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Chris Brogan, Trust Agents and Social Media: Old-Fashioned Common Sense

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation made my Chris Brogan.  Through Thursday you can purchase a DVD of the eventChristine Taylor and JTMar partnered with Stage Post Studios to not only make Chris available in person to several hundred Nashvillians, but they also streamed the event online, including incorporating questions via Twitter and by phone all in real time.  Everyone in attendance also receive an autographed copy of Chris’ new book Trust Agents, written with Julien Smith.

Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan, co-author of Trust Agents

Photo credit, affiliatesummit

The name Chris Brogan has become synonymous with all things social media.  Many consider him to be the authority on the subject and the single best example for individuals desiring to be viewed as thought leaders and influencers and for companies hoping to more intimately connect with customers.

Needless to say, none of us were disappointed.  However, I did find myself continually thinking, “This all sounds so familiar.”  Chris himself mentioned more than once that so much of what works in the online world is truly nothing more than good ol’ fashioned common sense.  Help other people first.

I think Zig Ziglar said it best years ago:  “You can get everything in life you want, if you can just help enough other people get what they want.”  You could even go back a little further.  Remember the Golden Rule?  To paraphrase, it says, in essence, treat other people the way you yourself desire to be treated.  Or, as Chris so succinctly puts it,  exercise some “common sense.”

Julien Smith, co-author of Trust Agents

Julien Smith, co-author of Trust Agents

Photo credit, affiliatesummit

It shouldn’t be hard, right?  Yet every day, each of us finds ourselves interacting with someone who has either failed to understand it, or understands it and is simply choosing to ignore it (maybe, heaven forbid, it’s that person in the mirror).  The best illustration I’ve ever heard that really helped to put this into perspective came from Chris yesterday.

Imagine someone you’re being introduced to for the first time has just reached out to shake your hand.  You oblige and then waste no time as you stick your tongue in their mouth.

As extreme as that sounds, it’s essentially what so many who don’t “get it” are doing every day.  How many times do you receive a friend request on Facebook (or a “follow” on Twitter or, name your platform) from someone you don’t know – and who hasn’t taken the time to even include a personal message of introduction – that is soon followed by a note about what services or product they offer that you might be interested in?

If you’ve ever chatted with someone with experience waiting tables, you’re likely to find they view the Sunday “after church” crowd as one of the worst group of tippers around (at least that’s what my anecdotal research reveals).  In some cases, the waiter or waitress is more likely to find a tract (a plan of salvation) than a tip once the table empties (just what the world needs: Christians who go around sticking their tongues in people’s mouths).

I’m embarrassed to admit that 25 years ago, as a young believer, I actually did this.  Mind you, I left a tip too, but apparently had no problem with leaving a stranger’s eternal destination up to a piece of paper.  As far as I was concerned, I’d fulfilled my obligation.  If the message didn’t sink in, that was their problem.  Investing in people’s lives was hard.  This was so much easier.  “Hurray, I planted another seed,” I told myself.

Did any of them take root?  The evidence is weak at best.  Let’s just say that if and when I get to heaven, I doubt there will be anyone eager to shake my hand.

This post is dedicated to my grandfather, William Otis Holladay, who, at 91, passed away earlier today.  A veteran of World War II, he was the epitome of common sense.  I have no doubt that in heaven, there is a long line ready to greet him.

The New Seesmic: Update Facebook Pages and Twitter Accounts From a Single App

Did I recently post I’d given up on Seesmic?  Why, yes I did.

But wait.

No sooner had I gone back to TweetDeck – and I still really like the newest version of TweetDeck – the folks at Seesmic stepped up their game and added Facebook page functionality to the interface.

As someone who manages up to four Twitter accounts and five Facebook pages at any given time, I’d longed for a third-party app that would allow me to do this.

Until now, I’d utilized  Seesmic or TweetDeck to update multiple Twitter accounts only.  When I needed to update all five Facebook pages with the same status, I leaned on Ping.fm.  With the new Seesmic, managing these accounts across separate platforms is no longer necessary.

It’ll be interesting to see if TweetDeck can respond to the call.  If you too manage multiple accounts on Twitter and Facebook, or even if you manage a single Twitter account, a single Facebook profile and a single Facebook page, this new version of Seesmic certainly seems like you’re best app option moving forward.

