I spent the latter part of last week in Chicago for the Ragan Media Social Media Summit.
This is the first training seminar I've attended in probably ten years. I've just always been too busy at work for that type of thing, and I've always considered myself a bit of an expert who probably couldn't learn anything anyway. I was wrong.
I got into social media early because I knew that if we didn't occupy and control the social media space, someone else would. So yes, I occupy the social media space, but that's all I do. We treat it as a free video host or another platform for disseminating press releases and driving readers back to our website and media center.
What I haven't done is actually create a strategy for engaging readers and growing the brand through social media. I also haven't done any investigation into ROI. If I'm ever going to run my own business, I need to spend some time studying the financial returns these tool can bring to business and how to track it.
The summit not only opened my eyes to the full potential interaction we could be having with the public, it also scared me as to how much energy it will take to manage it if we reach that goal. Right now I don't have to monitor Twitter to respond to anybody. Some of these social media managers have to deal with flame wars at 2 a.m.
I was lazy and only took one photo during the entire seminar when Chris Boyer, who was presenting about ROI, ended his presentation with a Charleston style song on the ukulele about ROI. Hey, it made it memorable ...
I had planned to wander Chicago a bit and take some photos, but my back has been doing crazy things I have never previously experienced. I don't know if I really wrenched it sailing a couple weeks ago or if it's something else (old age), but just when I think it's better, the spasms come back, and it just hurts to move.
While stuck in the hotel spasming, I shot this long exposure of the view from my room.
The next day I did get to walk around a bit and took a few of the area near the college.
So I took like six photos total, and the entire time I'm thinking, geez, this 28mm just isn't wide enough on the Leica M8 with the APS-H crop factor. Yes, taking just a half dozen photos sent me back into camera lust mode wishing I could upgrade to a full frame system. I caught myself staring at Leica M9-Ps on eBay.
Do you know what my ROI on cameras has been this year? Around $36. That just barely paid for my Flickr Pro account. It didn't touch the $100 I invested into a Zenfolio account. It definitely doesn't cover the two $85 lens cleanings I've had this year. I need a new $6000 camera like I need a hole in the head -- but I really want one.
Common sense has prevailed ... for now. I'm going to make myself sell the M8 and possibly the M3 first if I do decide to upgrade to an M9 or the new M. I'd like to get back to a world where a 50mm is a 50mm. And yes, I could just shoot film, but I never shoot exactly 24 photos. I'll shoot three here, four there, 12 there. It takes weeks to finish a roll, but I might need them that day. It's a conundrum.
Then there's the question, do I get an M9 and a Sony NEX-6 for video or do I just wait for the M and have photo and video in one camera?
Enough boring camera talk.
This weekend I'll be at Cryptopalooza in Jefferson, Texas. This looks like it will be the biggest bigfooter conference in the nation. When it's right at my back door, how could I resist attending? Expect lots of photos and video.