Thoughts on marketing, social media, and web strategy

Mike Templeton is an experienced marketer with a history in building community on the web.

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Events


Why I'm Supporting Twestival (and Bringing Cleaning Water to Those in Need)

Twestival LogoIf you’re not on Twitter you probably haven’t heard of an internationally organized event taking place tomorrow night simultaneously in 175+ cities across the globe. The event is called Twestival and is being organized to bring together Twitter communities for an evening of fun and to raise money and awareness for charity: water.

charity: water is a non-profit that brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. The organization has been operating since 2006, but a global community of passionate microbloggers has propelled this group to gather worldwide recognition for its efforts.

In September 2008, a group of Twitterers based in London UK decided to organise an event where the local Twitter community could socialize offline; meet the faces behind the avatars, enjoy some entertainment, have a few drinks and tie this in with a food drive and fundraising effort for a local homeless charity.

The bulk of the event was organized in under two weeks, via Twitter and utilized the talents and financial support of the local Twittersphere to make this happen.

Around the world similar stories started appearing of local Twitter communities coming together and taking action for a great cause. Twestival was born out of the idea that if cities were able to collaborate on an international scale, but working from a local level, it could have a spectacular impact.

Seeing how these tight-knit local communities could gather together and tackle seemingly impossible feats in a short amount of time, charity:water saw the Twitter community as an opportunity to help raise awareness to the global crisis they seek to remedy.

People Will Rally Behind a Good Idea

First the idea was born, then volunteers started pouring in. Tony Scott set up Twestival.com and enabled each participating city to set up their own page. Amiando came on board to help event organizers with online RSVP tracking. Mashable partnered to promote the event worldwide. Tipjoy built widgets and organized a channel to raise donations.

The sheer number of people involved in this event and the heart and passion going into all of the planning, organizing and promotion have my jaw dropped on the floor. Many times in today’s society we are plagued with thoughts of how terrible most people are and the newsrooms of the world continue to pummel us with bad news, but the truth is that good-natured people with good intentions DO exist in the world. Twestival is being organized by those people.

Join Us Tomorrow Night and Support Twestival’s Cause

If you’d like to become part of this monumental fundraising event, stop by http://desmoines.twestival.com (or whichever city you are from) for more information. It’s not too late to donate a few bucks and help those in need.

I’ll be at Mars Cafe, 2318 University Ave tomorrow night (Thursday, February 12) and hope to see you there.

If you’re still not convinced, I’ll leave you with a video from the folks at Lava Row about why you should get involved:

#dmtweetup Does #uglysweaterparty and Supports a Good Cause

Last night was a unique #dmtweetup event because it was centered around ugly Christmas sweaters and those in need. The event, hosted at Impromptu Studio (@ImpromptuStudio) and sponsored by Olde Maine (@OldeMain) and the Technology Association of Iowa (@TechnologyIowa), was an informal social hour with the goal of donating clothes and household items to a local shelter and providing an outlet for networking for many of the people who have recently lost their jobs in the Des Moines area.

The bulk of those in attendance are all users on Twitter, which makes these types of events even more fun because you get to connect face-to-face with people you normally just talk to online in 140-character bursts. I was able to meet several new people who I’d not yet been introduced to and I made several new connections that I think will lead to great opportunities in the future.

To some people it may seem awfully strange that members of a common website could come together in person and support causes and our community the way #dmtweetup does, but our group is very unique in the way that we operate. Through the common ground and transparency of Twitter, users are able to learn about and be introduced to people they may have never met otherwise. Also, because we have that commonality in Twitter, it gives us all a sense of camaraderie and we go out of our way to support each other. People answer each others questions, pass along job leads, donate to good causes and show their support in any way they can.

It was great to see so many people (and new faces) at last night’s event as it really showed the organic networking power of good people here in Des Moines and a few strings of messages on the web.

Thanks to Dan Welk (@clickphotodm) of Click Photography, Metromix captured a number of photos from last night’s event, including this one of Robby Glazebrook and myself.

ABC5, the first local news station on Twitter (@ABC5_WOI), put together a great video story on the event.

Learn to Use Social Media for B2B with AAF of Des Moines

On Thursday this week I’ve been given the opportunity to sit with a panel of experts (thank you!) at an American Advertising Federation of Des Moines luncheon. The topic is “Using Social Media for B2B Marketing” and we hope to help answer questions from the group about how they can utilize the latest web technologies in B2B environments.

Official details are available on the AAF of Des Moines website.

November Meeting: Using Social Media For B2B

When: 11/20/2008

Panel includes:

Location:
Skyline Exhibits
2111 Dixon Street
Des Moines, IA 50316
(515) 727-5200

11:30: Doors open for networking
12:00: Lunch is served

Cost: $20 Members / $35 Non-Members / $17 Students

Our panel has had some fun organizing a bit of material beforehand and I look forward to meeting everyone at AAF and helping to answer questions. If you’re in the area, or even if you aren’t [a friend of mine on Twitter (@annetteschulte) is driving down from Cedar Rapids], please stop by and join us.

Get Yourself to Highlight Midwest

If you’re at all involved in social media, web technologies or entrepreneurial ventures, you’ve got to be at Highlight Midwest on October 29, 2008 (Wednesday of next week!). Hell, even if you aren’t involved in any of those things, get down to KC for a chance to get involved.