The New and Improved TweetDeck

Okay, so it’s a little rough around the edges (the video quality could be clearer and the audio louder), but it is, nonetheless, my first attempt at desktop video by a new service I discovered the other day called Screenr.

Here, I take a stab at explaining some of the new updates in the latest version of TweetDeck.  I left TweetDeck in May for Seesmic.  Recently though, Seesmic has begun to crash on me quite regularly.

And, while I love these new updates to TweetDeck and have switched back in large part because of them, I’m still having one relatively major issue.  Every time I open TweetDeck, none of my columns show up and I have to re-populate the application with them (frustrating to say the least).  Later today, I plan to uninstall and then reinstall the app to see if that resolves the problem.

By the way, my friend John Haydon inspired this particular video.  He happens to be a lot better at it than I am (and is also smart enough to be doing it on a Mac).

Apple’s New Nano: Radio Reinvented

If you own a DVR and have realized that watching television is an entirely new and fresh experience when you truly are in control, then have I got a product for you.

In case you missed the announcement yesterday, one of the many features of the new iPod Nano is an FM tuner.  But not just any FM tuner mind you.  Side note: I honestly think those in the industry clamoring for an FM transmitter to be added to everything from your toaster to your blow dryer are wasting their time.  The need still exists to think of your radio station beyond your terrestrial FM signal.

Having said that, I underestimated the power of a company like Apple to completely reinvent the experience.  If you’re like me and own a DVR, or listen to podcasts often, or generally appreciate the power of time shifting the content you consume, you too may have found yourself reaching for your radio dial attempting to do the impossible: rewind the feed to confirm you did indeed just hear the phrase “F hole.”

Guess what?  You can do that now.  Interrupted while listening?  Pause the song that’s playing and pick up where you left off.  If the station allows song tagging, you can even “bookmark” the song so that the next time you sync your Nano with iTunes, you can go through your list of tagged songs, preview them and purchase the ones you want.

I’ve recently begun to notice more and more the “radio is not where it’s at” montra.  If you’re an artist or a label, replacing radio as a destination for your music is not only unwise, it’s just plain dumb.   Why would you when radio listening could directly result in the purchase of one of your songs?

Don’t look now but I think listening to the radio just became cool again; for the average consumer as well as the industry.  Thanks Apple.

Am I wrong?  Do these seem like cool features to you as a consumer?  Do you like the idea of being able to pause your radio?  Rewind it?  Fast forward it?  Tag a song?  What difficulties does this present for advertisers, if any?

Don Miller: Tour and New Book

I’m as excited as I’ve been in a long time.  88.7 WAY-FM is partnering with Chaffee Management Group to bring author Donald Miller to Nashville to speak in November.  He’s probably best known for his New York Times best-selling book Blue Like Jazz.

As a book review blogger for Thomas Nelson Publishers, I also confirmed today I’ll be receiving one of just 250 review copies of his new book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – a review of which you’ll find here on September 29th, the same day the book hits store shelves.

iStock_000008901096XSmall

In the meantime, I thought I’d pass along to you a bit of a sneak peak into what’s in store from Don’s new book.  Feel free to share these materials with your network and, if you’re in the Nashville area, stay tuned to 88.7 WAY-FM for more on where and when you’ll find Don Miller speaking.

Let’s Get Viral

First, Thomas Nelson has taken the liberty of uploading the first 20 pages or so of the book to ScribdScribd is a website that brings the concept of “social” to publishing and describes itself as “the website where more than 60 million people each month discover and share original writings and documents.”

I’ve embedded the Scribd preview below, but you can also visit the site itself (just click the link at the bottom of the Scribd frame or the one in this sentence).  You can also share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and more than 30 other social networking sites.

Next comes a three-part YouTube video interview Donald did with Michael Hyatt, CEO at Thomas Nelson.  Don, not to mention Michael, comes across as just a regular, very down-to-earth guy.  If you have dreams of being a writer some day, let Don inspire you to not let go of that dream.



Additionally, there’s this really cool video widget you may have seen me share a few weeks back if you’re a friend of mine on Facebook.  In addition to Facebook, it can be added to your blog’s sidebar, shared via Twitter and as many as a few dozen other places you might frequent online.

[clearspring_widget title=”Donald Miller: Million Miles Tour” wid=”4a71a0d82e788bc1″ pid=”4a9c7e6847e4d1f8″ width=”358″ height=”315″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

The widget also allows you to download and preview an audio chapter from the book.  If  you prefer, you can even listen right now by linking to my Chirbit profile.

