unGeeked e’lite Social Media Retreat – Toronto

Last week I spent three days at the UnGeeked social media event in Toronto. Before the event began, I really didn’t know what to expect from it. I’d been to the CMA conferences for the past several years, but the format of UnGeeked appeared distinctly different. A smaller group, interactive format, heavily encouraging attendee participation. It struck me as a great idea, as I’ve always felt that discussion yields far more information than a one-way presentation, not just for the attendees, but for everyone involved.

UnGeeked did not disappoint. Even before the event began, I had excellent introductory chats with the others at my table. I really felt that the people in the room were very open-minded. It didn’t seem like any of them had any preconceived ideas about what the event should provide. It seemed like everyone was just willing to let the day unfold as it would, and to be as involved as possible.

When the speakers did begin their talks, I was struck by how friendly and humorous everyone appeared. It wasn’t that everyone just liked what they did, it was clear that everyone LOVED what they did. Each presenter was discussing a topic that ignited a passion within them, and their enthusiasm brought out the best in the audience. I am actually loathe to use the term ‘audience’, because we quickly felt that we were in a room full of colleagues and friends, not simple viewers watching a show.

It was clear, too, that the speakers that were present at the event were extremely knowledgeable about their topics, but also in a state of constant learning. This is very important to note, because when dealing with topics relating to social media, the environment surrounding them is constantly changing. What is ‘best practices’ today might be completely different next year, or even next month. It is an industry that is continually evolving, and one needs to recognize that no one really knows ‘everything’ about these new media channels. This is precisely why events like this are so crucial. It’s the best possible format to help people understand what’s happening right now, and what approaches to participating in these new channels will be the most successful.

I was impressed with the breadth of topics that were covered during the event. There was no area of social media that was left untouched. To name a few, we discussed: building trust, utilizing game mechanics, brand ambassadors, implementation tactics, psychological elements & body language communication, SM & customer service, location-based social media, green marketing factors, managing your personal brand, and social media policy.

I’m sure I don’t need to say, that’s a lot of discussion. And yet, it wasn’t overwhelming. The way topics were served back and forth among the people in the room made it much easier to absorb and understand. Hearing several different perspectives on a particular topic allows you to formulate a more balanced opinion, and to consider factors that might otherwise elude you.

Overall, I believe that CD Vann has put together a format that works in a way that other events don’t. One need not look any further than the stream of tweets that was coming out under the #ungeeked hashtag. The satisfaction of people at the event was incredible, and the mood and morale in the room was something that I’ve never felt to that degree in any other setting. It was a true bonding experience among the group. I left the event with some highly valued professional connections. The knowledge base that is now available to the attendees as a result of UnGeeked is astounding. I’m sure that the upcoming UnGeeked events will only continue to be as successful as the Toronto venue.

I highly recommend anyone who is able to attend an UnGeeked event to do so, and those who are not able I encourage you to do your best to find a way. I for one am extremely excited for the next UnGeeked that I am able to participate in. It was an experience that changed my perspective on these new media channels, and inspired me to strive for more as a marketing professional. Thank you, CD, for making this event a possibility, and thank you to everyone who was involved in making it such an overwhelming success. It truly was a unique and wonderful experience.