SocialMedia.org Founding Member Sean Cheyney

March 26, 2024

SocialMedia.org Founding Member Sean Cheyney, formerly VP of Marketing and Business Development at AccuQuote, talks about how the community came to be.

Video Transcript

Can you talk about the early days of SocialMedia.org and why it was important to form this community?

SocialMedia.org really started out of a problem that companies were having. Back then when we first started, it was called the Blog Council. And it really came out of a problem where blogging was pretty new. It was really just being done by individuals. Companies that were trying it, ended up sticking their foot in their mouth in a big way, and there wasn't really a blueprint for how to properly use the blogging medium as a interactive and communication channel, at least on a business level. Plenty of good examples from an individual perspective or from a content perspective, but nothing for individuals at companies and how to do that properly in a way that was going to benefit that organization. And so I had Andy in my conference room for a word of mouth seminar that we did at my company, and I started talking to him. While he swore up and down he would never lead a industry organization again, I started talking to him about the challenges that companies were facing when it came to blogging and how we needed to solve for that. I had talked to a bunch of different companies and people at different companies, and they were all having the same problem. Andy went back, talked to a handful of different companies, people at different companies, who were part of his inner circle, and he came back to me and he said, "Yeah, you're right. This is a problem. We need to figure this out." And so, out of that is what birthed the Blog Council, which became SocialMedia.org. We had our first conference at a hotel adjacent to universal studios in Orlando. And in that room, we had about 30 people representing about 15 or 16 companies. And it was tremendous to be in a safe environment where there were no vendors. It was just us as marketing and communications professionals at big companies who were trying to figure out how to properly use what at the time was a new medium. And really the starting point for social media in a business sense. And figure out how to utilize this blogging channel in a way that, you know, in a way that was going to create it as a good communications and interactive medium as opposed to a broadcast channel, which is what a lot of companies and marketing departments wanted to use it as -- which it wasn't. So they were trying to figure out what this is and how to use it properly, and also how to get legal teams to look at it in a way that it's not a broadcast channel. And how to look at posting, and user-generated content, and comments, and how to moderate those comments properly. And do so in a way that was going to satisfy the needs of the legal teams. But also, and more importantly, satisfy the needs of the business. And so there was a lot of education that came out of that. A lot of material that came out of these first early meetings of how to educate different business organizations on the channel and how to use it properly. So we ended up coming up with a really good blueprint for organizations, and everything just grew from there. It's tremendous to see what everything has evolved towards now. And it's exciting to see all the tremendous leadership that has been part of SocialMedia.org -- not just from the very beginning, but over time and continues today.

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