50th edition of Social Media Meetup Group, Social Media Breakfast was held today(April, 19th, 2011). The meetup group founded 50 weeks ago, is a fortnight short of reaching its annual anniversary. Commendable feat! A without fail, weekly meetup, where people come in to share thoughts on social media, also get excellent breakfast free of cost.
I have been part of most of them. Today's gathering discussed about the future course of this meeting. I and several regular attendees have enjoyed the hospitality of the host Simarpreet Singh, throughout the year, and he has agreed to take it forward in future too.
Simarpreet shared ideas behind the formation of this group and also how he would be adding some other dimensions to it. Roughly, a year ago he had used meetup to promote his new launch twitsnaps.com, inviting famous twitter personalities to share ideas on its usage, as panelists.
This time, however, he declined the possibility of this becoming a similar kind of session in future, at least not on a regular basis citing two reasons, 1) What better they can contribute than what they do on twitter, and 2) He does not want the group to listen to sermons of few people and not interacting among themselves. Both seems to be valid reasons.
I have noted on several occasions, Simarpreet does not like following people, simply because they are celebrities, sometimes he shares why he unfollowed X, some of which I can easily recall are: 1) They were not interactive; 2) They were serving automated tweets; 3) Though X is a famous TV personality, she has communal mindset.
All of us have their own reasons to follow and unfollow, however, if you can share the ideas on which you base your following and unfollowing decisions, you are very likely to refine and improve it, and convert it into principles.
Twitter is not the game of numbers, however, it does impact your thinking, because you react or tend to react to every tweet that goes through your timeline. Simarpreet, may not be a great twitter entertainer, in terms of number of followers, many other boasts of, but he surely is the master of interaction, taking it beyond twitter, which is the very purpose of tweeting.
Although Simarpreet is the owner and sponsor of this meetup group, he surely has not attended all the meetings, I've found him missing on many occasions. I myself haven't attended many of them however, Kaushik, his employee and organizer was visible in all the meetings I have attended, and should get some credit for continuity of this group for such a long time.
Evaluating the success of this group from organizer's and attendees' side, while organizer gets some PR boost at the cost of time and money, attendees have only time to scarifice and gain depends on their level of interaction with other members. Some online corporate twitter groups, like Four Square, have mastered the art of Twitter Best Practices and if you follow one, they will make you familiar with others through their tweets, mentioning them frequently, and follower of one are very likely to become follower of others.
Choosing the right occasion and time of mention is an art and those who want to pursue a career in social media management must master it to the hilt. It must look natural, at least. Simarpreet says, he may not be interested in maintaining a group of larger than twenty in the long run, and may have to rethink the strategy, if the situation arise, for it becomes uneconomical. A gathering of more than 20 is surely not something that can be entertained, if you can't see some kind of return in them.