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Thoughts On Mouth Media’s I (Still) Do Event In Las Vegas

Thoughts On Mouth Media’s I (Still) Do Event In Las Vegas

Several of you have asked why I haven’t discussed Heather Spohr and Brittany Gibbons’ new endeavor, Mouth Media, and especially, the event they are planning in Las Vegas, I Still Do. Here’s the deal: Heather and Brittany are friends of mine, and I had originally planned on recusing myself from a discussion of their project because I wasn’t sure I could be objective. I’m still not entirely sure I can be objective, but I’m going to try. However, since several people have asked me to weigh in on it, and because I’ve discussed it with both Heather and Brittany, and they have both said they are willing to hear feedback, good and bad, in order to be more successful, I’ve decided to go ahead and discuss the event here. I hope you guys will weigh in with your thoughts in the comments as well.

1. Mouth Media is a free-form company that is designed to help them retain profits without using a third-party ad network or agent/PR company.

When I initially read Mouth Media’s “About” section, I thought, what is this? What is this for? Because there is not really anything exactly like it out there right now, and it wasn’t immediately clear to me what they planned to do with it. But after thinking about it, I realized that whatever they had planned for it would involve taking ad networks out of the monetizing equation and saving more profits for themselves. And so then I started thinking more about it and decided it was a good move for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that any time you attempt to take the ad network out of the equation you are on the right track.

Here’s the other issue: monetizing opportunities and techniques in social media right now are changing constantly — they are changing daily, even. You cannot afford to be waiting around for monetizing opportunities to be presented to you. If you work to create relationships with brands on your own now, then when an idea comes to you, you can pitch it right away. Mouth Media is Heather and Brittany’s company for doing this type of thing without an ad network acting as their broker. The description is loose because the projects and the monetizing opportunities in social media are largely unformed at present.

2. I worry, as always, about trust capital.

When Heather and Brittany announced the Las Vegas event I was hesitant. I had reservations — I still do. As we know, I have been questioning how comfortable I am with corporate sponsorship in general lately, though when it is clearly separated from content (as it is here) that makes a huge difference for me. Still, I would guess there is going to be corporate affiliation with Heather’s and Brittany’s personal brands as a result of the event, and I do not know if this will impact them long term. I question whether or not there may be a finite number of brands you can work with in this kind of capacity before people get sick of it. I tend to think that people expect an ostensibly “big” company like BlogHer to be using corporate sponsorship for its events (though they still get flack for it, of course), but Mouth Media is a partnership, so it will still be strongly associated with Heather and Brittany as individuals. Because of that, I think there may be a psychological block, i.e. this is not a promotional event thrown by a company, it’s a party thrown by two women for their friends. The same event, but an important distinction in how tolerant people are of the corporate element.

3. Events are the easiest thing to monetize in social media right now.

That said, events are wildly successful in social media right now. Conferences continue to propagate and sell out all over the place. People not only go to them, they will pay lots of money to go to them. This event that Heather and Brittany are planning does not pay for your travel or accommodations (but they don’t make any money off that, either, by the way), but it’s also free when you get there. So it’s a far better deal than a conference, for much the same thing that most of the conferences are offering. I’ve been to conferences, and with a few notable exceptions, they do not offer much except for the opportunity to meet and network with bloggers. That is what Brittany and Heather are offering here, in a smaller environment. Events are highly successful and brands are very excited to be a part of them, and I would guess they’re happy to not have to dance around the useless conference tracks and tedious keynotes with the same people making the same speeches that don’t say anything or mean anything to anybody or impart any useful knowledge. This is a smaller BlogHer with all the stuff that people hate about BlogHer taken out of it. That is a huge plus, both for the sponsors and the people who are considering attending it.

4. There is a difference between the reaction of the blogger-reader and the reader-reader.

So, as I said, Heather and Brittany are friends and even with my reservations I want this event to be successful for them and their brands. So it’s troubling to hear this kind of stuff from the peanut gallery: “She’s throwing herself a wedding with sponsors,” or “How is this any better than the Mighty Summit?” I’m going to attempt to break this down without being overly biased, and you guys can straighten me out in the comments if you think I’m failing. First, let me say that popular bloggers like Heather and Brittany have audiences comprised of readers who have blogs and a much larger group of readers who do not have blogs. The reception of readers who do not have blogs versus those who do — and those who are active in this community and on Twitter — tends to be different from the readers who have blogs. The “fans,” the larger part of the audience, are not nearly as harsh about this kind of stuff as we, the bloggers, are.I would guess it has to do with the fact that they are not really participating in a “community” as such, but really just reading blogs. They don’t expect reciprocity or anything, so they don’t care as much about people having high traffic levels or becoming popular or getting better deals or any of that stuff.

