Q & A With BlogPotomac Co-chairs Geoff Livingston and Debbie Weil
Geoff Livingston and I decided to interview each other as part of the Q & A series leading up to BlogPotomac, to be held here in Washington DC on June 13, 2008. Our social media marketing unconference is rapidly selling out, BTW, so don't wait if you want to attend. Register here.
We got a little more serious in our mutual interview than I intended. Namely, I forgot to mention that Geoff is a funny guy. I thought it would be a kick to work with him on the event; he hasn't disappointed...
Question: Why are you co-chairing BlogPotomac?
Debbie: First, because Geoff was kind enough to ask me. But second and more important, I fervently want to see a coherent social media community develop in Washington DC, as it has in many other cities. When I say coherent, I mean offline as well as online. And not just the cool young geeks. But to include marketers and comms professionals of all ages in the public, private and non-profit sectors.
wonderful as it is, is a very dispersed place. Virginia, Maryland,
Capitol Hill, in-town DC - they're concentric circles that don't
overlap very well. Like Geoff, I also want to give back to my hometown of almost 26 years.
Because Debbie and I were becoming friends and I wanted this event to be represented by the area's leading social marketing minds, it made sense to chair it with her. It's been great working with her, and she has helped me see some aspects of social media I would not have been introduced to if not for BlogPotomac.
Ironically, the third and actually the highest top ranked social media blogger in the area, Rohit Bhargava, ended up being our opening night speaker. So the top three marketing bloggers in the region according to the AdAge 150 -- all authors by the way (see here and here and here) -- have come together to bring best social media practices to DC.
For me, it's a service, and a way of giving back to a region that has been my professional home since 1994.
Question: Why aren't you one of the speakers?
Debbie: Because Geoff and I agreed that we didn't want or need the limelight with such a stellar line-up of speakers. Viget Labs, the third silent partner in this endeavor, who designed the logo and site, also felt that participating through organizing and creating the conference was the best way to move forward.
However, attendees will be hearing me throughout the day (Friday June 13, 2008) as I introduce our speakers along with fellow emcee Josh Hallett.
Geoff: I will actually be speaking in DC three times in June, and I attend a lot of events already. Aaron Brazell and I run our District of Corruption podcast, and my company is interim steward of the local Social Media Club. Locally, I feel I am accessible, and people have heard or are about to hear my schtick.
I felt the value was introducing local marketers to people they haven't heard, but that I have been blessed enough to meet during my journey. I know that Debbie and Brian Williams from Viget Labs felt the same way. I also felt having Josh Hallett there was really important as he started this whole BlogX thing.
As Livingston Communications is running the finances and operations of the event, having him emcee accomplished two purposes: Honor Josh, and free me to handle issues and make sure the event goes off smoothly. I will do the initial introduction of Debbie and Josh. The rest is pure service.
Question: What do you hope BlogPotomac will achieve?
Debbie: I've outlined my big picture goal above. More specifically, I'd like our attendees to leave with at least half a dozen specific ideas they can execute back at their offices, no matter what size their budget or how large or small their staff.
As they say... blog on. Or in this case... just do it!
Geoff: If everyone walks out understanding that social media is more than blogs and blogger relations, I'll feel like a champ. I also hope people will feel encouraged and excited to go experiment. Lastly, I hope we make a little profit to donate to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.