Social Media Club: Sydney

Tip who is heading up some of the Sydney activities for SMSYD got back to me and my concerns. Tip is a good friend and definitely someone worth following.  I should probably clarify at this point that it was not my intention to stamp out the activities of the organisation.As things move forward in the world of digital and social media, it’s easy to become uneasy about a lot of things.  JC has thrown his hands up at social media, Pollard spat the dummy about buzzwords,  Marcus let’s loose about social media experts, and David Gillespie called Social Media out.

The below is a solid response from Tip and a list of good reasons to get involved.  As always, look forward to your thoughts.

Tip writes:

As part of the team who are putting together the Social Media Club in Sydney, I felt it imperative to address your concerns as soon as I was made aware of your post.

  1. @SMCSYD on Twitter is the Twitter account for the Social Media Club Sydney.
  2. Social Media Club Sydney is the local chapter for http://www.socialmediaclub.org/
  3. Chris Heuer and Kristie Wells started Social Media Club (SMC) in July 2006 to help people find all the relevant communities of interest in which they want to participate. In their own words “we want to help you explore your personal and professional passions by helping you connect with a community of your peers based on both geography and areas of interest. We want to ensure that the world of Social Media does not become an echo chamber of self-reinforcing thoughts, but is instead fueled by diversity of opinion and perspective.”
  4. I think your reading of club is very literal and suggests that there is screening for membership etc. Nothing could be further from the truth. The intent of the Twitter account and the Facebook page is to get as many diverse people involved as possible, and outside of the usual marketing/advertising/branding people that normally dominate the dialogue in this space.
  5. The intent of SMCSYD is to be an addition rather than a replacement for the coffee mornings. So many times I have gotten into interesting discussions at the coffee mornings and had to leave to attend paid work, a.k.a the day job. SMCSYD is intending to meet once a month in the early evenings so there will be more time to explore.
  6. SMCSYD is also intending to have short presentations which highlight relevant social media case studies – from media, government and industry. There is a “no pitch/no sell” policy, so the presenters who try to do a hard sell will have to face the consequences. In this presentation format, we are hoping to have 2 to 3 different people/perspectives per session – short and to the point. Audience feedback and question time will be encouraged.
  7. The venue we have chosen for SMCSYD is a lounge bar in the inner east, which is comfortable and fully licensed and as far away from a corporate boardroom as we can find. The intent is to use a social venue for social media, at the end of a working day so you can unwind with a couple of drinks and mix with new people.
  8. We are merely providing the mechanism to come together to share learnings and insights gained in the social media space. And as a secondary intent, is to extend the network of social media advocates to a wider population base. Whoever wants to come, can come. If the SMCSYD doesn’t take off because people don’t want to come, then so be it. It gets dissolved and thats the end of it
  9. Ultimately if you want to get hung up on semantics and stigmas associated with social media being the flavour of the month and so ripe for a jargon bashing – there is not much we can do about that. The reason its called Social Media Club is because of Kristie and Chris and they started it back in the dark ages of 2006 when social media was just a twinkle in the interwebs eye.
  10. If you want to get involved, please come and participate in the conversation. There are no exclusions, and there is plenty of room for diversity and a variety of opinions

So there are no exclusions, no secret handshakes, and all are welcome. Especially you :)

Jye Smith is currently the Digital Strategist for Weber Shandwick Australia. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, he's a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital strategy, social media marketing, and change management.

There are 7 comments for this article
  1. inspiredworlds at 1:04 pm

    that’s a pretty good response to your earlier post. i do agree that having the name “social media club” does inhibit a lot of people from wanting to join because of the word “club” and associated membership conditions.

    there is an evergrowing segment of society interested in social media and how to use it outside of the traditional groups of advertising, media, marketing fields. so i think that’s a great concept. I’ve told several of my friends about it and they don’t work in the industry but are keen to learn how to leverage social media.

  2. Jye Author at 4:56 pm

    Scott: we can still have ours I’m sure.

    Matt: yep, was great to clarify so much of it. My concerns were shared by a few.

  3. Pingback: A Digital Perspective » Secret Handshakes & Social Media Clubs
  4. Chris Heuer at 1:16 am

    you have a problem with the word club, some people have a problem with the word association, some people dont like the word group and some people are offended by the mere mention of the word tomato … its not about the words we use or the map we look at that describes the real world inasmuch as everything is what we make of it – it seems that SMC has become a well trusted collection of people around the world

    we have about 350 paid members, 1,500 open members and another 50,000 (est) or so people who have been to our gatherings around the world and/or who are affiliated with different local facebook groups, twitter accounts, ning networks etc… looks pretty much like the open source models that inspired us…

    we started social media club with the word club to be more informal then formal, more open then closed and more about having a fun time while doing good then anything else

    its funny to watch these things happen again and again as people all over the world tackle the same problems. it seems one of the biggest problems of all is that blogs have no collective (and easily accessible) memory – this topic has been discussed dozens of times, but we are all so quick to pass judgments on things that aren’t of and from ourselves without bothering to do a little fact checking, its only natural – perhaps a topic for a future discussion.

    I mean no offence Jye, its just your turn to do this as have countless other smart ppl the world over – but many of the assumptions in your first post would have been cleared if you just visited the site (some wouldnt have because some are harder to find, like the prior discussions on the matter of calling the organization a club). One of the biggest challenges bloggers and social media types have had to overcome is gaining respect from trained journalists and the old guard due to a lack of fact checking and attribution.

    It seems it is so easy to publish we often forget about our responsibilities to the community to get the information accurate. I give Scoble a hard time on this regularly too – that when we allows his readers to correct the story, there are already 10,000 people who have been exposed to the inaccurate information who will never see the corrected version.

    Anyway, I hope you understand Jye I am talking about the issue here and not you personally – this followup and your engagement shows you are well intentioned and well informed.

  5. Jye Author at 7:52 am

    Chris,

    Thanks for your comments mate. Definitely made your points there. I hope you took the time to read my follow ups comments to over 20 replies, my replies on the original articles in mUmbrella etc.

    Congrats on your numbers – having worked previously for an industry association I know how hard those numbers can be to reach and maintain.

    As pointed out in other comments, my sense of formality came from the ‘director’ positions and sponsorship positions available. Which have all been kindly aired through discussions. Most of my initial concerns were all addressed in this post, personally by Tip.

    I disagree with just about all of your presumptions but thank you for sharing them with me, I know how important it is to have your voice.

    Trip and Doug know how much I support them, and they’ve openly told me how much they love me. Great support through good conversations over at mUmbrella (link above).

    Look forward to talking with you in the future.

    Peace,
    Jye

  6. Catherine White at 5:41 am

    Last night was my first attendance at Social Media Club in Sydney. It was well worth the effort for it’s education, and I don’t mean topics under discussion.

    As a baby boomer I was stagger with the roll up of over 450 people, most of which are Gen Y.

    I am composing a blog around this issue later today about my perspective in respect to Social Media and the changing of the media guard.

    http://www.twitter.com/divinemisswhite
    http://www.catherinewhite.wordpress.com