I attended my first Social Media Club (DC) event yesterday – a “social media breakfast,” which was founded by Bryan Person (read more here) – and the inaugural event of its kind in DC.

Wow – what a great time. First of all, it was sold out (well, it was free, but if you wanted to share in the extremely tasty, hot breakfast, you had to shell out $10, which I think is a deal). Teaism‘s cup was running over, if you’ll pardon the expression, of social media maniacs. And we’re a hungry bunch, in more ways than one, so we were eager listeners when Andi Narvaez, who was running the show, kicked things off.

Speakers Geoff Livingston, Shashi Bellamkonda and Alex Howard were fabulous, as was the organization by Andi and her cohort, Rachel Rule. I had a terrific time being a “head of table,” along with Mike Schaffer – and we were even at the same table, which was great. Among others, I got to meet James Walker, Lorna Webster (all the way from Fredericksburg, Va.), Ashley Settle and catch up with Kim Oser (we were all at the same table).

Though I’d meant to post this much earlier, in a way I’m glad I didn’t get a chance to do so, because I’ve found some terrific recaps of the event, such as in Shashi’s Examiner column and Alex Priest’s excellent writeup.

As you’ll read, the speakers all agreed on mobile being a top trend (and you can see how this is a theme in Geoff’s recent post over at Mashable on the Haitian earthquake implications for non-profit organizations).

Shashi made an excellent point (out of many) about integrating social media into your websites (“people aren’t going to come to your site to talk about your product/brand”), and Alex ripped through so many trends (including geo-location, niche networks, privacy – or the lack thereof – and real time) in his Prezi presentation, I felt like a benevolent hurricane had blown through the room. Fortunately, he’s allowed us to embed his excellent presentation, so have a look (tip, watch it in fullscreen mode, it’s much more fun).

Our table had an amazingly free-flowing discussion once the speakers wrapped; we covered everything from how businesses are using Foursquare, to governance of the Internet, to the successful integration of different applications. In fact, they pretty much had to throw us out (ask Mike, I’m not kidding). It was a great way to start a day (and week).

By the way, I’ve seen a few disappointed tweets from folks who didn’t know it was happening. Folks, if you subscribe to SMC-DC’s blog, and/or follow their tweets (#smcdc), and/or join their LinkedIn group, you’ll know when the next one is, won’t you?

The Real A-ha Moment

For me, the real “a-ha” moment was the engagement that we all shared, and the clear enjoyment we had in meeting each other, particularly when so many of us only knew each other from Twitter.

So in my opinion, while social media and online networking clearly has new and exciting heights to scale, I think we’re also going to see a resurgence of offline interaction in the days, months and years to come. Because all the trends the speakers spoke about had one thing in common, no matter how cool they were – they enable us to make better connections with each other.

The online world making us more human? Who’da thunk it.

If you were at #smbdc, what did you think? Did your table have other conversations you’d care to share? Do tell!

Image (cc) courtesy Shashi Bellamkonda, Social Media Swami, Network Solutions

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps smart businesses make bank by taking their communications from corporate codswallop to community cool™. She is also the founder of The Social PR Virtuoso®, which provides online, on-demand training that helps you unleash your inner Social PR superhero. Shonali is mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke