Its just over a week to go until the social media conference for Wales comes to fruition. Its been a very special journey. You may remember the initial idea came from the offer that Mark Schaefer made to speak at a conference for free if I could just put it together. Well, the tickets have just about sold out, and next Thursday at 9am we’ll kick off an event the quality of which I believe Wales has not seen before.
That extremely kind and generous offer was made around 6 months ago, and The OnLine Influence Conference has grown from that single conversation on Twitter into an amazing social web powered collaborative event! You probably know it as The OiConf or even just Oi!
First came the line up – I quickly added some tremendous names to the roster of speakers. Jay Cooper, James Cridland, Pippa Davies, Marc Webber, Emma Meese and most recently Andrew Grill represent some of the finest digital talent here and abroad. And with Mark Schaefer as the Keynote speaker we quickly assembled an all star cast to rival any event any where on the planet.
The most amazing bit? Sensing the Oiconf mission and immediately seeing the wider value of bringing this type of event to Wales, every single speaker also gave their time for free. Thats right, Oiconf is a ‘cost neutral’ event. There wont be a single penny profit made by the event, as anything over, any proceeds will be donated to charity.
While I assembled the speakers, I also pulled together some of the finest Welsh web talent to help put this mammoth undertaking together! Joel Hughes, website wonder, Ben Cook events guru and Russell Britton, a terrific designer I would recommend whether he’d helped me out or not all stepped up. And all again have given their expertise for free.
Without all of these people this wouldn’t have happened.
A special mention here to Pippa Davies too, Pippa has doubled or even trebled up as a muse, sounding board and ‘committee member’, and of course, is one of our special guest speakers on the day.
I’ve also leaned on numerous people throughout to help in less obvious ways, but I still appreciate you all so very much! Kate Novell, Tanya Brookes Dowsett, Emma Meese (another of our brilliant speakers) Nick Smith, Barbara Chidgey, Aimee Bateman… The list goes on. You all let me bounce ideas off you and some have even agreed to be social media guides for our delegates on the day too.
Social Media guides you ask? Oh yes! Yet more kind hearted volunteers who as well as buying tickets to the conference to help make sure it happened, have all decided to help out on the day to make sure everyone can access the content as fully as possible. They will guide everyone through the topics on offer, and ensure questions are asked and answered so that each attendee gets maximum value.
And Mark Schaefer. Yes, the main Oiconf man, best selling author and worldwide blogging star has been an enormous help all the way through. He has been vociferous in his efforts to promote on Twitter and his brilliant Grow Blog. He even offered to put on an extra session called ‘Five Foundational Social Media Strategies’ at The Atrium in Cardiff. This has allowed us to put a big push on ticket sales prior to September 1st as everyone buying a ticket before then got free entry to this extra event. (Even the Atrium has joined in and donated the space for the extra event to take place)
More importantly, Mark has been available to offer support and council on email, and most special of all, the other day we got to speak on the telephone in real life for the first time when he proved to be exactly the extraordinary gentleman anyone that reads his stuff or follows his blogs knows him to be.
Mark Schaefer is one of life’s good guys. He, more than anyone else, has helped me stay the course and make this wonderful event happen.
And there are still more people that have helped! My bosses at Real Radio for instance. Without the support of my employers in sponsoring the Oiconf, and underwriting the cost of putting the event on, it wouldn’t have happened.
Vanessa at the Celtic Manor who’s vision and professionalism makes her a joy to work with. Vanessa’s event manager Helen has been pretty cool too. And my very good friend, sometime employee and all round good egg Nick Miles who has run the Oiconf as a Neon Events gig.
Again, the lack of any of these pople would have stopped the event from taking place. There have been so many so keen to support its unbelievable. And all that passion and energy is about to pay off.
If you are a small or medium enterprise (as the saying goes) and you have bought a ticket for Oiconf, you are about to have your view of social media changed for ever! You’ll know about Facebook and Twitter and the like, and you’ll most likely be all over them as your brand or company employs various techniques to try to leverage these amazing platforms.
But Oiconf is about to super charge your efforts. Oiconf will revolutionise your approach. Oiconf will blow your mind! Well as far as social media, content, community, engagement and all those strange things you’ve heard about over the years go anyway. In fact, that’s why we’ve called it The Online Influence Conference. It’ll cover everything you need to understand it, create it and recognise it, and then learn what to do with it!
It’s going to be awesome! I can’t wait, and I’m already excited. In just over a weeks time I’ll finally get to meet you all and join in with you in learning some great new things that are going to help us all drive our businesses forward.
And I need to thank you guys too. Because even more than anyone else you guys, the people that have bought the tickets have been the ones that have made it possible.
So thank you all, every single person that chipped in and helped out. And here’s to a great event next week! See you there!