We all know the song, many of us have been on the ride; it is a small world, after all. With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites popping up and making their way to the mainstream every day, it keeps getting smaller. And we’re the ones shrinking it.

What makes us as a species so drawn to creating these connections between one another, whether we even know one another or not? What is it, from a psychological perspective, that drives us to online meeting spaces?

Kris Markman, Ph.D., from the University of Memphis might have an answer. She has been studying the the social impacts of new media since 2001. She’ll be the guest speaker at April’s Social Media Expedition Breakfast, 7 a.m., April 1 at the U of M Holiday Inn. Her presentation will be titled “A Species Driven to Connect.”

A veteran of public radio, Markman is currently collecting research about independent podcasters – those producing programs unaffiliated with traditional media at all.

Be sure to RSVP for this breakfast at MeetUp. Admission is $20, or $15 each for you and a guest.

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TechFuelLaunchMemphis’ latest TechFuel networking event was all about atmosphere.  This past Thursday, Memphis technologists, media, creatives and entrepreneurs assembled at the top of Clark Tower to meet old friends, make new connections and have a great time doing it.  The evening was graciously sponsored by MPACT Memphis, who share LaunchMemphis’ mission to promote growth in the Memphis entrepreneurial community.

The LaunchMemphis group has been hosting these networking evenings as part of its ongoing effort to bring focus to entrepreneurial activities in Memphis, TN, and to deliver new technology business startups to the economy.  The organization was very successful in making progress towards this goal last year.  In that spirit, they have designed a schedule of events for 2009 that will continue moving Memphis to the forefront of the business community.

Upcoming on the LaunchMemphis Calendar are:

MPACT MemphisSocialCamp Memphis – March 6 & 7
Location: Memphis College of Art
SocialCamp Memphis is an unconference focusing on Social Media and Social Networking.  Just imagine a conference where the morning is comprised of designated speakers/topics, and the afternoon is comprised of focused discussions and impromptu presentations that are decided on by the attendees.  There will be a networking event the evening of March 6th, and the main event during the day on March 7.  See more information at the SocialCamp site and Facebook pageRegister early!

Startup Weekend Memphis 2: Back by Popular Demand – May 29, 30, & 31
Location: EmergeMemphis and Mercury Launchpad
Startup Weekend recruits a highly motivated group of technologists and entrepreneurs to build a community and new business ventures in a weekend in a short 54 hours.  These motivated individuals come together form teams and decide what to make. Attendees are responsible for bringing the ideas, desire, and passion and walk out of the room with a brand new businesses launched or started.  Startup Weekend is a national program that has once again selected Memphis, TN as one of the cities that it will visit this year.  See more information and don’t forget to register.

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Universe of Dreams Tweetup

January 30, 2009

Dave Barger and Neal ConanThe Social Media Expedition explored new frontiers in their last Tweetup at the Universe of Dreams concert at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre sponsored by LunaWeb. It was an evening of great food, and otherworldly experiences.

We kicked off the night at Rain, a new sushi bar in Cordova, TN, where we experienced beautiful food, and a great atmosphere. There was a lot of enjoyable conversation, and several of us had the opportunity to meet some folks we had only known from twitter.

SushiWe left Rain just in time to have wine and hors d’oeuvres provided by the friendly people at GPAC. We spent the hour before the show chatting in the green room and looking at photographs of some of GPAC’s most memorable performers.

The Universe of Dreams performance was the highlight and centerpiece of our Tweetup. An incredible performance (as always) put on by GPAC, that feautured NPR’s Neal Conan, Ensemble Galilei, and giant projected images from the Hubble Telescope. Conan read excerpts from some the greatest minds of the past several centuries, expressing their awe at the scope of the night sky, while beautifully displayed images gave meaning to his words. Thanks to all this and an incredible score of Celtic music, the evening proved to be a wonderful multimedia event, that was truly expeditionary.

Thanks to all who participated and made it such an enjoyable night. Join our Facebook Page to stay updated on future Expedition Tweetups.

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Launch MemphisAside from being a lot of fun, it turns out LaunchMemphis’ 2008 inaugural season was a huge financial success.  LaunchMemphis kicked off in May 2008 with a well-attended Tech Fuel event.  Things have only gone up since then, with several events having been hosted already, and many more on the horizon.

The best news, however, comes from a recently published LaunchMemphis financial report for 2008.  The program, since its inception, has taken $16k in investment capital and produced nearly $500k in economic impact, all right here in Memphis.

