A Month From Now: Ada Lovelace Day [en]

A month from now exactly, on March 24th, it will be Ada Lovelace Day. I urge you to sign the pledge to participate and to spread the word around you so that we can reach our ambitious target of 3072 bloggers writing about a female role-model in tech or science on that day.

There are many brilliant and inspiring women in the traditionally male-dominated scientific and technical fields who often do not get as much attention or “screen time” as they might deserve. This is a real shame, all the more because women need to see female role models more than men need to see male ones, as Suw Charman-Anderson, the initiator of Ada Lovelace Day, explains very well in last year’s kick-off post. Ada Lovelace Day is a direct solution to this, by inundating the blogosphere with posts about inspiring women over the space of a day.

I took part last year by writing a post in French about Marie Curie. Ada Lovelace Day 2009 was a big success, with around 2000 people participating, media attention, a comic which took on a life of its own to become The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage and even a T-shirt, and the drive to organize Ada Lovelace Day 2010, complete with a higher target for people participating, and offline events.

We need your help to make this happen and reach our target of 3072 people participating. What can you do?

  • sign the pledge and blog about a woman in tech you admire on March 24th (please read the FAQ for more information about the why and how)
  • write about Ada Lovelace Day on your blog, and tweet about it to spread awareness
  • talk to the people around you: if you know any bloggers or influential people, ask them to participate too and spread the word
  • join the Ada Lovelace Day group on Facebook and invite your friends to join too
  • organize an offline event in your town!

I know that for many of you who think the event is a great idea and want to participate, the big question is “who should I blog about?” — particularly if you already took part last year. Here are a few thoughts to help you out:

  • you can write about any woman, be she alive or dead
  • the woman you choose to write about does not have to be famous — but she can
  • you can write about more than one woman if you like — or just about one
  • think of the women who have influenced or inspired you in some way or another throughout your life (teachers? family members? public figures? historical figures? friends? colleagues?)
  • “tech and science” is a pretty loose field, on purpose
  • if you are in the field of science or tech, look around you: are there women you know (or know of) who are not getting as much recognition as they would deserve?
  • your post doesn’t have to be about “the woman who most inspired me” or “my absolute top role-model, and she happens to be a woman” — go for “a woman who inspires me, or whom I admire”.

“Blog”, here, is shorthand for any kind of publication: video, podcast episode, web comic, newspaper column…

Thanks a lot for being part of Ada Lovelace Day!

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Get Your Lift10 Ticket Half-Price Before Christmas [en]

[fr] Vous savez certainement que Lift, à Genève (5-7 mai 2010) est un des événements incontournables du milieu de la technologie en Europe. Une conférence non-commerciale, qui vous donnera matière à penser pour l'année à venir et ouvrira des portes dans votre tête dont vous ignoriez l'existence jusqu'ici. Trois jours pour 650.- (220.- par jour!) si vous vous inscrivez avant le 26 décembre. (Comparez ça aux tarifs des formations usuelles, et vous avez un prix imbattable pour du contenu inégalable.)

The reasons I gave for attending Lift nearly two years ago are still very much true. In all honesty, if there is one European tech event you should absolutely attend each year, it’s the Lift Conference in Geneva. This year, unlike the previous ones, it will take place in May (5-7th) — much nicer weather than February!

Lift10 conference in Geneva, May 5-7, 2010. In a nutshell, Lift is 3 days of extraordinary speakers you have not heard before a dozen times already, a very diverse gathering of smart and interesting attendees, various presentation formats in addition to keynotes like discussions, workshops, open stage presentations (part of the programme is community-contributed), rich hallway conversations, and a very uncommercial feel to it all.

But don’t stop there, please do read my post from two years ago, then come back. I’ve attended the conference since it started, so you might want to read some of my posts covering it (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) — and all the videos of past talks are available freely online.

Another thing that has changed since last year besides the date is the conference pricing, which has gone up significantly for those who do not register early. Laurent wrote a really great post about the challenges encountered in pricing an event like Lift, which tries to attract attendees with different profiles and very different budgets: be too expensive, and people without an employer behind them to pay for the ticket can’t come — but be too cheap, and you’re not taken seriously (which tends to be the problem Lift has faced over the years).

