Social Media Top 5: Social Networking & Business Travel; DEMO & TechCrunch 50

For my first two in this week’s Social Media Top Five, a big hat tip to members of the London social media community for making my business trip to the City That Doesn’t Feel the Need to Brag about the Fact That it Doesn’t Sleep memorable and fun. I flew in on Wednesday and flew home Friday, with Thursday blocked out for business meetings

  1. I was greeted on Wednesday evening with a pint- ok, two pints- and some good conversation by Olu Bolutiwi, “olu_guy” on Twitter- who runs a gaming social network called Vigster, about social networking communities, and startup PR (Calacanis, blah blah blah, but actually some constructive interesting stuff as well). Thanks for the bitters, and I hope to return the favor when you come to Boston.
  2. Neville Hobson, the taller half of the “For Immediate Release” podcast team, drove in from Wokingham to allow me to complete my “hosts of FIR whom I have met” collection. Better yet, he invited me to the Tuttle group’s weekly Social Media Café Friday morning, where I met some great folks and had some great conversations (Dave Evans, Janet Parkinson, Nancy Williams, and regrettably missed meeting a bunch more who were there. Sitting in the private upstairs room of a West End pub, I felt like I was privy to the smoke-filled back room of the London Social Media scene- minus the smoke. Damn it, I forgot to talk with Neville about how much I hated the PR Week best PR blog contest. Oh well.

    Neville Hobson and Doug Haslam

  3. A general point about social networking and business travel- as you can see, one of my favorite uses of my online social networking- particularly Twitter- is to make sure I take part in the local social media scene when I travel. Boston is one of the hottest towns for social media, and I hope we treat travelers to the Hub of the Universe well with Tweetups and such, but other cities have played great host to me. I like to single out Washington, D.C. and New York, but London is now high on the list as well. Do you hate business travel? It’s lonely, tiring and looonng. Social networks have allowed me to strengthen online ties with face-to-face meetings.
  4. My heavy travel week (which included a day trip to Connecticut on Monday) meant that I really didn’t have the time, attention or energy to take in all the news about dueling technology start-up events DEMO and TechCrunch 50. Apparently, blogger (and TC50 judge, though he is not a member of the conference organization) created a blog-firestorm when he unloaded on the crappy (in his opinion; again, I haven’t seen much of anything) Web sites of the DEMO companies. To be fair, he made sure to turn on the TechCrunch 50 Here’s the thing for me; Web sites are details that should be taken care of well, and I am certain Robert’s mass dismissal of the Web design chops of the startup companies carry lots of valid points. Rather than concentrate on the backlash, including a missive by DEMO chief Chris Shipley, I’d love to see some folks rise above this and tell me what few companies are doing something that might interest me. Chris Brogan did this on his blog: anyone else?
  5. So this brings up my public relations question; is it worth it to launch at DEMO and now TechCrunch 50? Is the noise getting to be too much? I still contend that getting in front of the cream of the tech press is very tempting and still worth it to some of the companies. A client of mine got into The Wall Street Journal last year, and there is no question that getting in front of Katie Boehret during DEMO helped. On the other hand, trying to stand out among how many companies- 150 total? Is daunting. The other school of thought is to wait for the dust to settle and launch when there isn’t so much noise so you can stand out more easily. The answer is different for every client it seems, and rightly so. Factors such as money, timing, and the company’s goals need to be taken into account. Where so you stand, PR people, startup people and tech observers? Demo? TechCrunch 50? Neither?
    By the way, a nice post by Robert Scoble (yes, him again) outlining the even more-alarming-than-was-previously-thought noise problem in this crowded trade show period. CTIA the same week? Office 2.0 the week before? Yikes!

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