This episode brings you one of my favorite people, and one of the most interesting SOBCon testimonials yet, Steve Sherlock. Steve isn’t your traditional businessperson attending this conference. He’s got a much more varied background – and will show you the diverse audience we have at SOBCon each year. Enjoy!
Phil Gerbyshak: Who are you – and what is your business focus?
Steve Sherlock: My name is Steve Sherlock. I am frequently seen with a tri-corner hat. I reside in Franklin, MA which is the first town to have been named for Ben Franklin. I first wore the tri-corner at the Welcome/Registration Desk for PodCamp Boston 2 and it has become part of my brand since then. I volunteer on many organizing committees for unconferences in New England; PodCampWesternMass, PodCamp Connecticut, NewBCamp, WhereCamp, and JobSearchJamSessions to name a few of them.
My focus is to use social media for social good. I started as a citizen journalist for Franklin Matters and have evolved to assume the title of “Community Information Director”. In that role, I do full and live reporting from as many Town Council and other Franklin meetings and events as I can to share the information about our budget and the business of Franklin to create an informed voter. I have helped some of the local non-profits set up their websites, blogs, etc. while training some of their folks to carry on their communications. I am currently leading the Board of Directors for the Franklin Food Pantry as we re-brand ourselves to be “a community resource for food and more.”
I am fully employed in an IT Security role and all that I do on the social media front is in the off hours to give back to my community.
PG: When did you attend your first SOBCon – why did you sign up – and what did you expect to get out of it?
SS: Phil, you and I have talked frequently about “taking the blog off the blog.” SOBCon is room full of great folks to meet and learn from. Having missed the first one in 2007, I came to the second SOBCon in 2008 and have been fortunate to make every event since then. To meet in real life, folks who had been participating in online conversations over the years bring everlasting value.
For example; you, Terry, and I had been active in the Joyful Jubilant Learning community, we got to meet Joanna Patterson, who had come all the way from the UK for SOBCon 2008.
PG: Did you get what you expected (or more or less or just different) from your first SOBCon?
SS: Yes, the learning opportunities within the mastermind table setup is worth it. I have made some lasting friendships and connections from actively participating around these tables.
PG: How many additional SOBCon events have you been to?
SS: As mentioned earlier, I have been fortunate to have only missed the first one. As long as I can, I do plan on returning. The business around social media is continuing to evolve. You can come and find enough information and knowledge to go your own way, or if you are fortunate enough to have this as part of your personal learning network (which is what I do), I return each year to learn the latest from the best.
PG: What keeps you coming back for more SOBCon?
SS: You can’t stand pat. You need to be learning all the time or you will fall behind. Life is continuing to evolve and each year when I come here, I have had a slightly different focus. My citizen journalism for Franklin Matters is still going strong. I still am finding non-profits in Franklin who want to learn and put social media to use to help themselves. The Franklin Food Pantry is really putting social media to social good as we go through our re-branding and strategic planning effort. Where else can you in a couple of days learn as much in a meaningful way as at SOBCon?
PG: What advice would you give someone thinking of attending SOBCon for the first time?
SS: Come with a problem statement in mind and use that to help focus your discussions during the mastermind sessions. Having such focus will enable the meaningful discussions and internalization of the ideas and concepts from the speakers into what you need to take away to accomplish what you need to do. You can adjust it slightly while here, or even after you leave. The knowledge may just provide enough insight to realize that you would be more successful doing what you need to in a different way.
PG: What advice would you give someone thinking of attending SOBCon for a second (or more) time?
SS: I’d use the same focus as for the first timers, but then look to connect with those you had at your mastermind sessions for at least one of the two days and then switch. There are so many good folks in the room, after you get a lay of the land day one, adjusting your tablemates for day 2 is okay and likely will be beneficial.
PG: Anything else you’d like to share about the event or anything else?
SS: On the one hand, don’t be bashful, yet on the other, don’t be overwhelmed by the star quality of the room. We all come to SOBCon to learn and share with each other. The serendipity of the connections is open for those who are ready to take advantage.
PG: Thanks Steve. You’re a star, and I can’t to see you again VERY soon!