This success is attributed to a host of factors.  Among them is a very dedicated group of founders dedicated to the growth of Memphis’ entrepreneurial community. Eric Mathews, Dave Barger, Harry Brown, Sridhar Sunkara, Chris Allen, Anna Ivey, Gwin Scott, Douglas Scarboro, Marc Diaz, and Lori Turner have all dedicated immense time and effort into seeing this program accomplish all that it has.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1699139&dest=-1]

LaunchMemphis also owes a great deal of success to its sponsorship base which has consistently provided funding and resources that have helped maximize the programs potential.  FedEx Institute of Technology, Bosco’s Brewing Company, Memphis Regional Chamber, Center City Commission, Sun Microsystems, JumpBox, Cadre5, Flying Circle, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, Naked Lion Brewing Company, Starbucks Coffee, Domino’s Pizza, Neely’s Bar-B-Que, Innova, Mercury Technology Labs, Impact Memphis, Red Bull, Open Road Technologies, Small Business Chamber, Red Bull, LunaWeb, and Rendezvous BBQ, all played a crucial role in events over the past year.

Visit the 2009 schedule for upcoming LaunchMemphis events and links to more information.

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New Year, New Expedition

January 12, 2009

LunaWeb just wrapped up our first Social Media Expedition event of the new year, and thanks to everyone involved, it couldn’t have gone better! The atmosphere was energized with information and networking.

Kerry Hayes Presents

Kerry Hayes Presents

We had two presentations this month. The first, was a remote presentation by Connie Bensen from Minnesota. She spoke about Techrigy, a powerful social media monitoring tool with a lot of exciting features. She will also be hosting a webinar on January 15, talking about Social Media ROI. Please see webinar registration info here. Follow Connie on Twitter.

Our second speaker was Kerry Hayes from Mid-South Community Organizers and the Stax Museum of American Soul. He gave us a lot of great insight into lessons learned in Social Media and community organizing from the presidential election. Follow on Twitter. Checkout their meeting on Thursday night.

Core Conversations were a success again this time around, as tables broke off to discuss Social Media 101, Corporate Blogging, Web Video, Twitter, and Beyond Facebook. There were lots of interesting conversations and action as people moved from table to table trying to glean all the information they could. Keep watching the Social Media Expedition Blog, as we’ll post MP3’s of these conversations online!

Upcoming January Events

Here’s a quick recap of upcoming events for the Social Media Expedition.

  • January 9 – Anybody for caravaning to Nashville to join in on their Geek Breakfast? This is usually a valuable networking opportunity and a good chance to learn from the people around you. Contact Dave Barger for more info.
  • January 19 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day is this month. The Expedition is planning on taking a caravan to Money, MS to give 2.0 coverage to the events surrounding the murder of Emmit Till, an event that is credited with sparking the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s.
  • January 23LunaWeb is sponsoring the Universe of Dreams show at Germantown Performing Arts Centre. There will be a massive Tweetup beforehand and special discount tickets for Expedition members.

There was also a brief overview of The Kindness Revolution. If you’re interested in making a personal commitment to being kind (a great New Year’s resolution), you should consider looking them up on Twitter and Facebook.

If you were at this month’s breakfast or are interested in attending the next one, you can already RSVP on our Meetup page.

Are you an Online Marketer?
There’s also a meeting, Memphis E-Marketing Group, being put on by some very web savvy people from St. Jude’s. Check them out here. Thursday, February 26th from 6-8

Thanks again to all who came out. We hope to see you all again before next month, along with some new faces, to talk about everything social.

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Social Media Breakfast 9

December 4, 2008

smb9daveSocial Media is booming in Memphis, and we proved it at the December Social Media Breakfast!  50 guests, ranging from social experts to brand-new beginners, came to this month’s breakfast at Owen Brennan’s on Poplar.  Many of them were drawn by the breakfast’s recent mention in the Commercial Appeal.  This was the last breakfast of the year and it proved to be an incredible turnout.  The Memphis Social Media Breakfast is hosted by Dave Barger of LunaWeb.

The morning kicked off “officially” with a home-run presentation.  We were lucky to have Jason Orendorff from Mozilla as our guest speaker this month.  He showed us some great Firefox features and some very useful social tools built into the browser.  Jason also gave us insight into the intricacies of running a company like Mozilla using thousands of volunteers and a mere 150 paid employees.

smb9jasonAfter Jason’s presentation, we broke out into groups to discuss topics that were chosen by the audience in traditional BarCamp style.  Discussions included everything from “Social Media 101” to “What’s Broken on the Web.”  Several of the attendees left their groups with plans to meet again later in the month to continue their conversations.

We’re truly excited to watch our next project, the Social Media Expedition, evolve, and we foresee it bringing lot of positive growth to the Memphis business community and beyond.  If you were unable to attend, you can look for information on the next breakfast at our meetup page.  Make sure you’re there next month to join the Expedition!

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