Actually, anybody who provides services to a client base which is not homogeneous are faced with this dilemma, which is one of the reasons my rates (for example) vary according to which client I’m providing services to — shocking thought it may seem to some (upcoming blog post about that, by the way).

So, the good news is that if you have your ears and eyes open, and know that you’re going to Lift in 2010, you can get in for 650.- CHF (50% of the final ticket price) if you register before December 26th.

Students can apply to get one of the 20 free tickets that are reserved for them (deadline January 15th).

Journalists and bloggers should apply for a media pass.

I really hope to see you at Lift. You won’t regret it.

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LeWeb'09: Bloggers, Social Media Club House, Boat Party [en]

LeWeb'09-Paris dec 9th and 10th In less than a week, I’ll be jumping on the TGV to Paris to attend the conference LeWeb’09. Clearly, this is a long overdue post — the conference starts in a week. You probably saw my post about blogger accreditations way back when, and if I haven’t communicated about it since, it’s because I’ve been very very busy behind the scenes. Time to fill you in a bit.

The choice was tough, but we ended up with a selection of official bloggers who are invited specially to come and cover the conference live on their blogs. You can also follow them all on Twitter with the official bloggers list. During the conference, you will be able to find all their posts about LeWeb’09 on a single page, with a single feed (thanks to Superfeedr). Another way to access their publications is through the LeWeb’09 Pearltree — just click on the Official Bloggers branch.

Social Media Club House, LeWeb'09.Aside from my job as Official Bloggers “list mom”, I’m thrilled that I’ve been invited to be a resident of the Social Media Club House during my stay in Paris. The five other residents are Cathy Brooks, Chris Heuer, Dana Oshiro, Kristie Wells, and Robert Scoble, and PayPal is our main sponsor. We’ve got a wicked schedule planned, so stay tuned (tag: smch, #smch) and follow us on Twitter upto and during the conference.

Official Bloggers and Social Media Club House will collide during the evening before LeWeb’09, when we will head over to le Six/Huit for an “Official Bloggers and friends” pre-conference party, hosted by well-known Paris bloggers Frédéric de Villamil and Damien Douani.

Clearly, there is no shortage of choice when it comes to pre-LeWeb’09 events, but this party is to my knowledge the only one taking place on a boat (yes, on the Seine!) and right next to Notre-Dame cathedral. Plus, as we all have to fit on the boat, it’s limited to 150 people, so it’s a pretty exclusive event, with a high concentration of official bloggers, Social Media Club House residents, and a handful of top PayPal executives (you know, the kind of people you don’t really get to approach during the conference because they are permanently surrounded by a wall of folks who want to talk to them).

péniche-six-huit

The party starts at 5.30 for the official bloggers and our special guests, and will open its doors to the general public at 7pm, until 9-10pm.

Please sign up quickly if you want to come to the boat party!

And if you’re looking to sponsor a cool event (or know somebody who would like to), we’re more than happy to let you offer a round of drinks. Just give Fred a call on +33 6 62 19 1337 to set things up.

See you next week in Paris!

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Stephanie's October Conference Tour: <head> [en]

[fr] A la conférence en ligne , je parlerai de mon expérience d'indépendante et d'organisatrice d'événements. Lessons apprises. Je vous encourage vivement à vous inscrire à cette conférence, et à la suivre depuis le hub de Liip à Fribourg si vous en avez l'occasion.

After I gave my [Going Solo speech at LIFT](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/02/07/lift08-my-going-solo-open-stage-speech/) earlier this year, I was approached by Aral Balkan, who asked me if I would be willing to speak at the online conference he was organising, then named Singularity. I immediately accepted.

<head> web conference: October 24-26, 2008

<Head>, 24-26 October, everywhere

Since then, the conference was renamed <head> (following some letter from some lawyers), and the speaker roster has filled up nicely.

<head> is an online conference. That means you can attend from anywhere in the world, watch the talks through your web browser and interact with the speakers and other participants. There are offline “hubs” in various cities around the world (including Second Life) — if you live in Switzerland, I recommend you head over the Fribourg where Liip are hosting a hub.

