Monday, February 8, 2010

Eventprofs Tribe Meets for First Time — Event Camp 2010!

When I was in grade school,  I was very active in an organization called “Indian guides.”  I learned about the concepts of fellowship, camping and community-building activities. (including craft-making and community service)  In the program we earned patches, for achieving various goals, such as “completing a nature hike,” or participating together in some sort of “community event.”

For my next learning adventure I joined the Scouting program, first with the Cub Scouts, then later on with the Boy Scouts of America.  This was one of the most value-rich experiences of my life.  I was inducted, in 1972, into the “Order of the Arrow,” which is the national honor society of the Boy Scouts of America.  The Order of the Arrow uses American Indian-styled traditions and ceremonies to bestow recognition on scouts selected by their peers as best exemplifying the ideals of Scouting.

I learned, through these experiences, about the importance of teamwork, the power of collaboration, the bond of friendship, and honor of integrity.  These core values were instilled in me through what I refer to as my first “tribal” experiences.

Dictionary.com defines a tribe as “any aggregate of people united by community of customs and traditions or… A class or set of persons, esp. one with strong common traits or interests..

Wikipedia describes “tribes” as “clearly bounded, homogeneous, parochial, and stable.

Over the past year I have become a member of a modern-day tribe, of sorts, the Twitter hashtag group #Eventprofs.  For the last 11 months I have invested much of my social media energy on building relationships with this global community of like-minded professionals. The “strong common interest” that brings us together is a passion for use of social media with meetings and events.

Communication  with my Eventprofs colleagues, while highly interactive, and valuable, has occurred, for the most part, through online channels.  This past weekend that all changed, as I flew to New York, to participate in an “un-conference” I helped create, called Event Camp 2010. The majority of the attendees for this event (approximately 70ppl or so) are also connected to the Eventprofs community.

Smokin the Social Media Peace Pipe!

I arrived at this event excited to finally meet many of my online Eventprofs friends face-to-face, for the first time.  I had extremely high expectations, and to my surprise, they were exceeded.  From the moment I walked into the Roger Smith Hotel, on Friday afternoon, I knew this weekend was destined to be a winner.

From start to finish, whether attending a social gathering, or experiencing a fish-bowl style “storytelling” education session, the energy level was amazing!  In my 30+ years in the events business, I have never experienced a more cohesive, passionate gathering of professionals.  The sensation was more akin to a reunion of long-time friends, than to a first time face-to-face meeting of colleagues.

Blogger's Row at Event Camp

I attended Event Camp 2010, to socialize, exchange ideas and best practices with peers, and smoke the social media “peace-pipe” with them.  I departed the event with so much more than that… I carried away with me the warmth of deep new friendships, and an elevated respect and admiration for our tribe.

Having now met many of my Eventprofs colleagues, at Event Camp 2010,  I am certain that our future interactions will be enriched by this experience.  While the educational components of this un-conference were important, relevant and beneficial, it was truly the first time face-to-face social interaction that will make it memorable.

I, for one, can not wait until the next Event Camp!!

Follow Michael McCurry on Twitter

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Christina February 8, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Awesome post, Mike. Thank you for being part of the planning team and making this awesome event a reality for our tribe. I came home a new person.

BTW I snagged the pic of blogger’s row and you’ll probably see it on my blog in the very near future. :)

HUGS!

Reply

Michael M McCurry CMP February 8, 2010 at 6:07 pm

@Christina,

It was great to see you at Event Camp Christina, and kudos to you for embracing all this stuff and leading the charge with your tweets and your blog!

That pic of you and @paulsalinger was awesome!

Look forward to seeing you again soon!

@michaelmccurry

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Debra Roth February 8, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I too LOVE the tribe idea. It fits the #eventprofs community – like minded professionals exchanging ideas with a common interest in events and social media. Meeting face 2 face for the first time was greatly enhanced by our online networking. It is a very exciting time indeed as we truly made event history together!

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Michael M McCurry CMP February 8, 2010 at 6:09 pm

@Debra Roth,

That we did Debra… history we all made together!

We are a tribe … it fits the definition! It was great to finally meet you in NYC and it was a lot of fun getting to know each other better!

Look forward to what the future brings for our community!

@michaelmccurry

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Emilie Barta February 8, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Believe it or not, I never liked camp much as a child because my parents could not find a group of nice kids who shared the same interests as me. As an adult, I am so excited to have met a community of like-minded tweeps who are as passionate about the events industry as I am. And on top of that, these tweeps also believe in the power of integrating social media with events AND believe that virtual events and live events are friends, not foes.

I was in camp-heaven this past weekend at EventCamp 2010 and can not wait until camp next year!

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Michael M McCurry CMP February 8, 2010 at 6:12 pm

@Emilie Barta,

I could not have said it better myself, Emily!!

It was an incredibly rich weekend we all spent together and what great people! Wish you well in your business… you have a special talent, a knack for knowing just what to say to make people pay attention and a great smile!

Hope to see you soon and to many more conversations!

