups like KC Women in Technology and the Women in STEMM, our region leads our nation’s effort to invest in and foster female entrepreneurship and leadership. Our community and the innovators, creatives, technologists, students, teachers, business professionals and civic leaders who comprise it are the collaborative economy. It’s a mindset, one that’s inherent in our Silicon Prairie.

Join us February 6-7 and learn how our community can continue to leverage this momentum to create, build and lead in our collaborative economy. We’ll see you there.

Register for the Resilient Summit here.

Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers

Maker Manifesto CoverMark Hatch is CEO and co-founder of TechShop, a recognized leader in the global maker movement, and a sought after speaker and consultant on innovation, advanced manufacturing and leadership. The San Francisco Business Times presented Mark a “Bay Area’s Most Admired CEO Award” and Fast Company has recognized him in their “Who’s Next” column. He has spoken to groups from GE, Ford, P&G, ExxonMobile, Kraft, and many other Fortune 500 firms, and has presented at events and universities like TEDx, The Clinton Global Initiative, the Council on Foreign Relations, Singularity U, UC Berkeley, and Harvard.

On February 6, Mark will join Social: IRL and a diverse group of brands, startups, makers, sharers and innovators from across the U.S., at the Resilient Summit in Kansas City, where he will help us explore the role of makers in the collaborative economy, as part of our greater discussion on the role businesses play when people get what they need from each other.

Mark’s book, The Maker Movement Manifestocame out in September of 2013. Thanks to the generosity of Mark and his publishers, today we’re proud to share the entire first chapter of his book here in the Social: IRL blog. It includes a detailed outline of the Manifesto and serves as powerful inspiration for innovation and creativity, as well as a valuable introduction as to why the Maker Movement is so important for our collective future.

Don’t miss your opportunity to hear Mark speak at the Resilient Summit. Learn more and register >> Click Here

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Maker Movement Manifesto, by Mark Hatch

Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers

In the spirit of making, I strongly suggest you take this manifesto, make changes to it, and make it your own. That is the point of making.

MAKE

Making is fundamental to what it means to be human. We must make, create, and express ourselves to feel whole. There is something unique about making physical things. Things we make are like little pieces of us and seem to embody portions of our soul.

Make. Just make. This is the key. The world is a better place as a participatory sport. Being creative, the act of creating and making, is actually fundamental to what it means to be human. Secular philosophers like Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Carl Jung, and Abraham Maslow all came to the conclusion that creative acts are fundamental. Physical making is more personally fulfilling than virtual making. I think this has to do with its tangibility; you can touch it and sometimes smell and taste it. A great sentence or well-written blog is creative and makes you feel good about what you have accomplished, but it is not the same as the satisfaction that comes from the physical labor involved in making something physical.

If you come from a Judeo-Christian religious background, whether Jewish, Protestant, or Catholic, then you know that the first book of the Torah or Old Testament is the book of Genesis. Read Genesis Chapter 1 closely. Whether you believe in the literal interpretation of Creation or not, we can probably agree on two things coming out of this chapter. God is a maker, and he made us in his image. It is a very powerful introduction to God and who we are as humans. What do you know about humanity by the end of the chapter? It says, “God made” (or “let,” or “created”) some 15 times and ends with making people in his image. At the end of Genesis 1, we may not know much about God or humans, but we do know one thing for sure: we were made to make.

There is nothing that can replace making—philosophers, religious scholars, and personal experience make that clear. Wars have been fought when the common people thought they were going to lose access to ownership of their own productive tools. So the first thing we must do is make. The do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement industry in the United States is worth over $700 billion. The hobbyist segment is worth over $25 billion. The most valuable segment of the $700 billion DIY is the perpetual remodeler, specifically those who have enough money to let business professionals do the work for them, but don’t. You might know or even be one of these people. In your heart of hearts, you know you don’t really need to redo the bathroom, or certainly not the way you plan to do it, yourself. But you do it anyway. This is because there is more satisfaction in completing the remodel yourself.

A makerspace is a center or workspace where like-minded people get together to make things. Some makerspace members are designers, writers, practitioners of medicine or law, architects, and other white-collar types who come in and start making things for themselves, their families, and friends. They spend time in makerspaces because they just love to make things. They don’t need to make Christmas presents; they want to.

Tina Albin-Lax had made a New Year’s resolution for 2012. She was going to learn how to make something. She signed up for TechShop’s basic laser cutter class and has never been the same since. For $60, she learned how to use a laser cutter. Then she booked it for the next day so she could practice what she had just learned, but she needed a project to practice on. As luck would have it, that evening Tina’s sibling called and invited her to attend her nephew’s birthday party that weekend. With a flash of brilliance, Tina asked for the names of all the children who would be at the party.

The next day Tina used her new training to make cupcake toppers for each of the party attendees. Using the laser cutter, Tina cut out the name of each child and etched in some nice patterns. She finished them with a nice glossy coat and that weekend put one on each child’s cupcake. What child doesn’t love to see his or her name emblazoned on something? Particularly something chocolaty and sweet? Not surprisingly, the parents wanted cupcake toppers for the rest of their children and then wanted them for their children’s parties. It snowballed.

Soon Tina had an online store (www.etsy.com). Then she began teaching classes on how to launch a business and had a great mention in Martha Stewart’s magazine, Martha Stewart Living. Her phone couldn’t make it through the day from all the order notifications she was getting. Last I heard, she was working on a book.

This all came about from a simple desire to make something for the first time since sixth grade. An accidental entrepreneur was born. And what was Tina’s background? She was a labor organizer.

I grew up playing neighborhood football with a kid named Ben Parks. His dad was a ceramic artist and had throwing wheels, clay, and amazing glazes around his house. One day his dad invited us all to come out and throw a pot. What a great afternoon. I attempted to make a large vase—and after what seemed like dozens of attempts and lots of help and encouragement—I ended up with a sad-looking, lopsided, very small coin holder. It will hold a couple of dollars’ worth of quarters. I glazed it beautifully with help from Ben’s dad. A couple of days later, after it had been fired, I got to take it home.

This thing is an ugly duckling that will never grow up, but guess what . . . I still have it. It’s small enough that I’ve taken it everywhere I have moved. Its only value is that I made it and it is some kind of memento from my childhood. Looking back, I realize now that I was not the target of that day of making, though I still appreciate the gift it was. Ben eventually became a ceramic artist himself, following in his father’s footsteps. There is something fundamental about making.

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SHARE

Sharing what you have made and what you know about making with others is the method by which a maker’s feeling of wholeness is achieved. You cannot make and not share.

We make to share. Each of us is wired to show off what we have made. We get a lot of satisfaction out of the making, but the real payoff is in sharing. Some people are coy about showing their work off. Others are just terrified. One of the reasons we may have stopped making is that what we set out to make and what we ended up with may not match very well. Or others may have ridiculed us for our attempts. “I’m not good at making anything,” need never be said again. We were born to make. It may take some practice to get good at some kinds of making, but technology has begun to make creating easy enough that everyone can make.

My favorite question to ask at any makerspace is, “What are you making?”

People open up like flowers when asked that question and given any kind of positive encouragement. In this regard, we are all still five years old.

Interestingly, after six years of working in a creative space, I’ve been told, “I can’t tell you everything, but . . .” probably hundreds of times, maybe thousands of times, but I’ve never been told, “I can’t tell you.”

Why? We want others to see what we have done.

When I worked at Avery Dennison, we used to let the newest junior product managers help work on the back panels of our product’s packaging. They had to work off templates that had been approved and developed for the line, and they had to have all the appropriate approvals; nonetheless, the back panel was “theirs.” The young managers would jump into this with gusto, argue over font choices, the kerning of apostrophes, the shade of loam green. I repeat, they cared about the kerning of an apostrophe—the space between a letter and an apostrophe. Look at the space they had to work with here: ’ s. Can you see it? On a high-resolution computer screen, this is about the distance of two or three pixels, and they removed one! Yet, they would protect their design turf like a pit bull protects its bowl of food, growling when someone tried to mess with their back panel.

Let me put this into context. To be a junior product manager at any Fortune 500 packaged goods company, you have to graduate from a respected MBA program at the top of your class. You have to work between your bachelor’s degree and your MBA at another major company with consumer facing interactions. You are among some of the “best and brightest” our schools and companies produce. You will almost always make senior director, VP, SVP, or CEO if you choose, or you will go out and start your own company. If you are a junior product manager at this level, you are a very intelligent, type A, hard-charging, competitive professional.