Eight months after my Going Solo speech at LIFT, I’m going to take the opportunity to look back at what I’ve learned. Both Going Solo and SoloCamp are great concepts and were much appreciated by those who attended them. However, they both left a dent (to be polite) in my already suffering bank account, and I’m aware I made a series of mistakes I was actually warned against when I announced my project. On being human and not listening to other people’s advice…

This talk will by my story as a freelancer and an event organiser. Success, failure, and heading forward — sharing my experience, whilst knowing that the best experience is the one you earn directly.

Wherever you are, as long as you have an internet connection, you can take part in <head>. No travel or accommodation expenses, and a great conference! Plus, as it’s an online conference, the price is very reasonable. Head (!) over to the conference site to register.

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Stephanie's October Conference Tour: Web 2.0 Expo Europe [en]

[fr] Après Lisbonne, direction Berlin pour la conférence Web 2.0 Expo, dont j'assure (avec Suw Charman-Anderson et Nicole Simon) la gestion des accréditations blogueurs.


Web 2.0 Expo Europe 2008
After [speaking at SHiFT](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/10/12/stephanies-october-conference-tour-shift/), I will head over to Berlin for the next stop in my October Conference Tour. Second conference:

Web 2.0 Expo Europe, 21-23 October 2008, Berlin

I attended Web 2.0 Expo Europe last year, taking notes (go to the beginning of the month) and giving one of my Babel Fish talks at Web2Open. At the height of my conference burn-out after FoWA, I was pretty cranky and critical of the conference (particularly the infrastructure), and it’s where I decided to start a company to organize my own events.

This year, I’m co-heading the Blogging Web 2.0 Expo Europe programme with Suw and Nicole (French post). I’ll be going to the event to have a chance to meet all the participating bloggers we’ve been working with over the last month (they’re listed in the Web 2.0 Expo blog sidebar) — and [Janetti](http://twitter.com/janerri), who initiated this outreach programme.

If you haven’t registered yet, go and visit these blogs — all bloggers have 35% discount codes to distribute, so if you know one of them, ask! Here’s a short video of Suw and I where we tell you why you should come to the conference :-).

Setting up and running this programme has been a fascinating experience, and you can expect some blogging about what we did once the event is over. (Note: I’m doing something similar in spirit, though a little different in form, with [blogger accreditations for LeWeb in Paris](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/10/06/blogger-accreditations-for-leweb-paris/) — we have more than enough French- and English-language bloggers but are still looking for people to cover the conference in other languages.)

While I’m at it, I will be taking part in Suw Charman-Anderson’s discussion about Gender Issues in Web 2.0 Careers as a panelist. Neither of us are fans of “women in technology” discussions, as you can see from the title of the discussion, and I’m really looking forward to see where we’ll take these issues.

As an aside, when I organised Going Solo, I did not put tons of effort into “involving women”, and it turns out over half the speaker roster was female. Does it have anything to do with the fact I’m a woman?

So, see you in Berlin?

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Blogger Accreditations for LeWeb Paris [en]

Update: the deadline for requests was 13.10.2008. The form is now closed. Thank you.

I’m pleased to announce that I am in charge of managing blogger accreditations for [the conference LeWeb’08 Paris](http://www.lewebparis.com/) which will take place on December 9-10th.

For the fifth year running, this huge conference organised by Géraldine and Loïc Le Meur will receive 1500 participants from the business, media, and internet worlds to listen to an amazing line-up of speakers — gathered this year around the theme ***love***. Just look at [the programme](http://www.lewebparis.com/schedule.html) to get a taste of what’s in store (listen to the video!) — plus great food, a [startup competition](http://www.lewebparis.com/startup.html), incredible networking, giant screens…

I went to LeWeb in 2006 for the first time, and I have to say I was blown away by what they had managed to put together. If you’ve never been to Le Web, it’s really worth experiencing. And if you have… Well, I probably don’t need to say much more.