@michaelmccurry

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Jenise Fryatt February 8, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Thanks Mike. I couldn’t have said it better. I’m trying to write my take on all of this, but wow. There’s so much it’s hard to keep it short enough! I think you hit the nail on the head though, when you said the biggest plus was meeting our #eventprofs tribe in person. Everyone exceeded my expectations too! To be among so many brilliant minds with no one throwing an ego around was truly liberating.

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Michael M McCurry CMP February 8, 2010 at 6:14 pm

@Jenise Fryatt,

its funny Jenise, I took today off work, because I knew I would want to write an article to air my feelings before I lose them.

I also knew yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday and that I would be moving slow today, lol! What a great weekend in NYC and a true pleasure meeting you finally!

We will have to connect when I make it to California for a visit!

@michaelmccurry

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mike mcallen February 8, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Hey Mike great post and it was great to work on Event Camp with you. I learned a ton and cant wait to make the next Event Camp even better.
I never really got to go to Camp as a kid so it was nice to finally get to go to one. :)

The thing I really love about this post is that picture of Paul and Christina. Paul has been in or around the events and meetings business since before the invention of the wheel and he is a VP of a huge company Oracle. Next to him is Christina who is just breaking into this business. In fact Paul helped her get to the event with others from eventprofs. Amazing the world we live in where Christina can log on weekly to Eventprofs and make a connection with an industry leader such as Paul. Just amazing to me. I am glad to be part of this great community.
Great post my friend!

Mike

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Michael M McCurry CMP February 8, 2010 at 8:33 pm

@mike mcallen,

You hit the nail on the head Mike… it truly is awesome that people at all levels can collaborate without egos interfering. At Eventprofs, we have a true community of unselfish gracious professionals eager to help one another and learn.

It was great working with you as well and look forward to what the future may bring for us with this tribe!

@michaelmccurry

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Dana Freker Doody February 8, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Mike, great analogy. I actually took my son to the Boy Scouts of America museum yesterday!
It’s interesting to me now to think of Lord Baden-Powell first coming up with the idea of scouting to train soldiers for the harshness of outdoor life. Similarly our tribe convenes and discusses the issues of the day to train ourselves and each other for the challenges in our careers.
I think tribes like BSA and #eventprofs and association communities also serve the human need for acceptance that is as basic as food, water and shelter. It is nice to think of oneself as part of a larger something. I was so pleased to be able to paticipate however slightly in Event Camp from afar since family commitments kept me away.
It’s also funny to think about the #eventprofs tribe’s traditions of cat painting and blue water buffalo hat wearing!

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Michael M McCurry CMP February 9, 2010 at 6:31 am

@Dana Freker Doody,

Great contribution to the discussion. The cat painting and the water buffalo hat has me laughing way too early in the morning :)

Tribes do serve a very important purpose in that they enable us to connect with like-minded people, and have a support system for growing in our knowledge and insight. The human need for personal connection supersedes all other life passions, in my opinion.

Event Camp was an eye opening experience, because it truly validated the importance of face to face meetings to ultimately consummate online relationships.

Thanks for adding to the discussion…

@michaelmccurry

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Sam Smith February 9, 2010 at 6:38 am

Mike, I was in Indian Guides, too! Sweet!

It was a real pleasure to meet you face-to-face. I always enjoy your blog posts. This one especially – because it echos several of my same feelings and experiences from event camp. Super Post!!

As an attendee, I would like to thank you for helping to organize the event, moderating the hybrid meetings session and bringing the virtual attendee questions into the discussion.

The event was awesome and well worth the trip! Looking forward to seeing you soon!

– Sam

@samueljsmith

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Michael M McCurry CMP February 9, 2010 at 8:54 am

@Sam Smith,

The feeling is mutual, Sam. It was fantastic to spend so much quality time with such great people.

I was very impressed with your fish bowl session.. that was a real conference highlight! Your contributions at every level were awesome!

I look forward to seeing you more often, as you return to the US next month.

All the best to you and your family.

Mike

@michaelmccurry

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Ray Hansen February 10, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Mike,

great summary and I love the analogy in your post. It was a pleasure to meet you and the rest of the #eventprofs at Event Camp. The planning, promotion, content and interaction is a perfect example of the power of social media and the potential of what can be accomplished in our industry. Thank you and the planning team for all of your hard work it is extremely appreciated.

– CatFancy

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Kevin Richardson February 11, 2010 at 11:21 am

Mike,

Your analogy to Indian Tribes has had me thinking for the past few days and I appreciate the thought stretching you’ve inspired.

What I’ve been thinking about is how we guide associations & exhibitors to build these tribe-like platforms and show them how to engage and collaborate in new ways. Certainly EventCamp (leading by example) is one of those ways.

Bravo to the brain trust that conceived of this event, and kudos to all who came (in person and virtually) and smoked from the pipe of community together.

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Michael M McCurry CMP February 14, 2010 at 8:09 am

@rayhansen — Thanks for your comments .. it was a pleasure to meet you as well. What a great event this was and I will always remember it as one of the most engaging and connected conferences I have ever attended.

@Kevin Richardson — Love the “pipe of community” comment… You were a champion Virtual participant at this event. Kevin, it was amazing to see how your interactions fit in seamlessly to the event. Thanks for your contributions to Event Camp 2010… you were truly a leader.

@michaelmccurry

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