By DeRon Talley, LSBDC Communications Specialist
When you use the hashtag on your social media posts, it connects you with others who share the same conversation. However, if you use a hashtag that is dominated by a popular brand your conversation will be overlooked like a pink dot on a red wall. No need to deny it, we’ve all been there. But it’s always been those of us who have been able to go back and use the old traditional ways to communicate and mix this new digital-aged way to find the success we want.
That’s what the first-ever Maximizing Millennial Minds (#M3) Conference was all about. Using the old traditional way of communicating (which is often forgotten) face-to-face, and bringing in the millennial generation’s most favorite – social media. Together the two brought in over 60 professionals to New Orleans while over 100 more tuned in online to be a part of a professional development conference hosted by Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) and America’s SBDC.
About a third of those folks who attended weren’t quite sure what the whole online audience thing even meant. Most of them have only gone to face-to-face conferences or sat in their offices for webinars. But how do you combine the two? Leave that up to the millennials to figure it out, and we did.
We kicked things off with a pool party. Oh, wait. I mean a “networking social” that just happened to be by the pool and conveniently had a professional DJ with turntables and cocktails. Yea, of course that’s not a pool party. Right?
We all showed up in our summer gear and enjoyed a south Louisiana evening and met some really talented and intelligent professionals who looked like us and who were dealing with some of the same issues as us: “I want more training,” “how do you work with millennials in your office,” “how long do you think you’ll stay in the network,” “what is your office doing to engage the young talent,” “do you have an idea about how to get better at what we do.”
The questions were the same but the answers were diverse. Just like the attendees who were there. With nearly a dozen different states representing and coming as far as Oregon to Iowa, and Michigan to Pennsylvania, this New Orleans-based conference resembled the city’s famous dish – gumbo.
Throughout the full conference day, folks were hashtagging and posting to social media, live-streaming and laughing. But most importantly, they were connecting. After all, isn’t that what the overall goal was? To come together, connect and share ideas, grow together and use what we’ve learned to bring our communities together and help them grow economically through the development of small businesses. If so, I’d say mission accomplished. Even if BMW celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the M3 model car and overpowered our hashtag.