That said, once the aforementioned products were launched into the channel and we all went to an Office Depot or Staples to see what the final product packaging and shelf positioning looked like in the stores, the junior product managers would rush like little kids to the stacks of “their” products. They would stand in front of them, momentarily admiring the way the products looked on the shelf and then pull a package off the shelf, turn it over, and examine their handiwork. A sense of satisfaction visibly rolled over them as they saw that the typesetters had taken their ideas into final production and the s was just a little closer to the apostrophe because it had been manually kerned. Invariably, these talented, impressive, type A young professionals would turn and say something like, “I did this.”

“I did this.”

“See the space between the apostrophe and that s? I did that.”

The glow on their faces was like a new mother’s when holding her child for the first time. Complete satisfaction. The need to show others one’s new, beautiful child is embedded in the human psyche.

What is going on here? First, while the contributions that these professionals were excited about might seem insignificant—after all, the difference, distance-wise, between the spacing of an apostrophe that has been automatically kerned and one that has been manually kerned is negligible— but the end product is something that can be bought, taken home, and shown to a significant other. Second, it is public. Hundreds of thousands of these packages are shipped all over the world. Third, it is often the first tangible and public representation of years, if not a decade, of work. It isn’t the size of the impact that is significant; it is that there was impact and it was made tangible, and tens of thousands of people would “see” their work. That really is powerfully satisfying, even if it is only the amount of nothing between an apostrophe and an s.

If you make something and don’t share it, was it made? If you make something, even something as small as a one-pixel space modification on the back of a package, and share it, you have made something, and it must be shared.

Another aspect of sharing is sharing knowledge and know-how. The best attribute of a well-run makerspace is the sharing of skills and knowledge. It starts with the formal instruction, but the best learning takes place while one person is building or designing and someone else with just a little (or sometimes a ton) more experience lends a helping hand and the project gets upgraded in the process. The sharing philosophy gives a makerspace its magic. People show off their creations knowing criticism was left at the front door, and everyone feels comfortable asking for help, guidance, and input into projects as they go through the build process. Sharing makes a maker-space a community.

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GIVE

There are few things more selfless and satisfying than giving away something you have made. The act of making puts a small piece of you into the object. Giving it to someone else is like giving that person a small piece of yourself. Such things are often the most cherished items we possess.

One of the most satisfying aspects of making is giving away what you have made. Wonderfully, most people still value gifts made by the giver more than gifts that were bought off the shelf. If you do nothing else this year, make one Christmas present to give away. And reflect on the level of satisfaction you get and the recipient receives in that act. It is immeasurable.

If your parents are still alive, they probably are still hanging onto craft projects you made for them when you were a child. Quilts are often handed down for generations. A well-made item, meeting a real need, made by and for a loved one, is among the greatest of gifts.

There is another type of giving, that of your creativity or intellectual property. Embrace Global is a wonderful nonprofit that used TechShop for some of its development work. Naganand Murty was one of the design engineers who came to our space, under Embrace cofounder and CEO Jane Chen’s direction, to address the problem of infant thermoregulation in developing countries. Babies who are born even a few weeks prematurely are unable to thermo-regulate, or maintain their body temperatures on their own, and consequently must be incubated within one hour of birth or risk death or serious permanent disabilities. For the hundreds of thousands of these babies who are born around the world every year without quick access to incubators (because they are born in rural areas where the nearest hospital with incubator equipment may be several hours, if not days, away), the problem is especially critical.

The question that Naganand Murty and his team had (you’ll meet cofounder Jane Chen in Chapter 3) was fairly simple: Would it be possible to design a simple, affordable “blanket” that could maintain a baby’s body temperature at a constant level for an extended period of time? And that was not dependent upon a continuous supply of electricity? Well, it turned out the answer was yes. The Embrace portable infant warmer, which looks like a mini sleeping bag and costs a fraction of the price of other baby warming devices, uses some fancy chemistry and design to make it work.

But here is the most amazing thing. Portions of Embrace’s core technology were donated to the organization through interactions with other members of the TechShop community. These community members gave their ideas away freely. And as a result, General Electric has signed on to help distribute the blanket, and Embrace is on track to save the lives of 100,000 babies in the next five years. Jane has been recognized by the World Economic Council as one of the top social entrepreneurs in the world.

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LEARN

You must learn to make. You must always seek to learn more about your making. You may become a journeyman or master artisan, but you will still learn, want to learn, and push yourself to learn new techniques, materials, and processes. Building a lifelong learning path ensures a rich and rewarding making life and, importantly, enables one to share.

Making brings about a natural interest in learning. It brings out the natural four-year-old in all of us. “Why is the sky blue?” “Where does milk come from?” “How are babies made?” This natural inquisitiveness seems to be beaten out of most people in school or at home. I’ll let the educators in this community help figure out why “project”-based learning seems to fit some learning styles better than others, but it certainly feels more natural. I always found the order we did things in physics class backward. Instead of being taught the formula for determining the ratio of the required output force to the input force and then trekking to the lab to see how a lever works, it makes more sense to first observe the lever in action and then learn the formula for it. This is how the principle was figured out in the first place, through observation. You observe an effect, then build a theory to fit the observation. It may be faster to memorize facts than to experience them, but then I would argue you don’t really own that fact. “Hot” is a pretty abstract concept until you’ve burned yourself.

The world is such a fascinating place. How do you design and build a table? What kind of joints can be used to join the legs to the table? Which are the best ones for what I’m trying? What periods in history used different technics? What glues should I use, and when do I use a screw or a nail, or a brad, or a staple, or a rivet? What woods have which characteristics? What style do I want? What tools should I use? The options go on and on. They don’t have to; you can jump in and just do it. Or you can plan and plan and plan. The key takeaway, though, is that you are going to learn something. And no one can take it from you.

Learning is fundamental to making. The more time you spend familiarizing yourself with and practicing in a field, the better you will get in it. Very quickly, you will be able to share what you have learned with someone else who is newer to it than you are. There is a different kind of satisfaction that comes from teaching, but it is very real. Watching people you have been teaching become facile and expert in what you have taught them is extremely satisfying.

Learning is fundamental; it is why we have books, libraries, schools, the food channel, the DIY channel, and shows like How It’s Made. These days, the DIY magazine rack at a local newsstand often constitutes 15 to 20 percent of the total space.

From an educational perspective, we live in a sad time for making. When I was growing up, woodshop and metal shop were required courses for middle schoolers. Every middle school I was aware of had a woodshop instructor. I still have the things I made in middle school woodshop, and many of you do too. Today, it can be hard to find a shop in an entire school district. This makes no sense at all. In our “race to the top,” school systems tend to focus only on the students who are headed to college, ignoring the 50 percent of those who aren’t, depriving all students of skills that they could use the rest of their lives.

Just as badly, right as we are on the cusp of the largest explosion of new products and development of physical goods through breakthroughs in materials science, 3D printing, bioengineering, nanotechnology, design, and engineering, American institutions are failing to graduate enough engineers, scientists, and production workers. Economically, this is insane. It is time to reengineer our schools and reintroduce shop class. Oh, and by the way, through cheap and powerful design computers and 3D printers, we can make these courses exciting, engaging, and transformative.

With access to the right kind of tools, you can experience your own industrial revolution in a matter of weeks. It’s possible. It really happens.

Let me give you an example. A couple of years ago, some of our TechShop staff members encouraged me to meet one of our newer members. He was the first I’d met who was taking an extended “maker vacation.” This member had saved up his money for a couple of years working odd jobs as a security guard and janitor, and once he had accrued enough money, he quit his job and took the first vacation he had taken in years.

This man was committed. He had the bug. He wanted to learn how to make things. He was good with the hand tools, but he had never taken welding, machine shop, woodworking, textiles, 3D printing, computer-aided design, or any number of other classes.

To stretch his funds, he didn’t stay at a hotel or rent an apartment. Instead, he used couchsurfing.org to find free places to stay every night. A few times, he couldn’t find a couch, so he just slept in his car. Couch surfing turned out to be a great tool for him to help us find new members. He was so focused and excited that he would go “home” at night and tell his new couch surfing host all about what he was doing at the shop. We picked up half a dozen or so new members that month. We actually kicked around the idea of turning him into a sales representative by having him couch surf through the Bay Area for a couple of months.

