The Awesomeness and Oddities at the Social Capital Conference

With great anticipation, the first annual Social Capital Conference was held in Ottawa last weekend. The sold-out event gathered 150+ of the region’s top thinkers, social networking professionals, and most enthusiastic social media beginners to discuss issues divided into three streams: fundamental, advanced, and business. I spent all day in the business stream, but I also heard great things from each of the other sessions.

Now onto some of the awesomeness. It truly was a successful event. A great crowd, great conversations, some interesting speakers. The part of the day I enjoyed the most was the 90-minute session of organized-chaos where attendees were encouraged to roam freely between about a dozen facilitated conversations about podcasting, SEO, social coupons, risk management, WordPress, Twitter, community management, and so on.

Best takeaways. First, my conversation with Vivian Cheng, Owner of Blend Creations. She was discussing how she uses social media for her business, and her experience with community buying services (or social coupons). The plan is to interview her for a later post on community buying from a (small) business perspective.

Second was a conversation with @Kmarketing, facilitated by @benkmyers, about SEO. It was less of a conversation, and more of me asking a few questions and trying to absorb all the details and knowledge spilling out. If you want to chat about SEO and analytics, talk to these guys.

Now the Oddities. Before I get into this, I want to be clear that I’m pointing out the challenges in the interest of improving an already great event for next year, not to be insulting. A few logistical snags were the only thing holding this back from being the one of the best conferences I have been to: long lunch lines, running out of food, not enough conference “gift bags.” For some people lunch consisted of a half of an egg salad sandwich and a diet coke; not the best value for a $75 ticket.

This was all minor stuff that the content of the conference helped you forget about, but the one thing that was really a pain point was the lack of WiFi service. Yup, that’s right, it was a social media conference, in the Nation’s Capital, and there was no Wifi. It was so important to the function and optics of the event. I even asked about WiFi service the week before the event, and I was assured it would be there…and it wasn’t – #fail. Also, no tweet wall was used to help people keep track of the conversations: that’s another easy one to fix for next year too –visible tweets is a good option.

Overall, it was a solid conference, and I hope they do it again in 2012, if not sooner. It’s always great to designate at least one day a year to meet some of your “online friends” IRL.

12 Responses to “The Awesomeness and Oddities at the Social Capital Conference”

  1. Hi David, Somehow we didn’t meet IRL, but it’s a treat to read your experience at the conference. I can see the irony of the no Wifi at a social media conference. This one didn’t phase me because my 3G worked no problem, unlike when I was just in NYC for BlogWorld … very big #fail! No one could get any access at all, no matter how hard they tried! I too was annoyed by the food. Ah, food and Wifi, these are things that rule my world! :) Glad you found the event, overall, as enjoyable as I did though! See you at the #socapott in 2012! (p.s. Did @kmarketing pay you to give him a plug? JK!)


    • Thanks for the comment, Julie. It’s strange that we didn’t run into each other. I was hunkered-down in the business stream all day, so that may have played a role. We’ll connect next time, for sure…..@kmarketing didn’t pay me for this plug, but if it happens again, I’ll be after 2% – LOL.


  2. Thanks for the overview, David.I wasn’t able to make it, so I’m really crossing my fingers for a second edition. It sounded like a great event.

    In case you haven’t already seen it, is quite an nteresting, graphical twitter wall. It was used at a conference I went to a couple months ago and people really responded well to it.


  3. Hi David. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the conference!

    As the person who set up (and double checked) the wifi for the conference trust me that nobody is more upset, or embarrassed, that we couldn’t get it online than me. I am very thankful to Rogers for the rocket stick loaners they were able to get out to people who wanted them. Wifi was a must and the fact that it didn’t work… well there are no words.

    We learned a lot organizing our first conference. Overall I think it was a pretty good success and we’ll be working to decrease the snags in year 2. See you there I hope!


    • Hi Lara – I did think it was a pretty great conference, next year will be even better! Thanks for your work, and the work of your team, to host this conference in Ottawa. I’d be happy to help out in the planning next year if you are looking for another person/perspective. Let me know!


  4. I liked your concise recap of the conference. I didn’t attend the event but hoping to next time, but all the talk through social media regarding SoCap has exposed me to a lot of people in the Ottawa social media world that I had no idea about otherwise.


    • Thanks! It was defiantly worth attending. Lots of great SM people in Ottawa for sure. You should come out to other events during the year like “Social Media Breakfast” “Third Tuesday” “Ottawa Twestival”, and so on, always great conversations.


  5. Hey David, Great blog post. Thanks a lot for the mention. I’m always willing to share my SEO tips & secrets with cool people in Ottawa. Cheers!



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