I am just back in my downtown hotel room from tonight's Refresh Miami blogger dinner . This will be a short post because it is quite late and I am in dire need of sleep before to returning to Tampa Bay in the morning. Due to the number of attendees (our table included over 25 people) I can not report on every discussion or topic...
After all, I think the real report here is an actual return to conversation.
There were to many notable people at this dinner to list all (my apologies), but to illustrate this unique experience, I will name just a few...
- Joseph Jaffe pretty much coined the term "Join the Conversation" and his blog & podcast "Jaffe Juice" is the "in crowd" epicenter of the universe for marketing and advertising influencers... His company "Crayon" is a leader in a group of new consultantcy think tanks specializing in "conversational Marketing".
- Rohit Bhargava The "World Famous Author" at this get together (World famous because of his own incredible skill at marketing his first published book (Personality Not Included) which has garnered more buzz before its official release than any other book in the last 10 years in my memory (and it is a marketing book to boot...). I sat next to Rohit at dinner and found him to be a very genuine and open person. He shared ideas and thoughts with everyone. For a man who is traveling the world on a book tour, he struck me as being a real down to earth and relaxed individual. His blog - the Influencial Marketing Blog is a must read for any aspiring marketer in this new dawn of web 2.0 and social media marketing.
- Jay Berkowitz The Ten Golden Rules of Internet Marketing guy (you have read about him here before). Jay was one of the organizers of this event, along with Refresh Miami's Alex de Carvalho a consultant to scrapblog. Of course Jay had his M-Audio Microtrack recorder out - interviewing each guest at the table... so he and I did not get to chat. It is always a pleasure to see and speak with Jay though. Listen to his podcast on iTunes, maybe you will hear me on one or two episodes (see sidebar link). BTW - Jay and I are working on a project together for one of his favorite clients (And just recently one of my favorite clients - Annie's Costumes). I will be releasing more information about this cooperative effort in the near future.
Of course there were many more interesting and influential people at this dinner, but really is that the point?
The point is like minded people joining together to break bread and talk about what it is that they do in life, at work, and in the social arena. Of course the discussions at this particular table were somewhat different than, say a local Lions Club meeting, but is there really a difference?
While the discussion at Refresh Miami may have included cutting edge social media topics like Twitter, Second Life, Blog marketing, etc... The joining together to share a discussion was the point, not necessarily the topics of discussion.
I think we have lost the art of face to face discussion in recent years. People simply do not get together to meet, discuss and share anymore. I realize todays world is full of multiple methods to meet friends online - in places like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter but is that the best way get to know someone? Are online meetings and interactions places where you learn the real measure of a person?
We are all guilty of enclosing ourselves in a cubicle of electronic separation.
In days gone by, before the personal computer came upon the world, groups of people would gather at clubs, conventions, meetings and events. Some large, some small (like our little get together tonight). These people craved the interaction, the networking, the real feeling of connection which comes from actually shaking someones hand. Today, we bypass all of that in lieu of an email or a twitter tweet. Today we rush home from work to see American Idol or some other bad reality show, and we discuss this pseudo event through electronic devices... who will win or lose... But why do we care?
As a people we socialize through computer screens much to often.
Wouldn't it be better to spend ones life making real connections and meeting real people, to then discuss the following day how that real meeting in real life effected your outlook or your perspective, with yet another real person?
I think so...
Get out and join or start a group of peers, invite anyone who will attend, make it a mutual open event and open your life up to a new, old fashioned experience... Even if it is only to sip coffee and discuss your favorite sports team, or your homeowners association. Interacting with other humans is one of the basic pleasures of life. Don't forsake it for a keyboard and a LCD screen avatar friend.
Thanks for the invite Jay and Alex!
Thanks for accepting my invite Lisa Sparks, and thanks to one and all who attended and whom I have failed to mention...
Thanks for the genuine conversation!