Social Media Jungle Boston; A Snapshot

I had the pleasure today of attending Jeff Pulver’s Social Media Jungle in Boston (ok, Waltham, MA) today. First, the format worked out really well– a number of speakers, many volunteers, had a mere twenty minutes each to present. While that sounds like a short time to many veteran conference-goers, it is plenty to get a general point across, and really kept things lively. I thought a somewhat similar format worked well at the recent New Marketing Summit in Foxboro, MA.

Here are my scant impressions of the talks, from my point-of-view as a public relations and communications professional. These are my thoughts on what was said, not necessarily what the speakers actually meant (and I don;t quite cover all of the sessions). I was too tired/sick today to divine all that good brain juice. Feel free to weigh in with your version of events:

Jeff Pulver – “ Sometimes You Need to be Vulnerable”

Jeff told stories I heard him relate before about how he got into ham radio as a lonely youth, and how social media is helping make him- and us- similar connections. Since trading in his VoIP-world preeminence (has he? Jeff?) to concentrate on social media, he has really opened up in a way i wouldn’t have expected based on what I knew about him from afar 10 years ago. I often wonder- and did out loud today– if people realize the extent of Jeff’s prior contributions to the voice communications industry:

C.C. Chapman, The Advance Guard – “It Isn’t a Numbers Game. The Human Side of Social Media”

C.C. told of a Harvard student who asked him what his social media “followers strategy” was. That tells me that some folks have a long ways to go (was that Harvard Business School class, C.C.? Do we need to go Gillooly a whole cohort to set them straight?). Bottom line? High numbers are great, but are not a guarantee of results. Of course, the next question is, how do you measure quantity? I’m sure the Harvard students thought of that, and as a long-time PR practitioner I can tell you the answer is, “what’s your answer?”

CC Chapman at Social Media Jungle Boston 03-10-09

(By the way: this to my mind is the best way to represent C.C. in this photo array- plus the day was full of people taking pictures of people taking pictures of people taking pictures…)

Richard Dale of Sigma Partners – “Twitter as the universal Information Stream: What if the Twitter Stream Told us Every Time a Can of Soda is Sold?”

My gut answer? I think poor Oedipus would have had a new reason to claw out his eyes. But really, the wealth of data an automatic Twitter stream can provide for soda sales, or medicinal prescriptions (not attached to patient names of course) would be gold for people trying to find economic and other trends. Would you sign up for such a Twitter stream? I wouldn’t, but I might search it out. Would such a data stream have to be on Twitter? No, but Twitter is there- and it’s free.

Richard Dale at Social Media Jungle Boston 03-10-09

Joe Cascio – “The Compuserve Era of Social Media – When and How Will it End?”

Remember the Compuserve service? You would sign up, pay a fee, and communicate via “email” through their closed system, a precursor to AOL. I used to sell Compuserve kits in the 1980s. Memories…

Well, Joe likens current social media, with communications largely staying on their own separate platforms, to the Compuserve era of email. My question: rather than a completely open platform where everything is everywhere; Twitter, Facebook, etc. etc. etc., won’t we want to keep some separation of platforms to retain some control over our segmented worlds? Does the social net need to standardize like email did? After all, voice communications remains largely on a different platform (telephone). Just a thought.

Joe Cascio at Social Media Jungle Boston 03-10-09

Laura Fitton, Pistachio Consulting – “Social Media for Social Good”

She went over some recent happenings, such as WellWishes, Twestival, and Social Media for Social Change, as well as the Pink Slip Parties.

My biggest takeaway? “The influencers are not the people but the ideas.”

Laura Fitton at Social Media Jungle Boston 03-10-09

Steve Garfield – “New Media Tools You Can Use to Tell Your Story RIGHT NOW!”

Matthew Mamet, PermissionTV– “Using online video to strengthen your relationship with your online community.”