What I’m saying is, even if the initial reception of this new event is frosty, it might be mostly coming from one segment of the audience and not necessarily indicative of the success of the endeavor. If the fans like the event, then it’s a success, and that’s all they need. And if that happens, then the other bloggers will copy their model and do it themselves, and it won’t matter that people were critical initially — this is what happened when Dooce first ran ads. It’s very possible that this will happen with the Las Vegas event.

My second point, regarding how this event is different from the Mighty Summit: my thought is that it’s different because it’s not an exclusive gathering of preordained luminaries chosen by God to be sprinkled with pixie dust in the Napa Valley while sipping merlot in matching $130 gifted ballet slippers, and then traipsed about on Flickr feeds so that all of us at home who weren’t invited can feel bad about ourselves. So, while there are still the financial barriers to entry that are part and parcel of living in a capitalist country, potentially anybody can go to this event, they don’t have to be deemed important enough for it.

Comments (50)

  1. Sep 20, 2010

    I don’t know either of them (I follow Heather on Twitter but don’t read her blog unless someone points out something to me there). I never heard of Brittany before this.

    When I heard about this, I feared it would be tacky, because Vegas (to me) is tacky, so you’re already halfway there. It’s hard to pull off a Vegas-event with good taste. You have to either fully embrace the tacky or pick a different place. On the flipside, it’s easy to get cheap airfare/hotels there, so if people are paying their own way, that makes sense.

    I hadn’t considered that it’s essentially a BlogHer without the sessions, but that makes sense. In fact, if people were smart, they’d throw more of those, since apparently no one goes to BlogHer for the sessions. Networking events aren’t that hard to put together.

    (I am blown away that those slippers at the Mighty Whatever were $130. When I saw them, I was like, oh, those are those Dr. Scholl’s $7.99 “night out” slippers that I just saw at Walgreen’s. They come with their own wristlet, so that you can take them with you when you go out dancing and change into them when your feet hurt. I’m not sure if I feel better or worse to find out that they’re $130 slippers instead. I’ll probably be able to ponder that better once I’ve had my McDonald’s breakfast.)

  2. Sep 20, 2010

    I think they will probably embrace the tacky, based on what I’ve read and both of their personalities. I think that’s the idea, and I think that the lower cost of Vegas and its appeal as a destination for many people was probably part of the reason it was chosen.

    I should say that there are reasons to go to some conferences. But as I was thinking about how to write this post, with pros and cons of this event, and possible risks and rewards, I was thinking seriously about the problems that a newer attendee of BlogHer is facing these days based on its size. It’s overwhelming. It’s one thing if you already know people, but if you are going without any connections, it’s far more difficult to get your foot in the door. Some conferences actually offer good content, but BlogHer is not one of them. A smaller event like this is an opportunity to meet a bunch of bloggers in a different environment and make connections, for less money overall. So, I give them credit for that.

    Re $130 ballet slippers, I will pay a lot of money for ballet slippers. But I was blown away by the combined value of the multiple gift bags at the Mighty Summit. I don’t have a full count yet but I’m guessing it’s got to be close to $1000 each at this point.

  3. Sep 20, 2010

    Actually, they are $135. I was wrong.

    http://www.tieks.com/boutiek/

  4. Sep 20, 2010

    My question is this: Would the blogger who truly does not know anyone involved in this particular event really go? For a wedding? That is touted as her 100 closest friends? (re: anybody can go to this event).

    When I first heard about this all I could think of, honestly, were the folks from my days in the wedding world who looked for sponsors to pay for their wedding. So they could have a big fat wedding and not have to pay for it.

    I actually love Las Vegas weddings. For all the tacky, insane nonsense that they provide. I also love good parties and I love over the top events. I know this vow renewal will be fantastically documented across the social media networks and that will provide the sponsors the ROI they need. I’m also thinking that the 100 people who do end up going will be pretty good friends, already, of Brittany so that will provide even more media splash (in terms of social networks). So what this will do, most likely, is create a media flurry. Barefoot Foodie will get an “event” and get an even larger audience. That will happen. Which is terrific.

