While I do enjoy each and every HoCoBlogs party, there are times when it seems the elements and pieces weave together ever so perfectly. Last night was one of these nights. After a rainy start to the morning, the weather cleared and was utterly perfect, being neither too chilly nor too warm. The place (the outdoor seating area of Seasons 52) was beautiful and tastefully decorated. The passed appetizers were scrumptious and flowing. The drinks were easy to get with no lines. The serving staff was attentive, friendly and present. And, of course, the guests — the party goers — were, as always, wonderful. There was a lovely mix of regulars and new people, bloggers and readers.
One of the comments I often receive from people is how *interesting* the people are at the parties. Yes! The parties are great places to mingle, to talk about community, life, blogging, whatever. There’s no agenda other than to connect.
I believe one of the energizing and specific factors that made the party seem just *that* much better is that it was probably the first time I’d ever been at event in Howard County that felt like it was in a city. Large, small, medium … doesn’t matter; it felt like being in the city, and the reason is that as we were enjoying the party, there was a stream of hundreds of people over the course of the evening who walked past our part into and out of the mall. This is quite a different experience than being in the backroom or private room, or even the bar area, of a restaurant in the suburbs, in a stripmall shopping center or village center. The addition of others — the chance opportunity to see or be seen by a friend, neighbor or colleague — made the party, to me, all that much more energized and fun.
From a behind-the-scenes perspective, the HoCo Library is always a great partner for an event. With ultra professional, capable staff and the back drop of Choose Civility, the process of planning and executing this event was incredibly easy … made even more so by Michelle, the event management/group sales director at Seasons 52. She was generous, prompt and calmly and capably in charge as they set up and received our group of 80+ people.
As life would have it, there was a Terri Hill fundraiser in a room nearby and we had a lot of visitors come by from that party as well, making the evening even more enjoyable.
Ever and always the advocate of using one’s social capital, I asked each of the attendees — blogger or reader — to do ONE thing with social media: to tweet about the party, post a pic on IG, write a review of Seasons 52 on Facebook, post a FB update about the upcoming #HoCoCivil event the library is having or, if possible, to blog about the party.
Everyone *gets* it. They *get* that the way we can have these parties is that the attendees *give* the restaurant and the co-hosts some social media love and to do so with social media intelligence: good hashtags, using the right twitter account handle in a tweet, acknowledging the party and the fun they had on Facebook with updates, pics, location information and more. What each person does is there business. That each person participates is key. We’re not an entitled group, invited to eat and drink on someone else’s dime … just because. We’re invited to enjoy a place and space, food and wine, because we deliver. We deliver local, connected, engaged, thoughtful, considerate, civil social media goodness — our social capital in our own local networks.
Some of the blog posts mentioning the party that I’ve seen so far include these —
(Did I miss any? LMK)
Plus, some of the promotional actions HoCoBlogs and the Library took include —
- Two emails sent to a database of nearly 500 bloggers,
- Emails to the library’s Choose Civility Alliance Partners,
- Multiple tweets (about a dozen over a few weeks) from @hocoblogs to our nearly 4000 local followers and to the library’s following
- Shout-outs on both hocoblogs and the library’s Facebook pages
- Near-impossible to track Facebook mentions from many of the attendees,
- An event page,
- A Facebook invite, and
- Invitations to over a hundred local people to like Seasons 52’s FB page.
In Twitter, FB and Instagram, there were dozens of posts, many of which are hard to see and track as they are in that individual’s personal stream and may not be public. Some of these posts are here –