Social media conferences are like Vegas

Social media conferences bring together thousands of people from across the country, sometimes the globe. People who have built friendships online finally get a chance to meet in real life. And, despite the great content that's offered at conferences such as Blogworld and SXSW, attendees know that the parties are where some of the best networking is.

Since social media quickens one's comfort level amongst strangers, when people finally meet in the flesh they feel as though they're longtime friends. This is one of the great aspects of social media, however that can also lead to some Vegas-like shenanigans. And we all know what happens in Vegas, ends up on Facebook.

For those attending a social media conference, remember that there are thousands of attendees with smartphones, laptops, tablets, and video cameras. The majority live on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ and most have blogs. These uber-connected folks make a habit of capturing the world around them. It's second nature.

So, if a social media conference is in your future, stay clear of the Vegas drama. Remember these 5 tips to maintain your reputation:

1. Nothing is private 
Even if you think you're having a private conversation, think again. People love sharing OH tweets (for newbies, that means tweeting something you've overheard).
2. You're always under surveillance 
Ok, it's not like when you're being watched by security cameras at the department store, but everyone at social media conferences thinks of their gadgets as their BFFs. Pictures and video are the life blood of these events. Know that at any moment, what you're doing could be documented and posted online for all the world to see. 
3. Everything you do is potential content 
What you say, what you look like, how you act, where you spend the night are all potential fodder (and content) for your fellow attendees. Bloggers are always on the lookout for something to write about. 
4. You're judged by the company you keep 
As with most every multi-day conference, people eventually fall into a crowd. A group they meet up with for meals, cab rides, and after hours antics. Others always notice the company we keep, for better or worse. Are you hanging out with the really smart kids or the ones who drink too much?
5. Don't overshare 
Opening up to people is great, but the person who you really like on day one could be your mortal enemy on day three. Do you want them to have all the dirt on you? Remember, don't gossip about others and don't freely divulge anything that could be used against you.

Remember, conferences are great places to learn and to network. The social gatherings are just as valuable as the sessions and the entire experience can help get you closer to your goals. Just make sure that your professional reputation is still intact by the time it's all over. 

* If you're reading this post via email or in a reader, click the headline to see the video that accompanies this piece.


  1. Good advice...looking forward to meeting you. Here's my shorthand...every door leads to the stage!


  2. I won't be at Blogworld or SXSW (sadly), but you offer great advice. Consider your post bookmarked. :)

  3. Crazy to think you can be in a social setting having a conversation only to have that show up online somewhere without your knowledge.  I myself haven't experienced too much of that as I've typically stuck with the actual conference sessions and some network events directly after.  Good advice and timely as I head to SES Chicago with wandering eyes!

  4. Looking forward to meeting you at the conference, too, Judy! Remember to throw a Slushie at me if you see me in the crowd!

  5. Thanks, Erin! Hope we cross paths IRL at some point ;-)

  6. I see it at tweetups sometimes and conferences are Vegas on steroids! Three days for BlogWorld and a minimum of four or five for SXSW brings lots of opportunity to drop one's guard (frequently, not for the better!).

    Thanks for stopping by, Jason! Have a great time at SES Chicago!

  7. Excellent post as always, Amber. It's interesting that the five conference-centric reputation management tips you give here are things that we all should be adhering to online every day. 

    Basically, where "back in the day" folks needed to be reminded how to act online (and, let's face it, lots of 'em still do), today we need to be educated on wise/proper behavior when dipping our cyber-toes back into the real world ...

    Not sure if this means we've all jumped a shark, entered a matrix, fallen down a rabbit hole or swallowed our own tails -- but it means sumptin', dagnabbit! (And I can't tell you how grateful I am that you're here to explain it all :-)

  8. Mmmmmm. Tastes like tail! (I've never heard that expression before!)

    You're so right, Hugh. I love what you're saying. I think social media has taught so many people to be uber-casual and that it's culture shock to put the professional face on again.

    Thanks so much for the great input, Hugh!

  9. Amber, aloha. Excellent points. Though I had not thought of it, I can certainly see where far too much could end up online even though it was intended to be private rather than public. Can't even begin to imagine how I would feel to see an OH convo of mine online.  Guaranteed I am going to be more careful of what I say and do in public.  Thanks for the wake up call.