I group these together because I came away with one similar takeaway; a reinforcement of the idea that video does not need to be over-produced or over-polished, but you do need to take advantage of the simple tools and do it if it will help your marketing. “Just Do It,” right? That’s my attitude toward getting started in content creation.

Steve Garfield at Social Media Jungle Boston 03-10-09

Matt Mamet at Social Media Jungle Boston 03-10-09

Justin Levy, New Marketing Labs – “ How Small Business can use Inbound Marketing/Social Media to Help Increase Their Business”

Justin talked about how social media helps his restaurant business do effective low-cost marketing, and most helpfully espoused his HELP acronym: “Hustle, Engagement, Learning and Passion.” Being helpful myself, I added “Savvy” to the mix and rearranged the letters to spell SHLEP.

Justin Levy at Social Media Jungle Boston 03-10-09

Christopher Penn, Financial Aid Podcast (Student Loan Network) – “It IS a Numbers Game – Thinking About What Numbers Actually Matter”

Christopher always cuts to the point, and likes to kick his audience in the pants. If you don;t know what metrics are important to you, find out why you are still in business. How? Verbs. Verbs are actions. Actions reveal the results you want– there are your numbers, go get ’em.)

Chris Makes His Point
(Photo by C.C. Chapman)

Stephen Dill – “Social Media Lessons Learned: From the Perspective of a Skeptical Online Marketer”

The main lesson Stephen imparted? Own your Google results. In particular (but not solely), he demonstrated how effective Twitter is at generating Google results, by (and I am flattered) bringing up my user name, “DougH,” as an example, along with Laura Fitton’s “Pistachio,” two common words that we own on Google thanks to Twitter.

Stephen R. Dill at Social Media Jungle Boston 03-10-09

Leslie Poston -”Bringing Generations Together For Success In The New Millennium”

Leslie brought up her unique perspective on bridging generational divides in the workspace, and marketing, by understanding the differences, such as those between her and her 12-years-different colleague. Always good to be reminded of these differences.

Leslie Poston at Social Media Jungle Boston 03-10-09

Alexa Scordato and Maria Thurrell – “Social Media: Make New Friends but Keep the Old Ones.”

These two shared the story of how they met (“The ROI of an Email”) and became friends through, well, a good pitch by Alexa- and how Alexa found her job through social media (Twitter, actually- hey, that’s how I found my current job as well).

Alexa Scordato and Maria Thurrell at Social Media Jungle Boston 03-10-09

Mike Langford – “The Evolution of Conversation”

OK, I’ll admit that by this time I was, to paraphrase Joe Cascio, “all out of Schlitz.” But I do recall Mike making a great point: social media is dominated by young(ish) educated white people– what happens when “everyone else” comes in?

I think “everyone else” is already a lot of people– we social media bubble people tend to stick to our own kind, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There is more “mainstreaming” of social media to come, and I am looking forward to see how that forms up.
Mike Langford at Social Media Jungle Boston 03-10-09

Thanks again to Jeff Pulver for putting on a great event, and to Intuit for hosting!

Resource: Twitter Search for “#smjbos” hashtag

UPDATE: For more wrapup posts, see Jeff Pulver’s post here.

Blog readers: I am riding the Pan-Mass Challenge this summer, a 2-day bicycle trek across Massachusetts to raise money for the Jimmy Fund in support of cancer research. Will you join the generous folks who have sponsored my ride? Click any part of this message to go to my fundraising page– and thank you!


  1. Thank you or the great write up Doug. I’m surprised you turned this around so quickly. It looked like the cold you have was getting the best of you but you powered through.

  2. Thanks for all the comments and visits folks– be sure to see my link to Jeff Pulver’s post with other write-ups as well. I didn’t come close to gleaning all the good stuff from Tuesday.

  3. I enjoyed reading your post; I am running a small website on video conferencing I am a beginner in this business. I don’t know much about it but I am searching around for material that can increase my knowledge

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