Nov 23, 2010

Getting social at the AME Conference

Time to reflect on the AME conference last week. Here are a few social media musings:

Twitter: Tweeting was fun and produced some relationships that I hope continue into the future. Maybe that’s enough. AME is an audience that doesn’t twitter much, so I’m going to watch closely through the year and into the next conference before concluding it’s a trivial pursuit. @AuburnNate became a new AMEConnect twitter friend, and is convinced that twitter has untapped power for us, and he graciously agreed to join the council. You can follow @AuburnNate, @AMEConnect, and many other cool folks by searching for #AMEConf2010, and start watching for #AMEConf2011. Use the hashtag for ideas if you have them.

LinkedIn: We had about twice the usual number of new members join the Association for Manufacturing Excellence LinkedIn group. Hope they like what they find and jump in. Next year it would be nice to have more discussion questions emerge from conference sessions.

Facebook: I’m not sure about Facebook’s role in a professional organization, but I’m a Facebook Neanderthal, so what do I know? We had a few picture postings, and might have had more if I had practiced using my new smarter-than-me phone. (Note to self…kata makes perfect.) Seems to me like the AMEConnect Facebook page is a good way to share the fun and elation we pick up every year at the conference, and we did have some comments and likes from our 135 friends.

Social media in other organizations:

One person I talked to was my friend Jim Garrick, who told me that Fedex employees were getting a lot of encouragement to twitter and otherwise shout out to other Fedex employees AND customers. It sounded unusual for such an operations-oriented company and I’m dying to know more. Oddly, it was hard to find social media on the Fedex website - I ended up on the press pages. Fedex Citizenship blog Fedex on Twitter

Kevin Meyer’s Specialty Silicones is a source for his Evolving Excellence blog. He had tweeted to me that he sent five people, and I managed to meet four of them. That included Standup Cy, who fabricated the standup desk Kevin blogged about a while ago. He’s become a social media celebrity since then.

Old-fashioned in-person social networking:
Social Networking Café: Bob Hafey set up a cookies and milk reception on early check-in night for social media denizens, though most of the people showed up because they saw the word “networking” on the sign Bob had set up in the registration area. Which was fine. People looked like they were having fun, and I met folks from Uganda, England, the Lehigh Valley in PA and down the road to the Eastern Shore in MD. Next year I’d like to have a couple more gatherings. In the bag given to people attending, there was a very nice brochure announcing the Café, with other social media tips for the conference. I don’t know about you, but I don’t pay much attention to those brochures.

Not our table, but could have been
Some rights reserved by veni markovski
Meetups: We tried getting twitter followers together in the Baltimore “Dine-Around” but there were only two new guys who came for that reason.  I also tweeted an “I’m here” at breakfast on Thursday to see what would happen. @Auburnate appeared as I was chatting with a chance table-mate from Chicago. Then @MartinGHerrera from MI-Swaco in Argentina appeared. We had been trying to get together since he first started following and using our hashtag before the conference. Martin, Nate, and John quickly began to discuss how to spread lean in their companies and each went away with a new thought and new friend. Did we need Twitter to accomplish that? Maybe not, but it broke the ice. And that’s where Nate shared his enthusiasm for social media and ideas for what to do next year. Can’t wait to hear more about them.

Sessions: We had 20+ people in each of our sessions on social media/networking, which I thought was amazing considering the topics and speakers in sessions competing with us. More people were interested in marketing aspects of social media than I expected. I still think that we should focus on social media as a support to lean journeys, but next year maybe we should add a social media marketing session. We had great questions from the group. Should we try to do some webinars?

Presentation: Collaborating with AME’s Social Media Council members Jason Semovoski and Ashley DeVecht produced a much better presentation than I would have produced on my own. Wonder if they feel the same way. Regardless, you can find “getting started with social media” and “  “ in the AMEConnect SlideShare space.

Home base: We didn’t really have a spot for people to find each other. It was like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The too-big-and-busy booth for next year’s Dallas Conference wasn’t the right place, and the little table with AME brochures on it wasn’t prominent enough. Maybe next year we will have a space that’s just right. And tables at mealtime with visible signage. Nate thinks we can fill at least three.

That’s the social media roundup. There was also a lot to learn about lean and continuous improvement in many industries and functions, the real reason why people take a week out of their lives to go. Many say that the AME annual conference is the best place to learn and get charged up. Follow us at #AMEConf2011. The website is Tip -- everything about the Baltimore conference is in red. Everything about next year’s Dallas conference is in blue.


Tim said...

Karen, for those of us who were not able to attend the conference this year, thank you to you and all the other tweeters who kept us up-to-date on what was going on.

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