But even better, he became a maker that month. He took every class he could schedule and went from hand tools to power tools to computer-controlled advanced manufacturing tools. He could weld, lay out carbon fiber, CNC mill, lathe a bowl, and spin a lighting fixture. He even picked up a little electronics in that 30 days. His desire to learn was so powerful that he quit his job, stayed at strangers’ houses, and created other new makers in his enthusiasm. What is holding you back?

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TOOL UP

You must have access to the right tools for the project at hand. Invest in and develop local access to the tools you need to do the making you want to do. The tools of making have never been cheaper, easier to use, or more powerful.

I had to use a phrasal verb as a heading to this section so it would be consistent with all the other one-word headings in the manifesto. I like manifestos heavy with verbs.

You and I are living through the most amazing age in all of human history. Whenever someone asks me which time period I would like to be living in, I always say “right now.” Tools are getting easier to use, they are more powerful, and they are cheaper to acquire than at any other time in history. Materials are becoming more accessible, more sophisticated, and more fun to work on and with.

Odds are, you cannot possibly afford all the tools you may want or need. So join a makerspace. What I have learned is that a community of makers does not fully emerge until a complete makerspace is provided. The advantage of a well-equipped makerspace is that it attracts people with a widely diverse selection of projects, creating a beehive of activity, passion, knowledge, and sharing. When a large and diverse set of tools is provided, a large and diverse group of makers comes out to live, work, and play. The following is a general list of what a well-equipped makerspace needs in order to meet the needs of a community. There may be a few more or different tools on your list, but this is a good start:

  • Laser cutters
  • CNC milling machine(s)
  • Manual milling machine(s) with digital readouts
  • Manual lathe(s) with digital readouts
  • 3D printer(s), consumer and commercial grade
  • 3D scanner
  • CNC (computer numerical control) waterjet cutter (4 × 8 foot)
  • Vacuum forming system
  • Heat strip bending system
  • Injection molding system
  • Commercial grade sewing machines
  • Overlock sewing machine (also known as a serger)
  • Quilting machine (preferably CNC)
  • Computer-controlled vinyl cutter
  • Powder coating system (and large oven)
  • MIG (metal inert gas) welders
  • TIG (tungsten inert gas) welders
  • Handheld plasma cutter
  • Sheet metal spot welder
  • Sheet metal brake (16 gauge × 50 inch)
  • Rotary sheet metal punch
  • Sheet metal corner notcher
  • English wheel and planishing hammer
  • Sheet metal shear (6 gauge × 50 inch)
  • Sheet metal roller (16 gauge × 50 inch)
  • Sandblast cabinet
  • Metal grinders and sanders
  • Metal chop saw
  • Metal horizontal band saw
  • Metal vertical band saw
  • Electronic testing and soldering equipment
  • Large format color printer
  • ShopBot CNC wood router saw (4 × 8 foot)
  • Panel saw
  • Wood planer
  • Wood jointer
  • Wood band saw
  • Wood sanders
  • Wood scroll saws
  • Wood lathe
  • Drill presses
  • Granite surface plate with digital height gauges
  • Compressed air throughout shop
  • Compressed air hand tools
  • 30 or more design computers
  • 30 or more copies of or licenses for Autodesk Inventor, Maya, 3D Max, 123D Make, AutoCAD software
  • 30 or more copies of or licenses for Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat
  • 30 or more copies of or licenses for National Instruments LabVIEW Professional development system
  • 8 or more National Instruments multifunction data acquisition devices
  • Member storage
  • Private studios for rent
  • Meeting rooms and/or classrooms
  • 12 large work tables
  •  Wi-Fi
  • Retail store
  • Free coffee and popcorn

And, of course, the local makerspace must then have staff to teach classes and manage this great space.

I’m not going to apologize for the size, breadth, or depth of this list. This is, in fact, what is required to foment a maker revolution. Without the tools and community it is impossible to maintain a movement. Revolutions are fought and won with arms. These tools are our “arms.” Without access to them, nothing has changed. They may be easy, cheap, and powerful, but they are useless if you can’t use them.
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PLAY

Be playful with what you are making, and you will be surprised, excited, and proud of what you discover.

The most productive environments I have operated in are often the ones where there is a lot of laughter. We joke about the craziest things. We are playful with the ideas, stretch them to extremes, and morph them ridiculously. Even in the military with the Special Forces unit I was a part of, we were constantly exploring ideas, trying new ways of working, and even goofing around.

One day we learned that the quickest way to cut down a tree was with a detonation cord (det-cord) and plastic explosive. The number of wraps and the amount of plastic varied depending on the size of the tree we were trying to “cut down.” The det-cord cut the tree, and the plastic would kick it out in the direction we needed it to fall. If just the det-cord was used, the tree might randomly fall on a nearby object by accident. This became a feature once we figured out how to control the direction of the fall. By using the plastic as well, we could drop the tree on something on purpose. That was a great day, or, it was until we started a small fire. Live and learn. No, actually, play and learn.

We have artists and engineers (among many other categories of users) in our space. What is interesting is that the engineers typically come to a machine with a set of things they are trying to accomplish. The artists, often enough, come to a machine to experiment and see what it can do. (They also tend to break the machines a little more often, and not because they don’t know how to operate them; they are just pushing the equipment to do something beyond its normal operating environment.) When the two are combined, watch out. Have you ever heard a CNC milling machine play a tune?

Blocks, LEGO, and Erector sets are what I grew up with. Kids now have LEGO Mindstorms, radio-controlled robots, and Arduino microcontrollers. Soon, the home 3D printer will be the PC accessory of choice. Playing with these toys is a lot of fun and will help to raise up another generation of makers.

Recently, I received a note that one of my sons had updated his Facebook page with a video titled “Hovercraft.” I was on the road and had no idea what this referred to, so I clicked through to YouTube and watched him floating around our garage on a homemade hovercraft. He had found instructions on the Internet, gone to the hardware store and bought the pieces he needed, and in an afternoon he had built a poor man’s hovercraft using an electric leaf blower as the drive. He now has a hovercraft, and I’ve got a leaf blower. He was playing around, but he learned how to use a couple of saws he had never used before. I built a trebuchet with my other son and had a blast getting the cats to chase flying paper balls around the house.

Building is a form of play. There are times I have a hard time distinguishing the difference between work and play. I hope you will have the same experience in your work life.

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PARTICIPATE

Join the Maker Movement and reach out to those around you who are discovering the joy of making. Hold seminars, parties, events, maker days, fairs, expos, classes, or dinners with and for the other makers in your community.

We are not islands. Though there is a time to work in solitude, to focus, to push oneself without distractions, there is also a time, and I daresay most of the time, where it would be better to be working together, or at least sharing a creative space. The warmth of another human in the room or workspace is preferable to working in solitude. Many artists, engineers, and inventors work alone in their labs and studios, but just as many or more collaborate. Even if they don’t collaborate directly, they will seek out the comfort of a peer group to hang out with. Writers form writing clubs, others form co-ops to share tools or workspace. Many go into business with friends or collaborators, not just because they need to, but because they want to. We are social creatures. It is great to be able to build up your shop in the garage or barn, but it is sad to work in it alone day in and day out. It is more fun to work together.

Participation takes many forms: working directly together; attending events; and participating in societies, clubs, and parties with others who care about the work we do and share. One such event, designed specifically for makers by the editors of Make magazine, is the Maker Faire. Held in various locations around the world, Maker Faires are annual events where thousands of makers come and hang out together to look at, participate in, and experience a wide range of fun projects that makers are working on in the area. The primary Faire is held in Northern California and attracts over 100,000 attendees over the course of a weekend. Smaller, local versions, called Mini Maker Faires, draw up to a thousand people to see a hundred or so projects, booths, and exhibitions.