This year, maybe you will one of the lucky ones to be invited there, as LeWeb is selecting bloggers, podcasters, and generally “electronic media people” from all over the world to cover the conference.

This selection will be based on:

– their geographical and linguistic location (ever thought of language as an online “place”?)
– their readership and influence
– their motivation and the value they offer the conference by their presence
– when they made their request (yes, there is an element of first come, first served in the selection).

Selected bloggers will be asked to display a badge on their blog upto the conference date and blog about it at least once before mid-November. They will be listed in an official blogroll on the conference site and will be given a “blogger accreditation” to attend the conference and cover it.

Send an e-mail to blog@lewebparis.com (I’ll receive it) with Due to the rather large number of people applying, please fill in this form, which will ask you for information like:

– your name
– your URL
– the country you live in
– the language you will be blogging about LeWeb in
– your Twitter username if you have one
– if you’ve attended previous LeWeb conferences, and when
– why we should invite you 🙂 (we know you’re great and you certainly deserve it, but what does LeWeb get out of the deal?)

Bloggers who are also journalists should apply for a regular press pass at [press@lewebparis.com](mailto:press@lewebparis.com).

Waiting to hear from you, and looking forward to seeing you at LeWeb in a couple of months!

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A Brief Update on Going Solo Leeds [en]

[fr] Des nouvelles de Going Solo Leeds (c'est dans moins d'un mois)!

As I’m about to head to the mountains again for a few days (back Wednesday), here’s a brief update on Going Solo Leeds, which is taking place in less than a month (September 12th).

Did I forget anything?

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Going Solo is Hiring! [en]

[fr] Going Solo cherche un vendeur (sponsoring). Ça se passe en anglais, donc voyez directement les détails de l'annonce ci-dessous.

Wanted: sponsorship salesperson for Going Solo conference

Going Solo is looking for an enthusiastic salesperson to negotiate and finalise sponsorship deals. After a very successful first event in Lausanne, Switzerland, the conference is taking place again in Leeds, UK, on September 12th. There are plans to produce the event elsewhere in Europe and in the US.

Availability: as soon as possible
Remuneration: 20% commission on cash sponsorships
Profile: skilled in negotiating and closing sponsorship deals, knowledge of the tech/freelancing world a plus.

What we provide:

– leads (past sponsors and fresh contacts)
– sponsorship materials

What we expect:

– discuss and amend existing sponsorship offerings
– follow through to closure on provided leads
– other leads can also be explored freely.

If you’re interested or would like more information, get in touch with
Stephanie Booth (steph@going-solo.net, @stephtara, or steph-booth on
skype).

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Going Solo Leeds Registration Open [en]

[fr] Il est désormais possible de réserver sa place pour Going Solo Leeds, qui aura lieu le 12 septembre.

As announced a few days ago on the [Going Solo blog](http://going-solo.net), [registration for the Leeds conference on September 12th is now open](http://going-solo.net/2008/07/04/going-solo-leeds-registration-is-open/):

Hop along to our partner Expectnation‘s site to sign up right away.

Here’s the deal:

  • Early Bird (first 25 tickets — hurry up some have already been sold!): £150
  • Normal: £220
  • Late Bird (will kick in approx. 10 days before the conference date): £300
  • On-site (if you really want to play it ‘last minute’): £350

A comment or two:

  • for the Lausanne event, the first 25 tickets were sold in under a week
  • there will be advanced seminars (3h workshops) on the Saturday morning — more about them shortly, but know already that if you have already registered for the main conference when they are announced, you will get a special discount on them (they will be open only to conference participants)
  • Jet2.com is a low-cost company that flies to Leeds-Bradford International airport
  • Leeds is 2.5h from London by train (book early, and you could pay as little as £22.50 return)
  • the programme for the main conference is going to be very similar to the Lausanne one (don’t change a winning team) — videos are online for you to have a preview if you wish
  • the Going Solo team is pretty excited about all this!

Of course, let me remind you that [Going Solo Lausanne was a nice success](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/17/going-solo-lausanne-was-a-hit/), and that you can now [check out the videos of the talks](http://dailymotion.com/GoingSolo) online.