Officially, tickets for Don’s Nashville appearance are set to go on sale from the 88.7 WAY-FM website beginning September 20th.  However, I’m toying with the idea of sneaking the ticket link out a little early either through our Facebook Page, our Twitter account, this blog or all three simultaneously.  Stay Tuned!

What are your thoughts on sneaking the ticket link out early via our social networking sites versus a more public “heads-up” on the air?

What Gives? Or, Fundraising Made Simple

If you work for a non-profit, chances are you don’t have the luxury of a several thousand watt mouthpiece with which to disseminate your message.  Even when you do, as in the case of non-commercial radio stations like the one for which I work, raising the necessary funds to keep the organization running smoothly can often times be daunting, especially considering our country’s economic health over the last year or so.

iStock_000007088099XSmall

At the height of the economic slump last October, our middle-Tennessee group of WAY-FM stations came through one of their worst Pledge Drives ever, reaching only around 80% of the overall goal.   However, since that time, we’ve seen them experience two of their most successful fundraisers in the stations’ history (116% and 113% for our spring Pledge Drive and summer fundraiser, respectively).  It is my humble belief that, at its very core, that success is due in large part to nothing more than the simplification of the message.

Gone are the days of wiping the slate clean at the beginning of each drive and choosing not to assume those who gave during the last one will do so again (hard to believe we did that up until a few years ago).    Gone are the days of communicating separate monthly and single (one-time) goals.  Gone are the days of communicating the financial goal on the air at all.  Gone are the days of sharing about all the different ways to give and the levels of giving and the names for each and on and on and on.

Put simply, the focus of the goal over our last two fundraisers has moved from the laundry list above to the number of people from whom we must hear.  In other words, the goal is not, say, $100,000 or whatever the amount, but instead is “Will you be one of X number of people to respond.”

How can I help you?

Last spring that number was 1,000.  Last week it was 500.  The only other message we communicate on the air is exactly what we want these 500 or 1,000 people to do.  That might be a $100 donation (as was the case with our short, 2-day Race to 500 fundraiser last week).  Or, for larger, more critical fundraisers (like our spring and fall Pledge Drives), that might be “$10 a month or more.”

From the moment we turn on our mics, to the moment we end our drives, we track the number of people who have called or gone online and pledged the suggested amount.  Sure, some folks will do more, and others will do less (those donations still count in the end, or course), but our focus on the air is on the number of listeners donating (at a modest, minimum amount).  We take it a step further and break it down in smaller, bite-sized chunks as we go.  “This hour, will you be one of 30 people with a $100 donation?”

This method won’t work for every non-profit, but even if you don’t have a megaphone with which to broadcast your message, you still communicate with your donors in other ways, right?  What about your e-blasts, your newsletters or other mailings?  Is the message too convoluted?  If so, I hope reading this has sparked some ideas for simplifying your messages.

Needless to say, if you’re part of a non-commercial radio station or a commercial station that involves itself in occasional fundraising efforts, I highly suggest you give this simplified method a try.  I believe you’ll find that it’s not only easier to communicate for your on-air talent, but that listeners will be more likely to respond because they know and understand exactly what it is you need them to do.

UPDATE:

In my original draft, I gave credit to this idea within our company to Steve Young, General Manager at WAY-FM in Tallahassee.  That credit was inadvertently omitted in the final draft.

The Race to 500

At WAY-FM, we like to have fun.  So, as we planned for next week’s 2-day fundraiser called the “Race to 500,” we decided to create a video to help get the word out.

If you share our passion for seeing lives changed through music, I hope you’ll join us on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.  We’re asking for 500 listeners to consider a $100 donation to the station.  If you’ve considered a donation before but, for whatever reason, couldn’t or weren’t sure about making a monthly commitment, this is a great way to get your feet wet, so to speak.

I invite you to tune in Tuesday and Wednesday from 6am to 6pm both days for the “Race to 500.”  You’ll hear numerous stories of young lives impacted through a simple radio station and the music it plays.  2 days, 500 people, each donating $100.  Together we’ll continue to change even more lives through the power of music.

If you’d like more information just visit our website and click the “Race to 500” banner.  And thanks for considering partnering with us.   I truly appreciate it.

