I lost my social media virginity tonight at SummerMash in LA. I went for two reasons – to get my college friend Daniel out and exposed to new start ups that might be hiring and to meet social media folks in the Los Angeles area.
I had no clue what to expect. Would people be friendly? What would they wear? Do people in social media still use business cards or is there some kind of electronic personal area network zapper gizmo that transmits info?
It turned out to be a standard outdoor cocktail party. In this case it was a cocktail party where I only knew four other people so I had a lot of work to do since I’m not the greatest at schmoozing. But I was there, and so was the open bar, so I had a couple of cups of liquid courage and walked around looking for someone more lost than me to talk to.
After chatting with a few folks I found out that the word "traction" is very important. "I had a social media site and it got traction for a while but now it’s tapered off," one budding entrepreneur told me.
"We basically built the site over a few weekends a year ago, and now we’re getting a lot of traction and have 10,000 users," said the another guy who looked all of 16. Then I figure out that "traction" is equivalent to what we called "eyeballs" in the early Dot Com days.
The place was packed so as the night progressed it was more difficult getting from one side of the courtyard to the other, and doing so meant walking across someone’s beer burp. I slithered back to the appetizer tray to feed my face and I heard someone examining the little sandwiches and commenting on them having onions. Onions, not the best of social meetup foods.
After a while it became clear that I was meeting my socializing threshold so I started searching for my wife B so we could say our goodbyes to Daniel and his lady friend and call it a night. When I first decided to go to SummerMash I was shocked when B said that she would go as well since she usually hits her socializing max in milliseconds. But I wasn’t surprised when she fessed up that she was accompanying me because she didn’t want any "Twitter hotties" hitting on me.
When I found B she had a drink in her hand and was sitting comfortably in the only chair in the courtyard. She didn’t socialize with anyone the whole time but was eavesdropping on everyone. She was surprised to hear that lots of folks were used to attending these types of social media parties/meetups on a regular basis.
Before we left, I greeted Pete Cashmore (an extremely nice and charming fellow) and had my picture taken with him then we were off. My final thought of the evening was based on a question Pete asked me after I told him I was looking to get into social media. He asked, "So what are you doing to make the transition?" I thought about that all the way home and am still thinking about it.