[Who is Going Solo for?](http://going-solo.net/2008/03/30/who-is-going-solo-for/)

Going Solo is a one-day event for freelancers and small business owners working in somewhere in the internet industry (designers, consultants, journalists, social media people, developers…) — or even outside of it (we actually think the topics we’ll cover are relevant for all freelancers).

Looking forward to seeing you in Leeds, and thanks for spreading the news around you!

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5 Lessons in Promoting Events Using Social Media (Back to Basics) [en]

[fr] Leçons apprises lors de la promotion de Going Solo:

  • communiquer directement avec les gens (messagerie instantanée, conversation offline, téléphone) est le mode de communication le plus efficace
  • ne pas négliger l'e-mail, les dossiers de presse, le matériel imprimable: tout le monde ne lira pas le blog ou Twiter
  • rien ne devient automatiquement "viral" parce que c'est sur internet: aider les gens à vous aider à passer l'info, par exemple avec un e-mail "forwardable"
  • aller où sont les gens, les retrouver dans leur communauté (Facebook, MySpace, Rezonance, LinkedIn... partout)
  • ça prend du temps... beaucoup de temps

J'ai été surprise à quel point tout ceci a été difficile pour moi, alors qu'une partie de mon métier consiste à expliquer aux gens comment utiliser les nouveaux médias pour communiquer plus efficacement. Une leçon d'humilité, et aussi un retour à certaines choses basiques mais qui fonctionnent, comme l'e-mail ou le chat. En récompense, par contre, un événement qui a été un succès incontesté, et tout cela sans le soutien des médias traditionnels (pour cause de communiqué de presse un poil tardif) -- mis à part nouvo, qui a répercuté l'annonce, mais qui trouvait que c'était cher!

One of the big lessons I learnt while organising [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net) is that [promoting and communicating about an event through social media](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/04/going-solo-all-over-the-place/) requires a huge amount of time and energy. In this post, I’d like to share a few of the very practical things I (re-)discovered.

Even though part of what I do for a living is explain social media and its uses in marketing to my clients, I found it quite a challenge when I actually had to jump in and do it. (Yes, I’m aware this may sound pretty lame. By concentrating on the big picture and the inspiring success stories, one tends to forget some very basic things. Sending managers back to the floor every now and then is a good thing.)

The **main lesson I learnt** is the following:

– **1. The absolute best channel to promote anything is one-on-one personal conversation** with somebody you already have some sort of relationship with.

Any other solution is a shortcut. And [all shortcuts have prices](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/06/11/about-not-reading/).

This means I ended up spending a lot of time:

– talking to people on IM, IRC, and offline at conferences
– sending out personal messages on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Anytime you do something to spare you this time (like sending out a collective e-mail, writing a blog post, or even tweeting — situations where you’re not adressing one specific individual directly) you dilute what you’re communicating. You open the door to:

– imperfect understanding of what you’re trying to say
– people not feeling like it’s really addressed to them (lack of interest, or lack of awareness that their actions are important to you)
– people simply not seeing it.

I have many examples of this. I created a [page with material people could use to promote Going Solo](http://going-solo.net/support), in particular, [blog sidebar badges](http://going-solo.net/2008/02/04/badges-for-your-sidebar/). But not many people put them up spontanously, even amongst my friends. But when I started pinging people on IM and asking them if they would please put up a badge to support my event, they did it. They just hadn’t got around to doing it, hadn’t realised that them doing it was important for me, or it had simply slipped their mind. It’s perfectly understandable: it’s “my” event, not theirs.

Another example is when I started sending out my “forwardable e-mails” (lesson #3 is about them), most people stopped at “well, I’m not a freelancer” or “I can’t come”. It took some explaining to make sure they understood that the **main** reason I was sending them the e-mail was that they *might know somebody* who would like to come to the event, or who could blog about it, or help with promoting it. If I spared myself the personal conversation and just sent the e-mail, people were much less likely to really understand what I expected from them, even through it was spelled out in the e-mail itself.

And that was a big secondary lesson I learnt while preparing Going Solo: it’s not because people don’t get back to you, or don’t act, that they aren’t interested or don’t want to. The burden is on you to make it as easy as possible for them to help you.

