Why Atlanta for The Social Shake-Up?
I've written about The Social Shake-Up's purpose and our audience for the event. Another question that arises about is "Why Atlanta?" That question is usually followed up by "Instead of San Francisco or New York?"
The answer is easy: We wanted to make the statement that social is about real businesses doing real things in every marketplace. This doesn't mean that it is no longer about tech (San Francisco), or about digital marketing (New York and San Francisco), but it's certainly about more than those two very important things.
There are few cities in America that can boast as many major brands doing amazing things with social. Coke's story-telling abilities were recently honored in Cannes. Delta's transition to mobile is leading the industry. Other brands like Cox, the Centers for Disease Control, Pepsi/Frito-Lay, Manhattan Associates, and AT&T, to name but a few, are creating new ways to connect with customers, to collaborate and innovate, and, yes, to market with social and digital technologies.
Since announcing the event, we've had the warmest of Southern welcomes from the city. City Councilman Kwanza Hall, whose fan club I've recently joined, reached out to us early to find out how the City Council and his office could help. Many local partners like GA Followers, AiMa, Social Media Club Atlanta and TAG have helped us get the word out. Local thought leaders, such as Brent Leary, Jamie Turner, Toby Bloomberg and Erika Brookes, have given us early and whole-hearted support. The charismatic Dantes Rameau has helped us with our closing ceremony, which will feature the Atlanta Music Project. And the list goes on.
I've also had personal experience with the dynamic social and marketing community in Atlanta. I've been a speaker at Brent Leary's SocBizAtlanta for the past two years, and I've been witness to the incredible (and un-jaded) energy and interest in technology and social from the local community.
We're also pleased that we can create a conference in a city with such a rich history of diversity. In the early sixties, when Southern cities like Birmingham were beating protestors, William Hartsfield pronounced Atlanta as "the city too busy to hate." As a Southerner, I feel it is important never to stop challenging our assumptions about race and gender, and I am proud to be producing an effort that also "shakes up" our expectations about who should be leading our new models for business in a post-social world.
Atlanta is a special place for me. I've many old friends there and with The Social Shake-Up, we're making many new ones. We're coming home, Atlanta.
Please join us at The Social Shake-Up, September 15th to 17th.