Five years ago today, 16 people gathered to discuss the emerging technology known as social media, set goals and initiatives around the launch of Social Media Club (determine what a professional trade association would look like), and dig into our first project, then known as the hRelease/New Media Release (has since been renamed to the Social Media Press Release).
In Person: Chris Heuer, Kristie Wells, Todd Defren, Brian Solis, Sally Falkow, Tom Abate, Seth Mazow, Tom Foremski, Mark Nowlan, Jen McClure, Pat Meier-Johnson, Russell Johnson, Shannon Clark, Lisa Chung and joining us via a conference call: Todd Van Hoosear and Jason Baptiste.
We felt there was a need for a neutral third party platform in which people can share best practices, support ethics and standards, and develop programs to promote digital media literacy. We discussed forming as a ‘for profit’ vs. “not-for-profit”, but it was clear the new organization had to be a not-for-profit organization, money could not be the driver (and isn’t). We didn’t want to own it. We wanted to nurture it. We wanted to guide it. We wanted to support it. We knew ‘it’ was Social Media Club.
In many ways, that meeting feels so long ago – in other ways, it has been five short years. Through word of mouth, the support of over 1000 volunteers and staying true to our values of transparency and sharing, Social Media Club has grown from a single Chapter in San Francisco to over 300 Chapters in 47 countries, connecting hundred’s of thousand’s of people around the globe. We launched with lofty goals and while we have made some headway along the lines of education for the masses, our work is far from done. In fact, I think Social Media Club is just getting started, but for the sake of brevity, I will save that for a later post.
This past Thursday, several of the folks mentioned above along with members of the San Francisco Chapter leadership team met for dinner to discuss social media innovation and some of the surprises that hava taken place over the last five years and we will be sharing these videos over the coming weeks. I would like to thank Tom Foremski who interviewed me during dinner and captured some of my thoughts on Social Media Club’s role in the community, which I will also expand on shortly.
I would like to thank the fine folks at JESS3, who worked with us to create this lovely visualization featuring some of our key milestones over the first five years. JESS3 does amazing work and I am forever thankful for their support in making this timeline come to life.
A little longer, more detailed view into Social Media Club, The First Five Years:
- August 2005: The idea for Social Media Club originated in the Fall of 2005, following Chris Heuer’s participation in the first BarCamp that took place in Palo Alto, CA.
- September 2005: This led Heuer and his fiancée Kristie Wells to create the non-profit BrainJams organization to promote unconferences and ad-hoc collaboration to a broader audience of non-geeks. The logo was designed by Chris Messina.
- October 2005: Unhappy about the $2,800 ticket price to go to Web 2.0, Heuer and Wells plan and host the Web 2point1.org Unconference: A Brainjam for the rest of us. (url since released, but here is a website screen grab. In just under a week, they bring 75+ people to the KRON studio to talk about emerging technology and the power of people taking control of producing their own media.
- December 2005: Launch first Brainjams Unconference at SRI in Palo Alto, CA.
- January 2006: Host second Brainjams Unconference in Washington, DC.
- February 2006: Tom Foremski writes infamous blog post about the death of the press release, Heuer gets inspired again and forms a working group to build a new ‘socialized’ press release.
- February 2006: Host third Brainjams Unconference in Berkeley, CA.
- March 2006: The team discovered that social media was their true passion and deserved to be the focus of their efforts and bought the socialmediaclub.org domain. Logo designed by Greg Narain.
- May 2006: Fourth Brainjams Unconference in NOLA to support Katrina victims (bringing businesses together using technology)
- May 2006: Shift Communications releases first template for the Social Media Press Release
- June 2006: Heuer gets on stage at gnomedex, and announces his intent to start Social Media Club
- July 2006: The first post goes up on socialmediaclub.org. Woot!
- August 2006: The first official Social Media Club meeting. Thanks to the efforts of Seth Mazow and the folks at Interplast who provided the venue for us to come together.
- September 2006: Heuer sets off the launch Social Media Club in London, New York, Miami, and Los Angeles.
- November 2006: Host Web2point2.org Unconference (the point is still people).
- November 2006: Heuer heads to Seattle, Vancouver and Toronto to personally launch Chapters 6-8. Wells then joins Heuer in Boston, and Chapter 9 is launched as well.
- November 2006: First Professional membership purchased by Mitch Ratcliff.
- January 2007: Incorporated as Social Media Club, Inc.
- January 2007: Census shows 14 active Chapters.
- Facebook 2007: Set up Twitter and Facebook accounts (Facebook group was turned into a Page in November 2007).
- February 2007: First Corporate membership purchased by BusinessWire.
- March 2007: Host first Social Media Clubhouse in Las Vegas, NV in support of Community 2.0 and NewComm Forum.
- December 2008: Census shows 33 Chapters.
- June 2009: Host first Social Media Camp in New York, NY as a way to bring low cost basic social media literacy skills to a wide array of professionals, office workers and every day people.
- September 2009: The word ‘social media’ starts to take hold in the business world and Social Media Club crosses the 100 Chapter mark.
- July 2009: Launched Social Media for Education Connection to expand digital media literacy in college students.
- February 2010: Host 2nd Social Media Camp in San Francisco, CA.
- March 2010: Launch new Social Media Club website to bring the global community together.
- June 2010: Hire Jessica Murray as Social Media Club’s Community Manager. Smartest decision ever.
- July 2010: Annual Census Report highlights 230 Chapters in 37 countries.
- August 2010: Social Media Club receives 501(c)6 not-for-profit designation.
- December 2010: Announces official Editorial Team.
- February 2011: Host 3rd Social Media Camp in New York, NY.
- March 2011: Launch Social Media Book Club in an effort to highlight key learning opportunities and connect with industry thought leaders.
- April 2011: Host 4th Social Media Camp in San Diego, CA.
- July 2011: Annual Census Report highlights 318 Chapters in 47 countries.
- August 2011: Celebrates 5th Anniversary!
There are 1000’s of people we owe personal thanks to for their help in spreading the mission(s) of Social Media Club and offering their support over this first five years. It is because of all of you that Social Media Club is what it is today, and for that, Chris, Jessica and I thank you.