Part Deux (Oh that was funny, come on laugh, you know you want to…)

The History:

If you don’t know who Ken Grant is, you may want to do a little Twitter search on the guy (@kengrantde).  Ken is a true connector, he stumbled into Social Media sometime fairly recently and has been going gangbusters since then (I think the blame is on Rebecca Faber @rfaber for that).  He is the guy in Delaware who does it all.  I get a fairly regular flow of “Maya meet  _____,  _____ meet Maya” emails of introduction.  He connects the Dots, and he also created the First State Social Media Initiative.  Delaware is a small state, and it is a lot easier to get things done in a small state,  as well our Governor (Jack Markell, @governormarkell) is a big fan of Social Media (and Twitter especially).  I am proud to call Ken my friend, and when Ken asks me to do something, I do it, no questions asked, total respect.

Sometime in February I got an email from Ken, there was an event on March 18, an afternoon meeting with the Governor and some social media types, more details to follow – keep your schedule open.  I looked at my trusty Blackberry – Company Awards, oh well, nothing important (serious conflict for me as I knew I was getting awards and in the Leadership Development Program, my attendance was expected).  Logistical nightmare. I prodded Ken for a timeline, 1:00pm, I could appear at the Awards near Philadelphia for lunch and dash out. That would work.

Then I got more details… So apparently my friend Whitney Hoffman (@ldpodcast) is kind of a big deal Podcaster (I think she is just a big deal no matter what, totally love La Whit), and has some friends who are also big deals, and they were coming to Delaware (how many people really know where Delaware is? Put your hand down @rerockstar you used to live near here, you don’t count).  The Archer Group was having Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel), Julien Smith (@julien) and Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) come for an event/speaking engagement (again, with the no reading I guess I missed the memo – or didn’t open the email as I am apt to do).  I thought for a few minutes, I know the names, I know what I read on Twitter, I don’t think I followed any of them at that point in time.  Cool, my understanding was Whitney was going to get Chris Brogan to stick around for the Governor meeting, awesome – interesting people to listen to and discover.

The day before the event I went online and purchased a ticket, I figured I would have a great opportunity to hear what all the fuss was about, and the cost was quite reasonable.  Long story short, I was impressed, I was definitely swayed, I was also very happy to have some of my crazy beliefs/instincts affirmed.  These three gentlemen provided some very interesting points to ponder, so I started reading. 

I might want to add the part about arriving late. I take care of my kids in the AM as my Husband has to leave for work at 6:30am. This involves a school bus, a preschool run, and this morning lifting my Stinky dog into the back of my car to take her for a bath which then required I go back home to change, the dog REALLY stinks.  I asked Whitney to save me a seat at the theater, I would be there about 9:30 I told her.  I had a vague idea of where I was going, found a parking garage, wound my way to the top and found a spot, and dashed back down to street level, asked a few people where I was going and found an entrance.

 As I rushed down the hall, past a glass enclosed coffee shop, out popped Ken Grant yelling after me – telling me of the Governors imminent arrival and that I must meet him (the Governor unveiled his Twitter account at the last DelTweet event, and I was at the airport heading to Pittsburgh to speak at an event, it was another “need a clone” moment). My initial reaction – dude I want to go hear this stuff, but it is Ken Grant, and is one of the few people who if he told me to jump off a cliff, I would do it for him.  Very slight hesitation, well I wasn’t going as of yesterday, so I wouldn’t miss much.  I went into the coffee shop, Ken excitedly went on in a quick spurt about the Governor arriving, and at the rate of about mach 5 he then turned and said “Oh by the way this is Chris Brogan…”, funniest introduction ever, which led to a very good conversation.  Chris graciously chatted with me while waiting for the Governor to arrive, and after he left.  Very smart guy, and now someone I am happy to call him my friend.  Although I will admit I was embarrassed that I didn’t have any background info (sorry Chris, I keep apologizing, I won’t stop, it’s my thing), but  – I cite my rule. People first.

I began reading Trust Agents (if you don’t own it, buy it, read it, learn from it, there is not one person I know who cannot benefit from this book or take something from what Chris and Julien wrote).  The book has confirmed a lot of what I felt instinctively about the digital culture we all inhabit, how we communicate and the “community” we are all a part of, and that is oversimplified summary of anything.  What I didn’t expect to get from the book, and discussions with Chris, was my desire to do better (as in, be better, act better, contribute more, promote others above myself).  I have always been a genuine person, and what I realized I had created with @mayaREguru was more of a persona (or brand if you will), not a transparency and not a reflection of who I truly am, just a few aspects of me juiced up/over the top. 

That may be where this experiment in cause marketing went wrong, or not as well as I had expected.

(To be continued… the rest is still unwritten, but I am going to do that now…)