Create a Space for Conversation With Solo Social Media Professionals at SXSW 2014

Vote for Solo Social at SXSW 2014Update: This proposal was accepted, and I invite all solo social media professionals to join me on Sunday, March 9 at 12:30 in the Brazos room at the Courtyard Marriot. We’ll explore many of the questions in the proposal, as well as a few others. Should be a fantastic conversation!


Most of you know that in late 2012 I accepted the opportunity to create and manage a social media program for a large company with over 6 million customers. Nine months later, I’m enjoying this opportunity immensely, but I’m still the only person in the company who “does” social media.

While thinking about how I could meaningfully contribute to the content at the 2014 South by Southwest event, I thought back to my first few weeks in the position. I was consistently referring to my “team of one” – see, everyone else in my company works as part of a team, and I felt left out. I coped by reaching out to other social media professionals, and found out that many of them were in the same situation. In both large and small companies (and many college campuses), there is only one person who is tasked with managing a social media program. They may receive some help with content creation, but when it comes to managing and researching the platforms and strategies specific to this channel, it often falls on just one individual’s shoulders.

One of the people I reached out to early on was Kristin Ferguson, Social Media Community Manager at Boston Financial Data Services. We started talking about South By Southwest, and realized that in order for the event to be relevant for us, we needed a space to talk to other people who did this on their own – without an agency or an army of digital marketers. So, we’re proposing to create that space in the form of a core conversation. If you’re not familiar with the format, it’s my favorite at SXSW – attendees gather to talk about a specific topic (in this case, Solo Social) – rather than to listen to a talking head for an hour. The community creates the content and drives the progression of the session. It’s part group therapy, part brainstorming.

You can help us create this space. The South by Southwest programming committee lets the community vote on possible sessions in the PanelPicker, and those votes account for 30% of the consideration of each session. I’d like to invite you to take a minute to review our proposal and the Solo Social idea slide deck. Once you’ve learned about it, please do the following things:

  1. Cast your vote (thumbs up or thumbs down – located in the top left corner of the Panel Picker proposal). Voting is open August 19 – September 6, 2013.
  2. Leave a comment to let us know what you think about the idea, or how it could be improved.
  3. Share the idea with your network so they can vote as well.
  4. Browse the rest of the ideas (there were over 3,000 submissions for SXSW Interactive) and vote on other proposals that address your areas of interest.

Thanks for your help – and let me know if you’ll be attending SXSW 2014!

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