Despite the glitches, the best Social Media Club Sydney yet

If the tweetstream from last night’s Social Media Club Sydney is anything to go by, its size is becoming an issue for some people.  

Yesterday’s event at The Arthouse Hotel was the biggest yet. My very (uninformed) guess would be north of 400 people in the room. Which is pretty good going for a cold Monday night.

You can form your own impression on numbers based on my wobbly cameraphone footage from a few minutes before the formal bit got underway.


And that pan around the room shows what is to me the real value of the group – it’s a place where people who are interested in this stuff can get together. As you can see, there are lots of conversations going on.

Chatting to one person this morning who was there, but not yet on Twitter, he said: “I think I get social media now”. Meeting the people you’ve been talking to online certainly changes your perspective.

But as the tweetstream suggests, the AV for the formal part was not ideal, which made it tough for the speakers to keep the audience’s attention. The sound quality was a bit poor and some of the Powerpoint hard to read from further back. The stage was at one end of what is a longish, thinnish room and some of those further back did break into their own conversations. I don’t think that was down to the speakers – who knew their stuff – or the moderation (I’ve helped out at previous events and know I’d have been murdered last night). It wasn’t even down to rudeness from those at the back talking. It was just the dynamics of the room.

But the gathering does not deserve to be judged as one would a conference, for instance. It’s a free event, and those who organise it are volunteers. And it was also the first time in the newer, larger venue. Sydney is after all the biggest chapter of Social Media Club globally.

Next time, I gather that the organisers may be able to put the stage more centrally, which will probably help solve many of those issues. There will also be, I understand, a return of a visible live tweetstream, stressful as it can be for those on stage (I speak from experience…).

(Update: Jo Gitsham shares her views on the lack of a visible stream on the Dennis Rutzou PR blog.)

As a result of the acoustics, I didn’t follow the formal part – which was around social media metrics – as fully as I’d have liked. But one of the presentations – which were all strong – is now online if you want to see it. Jye Smith of Switched On Media gave his presentation on a Lord Of The Rings theme. You can see his thoughts on destroying the fucking ring here (it’s worth a look). Jye has also put up some pictures from the night too.

(Update: And Matt Granfield of DP Dialogue’s presentation is up now too.)

There’s also a good perspective from Rich Evans on the night. He asks:

“My question however is this, who benefits from the sorts of conversations and presentations they were giving? If the presentations are intended as conversation starters then they did that, but for the most part for the entirely wrong reasons.”

It’s a good point. Tangentially, I do wonder whether the nature of the subject matter and audience should be more conversational and less presentational. That does seem to be what social media is about.

Vodafone Telstra Optus social mediaMeanwhile, the event even brought together rival brands. This image shows Telstra, Optus and Vodafone representatives together (hat-tip Mike Hickinbotham). There are further Twitpics from the night aggregated at Roooby.

And according to Twitrratr (hat-tip @BenTortora), tweets for #smcsyd are running 81% neutral, 14% positive and 5% negative.

But even that doesn’t really convey the sentiment in the room. For those that stayed for the afterdrinks, it was a very good night with a really interesting mix of people to talk to. The new room lent itself better to that than the previous venue.

For me, despite the glitches, it was the best one yet.

Tim Burrowes


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