I consider myself to be pretty adjusted when it comes to social media. I facebook, I tweet, and I blog occasionally (through my internship!). So when I was invited to represent CBS Detroit and CW50 at the second Social Media Day Detroit at MotorCity Casino Hotel, I figured the hours spent glued to my computer and typing away on my Blackberry would finally pay off.
The technology I experienced at Social Media Day Detroit (or #SMDay #Det for you Tweeters) was almost beyond my comprehension. Sports teams and companies are hiring social media firms to handle their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Major League Baseball has created a smart phone app that further enhances the experience at the ballpark. The Detroit Red Wings have daily contests for their Twitter followers. Not only is social media becoming a tool for people to connect with each other, but also for companies to connect with their consumers, or even for celebrities to connect with their fans.
One of the most fascinating impressions from #SMDay was the variety of people at Soundboard. I have always assumed that social media was for my generation; the generation that likes their information FAST and NOW. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see people older than my parents wielding tablets and smart phones throughout the evening. Some people were dressed up, and others were relaxed representing their favorite Tiger or Red Wing.
Scott Lehman, fellow intern and my cameraman for the evening, had some wonderful observations throughout the event. He said that it seemed like “the Auto Show of social media”. Instead of vehicles, companies had couches and televisions set up. The message was clear: “How can we connect with you?”
My inner Detroit sports fan was fully realized with all of the cool prizes being awarded. To use a baseball pun, they completely knocked it out of the park. Autographed memorabilia, tickets to a Tigers’ game, and an actual base from Comerica Park used in the game earlier that day! Scott and I didn’t win a prize, but I did get a picture with a Max Scherzer bobblehead, an inside joke only a few would understand.
Over 1,500 people attended this year’s #SMDay, a dramatic increase from the 400 attendees last year. Initially, only 1,000 tickets were available, but as the event grew more and more popular, the number increased from 1,000 to 1,500 to about 1,800. It’s easy to see why this was the second largest Social Media party in the world!
“We wanted to say thanks to our social media community” Jamie Favazza from Livio Radio explained to me. “This party gives everyone the chance to have off-screen interaction and to be able to put a face to a Twitter handle”.
I also got a chance to talk to Nicole Yelland and Jake Sigal from Livio Radio, John Policicchio from MotorCity Casino Hotel, Jake Duhaime from the Detroit Red Wings, and Ron Wade from the Detroit Tigers. Keep checking CBSDetroit.com and CW50Detroit.com and we’ll have video interviews soon.
Now, I wasn’t able to keep this under 140 characters, but I do encourage all skeptics to give Social Media a try. Who knows? Maybe I’ll see you next year.
Stephanie McClung is a community affairs intern for WWJ-TV / CW50 for summer 2011. Follow her on Twitter @InternStephanie