Despite what some complaints about the social media universe might have you believe, Lara Wellman does care what you had for lunch. Tell her where you ate, tweet a photo and describe the service – she wants to know it all.
The idea that Twitter users aren’t interested in the minutiae of business owners’ personal lives is just one of the many social media misconceptions Ms. Wellman is trying to dispel.
It’s also what led her to create a forum for those in Ottawa who make use of online tools, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogging, that allow Internet users to connect with one another.
The third edition of the Social Capital Conference is scheduled to start May 31.
The event is designed to bring together Ottawa residents – everyone from owners of small and medium-sized businesses to bloggers writing in their spare time – so they can learn best practices for using social media.
Take, for example, the idea of business people blending their personal and professional lives. Many people try to take personality out of their social media use, she said, and instead use forums like Twitter as more of a traditional broadcast medium.
Letting potential customers into your personal world helps make a connection that’s greater than a simple buyer-seller relationship, added co-organizer Karen Wilson.
Building a brand using these tools is just one of the issues the conference will address. The event is also set to feature workshops on specific tools such as developing video on social media platforms and tracking the audiences who are following you.
Ms. Wellman and Ms. Wilson started the event two years ago due to a perceived lack of options for people to meet in person and discuss what was happening online.
“If you don’t have a place where you can get together and talk about these things, it’s hard to really ever learn what your shortcomings are,” said Ms. Wilson.
“So it’s a great opportunity for people to learn more or learn about the possibilities they haven’t considered before.”
The conference is unlikely to appeal to those who aren’t already interested in using social media, they said. Instead it’s directed more towards people who have been using tools like Twitter and want to know more about how to get more out of them.
Ms. Wilson said those who doubt the power social media has for bringing people together need look no further than her relationship with her business partner: the two didn’t know each other until they met on Twitter more than two years ago.
Now the two also run Wellman Wilson Consulting, a firm dedicated to providing advice to clients on how to best make use of social media.