    It’s not necessarily a new way of doing things, so much as a better way of doing things and by that I mean they’re truly capitalizing on the available social media networks to push their own brand. There are others who are also doing this very well, but they’re not in the mommy blogger space.

    I believe this will work and work well. What they do with the resulting wave of attention is what will be interesting to watch.

  5. Sep 20, 2010

    We’re going to need a separate post with a full accounting of the swag, of course.

  6. Sep 20, 2010

    I will get on this. Right now, based on what I know we are looking at:

    Epiphanie bag — $165
    Tiek ballet slippers — $135
    Six pack of Essie nail polishes — about $25-$30
    Land’s End Monogrammed canvas bags — about $30
    Feisty Elle Earrings — $36
    Garnier Fructis stuff in the rooms — about $20
    Books — probably about $100, but hard to say
    Earrings/necklace or something from Mamma’s little babies (pictured here) — $26-50 (guessing)
    wine — dear god, who knows?
    massages — dear god, who knows?

    I’ve already lost count.

  7. Sep 20, 2010

    You bring up a good point, in that it will take somebody with a lot of confidence to go to this event without any ties beforehand. I’m not sure that the fact that it’s a wedding is necessarily going to complicate that, because yes, it’s a “wedding,” but they are being pretty cavalier about that concept, it’s not like it’s going to be a sacred church affair. But yes, it will take somebody who is willing to go in and make some friends and that is not just anyone. But, everybody feels this way about conferences beforehand, as we know, and as is witnessed with the annual BlogHer freakout. I would argue that Brittany has the benefit over some bloggers in that she seems (at least to me) to be far more welcoming and opening to people in general, she strikes me more as a everyperson’s blogger. I would guess that you are going to get more people in her audience who feel like they can approach her and introduce themselves than you would in other people’s — probably even in my own (though if you are wondering, you absolutely should introduce yourselves to me, if you ever see me, even if I look like I’m staring daggers into the wall, I often look like that, unfortunately, it’s just my natural look.)

    I think you’re right, though — if this does end up being largely made up of friends and is highly publicized, that may have an effect on how often this kind of thing can be done. But, if it’s done successfully, even the bloggers who are giving them flack for it behind the scenes right now will be copying them by this time next year is my guess.

  8. nakedjen
    Sep 20, 2010

    Are you going? Because if you’re going, I’m tempted to meet you there. (I’m serious…it’s driving distance for me and as a travel agent I can practically do Vegas for free). Of course, I suppose I’d also have to get on the actual guest list. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And, yes. I do think we’ll see copy cats of this venture when (because I do think it will be) it is done successfully.

    (one note re: mighty summit. I do think you nailed it regarding the ick factor. It has never truly bothered me that they want to have a special gathering of thought leaders in the blogging space. In fact, those kinds of gatherings actually do happen all the time, but we do not necessarily know the details because they are not broadly broadcast. For me it feels like my private boarding school where there was this very exclusive application process to get in and then there were closed gates at the end of the drive way keeping the rest of the world out for the entire school year. Only we didn’t broadcast our dinners with white gloves and waiters, or visits by dignitaries and escorted trips to Europe to the rest of the world. In fact, we never spoke about them because they were PRIVATE. There are certain events, even in the world of social media and blogging, that if you’re going to make them exclusive and private should remain that way.)

  9. Sep 20, 2010

    Do you guys know about The Blathering? It’s a no-sponsor, pay-your-own way blogger event held by a few people (who happen to be friends of mine, for full disclosure), and everyone is welcome. Everyone. And last year, a lot of people who didn’t know anyone DID go, just because.

    http://www.theblathering.org/

  10. danish
    Sep 20, 2010

    Breakfast from McDonalds: priceless.

  11. Sep 20, 2010

    What makes Mighty Summit icky is that it’s an exclusive, invite-only event marketed to the very people who will never be able to attend. That’s tacky, end of story.

    I’ve tried to be good this year and keep my mouth shut about it, but ugh, enough. I find it hilarious that the same person who peddles etiquette articles has the audacity to run such an obviously tacky event meant to bring back the mean girl clique to the blogosphere. On that front, it’s actually funny.

