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.
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