Highlight Midwest is the first event of its kind to connect nearby communities and highlight the best and brightest web-related success stories in the Midwest. The drive for such an event comes in the wake of recent BarCamps in both Des Moines and Omaha, and the feeling that we, as citizens of the Midwest, need to demonstrate that local innovation is possible, even in a rapidly changing economic landscape.

The schedule for the event is outlined below:

Focused Highlights

9:00am – 4:00pm at the Record Bar

Some of the region’s finest entrepreneurs, technologists, social media experts and new media success stories will be presenting to our group.

Emcees: Alternageek’s Christa Casebeer and Microblink’s Rob Jensen.

New Heights for Flyover States

5:00pm – 8:00pm at the Kauffman Center of Kansas City

A reception showcasing the entrepreneurs, innovators and early-adopters using web technology to grow their businesses, advance their careers and enrich the regional economy in new ways:

  1. Up and coming social media strategists from each participating city will present an overview on how the web is changing their respective cities for the better and how new opportunities for innovation are expanding the importance of web-based technology in the Midwest.
  2. A wrap-up panel: Where do we go from here? After a day filled with all the cool individual things that are occurring in Des Moines, Kansas City, Omaha and the surrounding areas, we’ll discuss actionable items along the lines of “What now?“.

Emcee: Kauffman’s Vice President of Entrepreneurship, Bo Fishback.

I’ve been asked to be a speaker at the event and intend to give a presentation, Microblogging, Macro Impact, on Microblink‘s behalf. I’ll be analyzing the large-level impact of microblogging on the web and how both consumers and businesses are adapting to this disruptive, contagious medium.

Attend or Follow: Your Choice

If you’ve got the time to spare, get yourself down to this event. The connections that will be made and the ideas that will be shared will be invaluable. If you can’t make it, you can follow the Highlight Midwest blog or track #hm1 tweets on Twitter.

Sarah Lacy Stops in Des Moines on User Generated Book Tour

This weekend I attended a book reading event at East Village Books showcasing Silicon Valley reporter Sarah Lacy‘s first book, Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good.

Des Moines was just one of Sarah’s stops on what she has dubbed the User Generated Book Tour (UGBT). Sarah’s inspiration for this tour shines through in her post:

“I’m looking for places that have a thriving entrepreneur scene and a cool indie book store or bar that would sponsor the event. I think this book is an important window into entrepreneurship and I want to discuss it with people who are reading and enjoying it. Isn’t that why I spent a year writing it?”

At the event, Sarah introduced herself and gave a bit of background on herself and her 10 grueling years in the startup trenches of Silicon Valley. Sarah also highlighted her unique relationship with Mark Zuckerburg and other star entrepreneurs she had befriended over the years.

The section of the book that Sarah shared was a snippet from the end of the book that talked about Evan Williams’ travels from Blogger to Odeo to Twitter and the morality of business he dealt with.

Sarah answered several questions from the crowd, including a few from me regarding the impact of transparency in social media, social media as a liability for companies and leaked information and the possibilities that exist in today’s market based on the tools and platforms already available.

After signing through several copies of her book (which I happily purchased and will soon be reading), the #dmtweetup crew took Sarah and her husband Geoff out for one more night on the town at the Royal Mile.

Discussions carried over from EVB to the Royal Mile and everybody had a great time. For me, the best part about Sarah (and Geoff too!) was that they were both so down to Earth and welcoming. For someone who co-hosts shows for Yahoo! and spends her days rubbing shoulders with the tech elite of the country, I felt like she was very approachble and genuinely enjoyed spending time in our town.

Nathan Wright of Lava Row managed to capture some great footage and scored an interview with Sarah, talking about Digg’s rumored takeover and her impressions of Des Moines.

Sarah also recapped her midwest tour on her own blog, giving Omaha and Des Moines props:

“Both cities taught me so much about how the Web is changing entrepreneurship and really people’s lives in unique ways.”

Now that the weekend is gone and the work week is back, I’ve got a fine new book to keep me company. ;)

Second Des Moines TweetUp is a Success

Last night I hung out with the local social media crowd at the second Des Moines TweetUp. Sixteen Tweeps gathered at the Court Ave Brewing Company in downtown Des Moines and tried their best to put faces to avatars and Twitter handles. I had met a few of the guys before, but this event brought nearly triple the attendance of the first.

The full attendee list included: Mike Sansone @mikesansone, Nathan Wright @nathantwright, Andy Brudtkuhl @abrudtkuhl, Jake Kerber @jakekerber, Scott Phillips @scottatdrake, Brooke @brookenp, Chris Punke @chrispunke, Tim Fisher @timfisher, Rob Glazebrook @robbyg , Haley @haleyelizabeth, Chris Harris @charris1980, Robert Jensen @Jensenrf, Aaron Webb @webboy, Jeremy Harrington @jharr and George Christ @gchrist.

The TweetUp was a great way to expand my local network of social media and tech friends. I spent a good deal of time today trying to get my follower/following list straightened in Twitter after meeting all the new joinees. The insight, recommendations and feedback that I get from this group is reason enough to stay involved, but I envision my relationship with this group growing into something even more beneficial.

I’m already looking forward to the next event (which is rumored to be at Nathan’s new office space) and will post an update when the group comes up with a date.

UPDATE: Others are talking about this TweetUp too.