All Access Interview

Recently, I was asked by Jackie Chapman (jchapman[at]allaccess[dot]com), the editor over at allaccess.com, to participate in their “10 Questions with” series.  All Access is a very useful and informative broadcast and music industry, members-only website.

Questions and Answers signpost

I thought I’d share my answers here before the interview is published on their site and, in the event you’re not an All Access member, give you the chance to see into my radio philosophies are little more deeply.

In addition to the “10 Questions,” I was given the option of answering 6 bonus questions.  My answers to the first 10 are wordy enough, so if you decide there’s not time to check out the whole interview, I’d skip the bonus questions.

10 Questions – Jeff Brown

NAME:            Jeff Brown (@thejeffbrown on Twitter)

TITLE:             Operations Director

WEBSITE:       wayfm.com

STATION:       88.7 WAY-FM (WAYM).  Also  88.3 WAY-FM (WAYQ) and 88.1 WAY-FM (WAYD)

MARKET:       Nashville (also Clarksville, TN, Bowling Green, KY among others)

COMPANY:   WAY-FM Media Group, Inc.

BORN (WHERE AND/OR WHEN): Indianapolis, IN / January 11, 1966

RAISED:          Indianapolis

BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:

Jeff did stints at several Indiana stations (WERK, WLBC and WXIR) in the 80s and 90s before moving to Nashville in 1996 to accept a radio promotions position with Myrrh Records, helping launch the career of Jaci Velasquez.  After stops at three other labels, Jeff joined WAY-FM full-time in 2000.  Jeff was promoted from production director to program director in January 2005.  After co-hosting several award-winning incarnations of the CHRSN Network morning show, he retired from full-time on-air duties in July 2008.  Now, as operations director, he is heavily involved in the day-to-day community impact of three of WAY-FM’s middle Tennessee stations with duties encompassing the areas of traditional marketing, social media (including his own music, radio and social media-focused blog at thejeffbrown.me), creative writing and community leadership.  He lives in Spring Hill, TN with his wife Annie and their two boys Fritz and Frank (miniature Dachshunds).

1) What was your first job in the industry? Did you have any mentors early on?

My first job was with WLBC in Muncie, IN (Top 40).  I did weekends until I pissed off a bunch of high school basketball sponsors with my on-air comments one night (my music-oriented show followed the sports coverage).  Seems those small markets are all about the sponsors.  Not many mentors back then.  It was sort of an every-man-for-himself environment.  Maybe a mentor or two might’ve helped me keep the job longer; though I can say losing that job directly led to my salvation, so maybe mentors are overrated.

2) What does your routine for morning prep include?

Not unlike most I would assume.  I incorporate a combination of showering, shaving and brushing my teeth along with getting dressed, patting my puppies on the head and kissing my wife as I leave.  Apparently the person writing these questions doesn’t realize I haven’t done mornings for a year.

3) What has been your favorite feature/spoof/promotion in the past year at your station?

It would have to be one of the most simple.  In March, a neighborhood in the nearby community of Murfreesboro was seriously impacted by a tornado.  We teamed with a Murfreesboro church to collect new and partially used gift cards for victims.  The response was very encouraging.  Because of the time of year this happened, the gift card idea (as opposed to cash) seemed to resonate.  Many who had yet to use all or part of gift cards received at Christmastime forfeited them for the benefit of others.  Local businesses (which we didn’t anticipate) even got in on the act.

4) Who is your favorite on-air personality NOT at your station?

Since you weren’t specific, I’ll say Brant Hansen.  He’s ON my station but not technically AT my station (I like taking advantage of loopholes).  Don’t try to hire him away from WAY-FM.  If I find out, I will kill you (watch out AIR1).  Second would be Scott Smith (apparently, Z88 is a kill-free zone).

5) What does Christian radio need to do to break through to a mass audience on a more consistent basis?

To be brave enough to hire personalities who know how to communicate like real, transparent, fallible, imperfect human beings (a la the aforementioned Brant and Scott, along with Donna Cruz and Wally from Total Axxess), and be prepared to back them up when all the crusaders start coming out of the woodwork who didn’t give a crap about your station when you played it safe.  As long as stations are content with “good enough,” “great” will always be just out of reach.  Sure, with the top talent, you have to deal with the occasional ego, but I think it’s worth it in the long run.  Having said that, I wouldn’t want to be Wally’s supervisor.

6) What are the greatest challenges in your position/job?