  12. Sep 20, 2010

    What I have found interesting about the pictures (which is all I’ve followed, because I’m lazy and busy and not that interested) is how closely they resemble those corporate teambuilding things I had to do for years. Like the breakfast pictures…I mean, did they TELL them to all come down in their jammies? Or did this just happen to be a group of people who shows up to a breakfast in their pajamas? And the queen of the event just happens to be wearing a bright-red brand-new bathrobe, so you can spot her in the photos?

    It just feels so contrived and staged. It’s the same way those teambuilding things require to you pretend like you’re having fun and you love your company and your coworkers and GO TEAM!, when really, you just want it to be over so you can go home and check your email and see if the headhunter called back yet. But you have to do it, because they pay you for this, and your boss asked you to suck it up and be nice and go along, because otherwise there will be trouble.

    Although if anyone had ever given me $135 slippers at one of those teambuilding events, I probably would have liked it a little more.

  13. Sep 20, 2010

    Danish,

    Absolutely. Absolutely priceless. OMG. That was the best piece of news about the Mighty Summit for me, seeing Leah’s tweet about that. LOL.

  14. Sep 20, 2010

    Jen, I’m not sure. I’ve been invited and I’m going to try but it kind of depends on whether I can convince Mr. Right-Click to either stay with Mini or to come with me and find somebody to take care of Mini. I haven’t made a final decision yet, but I’m going to try to go, yes.

  15. Sep 20, 2010

    Btw, my point to mentioning this is that I think Heather and Brittany have enough of a cool following of people (and I like them both a lot) that they could have held the event without the wedding tie-in AND got some sponsors for it to cover their costs. And if it had been handled that way, it might have been received differently — well, to the people who are all, SHE IS SPONSORING A WEDDING OMFG! (I didn’t feel that way, for the record.)

    But by holding an event without a personal tie in, it makes it less about marketing THEMSELVES and more about serving and marketing to their AUDIENCE. Which is a model that could work.

  16. Sep 20, 2010

    No! I did not know about this. I’m thinking perhaps I should make up some kind of guide or something.

  17. Sep 20, 2010

    It’s really the anti-Mighty Summit. Elizabeth (Princess Nebraska’s) life philosophy is pretty much “Everyone is invited. Always.” So she came up with the idea. It’s small, and no it doesn’t have swag or any fancy accommodations, but the idea is really lovely. And yeah, sponsors would be feasible, but that would probably force them to limit the number of attendees, which is the anti-Everyone Is Invited.

  18. Sep 20, 2010

    You might be right. I think they wanted it to have a focus, but I also know that this is not, not an effort to have a wedding sponsored. Not at all. It’s more like, the wedding is a theme, like “honeymoon in vegas” tacky over the top kind of thing. It is not “let’s get a free dream wedding.” I have absolutely confirmed this. It’s more like the inspiration for the party. But your point about conflating the personal with the party stands.

    Suffice to say that this is going to be a trial and error effort, so anybody who tries this after them is going to benefit from what they learn works and doesn’t work. Same goes for the Mighty Summit. Though I would argue that the organizers could have anticipated that marketing an elite conference to people who will never be invited to go to it would be a tough sell, but maybe I’m wrong on that.

  19. Sep 20, 2010

    See, I’m OK with them having it. I really am. I just don’t like it being publicized and marketed. Go ahead and invite the players in the sphere to an exclusive event so that you can make connections, get them to be part of your circle of influence. That’s smart. But do not then post pictures of this and show everybody the stuff they get on Flickr, Twitter, and eighteen blogs. Because that is tacky.

    And, sadly, it’s not good for the people who go. And I say that knowing how hard it would be to say no to an invite. Everybody likes to feel special or like they are chosen, and everybody wants to get cool stuff. But, you know, it’s the Monster Club. And I’ve already made that mistake.

  20. Sep 20, 2010

    This post, said, in so many ways, all of the things we wanted to bring into the discussion of social media events.

    So first, thanks for writing this, because, in true Anna fashion, you never quite applaud or skewer something, but rather dissect it eloquently and leave all the pieces lying about for us to digest, think about, and come to our own conclusions.

