Did you go to summer camp as a kid? How much did you love it?
Growing up in the Netherlands, summer camp wasn’t quite as much as a rite of passage as it seems to be in the USA where I live now.
However, when I was 11 years old, my older sister and I convinced our parents to let us go to camp one year - for just one week!
I remember bunking with friends, staying up late, eating in the cafeteria together, getting lost in the woods, playing sports and biking, and best of all; talking for hours and hours... feeling there was never enough time to say everything we wanted to share.
While summer camp was a one time thing for me, I did attend yearly family reunions. I grew up with many, many cousins; I just did a final count and I have something like 70 first cousins, give or take a few + step cousins that came along later.
Our family reunions were always a one-day event where one of my aunts and uncles took the lead to fill the day with special themed games and sporting events. One memorable year, whomever was in charge set up a program to emulate all the current TV game shows. I think this must have been in the early 80s and I remember having the best time being a contestant, trying to beat my cousins at the Dutch version of ‘the price is right’.
What do summer camps and family reunions have in common?
Each of these type of events bring people together who share a common thread but don’t see each other very often. Geographically they are far removed most of the year, yet they connect on so many other levels.
For family reunions, the bond is blood. At summer camp, kids usually bond over a sport, activity or location (lake, horses, baseball)
Social Media Marketing World; Summer camp and Family reunion in one!
As a marketer, SMMW is the closest thing I have found to summer camp and a family reunion!
#SMMW20 on March 1-3, 2020 was yet another epic Social Media Marketing World!
This was my fourth time in San Diego, 5th time in attendance (yes, SMMW has a virtual ticket!).
I volunteered. I ate. I met with friends, colleagues and business partners. I walked. I learned. I watched, laughed, hugged and joked with friends, new and old!
And Then...The World As we KnEw It Stopped
As I type this, the world has come to a halt. Coronavirus has its grip on any and all global SMMW attendees, staff and speakers. This was probably on of the last large events to take place for quite some time. Soon after I got on a plane to get home, SXSW canceled - and that started an avalanche of cancelations.
Before I could even write this article, I published "Remote Work: How To Keep Sane in a World Gone Crazy" as soon as I got home.
While the timing of this post might not be right in light of this Pandemic, I write this to my future self, as well as to my friends and social media colleagues to remind of us happier and less scary times. We will overcome, we will get past this and we will recover.
Meet at Social Media Marketing World
"Meet. Play. Love. The Best of Social Media Marketing World" - what does this mean?
It’s no coincidence that ‘Meet’ is up first. My main reason for flying out to San Diego each year is the people I'll meet, reconnect with and hangout with.
Who will you meet at Social Media Marketing world?
At Social Media Marketing World you will meet
Far Away Friends
Social Media Marketers
Friends' spouses, kids and family members
San Diego Hotel Staff
You will meet people with all sorts of titles, businesses and skills. Fascinating individuals who speak your industry lingo, who love social media as much as you do and most of all, people who ‘get’ you.
Five of my current clients can be traced directly to relationships I’ve made at SMMW!
How is that for ROI?
Play at Social Media Marketing World
San Diego is an amazing city to visit. I've seen so much and have explored so many places!
What will you do and where will you play in San Diego at Social Media Marketing World?
Speaker hosted gatherings
On whaling boats, scooters, beer-buses. In cabs, Ubers and Lyfts. While walking, running or biking.
There is so much to see and do - come to San Diego to play!
Love at Social Media Marketing World
While I can't confirm or deny that true love has been found at SMMW, the other type of love is in abundance!
What will you love at Social Media Marketing World?
Meet + Play + Love = Energy + Confidence + Inspiration
What you gain from an in-person conference, an live-event like SMMW is
Each year I've gone home with plans and new ideas, as well as inspiration, confidence and renewed energy to get moving!
I go to Social Media Marketing World to fill up my Marketing Cup.
This year more than ever before do I feel and need this extra sustenance!
My hope is that SMMW and what I took away with me will carry me through this time of social distancing and uncertainty!
Will I see you next year in San Diego?