On board with naval networking: Social Media Week

Business Careers Events London Media Writing

Yesterday saw my second ever stab at hosting an event, and I’m still reeling. Established for writers, bloggers, editors, videographers, designers, producers, PRs and any other content creator ‘meedya’ types, the CCC is basically just a place for people exactly like me.

And if you’re immersed in digital like I am you’ll already know what a buzz it is to listen to people wax lyrical about ‘how to be a brand’, why really, really great writing still trumps all and that warm feeling you get every time someone you don’t know retweets you.

With offices on the HMS President (1918) on the Victoria Embankment, some might say I have a bit of an unfair advantage when it comes to venue locations – but really, you have to work your angles. So along I went to Monday’s opening party for Social Media Week, ferociously thrusting my business card upon anyone who crossed my path, shouting, tweeting and generally bugging everyone about the fact that ours was the only event for Social Media Week London that was on A RUDDY GREAT BOAT.

It seemed to work; through social events site Meetup, a few press releases, listings, articles and blog posts (the joy of content), people seemed to know about the Content Creation Collective (or CCC as I like to term it). And almost 200 people showed up, only a couple of whom were friends coming to support my efforts. We even had to put out more chairs to cater to them all. It’s a rather disconcerting thing to look around a room, not really know anyone, but know that they know who you are. Lots of “Hi Natalie!”s.

With the upper deck, bar and ballroom swathed in fairy lights, drapes and mood lighting, the ship stopped looking like my workplace and started looking like an amazing venue. Everyone kept coming up to me and saying how no other event for Social Media Week had views like this.

And then came the speakers (both of whom I’d wooed via social media): Emma Gannon (@girllostinthecity), a confident social chameleon who the bloggers in the audience aspired to, and Philip Calvert, a seasoned speaker who captured the crowd with his hilarious slides and bullet-proof industry knowledge.

Nobody left the ballroom between talks, not even to go to the bar. People frantically scribbled their notes. There were loads of questions. The (admittedly overlong) #contentcreationcollective hashtag was going off in overdrive.

My only job was to welcome, greet and introduce the speakers, but I was so anxious about how everything would be received, I almost didn’t believe them when they came up to me in their droves and thanked me for a flawless event.

Of course, Emma and Philip completely had the crowd at “hello”. I just facilitated it. I almost feel like a bit of an imposter taking any of the credit for it.

But with many people staying till late to drink and network, and with so many incredible tweets that it took me all of this morning to read through them all, I can honestly say that the feeling of throwing an event that so many people enjoyed is hard to beat.

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