    We are really excited about both our company and this upcoming Vegas event. On a professional level, the response has been amazing, and we are really thrilled about moving our personal brands forward with this venture.

    To clarify a few things, yes, the event is FREE, less travel and hotel, which is on you. We are, however, working to make it as wallet friendly as possible with agreeable room rates and travel costs.

    It is open to EVERYONE. Every reader, fan, blogger, etc. I know this is the hard part for many to wrap their heads around, and it’s ok, because it’s new and different, but yes, the context of the event is a “wedding.” This is not a family affair. We are not looking to have our wedding given to us for free. It’s a unique context for a new kind of social media event.

    Further more, I think we can all agree there is nothing sacred about open bar, fat Elvis’, and drag queens.

    We’re going to celebrate everything that’s awesome and campy about Vegas, while appealing to a demographic of both men and women.

    We’re bored. With the conferences. The level of engagement. The business as usual.

    This is the first of many projects we have launching, and we’re really excited to shake things up and start a new dialogue.

    It will be an exciting experiment in social media brand interaction. So yes, it will be sponsored.

    Besides, how else would we be able to afford the $700 Ninja Swords in all the swag bags?

  21. Sep 20, 2010

    B T Dubs, we totally do have swag. Sadly, my vote for underwear with “Twitter this” written across the back was vetoed, but I think instead everyone is getting a group picture after the event. And last year we just had everyone bring something small to share – people brought chocolate and crocheted stuff and gave out bumper stickers. Just to set the record straight on the swag.
    Also, Anna, you should come! Everyone is invited, for sure.

  22. Sep 20, 2010

    I’m going to be in Vegas that week with one of my friends for a belated B-day celebration for us both. We’ve got a time share with and extra room if you want a free stay Anna.

  23. Sep 20, 2010

    Sorry Elizabeth re: the swag!

    Btw, I’m there next year, for sure, and I am reiterating my vote for Texas ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. Sep 20, 2010

    Dear Anna: I love your website. If you came to the Blathering I would faint from joy. If it’s swag that you require, I promise to do my best to reinstate the ‘Twitter This’ underpants.
    Best, Maggie

  25. Sep 20, 2010

    Maggie,

    Thanks! No, swag would not be a deciding factor for me in coming or not coming. It sounds really cool, actually. My biggest problem lately is that events are piling up and I’m starting to get anxious about leaving my son and my husband so often. I had committed to the twice yearly conference schedule and that seemed totally fine with me, but now I’ve got another one next month, and possibly this Mouth Media event in December. I know a lot of bloggers travel a lot so this is probably something I’m going to have to make peace with, but I’m struggling with it right now. But The Blathering does sound really cool . . .

  26. Sep 20, 2010

    Are the Ninja swords for opening champagne bottles? Will there be all-day wine tours for the recovering alcoholics, pregnant women, and Mormons to attend? Also: can you arrange for it to happen on a major Jewish holiday? I’m just trying to make sure you cover all of the bases.

    On a serious note, you also pointed out what I didn’t clarify above — the event itself is free, so that means food and drinks, etc. are free. Which is a pretty important point.

  27. Sep 20, 2010

    You know, Brittany, I think you’re pretty awesome to let people talk about this in front of you, and to be a part of the conversation.

    My impression is this: you guys are experimenting to see what sticks and what will work, which will help determine the direction of your company. That in itself is way cool, and I applaud that. I remember there being a big backlash/brouhaha when Dooce first ran ads, just like someone above (Anna?) said, so for something like this, backlash is to be expected, but is not necessarily a sign of doom, or even a bad thing. The unknown is freaky to people in general, and people have big mouths.

    Hell, Mighty Summit is soldiering on, despite my feelings on it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    (I am seriously hating myself for saying anything at all about it, because I like a lot of the attendees, and I do not hold it against them one whit, and I also recognize that there is a possibility that I am wrong about all of this, and I hate that I went for a personal attack and FLOG FLOG FLOG)

    Regardless, as a person who recently monetized all of ONE THING on her blog (look at me! I HAVE A BLOG! For, um, seven years), I like watching the business of it all unfold, mostly out of (honest, not mean-spirited) curiosity.