The sense of wonder and amazement on the faces of the kids (both young and old) at these events makes all the effort and expense that go into the Faires well worth it. Watching the performance group, ArcAttack, rock onstage inside a Faraday suit while making a 500,000-volt Tesla coil “sing” along with 15-foot-long bolts of electricity striking the suit is unforgettable. Nor will one easily forget the 40-foot-long, fire-breathing, heavy metal–playing metal dragon. Or Colossus, the 70-foot-tall, 25-ton flying boulder merry-go-round where little kids can pull on a rope attached to flying multi-ton boulders hanging over their heads. These engineering entertainment devices thrill and amaze thousands every year. Engaging young people and getting them excited about science, engineering, technology, and math is a key driver of the Maker Movement.

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SUPPORT

This is a movement, and it requires support. Emotional, intellectual, financial, political, and institutional support are needed. The best hope for improving the world is us, and we are responsible for making a better future.

Governments have spent billions, if not trillions, of dollars building institutions of learning, research, development, and experimentation. Almost none of them open their labs up to the public. Actually, I’m hedging here, I haven’t found any yet that do, but I’m sure there must be one somewhere. We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on building research institutions across the United States and the world—and within them very little self-directed, self-interested research is taking place. All of that research requires approvals and funding from third parties, a general manager’s approval, a budgeting committee’s approval, progression through a stage-gated new product process, and the receipt of a grant from a foundation or government.

Instances of access to the tools of research and development outside of institutional direction are exceedingly rare. Why? It is a fact that the tools of the industrial revolution have been exceedingly expensive, hard to use, and of limited power—until now. They are now cheap, easy to use, and powerful, yet we have not made any changes to how we organize access to these tools. This must change. Those countries that change the fastest in this regard will have a serious competitive advantage.

What can you do? Support policy changes at your institution that open up the labs to others in the institution and to those in the local community who don’t have access. Help allocate new funding to set up open access fabrication studios. Pressure universities, government research labs, and large manufacturing companies moving into your community to set up open access fabrication studios.

We live in a world now where computers are everywhere. We carry them in our pockets and call them phones. Similarly, the software tools to design and produce things will be coming to your preferred screen; yet without access to a Kinko’s for making things (a fabrication studio), you are no better off than before.

Please do what you can to support your local maker community. We have seen a number of technologies come out of makerspaces that have already changed the world. These innovations were created cheaply, quickly, and easily by small teams and, in most instances, by people from outside the domain they were disrupting.

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CHANGE

Embrace the change that will naturally occur as you go through your maker journey. Since making is fundamental to what it means to be human, you will become a more complete version of you as you make.

Whenever one joins a movement, one changes. This is a good change. Embrace it. Participating in the Maker Movement is a personal journey. Each will look different. No two makers are exactly the same. No two paths will be the same. But you will change. You will begin to see the world through the eyes of someone who participates in creating. You will look with wonder again at great artisanship. You will wonder how someone was able to design this or that, and you will begin to appreciate local artists, designers, architects, and artisanship in your community. You will wonder where something was produced and who made it—you will look for the story behind the artisanship You will ask about local talent and local sources for things you never dreamed you cared about before.

Joining the Maker Movement and participating in it locally will open up your life to the highest concentration of creative people in your community. You will meet poets, laser etching their words on oak panels, you will meet a financial planner building sets for her children’s play. You will see someone start a hobby that leads to an avocation and then a business employing a dozen locals. You will enjoy the excitement and joy of giving those you love a piece of yourself through gifting to them something you made just for them. Join me, join us, join the movement—it will help you become you.

Top Ten Social Media Links and Resources and Upcoming Social Media Events

Top TenWe’re pleased to share our latest “Top Ten” social media links and resources.

Scroll down for upcoming events Social: IRL is hosting or supporting.

If you would like additional resources sent direct to your inbox, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter.

Top Ten Links:

1. Digital Trends Impacting the PR Industry in 2013 – Metrics, mobile, data mining, socialized customer service, and more. Valuable insights from Citi’s Frank Eliason.  READ MORE

2. The Oreo Superbowl Tweet: Why it Worked – We’re all very familiar with the Twitter success Oreo had during the Superbowl.  In this post, “The Brand Builder” Olivier Blanchard discusses four interwoven reasons that made the success possible – velocity, relevance, wit and execution.  READ MORE

3. Forget About Social Media for a Moment. What’s Your Mobile Strategy? – Who on your team is thinking about designing mobile experiences? How is mobile tied to the overall digital strategy? How is social and mobile complementing your web strategy? More importantly, how are people connecting or attempting to connect with you and how would they define the experience? Brian Solis poses important questions on whether your web & mobile strategies meet the needs & expectations of your connected customers.  READ MORE

4. How to Post Instagram Photos to a Facebook Page – If you’re a Page Administrator, sharing Instagram photos to your Facebook Page rather than your personal profile is easy, but an often overlooked feature. This quick tip shows you how to set Instagram to share with any of your Pages.  READ MORE

BONUS: Pinterest Quick Tip – Instantly discover everything pinned from your site.  READ MORE

5. The Social Business Textbook: A Valuable New Resource for Social Communications Professionals – While social continues to grow and change, there are foundational concepts and best practices that all social practitioners should know and understand. Spredfast created this comprehensive 45 page textbook to be a resource that helps bring members of growing social teams up to speed and serves as the go-to primer on the main elements of social programs for those already in the industry. In addition to providing a strategic discussion of each social topic, they include models to visualize each concept, action items to make concepts practicable, and brand examples to show each element in action.  READ MORE

6. What is Your 2013 Content Marketing Strategy? – Edelman’s Michael Brito discusses “The Creative Newsroom” and why your content marketing strategy should help evolve your brand into thinking more like a media company.  READ MORE

7. Social Media’s Impact on the Food Industry – It’s hard to imagine an area of human experience more innately social than food. We choose food collectively, eat it collectively, and then talk about it obsessively. During the month of February, Pivot Conference are exploring the impact of social media on the food industry, with key brands such as Coca Cola, Tropicana, and McDonalds sharing their views on how social has impacted their customer outreach, product development, even how they operate their businesses.  READ MORE

8. Ten Qualities of an Effective Community Manager – Being a quality community manager goes beyond having the knowledge and background to use social networks. Here are 10 qualities an effective community manager should possess, according to professionals who work within social media and community today.  READ MORE

Bonus: A Collection of Community Management Advice – Marketwire and The Community Manager asked community managers about what they do, how they do it, and where they see the future of community management going. They received more than 600 responses and compiled the top thoughts, tips and advice into this eBook.  READ MORE

9. Find Your Marketing North Star With Social Media Monitoring – Marketers are continually challenged with finding ways to measure their social media programs and digital marketing campaigns. A key challenge – business metrics are financial, while web metrics are NOT. The trick is to correlate the two in a meaningful way.  READ MORE

10. Social Business and Strategy Insights from Altimeter Group’s Charlene Li and Brian Solis (Video interviews)

Full video of the interview Social: IRL conducted with Altimeter Group analyst and Engage! and The End of Business as Usual author, Brian Solis, during the January SMCKC breakfast. In its entirety, the conversation runs for close to an hour, during which time Brian shares many valuable social business insights, as well as more personal insights and backstory.  VIEW VIDEO

Interview with Altimeter Group founder and Open Leadership and Groundswell author, Charlene Li, during the recent #Expion13 Social Business Summit. Charlene shares valuable social business insights and discusses social media strategy vs. tactics, the importance of listening as a foundation for social activity, and ROI vs. business impacts.  VIEW VIDEO

Bonus “Smart Social” Insights from #Expion13 – Visit Expion’s blog for a copy of Charlene’s presentation and insights from many other speakers and attendees.  READ MORE

 Connect with Social: IRL – While many of you are connected with us on Facebook and Twitter, you can also find us on Pinterest and Google+, and join our Facebook Groups for Nonprofits and for Kansas Educators.

Upcoming Social Media Events:

State of Now / 140 Conference – Des Moines, IA: Social: IRL is pleased to be a sponsor of the 2013 State of Now Conference in Des Moines. Local organizer Deb Brown will be announcing details soon. Meantime, save the date – Thursday, April 18..

Links include content identified as being from our sponsors Spredfast, Expion, and Spiral16. We are grateful to these sponsors for their support and enjoy sharing content and webinar opportunities they provide which we consider to be valuable to the Social: IRL community.

Top Ten Social Media Links and Resources and Upcoming Social Media Events

Top TenWe’re pleased to share our latest “Top Ten” social media links and resources.

Scroll down for upcoming events Social: IRL is hosting or supporting.

If you would like additional resources sent direct to your inbox, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter.

Top Ten Links:

1. Customers Reveal All: Why Brands Need to Pay Attention to Social Media – New study highlights how “brand connected consumers” are using social media to engage with brands, the power of these consumers to influence reputation and drive sales, and the significance of brand response via social channels.  READ MORE

2. What Happens Every 60 Seconds In Social Media? – Did you know that each and every minute an average of 347,000 tweets are sent, 1.87 million Facebook Likes are generated, 4,320 minutes of video are uploaded to YouTube, and 3,472 images are posted to Instagram. This infographic takes a closer look at what happens every sixty seconds across key social networks. READ MORE

3. The State of Social Marketing 2012-2013 -Valuable insights in this new report released by The Pivot Conference. Each year, Pivot takes the pulse of professionals leading social initiatives for major organizations to see their current attitudes and to get a sense of what will impel their decisions in the year ahead. READ MORE

4. 13 Resources to Help Brands “Stay Social” in 2013 – Great collection of whitepapers, webinars, guides & reports from Spredfast, covering social business strategy, social marketing, consumer engagement, brand insights, and more. READ MORE

5. 12 Principles for Responding to Negative Online Comments – A good set of guidelines for handling difficult or negative questions and statements on the social web.  READ MORE

6. What Your Business Needs to Know About Facebook’s EdgeRank – Whether you’re leading a paid, earned, or owned strategy, making informed decisions about goals and proper metrics starts with knowing the real challenges and opportunities. In this post, Brian Solis addresses recent controversy around changes to Facebook EdgeRank and its impact on post reach, and provides a good summary of how EdgeRank actually works. READ MORE

7. Three Corporate Social Media Trends That Should Die in 2013 – Forcing Facebook users to spam their friends in order to participate in sweepstakes or deals, holding charities hostage in return for Facebook likes, pandering for meaningless engagements.  Augie Ray discusses three popular social media trends that would be better left for dead as we head in to the new year.  READ MORE

8. 2013 Social Media Predictions for Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and More– Rooted in experience of working with hundreds of brands and leading social platforms, Expion CEO Peter Heffring provides valuable insights with his 10 key predictions for the coming year.  READ MORE

9. Closing the Gap Between Social and ROI: Speaking the Language of Your CEO – Companies need to be able to prove that their social media efforts are paying off in a business sense. They need to be able to go beyond surface-value metrics and correlate their social media and web presence with tangible business metrics. The problem is that ROI is a financial metric and social media metrics are decidedly non-financial. So what approach do you take? READ MORE

10. The Meaning of Conversation in an Age of Information Overload – Twitter’s Ev Williams and Biz Stone in conversation with Charlie Rose as part of Fast Company’s Creative Conversations series. READ MORE

Connect with Social: IRL – While many of you are connected with us on Facebook and Twitter, you can also find us on Pinterest and Google+, and join our Facebook Groups for Nonprofits and for Kansas Educators.

Upcoming Social Media Events:.

“Behind the Brand” with KU Athletics: Join Social: IRL for this special evening at legendary Allen Fieldhouse on the University of Kansas campus. We’ll hear from the KU Athletics marketing department and learn how they use social and digital media to connect with fans. We’ll see behind the scenes at Allen Fieldhouse. Then we’ll experience game night as KU Women’s Basketball take on Iowa State. READ MORE

Links include content identified as being from our sponsors Spredfast, Expion, and Spiral16. We are grateful to these sponsors for their support and enjoy sharing content and webinar opportunities they provide which we consider to be valuable to the Social: IRL community.

Go “Behind the Brand” and Experience Game Night at Allen Fieldhouse with Social: IRL and KU Athletics

JayhawkJoin Social: IRL on Wednesday, January 30, as we go “Behind the Brand” with KU Athletics.

This special evening is free to attend (pre-registration is required) and features a program that includes:

  • Unique insights from KU Athletics on how they use digital, mobile and social media to connect with fans and share the game day experience.
  • A walking tour of the Wagnon Student Athlete Center.
  • Experience Allen Fieldhouse and see KU Women’s Basketball take on Iowa State.
  • Reconvene during half-time for additional refreshments and Q&A opportunity with KU Athletics.

Don’t miss this special opportunity to go “Behind the Brand” with KU Athletics, learn about their digital strategy, see behind the scenes at the Wagnon Student Athlete Center, and experience game night as the Lady Jayhawks take on Iowa State.

Come straight from work – complimentary refreshments will be provided by KU Athletics. Feel free to bring the family, just make sure to register each family member.

The event is free to attend but pre-registration is required. Seating is limited to the first 80 registrants.

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Registration

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Important Note:  Once registrations are full, you may use the Eventbrite link to add your name to the waitlist and be notified automatically if additional spaces become available.

Eventbrite - Go "Behind the Brand" and Experience Game Night at Allen Fieldhouse with KU Athletics

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Agenda

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5:30pm    Registration and refreshments – The Naismith Room, above the Booth Hall of Athletics (annexed to Allen Fieldhouse).

6:00pm    Behind the Brand presentation with KU Athletics.

6:45pm    Walking tour of Kansas Athletics facilities.

7:00pm    Experience game night at Allen Fieldhouse – KU Women’s Basketball take on Iowa State.

8:00pm    Reconvene during halftime for additional refreshments and Q & A opportunity.

Parking for all women’s games is free in lots 90 and 72.

(Map link: http://parking.ku.edu/map.pdf).

Please enter through the Booth Hall of Athletics on the east side of Allen Fieldhouse (Naismith Statue).

A representative of Kansas Athletics will be at the gate with your ticket.

Top Ten Social Media Links and Resources and Upcoming Social Media Events

We’re pleased to share our latest “Top Ten” social media links and resources.

Scroll down for upcoming events Social: IRL is hosting or supporting.

If you would like additional resources sent direct to your inbox, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter.

Top Ten Links:

1. Myth-Busting Social Media Marketing – Social vs. search, ROI, and B2B… Lee Odden gives a valuable reality check on three common social media marketing myths. READ MORE

2. Five Key Lessons Learned: Social Media’s Impact on CFCA Marketing Strategies – In this guest post in the Social: IRL blog, the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging share some key insights on how social media helps them better connect with supporters and enhances their ability to serve more than 300,000 children, youth, and aging friends worldwide. READ MORE

3. Does “Liking” A Bulldozer Help Sell More Of Them? – It makes sense for consumer-facing companies to leverage social media, but how’s it working out for B2B companies? READ MORE

4. “Put The Bullhorn Down” – You don’t have to go viral to be successful on social media. GE is proving that with what it calls “micro-media”—communications efforts that target small communities and facilitate discussion within them rather than trumpet to huge audiences. READ MORE

5. Marketing Your Business on LinkedIn -Although your company may have a presence on LinkedIn, have you fully incorporated LinkedIn into your multichannel social media marketing strategy by incorporating all of the features LinkedIn has to offer? This new whitepaper from Spredfast dives into four key areas brands have an opportunity to harness to build a stronger, more engaging LinkedIn presence. READ MORE

6. Reintroducing Relevancy in the Age of Empowered and Connected Consumers – Stop for a minute and reflect upon the situation facing your company today. Digital & mobile technology…social media…empowered and connected consumers…you’ve heard it all before. But have you moved your brand in the right direction in response?  READ MORE

7. Successful Social Business Starts From Within – Can a business be smart socially on the outside, without being social on the inside? In this first in a series of Social: IRL guest posts, Socialized! author Mark Fidelman discusses why the journey to being a successful social business must start with internal transformation.  READ MORE

Bonus: Win a free copy of Socialized! – Head over to Social: IRL’s Facebook Page and enter our drawing for a free copy of  “Socialized! How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social.”

8. Top 25 Retailers Ranked By Facebook Fan Actions – Expion infographic highlighting the retailers generating the most fan actions on Facebook, both by overall volume and per post.  READ MORE

9. How Nonprofit Social Media Can Connect Supporters To The Cause – Danielle Brigida has done wonders running the social media at the National Wildlife Federation, providing a model for how organizations can use new communications technology to inspire their supporters. READ MORE

Bonus: Social Giving – The Integral Role of Social Media in Fundraising and Donations – From the most popular platforms and profitable tactics, to the growth of online movements and the rise of the crowdfunding culture, this infographic highlights how social giving is really paying off. READ MORE

10. New 2012 Internet Trends Report Highlights Opportunities – Spiral16 recap highlights of Mary Meeker’s much anticipated annual Internet Trends research report. READ MORE

Connect with Social: IRL – While many of you are connected with us on Facebook and Twitter, you can also find us on Pinterest and Google+, and join our Facebook Groups for Nonprofits and for Kansas Educators.