Let’s continue on to the next lessons.

– **2. Blogs and Twitter are essential, but don’t neglect less sexy forms of communication: newsletter, press release, printable material.**

The first thing I did for Going Solo was to create [a blog](http://going-solo.net) and a [Twitter account](http://twitter.com/goingsolo). Getting a blog and Twitter account off the ground isn’t easy, and it took quite a lot of one-on-one communication (see lesson #1) (and [blogging here on CTTS](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/22/going-solo-venues-open-stage-and-link-love/)) to get enough people to link to them so that they started taking off.

But the lesson here is that **not everybody is on Twitter, and not everbody reads blogs**. We highly-connected types tend to forget that. It didn’t take me that long to get the feeling that I had “exhausted” my immediate, social-media-enabled network — meaning that all the people who knew me directly had heard what I was talking about, linked to stuff if they were going to, or registered for the event if they were interested.

So, here are some less “social media cutting-edge” forms of communication I used, most of them very late in the process (earlier next time):

– [an e-mail newsletter](http://groups.google.com/group/going-solo-news)
– [printable (and printed) posters](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/03/more-cutting-edge-promotion-tools-posters/)
– a [press release](http://going-solo.net/press/) and other “old media focused” material

Some comments.

Our press release came out so late that we got no coverage at all from traditional media, bar [one exception](http://nouvo.ch/n-1279), which focused on how expensive the event was. This means Going Solo Lausanne is a great case study of successful event promotion entirely through social media.

When I [created the newsletter](http://going-solo.net/2008/04/30/going-solo-has-a-newsletter/), I spent a lot of time following lesson #1 and inviting people personally to sign up, through IM most of the time. I sent out invitations through the Google Groups interface, of course (to the extent that I got [flagged as a potential spammer](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/05/01/google-groups-pain-in-the-neck/)). But I also went through the process of inviting people directly through IM.

A word of warning about newsletters: don’t *add* people to your newsletter unless you’ve checked beforehand that they were OK with it, or if you have a *very* good reason to do so (they are the speakers/attendees for your event) — but even then, it can be risky. I was recently added to a bunch of mailing-lists without having asked for it, rather than invited, and I find it really annoying. It’s way more impolite to unsubscribe from a newsletter than refuse an invitation to subscribe, so adding people can put them in an embarrassing situation (be impolite vs. be annoyed at getting newsletters one doesn’t want).

– **3. Don’t expect “viral” or “[organic](http://epeus.blogspot.com/2008/02/be-organic-not-viral.html)” spreading of your promotion to happen, but prepare the field so it can: the forwardable e-mail.**

There is so much talk about the fact that social media allows things to *spread* all by themselves (and indeed, there is an important potential for that, and when it happens, it’s very powerful) — that we tend to expect it to happen and be disappointed when it doesn’t. And let’s face it, it’s not something that we can control (sorry for stating the obvious again, I’m doing that a lot in this post) and it takes quite a bit of skill to create the right conditions so that it *may* happen.

So, now that we’ve set our expectations, what can be done to *help things spread*? I mentioned having exhausted my immediate network higher up, so I needed to come up with a solution which would help me reach beyond it. How could I get my friends to mention Going Solo to *their* friends?

Of course, our use of social media in general allows that. Blogs, Facebook Groups and Events, sidebar badges… all this is material which *can* spread. But again — what about the people who aren’t bathing in social media from morning to evening?

**Back to basics: e-mail.** E-mail, be it under the shape of a newsletter, a discussion list, or simple personal messages, has a huge advantage over other forms of online communication: you’re sure people know how to use it. It’s the basic, level 0 tool that anybody online has and understands.

So, I started sending out e-mail. A little bit of *push* is good, right? I composed a rather neutral e-mail explaining what Going Solo was about, who it was for, giving links to more information, and a call to action or two. I then sent this impersonal text to various people I knew, with a personal introduction asking them to see if they knew anybody who could be interested in information about this event, and inviting them to forward the message to these people. Nothing extraordinary in that, right?