Same as everyone else: finding the time to do all the things I want to do.  Social media participation, for example, can sometimes be a time suck when you add it all up, but ignoring it or making it one of my ‘back burner’ items is not an option.

7) And what are the greatest rewards in your position/job?

Working for the same company for 10 years, a new personal record, times five.  I am blessed to be surrounded by some of the brightest minds in the business (Matt Austin chief among them), as well as up-and-coming talents like Katie Sivyer.

8) If you could have any other job outside radio, what would it be?

I think I’d enjoy consulting other stations/companies on the effective use of the social media tools available to them. At one point in my life I thought I’d be performing in front of arena-sized crowds singing and writing songs that make the whole world sing (or acting, writing screenplays or any other number of creative outlets).  Fortunately, radio provides many similar outlets.

9) Any favorite or funny artist run-ins? Highlights from a promotion or interview?

With few exceptions, I’m underwhelmed by most artists.  Many are horrible at the interview process (as are most radio people, unfortunately).  Even if they’re not horrible, often they so hate doing yet another interview with yet another unprepared, wasting-my-time radio jock that they can’t help but let their boredom and disdain show through.  It’s sort of the chicken and egg question though.  I’m not sure which came first, the lazy jock or the bored artist.

I’ve already mentioned the on-air talent I admire.  On the artist side, I think the true pros are people like Matthew West.  If every artist were of his caliber insofar as their ability to communicate minus the instrument, we’d have some pretty fascinating interviews taking place.

10) You’re an active Twitter user. Why? What is your reason?

Anyone who believes Twitter is for idiots (or “stupid crap” to quote David Letterman) has obviously never taken the time to investigate what can happen when you tap into its potential.  I often hear the phrase “too much time on your hands” from people critical of those of us who tweet.  I don’t know about you, but it takes me about 30 seconds to type 140 characters.  I repeat that process anywhere from 5 to 15 times a day for a total investment of about 3 to 10 minutes daily.  And, yes, I’ll occasionally dip my toe into the Twitter stream to see what’s happening.  But, if you’re convinced that tweeting alone requires much more time than that, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you didn’t graduate from a respectable college.

In regard to our station’s use of the platform, we have one account dedicated to traffic and weather updates, having recently separated those updates from our main account.  Anyone following @WAYtoWorkUpdate on Twitter (or any other account for that matter), can elect to have our “update” tweets sent straight to their mobile device.  When you consider cell/smart phones are probably our single biggest competitor for in-car listening, I think getting your listener’s attention (with their permission) on that very device and reminding them of who you are (while providing a valuable service) is a pretty good use of the technology.

Our main account (@wayfm_nashville) is branded with a human face.  This face (Katie) happens to handle the local elements for 88.7 WAY-FM during Mornings with Brant (the network morning show) so listeners know who she is.  She’s young, hip and right in the demo.  She tweets from a personal perspective as well as occasionally about things happening on the air right now or at the radio station in general.  Probably most importantly, she’s engaging our listeners in this space on a daily basis and developing relationships, giving listeners yet another “touch point” with the station.

Additionally, I’m contemplating a Casting Crowns ticket give away via this Twitter account.  Followers would be instructed to simply write a tweet that includes the hashtag #castingcrowns (or some other specific tag we choose) in order to be entered.  These are instantly searchable.  I can use a third-party service too if need be to select a random winner.  The cool part is it has the potential to be seen by everyone who follows each person who does this.  Currently we have 1,800 followers to our @wayfm_nashville Twitter account.

There are pros and cons.  If you allow each participant to tweet the tag multiple times (much more “viral” potential and better for us) you may risk ticking off the Twittersphere because you risk filling Twitter timelines with what might be viewed by some as spam if it gets out of hand.  Our plan to combat that is to suggest one “entry” per person.  It’s not quite as viral, but it’s much closer to a win-win for all involved than is the other scenario.

I’m also monitoring our company’s brand mentions on Twitter (along with blogs and the web in general).  Sure, I could monitor our brand on Twitter without an account, but maintaining one allows me the opportunity to engage those who do mention us?

Finally, if you don’t want to invest into it then don’t (time is the only investment, as it’s free).  That’s your call.  But please don’t criticize those who do.  I’m serious when I say that simply “following” key people on Twitter and just “listening,” even without any real engagement on your part, can be a near college education all by itself.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

1)      Do you read everything or nothing? Do you have any favorite magazines, books, newspapers?