  28. Sep 20, 2010

    The thing that Heather and Brittany are so great about is that when I told them about this they both responded with, “What are people saying?” and I was dancing around with this, “Well, you know, it’s no big deal, and I don’t want to hurt your feelings,” and they were like, “Come on, just tell us.” And that’s what I like about both of them (one of the things), because they understand that it’s not always about just ripping people down for the sport of it, but trying to balance what is good for a blogger who wants to make money with what is going to go over well with people who are in the audience.

    Now, in the case of the Mighty Summit, I like a lot of the attendees as well. But I still have to make fun of it because come on? It’s so hard not to. I mean, it looks like a beautiful event, but there are some aspects of it that are tortuously hard not to satire. And if I put it on, I would fully expect people to satire it as well.

  29. Sep 20, 2010

    There doesn’t seem to be much feedback from the casual reader and non-blogger, so I thought I’d chime in. (okay, I do have a blog but my readers are made up of my 20 closest friends and a creepy ex-boyfriend. I’m nowhere near the monetizing super-star that the title “blogger” generally applies to in my mind.)
    I discovered Brittany and the Barefoot Foodie a few months ago and got my first ever girl-crush. I’m now a cult follower. When I saw the Mouth Media site I was instantly confused and wondered “wtf is this all about? Must be some super-blogger hub-ub that I just don’t get… whatever… where’s the freaking funny? Take me back to Barefoot Foodie.” (I say this in love.)

    As far as I can tell, Mouth Media is not for the casual blogger and cult-following fan, it’s for those that know what the hell monetizing even means and have the time and money to fly all over for swanky conferences (or, after reading the above comments- those fortunate enough to be invited to the cool kid lunch table and get overpriced lounge wear to sport all over the place to make the chess club jealous. figures.) Every now and then I check in on the site to see if there’s anything that applies to me, the average fan, and move on.

    The whole wedding thing seems fabulous to this casual fan. I mean, I don’t necessarily know if this event or anything like it is truly marketed toward the average reader/fan. I feel like I’d get there and be the chess clubber watching the cool kids eat lunch (because I don’t even know what the hell the point to BlogHer even is.) and feel awkward. But I’m all for free food and drinks and a drive through wedding chapel. Who the hell cares if there are sponsors and someone’s getting a “free wedding”? At least you’re not whoring yourself out on TLC to get some free stuff and you actually used your talent to merit the attention of some sponsors. The only remotely negative thought I had was… “Oh Andy, did your romantic gesture get publicized and turned into a huge spectacle when all you wanted to do was profess your love to your sweetheart?” and then my normal bitchy self told that crazy sympathetic lady in my head, “well of course it did. that’s what happens at every freaking wedding any woman has ever planned. does the man really give a shit about caterers and flowers and blah blah blah? Nope!” So enjoy your big wedding and super-event and I’ll just be reading all about it from my couch.
    (I don’t know if hearing this perspective is at all helpful… but there it is. Rambled to you from Jane Q. Average Reader.)

  30. Sep 21, 2010

    I’m sure they do expect it to be satired. But that’s fine, because they’ve succeeded in getting everyone to talk about it. This is how it works on the internet, right? If no one’s bitching about it, did it really happen?

  31. Sep 21, 2010

    This event sounds like way more fun than BlogHer. How does one get invited?

  32. Sep 21, 2010

    Susan, you actually don’t have to be invited. You can go to this page, and on the right hand side of the page, you’ll see a little box where you can enter your email address to get on the list for information about the event. I used the word “invited” above only because they had told me about it in particular, not because you actually have to receive some kind of special invitation.

  33. Sep 22, 2010

    As usual you nailed it, Jonniker. That’s exactly what makes MS icky. The “look at me and all the great swag” in 10985 twitpics and blog posts attitude about it. It’s a private, exclusive social gathering and that I have no issue with. It’s 1) the pretense that it’s more than that (it’s a SUMMIT, damn it!) and the 2) shoving down our throats of all the stuff – I mean, personalized tags for a god damn s’more stick? Come on!

    As for the I Still Do Event, I think that struck me about it is that it seems way too much like the money-grubbing brides who try to get sponsors for their wedding. Thatโ€™s what makes me squirm when I read about it. It reeks of swag-whoring. I get that the best part of conferences are the networking events โ€“ Iโ€™ve been to enough professional conferences to know that those events are where things happen, not in the sessions. So, if you want to capatlize on that and bring brands around it just throw a networking event without the cheesy wedding hook.