Upcoming Social Media Events:.

Social Media for Nonprofits – St.Louis MO, January 22: Join Social: IRL for this special workshop dedicated to educating and empowering non-profit organizations in using social media as a powerful marketing, communications, and relationships platform, and a tool to drive positive action from supporters. Free nonprofit registration. READ MORE

Social Media Club of Kansas City, Breakfast Hangout with Brian Solis – Kansas City MO, January 4: Join SMCKC for their January 4 breakfast – it’s going to be something very special! It’s taking place at Google Fiber Space, and attendees are participating in a live Hangout with Social: IRL’s good friend Brian Solis. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions to Brian in advance and drive the discussion around issues they want his perspectives on. Thanks to H&R Block sponsoring the breakfast, first 100 registrations receive a free copy of Brian’s book, The End of Business As Usual. READ MORE

Links include content identified as being from our sponsors Spredfast, Expion, and Spiral16. We are grateful to these sponsors for their support and enjoy sharing content and webinar opportunities they provide which we consider to be valuable to the Social: IRL community.

Top Ten Social Media Links and Resources and Upcoming Social Media Events

We’re pleased to share our latest “Top Ten” social media links and resources.

Scroll down for upcoming events Social: IRL is hosting or supporting.

If you would like additional resources sent direct to your inbox, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter.

 

Top Ten Links:

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1. Going Strong and Growing Because of Social Media – New interview in the Social: IRL blog with a local business owner who just three years ago didn’t even have a personal social media account, and today relies on social media as a key tool to grow her business and drive sales. A great success story and powerful case study to draw inspiration from. READ MORE

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2. Social Media Isn’t Just for Your Customers – It’s for Your Employees Too – Companies must harness the wisdom of individuals while simultaneously dismantling the command and control management apparatus. To ignore this advice will leave you vulnerable to competitors that are more agile, more powerful, more innovative, and, ultimately, more profitable – Socialized author Mark Fidelman discussing the need for an internal social business strategy. READ MORE

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3. Goodbye “Campaign,” Hello Publishing -Shifting marketing to a publishing mindset and creating share worthy content. READ MORE

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4. Ideas, Strategies and Tactics for Smart Social Programs – Valuable insights, strategies and tactics shared by attendees at the inaugural Spredfast Social Summit. Hear from Whole Foods, Twitter, Discover Financial Services, Nokia, Aramark, Altimeter Group, Gannett, Edelman Digital, Ogilvy and other leaders in the social business space. READ MORE

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5. “Brands have a responsibility to deliver a brilliant product that answers a consumer need as efficiently as they can in a way that is inspiring” – Interview with BBH founder Sir John Hegarty, sharing a powerful vision of what brands need to know, be and do. READ MORE

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6. Facebook’s Page Reach And What Your Business Needs To Know – As discussions over Page Reach and changes to EdgeRank grow increasingly heated, Brian Solis offers valuable perspectives and a much needed reality check for marketers.  READ MORE

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7. The Ultimate Social Media Image Guide – This Social Media Cheat Sheet by LunaMetrics provides comprehensive sizing information for all image positions on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. A great resource.  READ MORE

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8. Three Case Studies from Social Media Command Centers – Spiral16 share valuable lessons learned from being part of the social media command centers at Pivot Conference, the Kansas City MLB All-Star Game, and the Tampa Bay Republican National Convention.  READ MORE

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9. Social, Local, Mobile (SoLoMo) Big Brand Initiatives – Scott Gulbransen, H&R Block‘s Director of Social Business Strategy, and Zena Weist, Expion‘s Vice President of Strategy,share their presentation from the recent WOMMA Summit in Las Vegas. READ MORE

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10. PivotCon Sessions: From Social Brand to Social Business – Each day, Pivot Conference is releasing a new video of sessions from this year’s conference. Having attended the conference, we can attest first-hand the value of these sessions, which provide deep discussion and valuable insights on the future of social business. Sessions released so far feature General Electric, Coca Cola, Facebook, The Huffington Post, SAP and other leaders and innovators in the social business space. READ MORE

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Connect with Social: IRL – While many of you are connected with us on Facebook and Twitter, you can also find us on Pinterest and Google+ and join our Facebook Groups for Nonprofits and for Kansas Educators.

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Upcoming Social Media Events:

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Social Media for Nonprofits – Jefferson City MO, December 4: Join Social: IRL for this special workshop dedicated to educating and empowering non-profit organizations in using social media as a powerful marketing, communications, and relationships platform, and a tool to drive positive action from supporters. Free nonprofit registration. READ MORE

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Social Media Club of Kansas City, Pro Lunch Series – Kansas City MO, December 13: For this latest installment of the SMCKC Pro Lunch series, Social: IRL’s Ben Smith will be interviewing Expion VP, and former H&R Block Director of Social Media and Edelman Digital VP, Zena Weist. READ MORE

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Links include content identified as being from our sponsors Spredfast, Expion, and Spiral16. We are grateful to these sponsors for their support and enjoy sharing content and webinar opportunities they provide which we consider to be valuable to the Social: IRL community.

Top Ten Social Media Links and Resources and Upcoming Social Media Events

We’re pleased to share our latest “Top Ten” social media links and resources.

Scroll down for upcoming events Social: IRL is hosting or supporting.

If you would like additional resources sent direct to your inbox, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter.

 

Top Ten Links:

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1. Developing a Brand Voice – Valuable practical tips from the community management team at Ignite Social Media. READ MORE

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2. The Potential Impact of Social Media in Healthcare – Four powerful case studies from the Mayo Clinic. READ MORE

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3. Social Media Stats and Facts – Updated user statistics and other interesting facts for all major social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. READ MORE

Bonus: For even more powerful social media stats and facts, check out this recently updated version of Erik Qualman’s popular Social Media Revolution video.

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4. Rewards (and Risks) of a Tweeting CEO – Harvard Business Review discusses social media in the C-Suite. READ MORE

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5. Increasing and Cultivating Brand Engagement– Jason’s Deli, 5Loom and Spredfast share some valuable lessons learned around how brands should be thinking about building scalable social programs to achieve meaningful engagement and interaction. READ MORE

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6. Demystifying Big Data – What does big data really mean and how do I make sense of big data for business? This recent keynote presentation by Spiral16 Product Architect Aaron Weber answered that question for a number of industries and applications, giving a powerful introduction to a concept that has gained a lot of traction this year in the business world. (Not to mention politics.).  READ MORE

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7. Exactly What is a Social Business? – Tomorrow Project CEO and Pivot Conference Producer, Mike Edelhart, discusses the “Social Construct”.  READ MORE

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8. Ten Tips for Online Crisis Coordination – Good set of tips for effective preparedness and response to an online media crisis. READ MORE

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9. Reinventing Consumer Capitalism – We live in a time when…Brands are now people and people are now brands. You are now part of an audience with an audience of audiences. We are connected now more than ever before. Relationships are powerful. What do we want to do with this opportunity? Brian Solis at TEDxPresidio with a presentation that delivers valuable insights and a critical reality check.  READ MORE

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10. Facebook Global Pages for Brands: To Use or Not To Use – Expion CEO Peter Heffring offers valuable advice for any brand considering migrating to Facebook’s new Global Pages. READ MORE

 

Upcoming Social Media Events:.

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Social Media for Nonprofits – Jefferson City MO, December 4: Join Social: IRL for this special workshop dedicated to educating and empowering non-profit organizations in using social media as a powerful marketing, communications, and relationships platform, and a tool to drive positive action from supporters. Free nonprofit registration. READ MORE

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Social Media Club of Kansas City, Pro Lunch Series – Kansas City MO, December 13: For this latest installment of the SMCKC Pro Lunch series, Social: IRL’s Ben Smith will be interviewing Expion VP, and former H&R Block Director of Social Media and Edelman Digital VP, Zena Weist. READ MORE

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Links include content identified as being from our sponsors Spredfast, Expion, and Spiral16. We are grateful to these sponsors for their support and enjoy sharing content and webinar opportunities they provide which we consider to be valuable to the Social: IRL community

Taking It Offline – A Recap of Recent Social: IRL Events, Plus Two Events To Attend This Week

It’s been a busy few months for Social: IRL. In addition to our regular client work and speaking engagements, we’ve been privileged to host and attend some great events.

