This week was very special for me – I spent Tuesday through this morning in Santa Rosa, California at the SNCR (pronounced “snicker”) conference. I co-presented to about 30-35 people on personal and professional branding using social tools. The audience was very, very savvy with social communication (and traditional communication), and I hoped that our presentation helped them to think about their own personal brands, and how the tools they use for their clients could/should be used for their own careers!
While fun, this week was special for another reason. I actually lived in Santa Rosa from the time I was five until I was eleven. Very, very fond memories growing up there, chasing snakes, catching newts, wading through creeks, and doing all the cool things little boys want to do. If it crawled I caught it. If it was slimy I wanted it. If a snake could eat it, I needed it.
I haven’t been to Santa Rosa for about eight years. I spent a couple hours walking around my old neighborhood, got pictures of my old house (which seems to have shrunk significantly), elementary school, the creek I would play in (which is a mess now :(), and more. My grandpa left a legacy in old town Santa Rosa, and I actually had dinner right next door to the place he owned, where he had Keith’s Foto Shop.
I also spent time with my aunt and uncle, and three of their kids. I grew up with these kids, but hardly see them anymore. Overall, the trip has been amazing – I’ll cherish memories of this trip for a long time.
Here’s the other side of the trip. I was invited to co-present with Chuck Hester, Mr. Pay It Forward, and PR Director for iContact. I’ve spent a lot of time with Chuck on this trip and have renewed (and immense) respect for him.
Chuck is a LinkedIn powerhouse. He has a large network and advocates the values of LinkedIn all the time.
Chuck is also an amazing networker. It was really cool to watch him create and nurture relationships the entire week. From coordinating dinner parties to making introductions, he does it all right. And he really gets one very key aspect of social networking: make sure you are connected to people in your profession. Chuck says about 10 percent of his LinkedIn connections are PR professionals (editors, writers, publishers, etc.). This is over 500 experts that he’s connected to that make his job easier, and more effective.
Finally, I’ve known Twitter was powerful. But this was the first conference I’ve been to where I really saw the power of Twitter. There was tweeting during the conference presentations, allowing the audience to hear the presenter and participate in a back-of-the-room discussion. It was really profound. You can see the thread of tweets for SNCR 2008 here.
Have an excellent weekend – I’m flying back to Salt Lake tomorrow and fly to Minneapolis early Sunday morning…. I’ll be there through next Saturday! My schedule is here (btw, Monday night is already booked solid!).