WHILE SITTING in the back of the 2013 National Enterprise Conference, I realised that Clonmel remains underdeveloped in the realm of online social networking. We need to remedy that deficiency.
Fiscal austerity has caused the Irish government to remove many of the resources normally available to not only Clonmel but many other towns that are discovering the erosion of government-funded community supports. Agencies like LEADER have discovered some of their funding pots have moved over to County Enterprise Boards. The South East Regional Authority is gone, meaning the locus of attention for many enterprise developments in Clonmel and South Tipperary sits in Waterford. The South Tipperary County Council is amalgamated north into a combined authority with its seat in Nenagh. The former Tipperary Institute now serves as an extension campus to the Limerick Institute of Technology. All these changes can mean getting in the car to meet people--hence the face-to-face value of annual events like the National Enterprise Conference in Clonmel.
I want to cobble together a strategic relationship with the Clonmel Chamber that includes not only our online networking using SproutSocial and Google Adwords at LIT-Clonmel, but also the help of the Limerick OpenCoffee on Google Plus and the Hartnett Enterprise Centre in Limerick through LinkedIn. If we can do this, the traditional lines of regional competition will blur and everyone will see a net result.
Every week, I listen to event planners tweet about filling seats at their gigs. The big difference is those quick-filling events normally involve highly-acclaimed workshops revolving around a single topic with several consultants in the audience who can answer questions arising from listeners. I like those kinds of events. Personally, I get much less value sitting and listening with large groups than I get while exchanging quality information in smaller groups. But I recognise the need for both kinds of events and there was ample time for coffee chats during the #neconf event.
The most surprising point arising from the Clonmel #neconf was how Googler Cian O'Mongain promoted Google Adwords and Google Local without mentioning Google Plus. Perhaps that reflects his inside information about the update of G+ in Ireland. In comparison, stock market analysts report Google advertising revenue is performing well across interntional markets. The material presented on screen today showed that in several ways.
The National Enterprise Conference attendees heard a special greeting from Greg Durocher in Canada as he shared his enthusiasm about visiting Clonmel as part of The Gathering later this year. I hope to connect with his Canadian delegation via a Google Hangout or Skype video call before then because he has an infectious can-do attitude.
I enjoyed the perspective of Fred Karlsson from DoneDeal.ie as he wrapped up the event with clever insights from one of the fastest-growing consumer sites in Irish/UK internet space. Although my perspective is biased as a satisfied DoneDeal customer, Fred Karlsson is a very entertaining speaker and dog lover so he charms audiences in many settings.
Bernie Goldbach is a creative multimedia lecturer with the Limerick School of Art and Design who regularly attends well-arranged events arranged by Brian Cleary at the Clonmel Chamber of Commerce.
For the record, here is a reverse chronology of the tweets sent during the 19 April National Enterprise Conference:
Experience Tipperary @ExperienceTipp: #neconf brilliant event, truly glad we attended, @ChamberBrian @ClonmelChamber well-chosen speakers left us inspired and educated :)
Bernie Goldbach @topgold: Discovering there is no fast cure for DoneDeal.ie addiction. #neconf
Finbarr Sheehan @finbarrsheehan: #neconf Fred Karlsson's father in law from Wexford was key to success of #donedeal Dogs for sale was vip Dont tell him :-)
RosemaryWard @RosemaryWard1: Donedeal is a great southeast success story. Helps that Fred is an extremely entertaining presenter at #neconf @southeastbic
Bernie Goldbach @topgold: DoneDeal grew 5-10% every month and 450,000 people use the site every day. #neconf
Clonmel Chamber @ClonmelChamber: Margaret O'Connor recounting the entrepreneurial journey at #neconf http://pic.twitter.com/eEMztD0HJK
Bernie Goldbach @topgold: "Bingo" is the most expensive key word sold in the Google Irish/UK market. #neconf
Brian Cleary @ChamberBrian: #neconf Greg Durocher has just addressed delegates from his studio in Canada @GregDurocher Great reaction from attendees.
Finbarr Sheehan @finbarrsheehan: Jim Miley CEO The Gathering now discussing the use of social media in attracting visitors at #neconf in Clonmel
Bernie Goldbach @topgold: All #neconf peeps are invited to http://penandpixel.ie for more free coffee on 23 May in LIT-Clonmel.
Bernie Goldbach @topgold: At #neconf with 96 others http://twitpic.com/ckdbuv