Thanks to the support of our sponsors and speakers, who enable us to offer the event at no charge to attendees, we were able to continue our social media for nonprofits workshop series with additional events in Springfield and Kansas City. Since we started this workshop series back in May, over 450 nonprofit attendees have participated.  We just announced the next workshop for Jefferson City MO, on December 4, and are working to announce a final 2012 event date in St. Louis MO.

Becky McCray speaking in Lawrence KS

We also enjoyed hosting our good friend Becky McCray here in Lawrence KS, for Small Business Survival and the State of Now.  We’re looking forward to seeing Becky again later this week at the State of Now conference in Hutchinson KS.  If you aren’t familiar with the State of Now, formerly known as the 140 Conference, you can learn more from our interview with Becky and conference organizer and co-host Jeff Pulver.

In addition to our own events, we participated in some pretty amazing events hosted by Social: IRL sponsors and friends, including the Expion Social Business Summit in Raleigh NC, the Spredfast Social Summit in Austin TX, and Brian Solis’ Pivot Conference in New York City. Thank you to the event hosts, speakers and sponsors for the many incredible insights and valuable learning experiences.

This week we’ll be attending two local events  and would strongly encourage you to join us. In both instances the event organizers have given us discount codes to share, making registration a truly affordable and valuable investment.

The State of Now, Hutchinson KS, November 8: Expect to hear from dozens of great speakers from across the U.S. sharing stories of the personal and professional impact of social media and how the “state of now” is disrupting business, education, agriculture, media, celebrity, music, politics, public safety, and our culture. Presentations are all 10 or 15 minutes long, and PowerPoint is not allowed. Much like a Twitter message, speakers have to get to the point. It’s less of a “how-to” conference,  more of an idea conference.  Use promotion code friendofST12 and registration is just $40. Visit the event website to learn more and register.

Compute Midwest, Kansas City MO, November 9:  Learn about what’s next in technology – straight from eight tech leaders from companies like Google, Box, Github, Joyent, Dwolla, AgLocal and more. Hear the inspiring stories of these innovators who are building companies that change our life, our work & our business. Gain insight into their vision for the future, learn where technology is going and discover how Kansas City can capitalize on Google Fiber. Discount code SOCIALIRL for limited time 30% off regular conference ticket price. Discounted tickets are also available for startups, entrepreneurs, nonprofits & students.  Visit the event website to learn more and to register.

We spend a great deal of time online – learning, doing business, creating valuable networks and connections, and enhancing existing relationships.  But the value of these offline networking and learning opportunities can not be emphasized enough.  It’s part of our own business philosophy and even, of course, the IRL (In Real Life) in our business name.

Top Ten Social Media Links and Resources and Upcoming Social Media Events

We’re pleased to share our latest “Top Ten” social media links and resources.

Scroll down for upcoming events Social: IRL is hosting or supporting.

If you would like additional resources sent direct to your inbox, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter.

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Top Ten Links:

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1. Building a Scalable Social Media Strategy – Valuable insights from Jeremiah Owyang’s recent keynote at Dreamforce. In this post Jeremiah shares both his slide deck and a complete recording of the presentation. READ MORE

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2. The Social Customer Service Conflict – Social media changes everything. Marketing, sales, customer service, are no longer departments, engagement is now a way of business. Brian Solis examines the updated Social Customer Engagement Index and finds that while intentions to improve customer engagement and relationships via social run high among executives, the reality is that many businesses aren’t putting their investment where their aspirations are. READ MORE

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3. Entrepreneurs Breakdowns and Breakthroughs – Powerful five minute video jammed full of valuable startup insights, advice, and encouragement from some of today’s most respected founders and VCs. READ MORE

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4. The Social Engagement Index – Brands finally have an opportunity to see how their social programs stack up against other companies, thanks to Spredfast’s recently published Benchmark Report. The report analyzes data from 154 corporate social programs and uncovers averages across key areas of engagement. Full report available for free download. READ MORE

BONUS: Learn more about the report and what the Social Engagement Index revealed in this guest post in the Social: IRL blog from Jordan Slabaugh, Spredfast’s Director of Social Media.

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5. The Cornerstone to Going Social: Employee Collaboration – For many businesses, being social means creating a Facebook page and setting up a Twitter account.  In reality, a social business is about leveraging technology to unlock a new type of collaboration among your employees and with your customers. READ MORE

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6. The Single Pinterest Pin That Launched a Company – The Pinterest Pin that created such a demand for a product it forced a company to launch a new online store. Great case study highlighting the potential impact of social sharing.  READ MORE

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7. Racing Ahead with Social Media: Expion Social Business Summit Insights – Social: IRL recently attended the Expion Social Business Summit and interviewed a number of speakers and attendees. This series of short videos feature valuable social business insights taken from those interviews. Keynote speakers: Amber Naslund, Matt RidingsJeremiah Owyang, and Jason Falls. Attendees: Matt Wurst (360i), Jake Jacobson (Garmin) and Scott Gulbransen (H&R Block).

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8. An Intimate Portrait of Innovation, Risk, and Failure – From rooftop bashes and acquisition talks to staff clashes and layoffs, Hipstamatic’s founders and ex-employees describe the startup’s losing struggle to keep pace with Instagram, Facebook, and others in the white-hot photo-sharing space. Fascinating read and valuable startup insights. READ MORE

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9. From Social Brands to Social Business -The Pivot Conference took place in New York earlier this week, featuring 500 of the nation’s top media minds and two days of inspirational social business content, including many insights critical to the survival of business in the age of the connected consumer. If you were unable to attend, there are recap posts sharing some of the highlights. We recommend reading the Spiral16 blog, which features a series of posts summarizing key presentations. Also the Pivot blog, which includes midday and evening recaps (including those by Social: IRL’s Ben Smith  who served as a guest blogger for the event).

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10. What’s in your social media style guide? – A social media style guide defines the parameters of your social content so that everyone managing your social channels understands the format, tone, and cadence that should be used to represent your brand. Creating a guide can be especially helpful as you scale your social media initiatives. Here are some key components you should include. READ MORE

 

Upcoming Social Media Events:.

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Social Media for Non-Profits – Kansas City MO, October 24: Join Social: IRL for this special workshop dedicated to educating and empowering non-profit organizations in using social media as a powerful marketing, communications, and relationships platform, and a tool to drive positive action from supporters. Free non-profit registration. READ MORE

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The Commitment Engine: Making Work Worth It – Kansas City MO, October 24: Free event at Kansas City Public Library the evening of  October 24, with John Jantsch, the name behind the globally recognized Duct Tape Marketing brand. READ MORE

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An Evening with Becky McCray – Lawrence KS, October 25: Renowned blogger, author, and small business expert Becky McCray joins Social: IRL for a special presentation and networking event hosted in conjunction with the Lawrence Public Library, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, and Social Media Club of Lawrence. Free registration. READ MORE 

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The State of Now Conference (formerly 140 Conference) – Hutchinson KS, November 8: Expect to hear from dozens of great speakers sharing stories of the personal and professional impact of social media and the “state of now,” with a focus on small town communities. Use promotion code friendofST12 and registration is just $40. READ MORE

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Compute Midwest – Kansas City MO, November 9:  Learn about what’s next in technology – straight from eight tech leaders from companies like Google, Box, Github, Joyent, Dwolla, AgLocal and more. Hear the inspiring stories of these innovators who are building companies that change our life, our work & our business. Gain insight into their vision for the future, learn where technology is going and discover how Kansas City can capitalize on Google Fiber. Discount code SOCIALIRL for limited time 30% off regular conference ticket price. Discounted tickets are also available for startups, entrepreneurs, nonprofits & students.  READ MORE

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Links include content identified as being from our sponsors Spredfast, Expion, and Spiral16. We are grateful to these sponsors for their support and enjoy sharing content and webinar opportunities they provide which we consider to be valuable to the Social: IRL community.