    When I was collecting social media quotes from folks I know, Jure Klepic said "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas; what happens on twitter, stays on google forever."  However, with what you are saying "what happens in Vegas" may well be tweeted so that it stay on Google forever.

    Have fun at BlogWorld. Look forward to following the tweets.  Until next time, aloha.  Janet

    P.S. In the post that I am writing for tomorrow, I did a quick Google search on a business of mine that I closed some time ago and sure enough, there is an article from 1999 living on Google.

  10. Aloha, Janet!

    Ah, yes, no matter how smart or dumb we are, Google is there to mark the occasion. Our best friend and worst enemy all wrapped up into one!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject, Janet ;-)

  11.  It sounds like high school on speed!  Maybe there should be an award given to the attendee whose antics features in the most blogs/posts/tweets?  It could also be fun to see how much totally incorrect information you could get disseminated via OH tweets.  I hope this blog wasn't written via the 'voice of experience' Amber?!

  12. Hey Judy! BlogWorld starts on Thursday and this will be my first time. Although, I did follow all the tweets and photos last year and some of it reminded me of Mardi Gras! Although, I think it'll be tame by SXSW standards ;-)

  13. Well enjoy Blogworld Amber - and don't do anything I wouldn't do! ;-)  Look forward to lots of updates on the blogging world.

  14. Hahaha...this sounds like junior high...but, I think you are absolutely right...there are situations that bring out the junior high-ness in all of us so we really need to be reminded and mindful of exhibiting good behavior.  Not that age precludes one from bad behavior, but I do think that age does bring with it a certain wisdom that lessens the chances of ending up on some questionable YouTube video ;-) I can only hope, though.

    Thanks for a fun and appropriate post.  I promise that if we ever meet, Amber, I will mind my p's & q's ;-)

  15. Hey Claudia! Ha ha. Good points!

    I think it probably doesn't help people's inhibitions that many parties come with an open bar. The opening night party for BlogWorld this evening was sponsored by Heineken and some new vodka. Lots of free flowing booze may provide the opportunity for some interesting, and unflattering, photos.

    As for the p's and q's, I'm sure yours are perfectly delightful ;-)

  16. sounds like fun but I don't have the time to go.. I've only been to Vegas once..

  17. Well, if I'm there without my wife I would probably end up with the drink too much crowd; but that's because I'm social like that..........:). And of course I've been kicked in the shins by my wife for TMI at times because apparently I have a tendency to divulge too much information in social settings.
    Here's my spiel; my work e-mail is my personal e-mail for all intent and purposes. I might be goofy and some might think inappropriate at times, but whatever I write and say would be repeatable to a room full of people. If I was running for political office, I would survive; it might get a little uncomfortable at times, but I would survive. I'm the same on social; I might throw some crazy stuff out there but I full well know there is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing private in our little social bubble. Once again, could I pass the 'political office' test? Sure, it might make me cringe at times, but it wouldn't kill me.Common sense is still appropriate away from home, huh? 

  18. Ha, not likely Claudia; I've heard once you get out of your neighborhood you are a completely different person..........

    Maybe not Jr High but every time my guy friends and I get together w/out spouses we act like we are in college again. I have a 'memorable' story from just a month ago that still makes me shake my head.........but we had fun.........:).

  19. I'm thinking that it would be *cough* therapeutic to share that memorable story from last month Bill ;-)  Maybe we could all shake our collective heads ;-)

  20. Can't wait to hear about your experiences at BlogWorld Amber!!  We can live vicariously through your eyes...
    Have fun!!

  21. I'm sure there will be no shortage of BlogWorld recaps bombarding the Twittersphere next week! ;-)

  22. Vegas has changed so much. It's a different place than it was a few years ago. Shenanigans are still guaranteed, though!

  23. Love the political office test! That's a great way to judge behavior. Although the running for office ethics seem to vary GREATLY from the already in office ethics (or lack thereof)!

  24. Haha! I've always wondered how these conferences work. I mean, I guess we have to be careful about the "social" since they're *social* media conferences. =P I really appreciate these tips because I would have never thought about these potential consequences of my social actions! It's so true that "Bloggers are always on the lookout for something to write about." =P All the more reason to be careful!

  25. There's always a few rogue troublemakers in every group, isn't there? Better safe than sorry! A reputation takes a lifetime to build and only minutes to destroy! ;-(

    Thanks for stopping by, Samantha!


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