I of course applied lesson #1 (you’re starting to know that one, right?) and tried as much as possible to check on IM, beforehand, if it was OK for me to send the “forwardable e-mail” to each person. So, basically, no mass-mailing, but an e-mail written in such a way that it was “forwardable” in a “here’s what my friend Steph is doing, could interest you” way, which I passed along as a follow-up to a direct chat with each person.

In a more “social media” spirit, of course, make sure that any videos you put online can easily be shared and linked to, etc. etc — but that will be pretty natural for anybody who’s familiar with blogging and “being online”.

– **4. Go where people are. Be everywhere.**

Unless your event is already very well known, you need to go to people, and not just wait for them to come to you. If you’ve set up a blog, Twitter account, newsletter, then you have a place where people can come to you. But that’s not enough. You need to [go where people are](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/04/going-solo-all-over-the-place/):

– Facebook
– Upcoming
– LinkedIn
– Xing
– MySpace
– Pownce
– Seesmic
– Existing communities big and small… (blogs, forums, chatrooms)

Again, this is a very basic principle. But it’s not because it’s basic that it’s invalidated by the magic world of social media. Where you can create an event, create an event (Upcoming, Facebook, Pownce, Rezonance — a local networking thingy); where you can create a group, create a group — I waited a lot before creating a [Facebook group for Going Solo](http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=12748128087), because I had a [fan page for it](http://www.facebook.com/pages/Going-Solo-being-a-freelancer-in-a-connected-world/13470503249) already, but as you can see the group worked much better.

– **5. It’s a full-time job.**

Honestly, I didn’t think I’d spend *weeks* doing nothing else but send e-mails, update Facebook pages, blog, send e-mails, talk to people, IM, tweet, e-mail again… to promote Going Solo. It’s a huge amount of work. It’s so much work that one could imagine having somebody full time just to do it. So when you’re (mainly) a one-person shop, it’s important to plan that a significant amount of your time might be spent on promotion. It’s easy to underestimate that (I did, and in a major way).

Working this way doesn’t scale. At some point, one-on-one communication takes up too much time and energy to compensate for the benefits it brings over more impersonal forms of communication. But that only happens once your event is popular enough. Before you’ve held your first event (which was the situation I was in with Going Solo Lausanne), you don’t have a community of advocates for your work, you don’t have fans (you might have personal fans, but not fans of your event) or passionate attendees ;-), you don’t have other people doing your work for you.

At the beginning, every person who hears about your event is the result of sweat and hard work. Hopefully, at some point it’ll take off and you’ll start seeing more and more people [blogging about the event you’re organising](http://del.icio.us/steph/goingsolo+coverage) — but even then, it might take a while before you can just sit back and watch things happen. But in case this moment comes earlier than planned, you’re all set: you have a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook group and a newsletter. Until then, though, you’re going to be stuck on IM and sending out e-mails.

**A few last words**

I hope that by sharing these lessons with you, I’ll have contributed to making things a little easier for somebody else in the same situation I was. You’ll have understood that I haven’t tried to be exhaustive about how to use social media for promotion — indeed, I’ve skipped most of the “advanced” stuff that is more often spoken about.

But I think it’s easy to get so taken up with the “latest and greatest” tools out there that we forget some of the basic stuff. I, for one, was guilty of that initially.

Also, one thing I haven’t spoken about is *how* to talk to people. Of course, some of what you’re doing is going to be impersonal. Own up to it, if you’re mass e-mailing. Don’t pretend to be personal when you aren’t — it’s hypocritical, doesn’t come across well, and can be smelled a mile away.

I haven’t quite finished reconciling my practical experience with how I believe things “should” work. I’ve learnt a lot, but I certainly haven’t figured everything out yet. I would have wanted to do a lot more, but time simply wasn’t available, so I tried to prioritize. I made choices, and some of them were maybe mistakes. But overall, I’m happy with how things went and what I learnt.

If you have had similar experiences, I’d be really happy to hear from you. Likewise, if you disagree with some of the things I’ve written, or think I’m wrong on certain counts, do use the comments. I’m open to debate, even though I’m a bit hard-headed ;-).

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