    I have no dog in this fight. I know of Heather marginally with regards to Maddie. I just recently became aware of Brittany, mostly because she lives where I used to live. I donโ€™t really know either one of them to know anything beyond their mommyblogging. But when I read about this event, all I saw was sponsor-grubbing.

    I DO see it as a younger cousin of the Mighty Summit in that it is an event that is purely social, with no real โ€œreasonโ€ for existing beyond a Girls Night Out. (Albeit there are major differences between the 2 events, but at the core I see them as the same). And for the organizers to try to solicit sponsors for their social time is a HUGE reason why bloggers, and female bloggers in particular, are seen as always looking for handouts.

  34. Sep 22, 2010

    Okay, I’ve thought about this, and I’ve pondered, and I’ve read and…I still don’t get why one would do this. Not getting together. Getting together minus a conference sounds rad (hello, Blathering. You aren’t my people right now but someday you may be). It’s the wedding that I don’t get.

    Just as context, I know of Heather and Brittany but don’t read either. So you may be the nicest, humble, most sincere people ever. I don’t know. But the self-celebration aspect of using vow renewal as a social media attention-grabber seems just as whore-tastic as Mighty Summit and its monetized Life Lists. I really, really don’t see the difference. I’ve tried and I’ve squinted and I’ve tilted my head and it still looks exactly the same.

    I mean, I expect that some of the Mighty Summit folk would suggest that the Mighty Lists are merely a theme for the event, and yet we all felt free to skewer those, no?

  35. Sep 22, 2010

    The fact that it’s not an exclusive event, with preordained people chosen by god to attend and then talk about how wonderful it was, is a huge, huge, huge difference for me.

    But otherwise, you’re right. I’m not going to defend it any further. Suffice to say I’ve found this whole thing supremely frustrating.

  36. Sep 22, 2010

    Oh, you are absolutely correct that the open-arms policy is completely different and gives this a very different feel and audience. In fact, the wedding bit is the only part that gives me pause. I just think that despite claiming it’s open to all, the personal nature of the wedding will naturally limit attendance to only those who already know the bloggers or the hardiest, most outgoing personalities. I’m not sure they thought through all the way how the wedding was going to play. But that’s just me and I’m curmudgeonly. Others here seem to think it’s totally fine. And so it goes.

  37. Sep 22, 2010

    Well, it’s not a claim that it’s open to all – it IS open to all. But I think it’s going to be naturally limited to our READERS. I wouldn’t go to a party you threw because I don’t know or read you, even though I’m sure you’re awesome. We don’t expect people who don’t read us to come.

    Before I do anything, I think, “how does this benefit my readers?” I have a lot of them, and they are the most amazingly supportive and kind and giving people out there. I am always looking for ways to give back to them. So we’re throwing a party in Las Vegas. It’s a cheap place to get to, and we can get very cheap rooms, and everything else is free. And we have some big stuff in the works to include all our readers who can’t go. If I was a billionaire, this wouldn’t be monetized or social media-ized and I’d just pay for the whole thing. But unfortunately I’m just a hundredaire, so we are using the tools we have to do something fun and cool.

    The wedding aspect is the theme. Otherwise, it’s just a random party in Vegas and then we’d probably be getting criticized for that. Which is fine. Not everyone has to like it and that is TOTALLY fine. But we are certainly not whore-tastic. I think Anna can verify that I like to stay as under the radar as possible.

    Anyway, I am just trying to clarify things. I like seeing what people think so we can improve and try to appeal to everyone.

  38. Sep 22, 2010

    How so?

  39. Sep 22, 2010

    I meant “whore-tastic” in the nicest possible way, of course.

    I’ve discussed in other places here and there my discomfort with blog monetization. It overshadows how I view all of these things, whether we are talking about sponsored posts or corporate-funded girls weekends. I’m no high-minded princess. I write for cash, believe you me. But I don’t write about the most private details of my life for cash. Those I try to keep separate, because I believe it’s important in the face of ever increasing consumerism to find ground to stand on. I need to declare some things not for sale. Monetizing internal matters, monetizing friendship, brokering deals with corporations to sponsor togetherness…it all makes me very twitchy. I’m not saying it’s bad (well, sometimes it’s bad) or wrong (well, sometimes it’s very, very wrong). I’m saying it’s not for me and I don’t get it.

