Warning: this post will almost certainly be seen by the majority of readers of this blog as an egregious expression of hyperlocalism.
But as I get ready to head to the USA and do the international thing this coming weekend in Las Vegas at BlogWorld Expo, it’s refreshing, exciting even, to see signs of people in the online space in my own neck of the woods getting together.
People who work in one or other field of the online/interactive industries in the larger Australian cities, Sydney and Melbourne being the two biggies, have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to finding opportunities to get together with others who share their interests.
When I lived in Sydney there was always something on and if you were close to the central business district it was even easier to get out and mingle, catch up with the goss, do some networking and be home at a reasonable hour, hopefully a bit more knowledgeable and a bit better connected.
Until recently, however, I have not noticed a lot of such activity in the area where I live, at the southern end of the Gold Coast region of South East Queensland which culturally and touristically (if not strictly in terms of government-delineated regional and state boundaries) stretches into the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.
(I acknowledge that some of my fellow New South Welshpersons don’t like this “absorption” of part of our State into the oft-criticised, oft-derided but still there and growing Gold Coast: I think they need to get over it.)
Anyway, having to miss out on opportunities to mingle with the interactive/webby crowd on a readily available basis has been for me, I told myself, one of the trade-offs for the pleasure of working from home, literally on an island, in a rather slow-moving coastal town, with clean air, beautiful beaches, the river…
And as I say, at least until recently, that seemed to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. There has not even much sign of activity, as far as I could tell, in the city of Brisbane, capital of “Smart State” Queensland. The city is an hour and a half’s drive from where I live, not a trip I relish doing too often, although it’s a whole lot closer than Sydney.
But I feel the scene in Brisbane and indeed South East Queensland is now definitely changing and at a quickening pace.
We have started a Social Media Club Brisbane. Although it has not moved as fast as intended – and I accept responsibility for that – it’s on my short list to get moving on again when I get back from the States.
Then there was the btub (“brisbane twitter underground brigade”) meetup – folks in and around Brisbane who use Twitter – last Friday night and I saw on Twitter a statement that twenty people had turned up.
Not to forget barcamp Gold Coast a couple of months ago, which was a terrific day from my point of view and I believe was generally acknowledged as such.
And now into my email comes news of another venture, a social networking initiative called Interactive Minds.
Interactive Minds, according the the website is “a networking group created to bring together Queensland entrepreneurs who have an interest in the Internet, digital marketing and interactive media.”
The group has been set up by two people with lots of experience in the online interactivity field and obviously a lot of energy, to be willing to launch a project like this.
Louisa Dahl, one of the co-founders, is an experienced interactive marketing expert and strategist and blogs at Online Marketing Stuff.
The other co-founder, Jen Storey, is one of duo behind The Better Banking Blog, a.k.a. Online Banking Review. Her career so far includes “marketing, business strategy, content development, venture capital, online marketing, strategy and ecommerce”.
The first event is on in Brisbane next week, on Thursday, September 24th. The theme is Measuring Online Success – Beyond the Click and they have a couple of speakers with excellent credentials. It’s from 8 am to 10.30 am. I’ll just have got back from the US, non-stop Los Angeles to Brisbane then driving home from there, so I’ll not be a starter.
Hopefully I can get to the subsequent event, planned for October 17th, with the topic What Customers Want: Improving Your Customer’s Website Experience.
I’m not technically a “Queensland” entrepreneur, but as I’m just over the border I’m hoping they won’t mind the odd bit of border-hopping participation. In fact I’m sure they won’t.