Anytime we get an e-mail from our Certified Advertologist with the phrase “and the company will pay for it”, it gets my attention. This time the offer was for an all day OTA session at $150 a head so I was all for it. Plus, what I knew about social media and a connected world was that I didn’t know enough.
My personal experience on the subject began about a year ago at the request of a few of the Corazón soccer players who suggested that I join facebook. I did and soon had about 20 friends. The frightening part was that most of them were 14-year old girls. I was expecting a call from the authorities at any moment.
Soon after that, (to the chagrin of the facebook youth of America) the baby boomers signed on. I’m up to 98 friends, most are adults, and we are all social networking away in a world that is changing by the minute.
At the OTA the first change I noted was the wardrobe of our industry prophets. Not that long ago, experts in our field would have been in a suit and tie, speaking to an audience clad in dark suits looking like they were at secret service convention. Today’s visionaries need only Levis, t-shirts, hoodies and sneakers to deliver compelling information about an environment where the opportunities to deliver one-to-many messages are quickly fading.
A more meaningful change is one that Julien Smith discussed. He talked about the new channels that don’t require transmitters or printing presses. The next night while discussing the day’s soccer games and other high level subject matter, one of the soccer moms shared a perfect example of what Smith was speaking about. When the O’Gorman Knights won the state boys basketball championship in Rapid City while she was at an event in Sioux Falls, the news came instantly via a text message. She didn’t have to wait to find out during a sportscast “right after these messages”. Instead, her husband became the media channel and there wasn’t a 2,000-foot tower or a gross rating point involved. What we take for granted is amazing when you think about it.
Who would ever have thought that our mission would turn to building tribes? Or that a group of people, the size of South Dakota, would join facebook every day? Or that someone would actually take the time to document how the country is feeling based on comments that we post on the web? It was an eye-opening day.
And who would have thought that we could have such a great line-up of industry leaders on stage right here at the Orpheum? It was a great OTA. Kudos, and thank you, to Hugh Weber for his courage and energy to bring this day together. Thank you to all of the guest presenters for bringing their stories to South Dakota in an enlightening and interesting way. And thank you Sioux Falls for turning out and supporting an event like this with your attendance.
I’m looking forward to next year…and you know what? Sure, I’ll be thrilled to go.
By Leigh Anglin