I read Fast Company & Wired religiously.  I try to get my head out of the broadcast-only pubs mindset (are there any left?) and force myself to think about my station existing beyond the terrestrial signal and more as a media company.  I think we should be formulating plans for other ways for listeners to consume our content and consistently creating new and compelling content in a variety of spaces and formats (including online consumable, bite-sized audio and video, blogs, social media, etc.).  But while you’re at it, make sure you approach everything from a WIIFM camera angle.

I’d also recommend the following books (not a complete list): Tribes, Pyromarketing, Faith-Based Marketing, Good to Great, Made to Stick, A New Brand World and Tribal Knowledge.  You might also want to read the blogs of Chris Brogan, Seth Godin and John Haydon to name a few.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say Friendfeed, Seesmic, TweetDeck or Google Wave, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

2)      What music is in your CD player/on your iPod right now?

Not much. I’m a podcast guy.  Most 21st century music has sucked thus far (save for Brandon Heath, Mat Kearney, Fireflight, Downhere and a few others).  I have hundreds of songs on my iPod but I rarely listen to them.

3)      Cat or dog person?

Cats are of the devil.

4)      Describe your favorite meal.

It would involve the killing of some animal and then eating said animal, just the way God intended.

5)      What is your favorite quote?

“Revenge is a dish best served cold.”  Refer back to answer 4 in the original 10 questions.

6)      If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want to have with you and why?

I really don’t know.  Stranded in an airport is a better scenario.  Strand me on an island and all I’ll be able to think about is how to get off it.  Strand me in an airport and give me my laptop or smart phone, my iPod, etc.  In other words: any electronic device that can allow me to continue to be productive OR completely waste away the hours.  My choice.  Islands don’t have electricity.  You may as well feed me to the sharks.

Oh Ye Consumer of Little Faith

Have you heard the news?  You want, no, you desire something you don’t even know exists.  As soon as you realize it exists, you’ll no doubt find it all but impossible to control the impulsive urge to go out an buy one right away. 

Best Buy thinks so.  And so does much of the radio industry.  How could these two behemoths possibly be wrong?  From All Access:

Portable HD Radio Comes To Best Buy
Insignia Radio

Portability come to HD, as BEST BUY has launched the INSIGNIA HD RADIO PORTABLE PLAYER. As the first-ever portable HD RADIO player, the INSIGNIA HD RADIO Portable Player will make it possible for listeners to take the HD RADIO experience on the go.

“The sound quality and LCD screen features of the INSIGNIA HD RADIO portable are phenomenal,” said INSIGNIA PORTABLE HD RADIO Product Manager MIKE DAHNERT.

“We applaud BEST BUY for setting a precedent in the audio entertainment marketplace by offering the first-ever portable HD RADIO receiver,” said iBIQUITY Pres./CEO BOB STRUBLE. “With new HD2/HD3 digital channels, crystal-clear sound, no subscription fees, and now, thanks to BEST BUY, the ability to take digital radio on the go, it’s a total win for the consumer and one more indication that the HD RADIO momentum is continuing.”

No word yet on whether they’ll be stocking them in the dieing, after-market car audio/satellite radio section, or at a brand new HD radio kiosk near you!

Oh ye consumer of little faith, do you even know what programming is available to you right now in your town via an HD radio you have to buy in order to receive said programming in the first place?

I didn’t think so.

Lovers of Tech, Activate! Form of…Geeks!

Yesterday morning I had the privilege of enjoying breakfast with 29 self-declared Geeks and lovers of all things tech, web 2.0, blogging, podcasting, Twitter, social media and on and on.  It’s affectionately referred to as Geek Breakfast.  In this case, the Franklin – Spring Hill, TN Geek Breakfast.

table 1 and 2 - birds eye

A month ago, I knew virtually none of these people.  But that’s the great thing about the web.  Launch your group or community (in this case a Facebook group) and watch the magic happen.

With very little effort on my part, this group has grown to include nearly 100 participants.  Last month’s breakfast, the first, saw almost a quarter of that group in attendance.

I share all this to simply do one thing – encourage you.  If I can do it, anyone can.  If you’ve been putting off starting your own group – wherever or whatever that might be – you have no more excuses.  Social media makes it easier than ever.  Don’t like Facebook because not everyone has access?  Try launching your own network with a service like Ning.  Or wherever.  You decide.

Just do it.  It’s easier than you think.