    But it’s for you, so go forth and godspeed. And I’ll keep watching because someday I might get it. Maybe. Possibly. Probably not.

  40. Sep 22, 2010

    How so, Anna?

  41. Sep 22, 2010

    I think something that might be getting a little bit lost is the fact that this isn’t your traditional wedding or even vow renewal. That may be how the idea started but since it has morphed more into an “event” showcasing what Vegas has to offer for the average everyday couple looking to escape life for a weekend of fun and reconnecting with their significant other.

    Personally I think this event will give brands a new way to connect with potential consumers in a more comfortable less over-powering way. Our hope is that this event will be an alternative to the over stimulation of the “big” conferences and a way for us to connect with our more casual readers.

    (in the interest of full disclosure I am one of the “bridesmaids/hostesses” for the weekend)

  42. monkey
    Sep 23, 2010

    Open to all = instantaneously not tacky, except for whatever tacky tropes they’re going to exploit about Vegas.

    On the other hand, I’m not certain what value these types of events offer to companies. But if they can get sponsors, then it’s up to the sponsors’ marketing departments to have that debate.

  43. Sep 23, 2010

    Not important, it’s just having this post be up in conjunction with Mighty Summit going on has been stressful for me because of comparisons. I feel they are different events because the key for me has to do with who is invited to participate. This is an important distinction for me, and I feel like it has a lot to do with how the event plays in the community. But for some reason, whenever I discuss this aspect of it, either on this post or the other post, my personality, my blog, my “brand” and my psychiatric history keeps getting thrown into the mix.

    So, I’m just getting a little frustrated by it, is all.

  44. Sep 23, 2010

    I think it will get a lot of exposure through the social media outlets during the event, and it will appear in content columns, which is what they all seem to want these days. Why? I don’t know. I do know that there is a lot of brand interest in this event. So, you know, apparently social media is something more brands are interested in getting into.

  45. Sep 23, 2010

    Sorry, I thought the point of the post was to compare and contrast. None of it affects me, so I was just bantering about ideas. As it was purely an intellectual exercise for me, I will happily drop it. (Drop what? Were we talking about something?)

    My apologies for any frustration or perceived attacks. Certainly, I didn’t mean anything of that nature.

  46. Sep 23, 2010

    No, your comments are fine! I’m actually more frustrated by the comments on the other post, but they are getting kind of conflated at this point. No big deal.

  47. monkey
    Sep 23, 2010

    If brand managers think they’re getting some sort of return on these type of social media events, then I think that’s really great. Sometimes I feel skeptical about how long companies are going to be spending as much money as they are on sponsoring social media events etc..

    It just feels a little “faddish” to me, only because I actually worked through the dot com boom in the tech industry and then through the real estate industry, so I’ve watched two boom-bust business cycles where there’s a tremendous amount of interest and activity at first after which only a few players end up coming through in the long-term.

    My personal feeling is that the next five years is going to see a lot of research done on the impact of social media in a variety of ways (I have a sibling that just got funded to study the impact of one particularly well known company) and that the days of social media consultants etc. are numbered. At some point as these technologies age and more people are familiar with them, the type of firms that need to adopt social media as part of their overall marketing strategy will just end up hiring internally for it. I also think that at some point the supply will outstrip demand, unless it’s really innovative AND is shown to have some sort of ROI.

    Regardless, it’s not up to Mouth Media to do anything other than convince companies to sponsor their event.

  48. Oct 24, 2010

    i realize i am very late to the table on this one… not sure how i missed your post. i think the vegas thing sounds like a load of fun and am hoping for a windfall so i can go too. windfall would be for hiring the sitter, not for conference fees ๐Ÿ˜‰ admittedly though, it would have even more appeal (to me) if it were just a party/social gathering… the wedding part makes me feel a little creepy/stalkerish. that being said, i adore brittany and heather and applaud their efforts at trying something new.

  49. Oct 24, 2010

    okay… been thinking about the mighty summit since i left my comment earlier. i think there are 2 ways to make it okay. 1. keep it private. or 2. once you’ve gone, you can never attend again.

    just my thoughts… i couldn’t find your post on the subject… but then, i didn’t look *very* hard. so, maybe you already suggested the same thing.

  50. Nov 12, 2010

    Jen – I’m going!

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