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Social Media Club- in Your City?



What is Social Media Club?

In cities across America, people are gathering at least once a month (for free) to learn about and discuss “the purpose of sharing best practices, establishing ethics and standards, and promoting media literacy around the emerging area of Social Media. This is the beginning of a global conversation about building an organization and a community where the many diverse groups of people who care about social media can come together to discover, connect, share, and learn.”

Benn & I went to our first SMC meeting early this year and have been to every one since. We have met some of the industry’s biggest and brightest names in social media and new technology and are always amazed at their generosity with sharing their knowledge. Social Media Club gatherings attract bloggers, website designers, coders, media insiders, programmers, graphic designers, and more and the wealth of insight is simply astounding.

Why Get Involved?

I find that surrounding myself with people more advanced than I tends to be more challenging, humbling and most of all, inspiring than being the tech genius in the room (which I am far from being but do stand out when people haven’t heard of blogs, twitter, etc). In Austin where technology is still one of the biggest industries locally, it is not hard to find people that aim to improve upon and learn about social media. Advancing your business by being on the forefront of technology only improves your practice and this is one exceedingly awesome way to do it.

How to Get Involved?

Several cities already have people leading Social Media Club meetings but there are many many cities missing. I suggest either getting involved in the pre-existing SMC in your city or getting in touch with @someone to learn how easy it is to bring SMC to your town! Visit the SMC wiki for the most information, the blog to learn current events or message me on Twitter or message Connie Reece, Austin’s SMC Queen if you’d like an introduction to anyone involved in SMC!


The following cities already have SMC:

Austin, TX
Boston, MA
Dallas, TX
Louisville, KY
Minneapolis, MN
New York, NY
Philadelphia, PA
Phoenix, AZ
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Seattle, WA
St. Louis, MO
Research Triangle, NC
Washington DC

The following cities are working on their chapters and need involvement:

Atlanta, GA
Ann Arbor/Detroit, Michigan
Birmingham, AL
Charlotte, NC
Chicago, IL
Denver, CO
Des Moines, IA
Houston, TX
Kansas City, MO
Las Vegas, NV
Los Angeles, CA
New Orleans, LA
Pittsburgh, PA
Portland, OR
Rochester, NY
San Diego, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
South Florida, FL
Tampa Bay, FL

If you’re already involved in SMC, tell us how it has helped YOU! If you’re not, let us know if you’ll be pioneering SMC in your hood!

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Bill Lublin

    June 10, 2008 at 5:30 am

    Hooray – there is an SMC in Philadelphia – Will I have to do any math to enter a comment at their meeting? 😉

  2. Eric Blackwell

    June 10, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Interesting Lani…thanks …looking into it a bit further!

  3. Dru Bloomfield

    June 10, 2008 at 7:08 am

    I’ve been going to the SMC’s in Phoenix for the past several months. I love connecting with all the people, ideas, and energy that fly around the room. The next one is this Thursday night, June 12th.

  4. Paula Henry

    June 10, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Looks like Indianapolis needs a social media club – doesn’t surprise me…. Once I acknowledge this, does it make me responsible to do something about it? Mmmm…

  5. Laura

    June 10, 2008 at 8:59 am

    HI Lani!

    Can’t wait to hit up the next meeting. I actually found you on Twitter from your messages during the last meeting. 🙂


  6. Shailesh Ghimire

    June 10, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Hey is this is great! I’m glad there is already one in Phoenix. Looking forward to going to their next meeting! Thanks for the heads up.

  7. Ken Smith

    June 10, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Interesting, will have to see how close they are to getting the one in Chicago off the ground.

  8. Rudy from

    June 10, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Awesome Lani.

    I haven’t been to this one but I do frequent lots of local business and technology gatherings in the tri-state area. These types of local gatherings provide invaluable networking opportunities. Everyone should be taking advantage of them in their hometown.

    I missed a great one last night here in NYC – the mydealbook event. As a father of 3, I got priorities ya know 😉

    Social Media Guru at Trulia

  9. Sam Chapman

    June 10, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    I’m glad I found this blog. I had no clue about a social media club in Austin and really need to check it out. Thanks!

  10. Kristie Wells

    June 10, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Lani, thank you so much for writing about SMC. We are fortunate to have some very active chapters (Boston, Austin, Phoenix, Paris) and are working to help others cities launch and/or grow to expand the sharing of knowledge across the world. Lofty goal, but I think one we can, and are, accomplishing.

    We have been pushing the company forward slowly, almost at a turtle’s pace, wishing to get infrastructure in place that will really help the cities communicate with one another and expect that to [finally] launch this Fall. Until then, it is managed wholly by the wiki and through the SMC main website, More antiquated than we like, but better than nothing I say.

    If you are interested in helping launch SMC in your city, shoot me an email at kristiewells [at] gmail [dot] com and I can rally some folks around it to help you. /looks at Paula and Ken (smile)


  11. Jennifer Wilson - Agent Solutions

    June 10, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Nope… Can’t find a Social Media Club in my area. Maybe it’s time Calgary had one. 😉

  12. Kit Mueller

    June 10, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    We’re working on getting one off of the ground, here in Chicago.

    Any / all help is welcome / appreciated.

    – Kit
    312.636.8409 – mobile

  13. Ken Smith

    June 10, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Kit giving you a call now.

  14. Ricardo Bueno

    June 11, 2008 at 2:52 am

    Mid last year I got involved with some local bloggers who held bi-weekly “office hours” (that’s what they called their little gathering…). The meetings were never anything short of insightful! Frankly, I think there’s always something new that you can learn…

    I’ll give SMC in Los Angeles a look since I’m local to the area. Dustin Luther, Jeff Turner, Irina Netchaev & other local bloggers hosted our very own Tweet-up not too long ago…maybe I”ll give them a nudge and see if we can head on over.

  15. Connie Reece

    June 11, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Lani, thanks so much for writing about the great work Social Media Club is doing. The knowledge shared is just phenomenal and it’s great having the opportunity to meet peers and industry leaders. I’ll look forward to seeing you and Been soon. I don’t even know what the program committee has cooked up for the next event here in Austin, but I’m sure it will be good.

  16. Tampa Real Estate

    April 15, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Hi Lani,

    This sounds extremely fun and worthwhile. I’m researching it further. Thanks!!

    Rick Durand

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Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.



Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Social Media

Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.



Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?


Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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Social Media

BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.



social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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