Keynote: The Social Web Is More Than Tweets the Eye


I wanted to push the limits of the garden-variety talk on Social Media last week when I presented the keynote address at the Hawaii Social Media Summit. First let me thank Quincy Solano and team from Technology News Bytes and our own Social Media Club Hawaii for creating a high energy event! (You were awesome Tara and Rob – I loved having you there with me.) And check out NonStop Honolulu’s photos from the Tweetup afterwards. And be sure to check out this video interview on KITV from 6:15 am that morning! Mahalo Yasmin Dar.

I expected a small percentage of people from “the choir” in the audience, with the large majority being local businesses – and this turned out to be true. So how can I entertain and keep my peers not just interested, but hopped up and motivated for the rest of the day, while talking as jargon-free as possible to the business managers who gave their precious time to be there?

Well, I relied on the tools of our trade, the principles of our practice, and the voices of my peers.

Tools of the Trade:
Use Twitter. I made sure to put up an advance slide listing my Twitter handle and the hashtag for the day, #HISMS. This allowed people to start interacting even before I came on stage. I was tweeting myself as I was being introduced (by the lovely Ramsay Wharton) and by sheer, beautiful coincidence, my friend CC Chapman direct messaged me right in that time-space continuum. I clicked “submit” on my reply to him as I walked up the stairs – telling him I was actually using a video of him in my presentation! That is the “Psychic Friends Network” for real.

Use More Interesting Presentation Tools. I completely understand the comfort and usefulness of having a presentation, but we really can now move beyond the “death by PowerPoint” type of presentations with too many words at too small a size, and nothing left to the imagination. I built my preso in Prezi – which is like a mind-mapping tool for presentations. The audience loved it and there was an entire side channel happening on Twitter talking about Prezi, among people in the audience as well “out there.” I love that! Here is the link to my Prezi.

Incorporate Rich Media. When I first learned I would have 90 minutes, I mildly freaked out! “I am not going to stand up there and lecture at folks for an hour and a half – we will all be brain dead by 10:30!” Speakers, I recommend wholeheartedly you resist the urge to feed your audiences facts and figures. Those can be found on Google. Or Hubspot. Instead I used a lot of video. Some from clips I had in my archive from 3-4 years ago, some from YouTube, some new video slide shows I made using photos from and also from Flickr. Remember, a picture is worth 1000 words, but a video is priceless!

Principles of Social Media Practice:
Transparency. I showed them my computer, in WYSIWYG fashion – when I goofed on switching applications, I made a manini mistake and they got to watch as I fixed it. That is so much more interesting, in these times, than just trying to be perfect. I also shared my nervousness about using Prezi for the first time to such a large group; I had previously only used it in small, private training programs. Share some of you, your energy, with them. Be real. It’s not as scary as it sounds, and I can tell you, I had as much fun as ever, and experienced a lot less stress. Walk at least as much as you talk. Better yet, dance! (We did. I love music and I love movement, so I shared that part of who I am.)

Get People Involved. Disruption is OK. Can you believe we were dancing to a large screen YouTube video of Cheryl Lynn’s, Got to Be Real? Well, I was, and a few people even joined me! I also stopped between each of my six points…to give people something to do related to the previous point, and give me a minute to check the Twitter stream!

Give People an Experience, don’t just talk about the experience. Oh baby we did this! I planted a trick on the audience, to let them know first hand how a social media event is different from your typical conference. (Think disruption, opinions, etc.) Thanks to my colleague, Jesse Stay, we had some drama of the entertaining kind, that was perfectly on point.

The Voices of My Peers:
Crowd-Sourcing. As I mentioned above under Rich Media, I used video clips I had taken from several of my peers. Why hear just my perspective, when I can bring you the insights of Gary Vaynerchuk, Chris Brogan, Laura Fitton, CC Chapman, my Mom, Blanche Benton, and Bubbe of Feed Me Bubbe! The cool thing was that those peeps got shout outs too on Twitter from the precious people in my audience.

Share My Network With You. I wanted to include the local Hawaii “social media types” so that the businesses in the audience would start to get to know all of you. Even though I was running out of time, with close to 30 hours into my prep, I put together a brief slide show of some of you – thanks to HawaiiIRL again. This is about real people, not just lists of names somewhere. And of course I included all of my fellow speakers too.

Go Outside My Network. I also used videos from YouTube that I found inspiring, most especially the Lost Generation and my new friend, @MermaidKariel. I also shared excerpts from a video from GigOm about how Multitasking affects our brains.

The Result?
We had a grand time. People left the room highly buzzed and ready to go absorb as much as they could from the other sessions and hallway interactions. I was so happy to receive so much praise – from so many new people as well as from my peers. We do things so often in something of a vacuum – for me, having my colleagues entertained was a very sweet feeling! You can look at the Twestimonials in our sidebar – it shows the tweets I favorited and for which I am so grateful!

Here are the presentations from my colleagues that have been posted; I will update as I get more:
Dan Zelikman, on Communities and Advertising
Andy Beal, on Reputation Management