Top Ten Social Media Links and Resources and Upcoming Social Media Events

We’re pleased to share our latest “Top Ten” social media links and resources.

Scroll down for upcoming events Social: IRL is hosting or supporting.

If you would like additional resources sent direct to your inbox, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter.

 

Top Ten Links:

1. 19 Reasons You Should Include Visual Content in Your Marketing – Good collection of stats further emphasizing the critical role images now play in any content strategy. READ MORE

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2. 2012 Social Network Analysis Report -Ignite Social Media’s annual report featuring demographic, geographic and search data for all key social networks. READ MORE

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3. Social Media Etiquette – 15 tips that provide valuable “best practice” guidelines for any organization. READ MORE

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4.The Science of Engagement – A science-based exploration into the true nature of engagement, what it means and what triggers it, with accompanying guidelines and tools designed to help build effective and powerful campaigns in the modern engagement era. READ MORE

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5. Without A Strategy, There Is No ROI – In everything marketers do, we stress clear objectives and measurable goals. Yet in social media, it sometimes all seems lost. What you do in social media, traditional media, or any media has to add up to some bigger and greater business goals. If you are not clearly defining, chasing, or building towards those goals, then why are you doing it? READ MORE

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6. Social Media Data Impacts Business Decisions – It’s been a tough road for social media measurement, but a new study highlighted in the Spiral16 blog suggests that CMOs are becoming more confident that social media efforts can drive measurable impact in brand awareness, sales, and loyalty. READ MORE

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7. CEOs and Social Media – Shel Holtz argues that social media has become such a vital line of communication to customers, employees, and shareholders, that a non-social CEO is derelict and guilty of leadership failure. READ MORE

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8. The Imperative for Social Media Risk Management – To safeguard brand reputation, protect information and intellectual property, and mitigate legal actions, organizations need to be more proactive about managing social media risk. This latest Altimeter Group report provides valuable insights and practical guidance on four key areas organizations need to focus on to set up an effective social media risk management process. READ MORE

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9. Creative Pinboard Ideas From Real Brands on Pinterest – Good examples of businesses using Pinterest boards to creatively & effectively engage customers. READ MORE

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10. In Social Media, No One Cares Unless YOU Care – Danny Brown reviews some fundamental but often overlooked steps critical to building identity and trust on the social web. READ MORE

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Upcoming Social Media Events:

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Join Social: IRL with Jason Falls in Des Moines for “All Business, No Hype, Social Media” – On August 30, Social Media Explorer’s Jason Falls will lead two in-depth 90 minute workshop sessions focusing on social media tools, tactics, content, planning, strategy and measurement. Registrations are just $65. We’ll also have special guest speakers from the local tech community, and post-event networking.  READ MORE

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Expion Social Business Summit – Jeremiah Owyang, Jason Falls, Amber Naslund and an A-list of brands and speakers will come together in Raleigh NC, on September 10-11, for this special event focused on big brands. Attendance is free of charge, but on an invitation-only basis. You can find out more and request an invitation on the Expion website.

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Spredfast Social Summit – Featuring speakers from Altimeter Group, Edelman Digital, Twitter, Whole Foods, ARAMARK, to name a few, the Spredfast Social Summit takes place in Austin TX, over October 3-5. Details and registration information is available here. Spredfast are also giving away one all expenses paid trip to the Summit, which you can enter to win here.

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An Evening with Becky McCray – Renowned blogger, author, and small business expert Becky McCray joins Social: IRL in Lawrence KS, on October 25, for a special presentation and networking event. Free registration READ MORE 

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Join Social: IRL, Brian Solis, and 500 of the top media minds in the industry in New York for Pivot – Here’s why we’re attending and are recommending the event for all agencies and brand marketers. We also have a VIP discount code to share, which will save you 20% on registrations.  READ MORE

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The State of Now Conference (formerly 140 Conference) returns to Hutchinson KS on November 8 – Expect to hear from dozens of great speakers sharing stories of the personal and professional impact of social media and the “state of now,” with a focus on small town communities. Use promotion code friendofST12 and registration is just $40. READ MORE

.

Links include content identified as being from our sponsors Spredfast, Expion, and Spiral16. We are grateful to these sponsors for their support and enjoy sharing content and webinar opportunities they provide which we consider to be valuable to the Social: IRL community.

Top Ten Social Media Links and Resources and Upcoming Social Media Events

We’re pleased to share our latest “Top Ten” social media links and resources.

Scroll down for upcoming events Social: IRL is hosting or supporting.

If you would like additional resources sent direct to your inbox, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter.

 

Top Ten Links and Resources:

. 

1. The Converged Media Imperative – The latest report from Altimeter’s Jeremiah Owyang offers critical insights on the need for brands to evolve marketing strategies to meet the rapid convergence of paid, earned and owned media. READ MORE

 

2. Visually Engaging Facebook Updates -Some great examples of text updates creatively shared as images for a far greater impact. READ MORE

 

3. 26 Tips for Managing a Social Media Community – Good practical advice in this “A-Z Guide” from Social Media Examiner. READ MORE

 

4.The Desire to “Scale Social” Without Making the Commitment to “Being Social” -The difference between “doing social” and “being social” and five key reasons many brands and enterprises fail to achieve social at scale. READ MORE

 

5. From the 140 Conference to “The State of Now” – Social: IRL chats with Jeff Pulver and Becky McCray about the State of Now conference returning to Hutchinson KS on November 8.  We also have a discount code to reduce registrations from $100 to just $40. READ MORE

 

6. If Content is King, Visuals are His Queen -Great post from Spredfast on the critical role visuals play in social media storytelling & content sharing. READ MORE

 

7. You’ll Need More Than Facebook To Smash The Wall Between You And Your Customers – It’s no longer enough to have a website, mailing list, Facebook page, or even a mobile application. Businesses need to create and maintain digital assets that are core to how they operate, provide real value to users, and support them appropriately. READ MORE

 

8. Social Media for Nonprofits: Listening, Setting Goals, Storytelling – Spiral16’s presentation from Social: IRL’s recent non-profits workshop in Wichita, KS. READ MORE

 

9. The Social Media ROI Cookbook – This latest open research report from Altimeter Group provides a useful framework of six primary ways to measure social media effectiveness. READ MORE

 

10. Why Digital Influence is so Important to your Business – In this new post, Brian Solis explains why understanding influence and how it affects your business has become far more important than most realize. The post also provides a good reminder that true influence is not a score, but rather “the relationship between cause and effect.” READ MORE

 

Upcoming Social Media Events:

 

Friends in Atlanta – Join the Social Media Club of Atlanta Summer Tweetup this Thursday, August 2, sponsored by Social: IRL partners Expion. READ MORE

 

Social Media for Non-Profits – The next Social: IRL non-profits workshop takes place in Springfield MO, on August 23. The event is free for non-profit organizations to attend. READ MORE

 

Join Social: IRL with Jason Falls in Des Moines for “All Business, No Hype, Social Media” – On August 30, Social Media Explorer’s Jason Falls will lead two in-depth 90 minute workshop sessions focusing on social media tools, tactics, content, planning, strategy and measurement. Registrations are just $65. We’ll also have special guest speakers from the local tech community, and post-event networking.  READ MORE

 

An Evening with Becky McCray – Renowned blogger, author, and small business expert Becky McCray joins Social: IRL in Lawrence KS, on October 25, for a special presentation and networking event. Free registration. READ MORE 

 

Join Social: IRL, Brian Solis, and 500 of the top media minds in the industry in New York for Pivot – Here’s why we’re attending and are recommending the event for all agencies and brand marketers. We also have a VIP discount code to share, which will save you 20% on registrations.  READ MORE

 

The State of Now Conference (formerly 140 Conference) returns to Hutchinson KS on November 8 – Expect to hear from dozens of great speakers sharing stories of the personal and professional impact of social media and the “state of now,” with a focus on small town communities. Use promotion code friendofST12 and registration is just $40. READ MORE

 

Links include content identified as being from our sponsors Spredfast, Expion, and Spiral16. We are grateful to these sponsors for their support and enjoy sharing content and webinar opportunities they provide which we consider to be valuable to the Social: IRL community.