Silicon Beach: Social Media Year in Review

Rising up from a rather sleepy 2008, 2009 was a banner year for social media in Miami. Heck, social media became so important, the Miami New Times decided to hire a local freelance writer to dish on the scene! Here's an overview:

1. Clubs
Social Media Club South Florida covered the gamut of presentations on social media, ranging from corporate to creative uses of online and real life social connecting. Balloon artists, corporate execs, photographers, real estate agents and more in this motley crew mingled to discuss best practices. Palm Beach County, understandably tired of schlepping to the 305, branched out with its own club.

2. Charity
Miamians hooked up to help Camillus House through Social Media for Social Change, raising over $2,000 to help the charity for the homeless.  Oh yeah, and it was also a great party.

3. Workshops
Several workshops took place, including LaidoffCamp, which featured panels on social media to help job seekers and entrepreneurs in their quest for


4. Social Media and the City
In spite of strict building codes, the City of Coral Gables went wild and innovative, creating its very

own home page, funded in part by a grant from social media-loving Knight Foundation. The city beautiful held its first tweetup at Books and Books. No hedges or Spanish tile were harmed in the process.

5. Blogs
South Florida Daily Blog, formerly Stuck on the Palmetto, came over to the dark side and started twittering. Miami Herald

tried to aggregate blogs, but @SFDB remains the best

curated daily digest, in yours truly's humble opinion.

6. Newspapers
Tri-county rags Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post and of course Miami New Times got with the program and started holding tweetups. Free booze was the common theme. Number of actual journalists seen could be counted in two hands, but perhaps they were afraid of catching that little known STD -- socially tweetable disease.

7. Socializing on Steroids
2009 started out slowly, but by summertime, everyone and their grandmother was throwing a tweetup.  Twitterers all over the county had to fill their dance cards accordingly and found themselves busier than Paris Hilton. Thankfully, some folks put an end to the mess by playing social secretary.

8. Constant Cravings
Pizza became a major focus of tweetups, as did beer, cocktails and wine. There was also sushi, churros, Cuban food and scotch.  If you could chew it, suck it and swallow it -- there was a tweetup for it -- and Biscayne Boulevard hookers weren't even invited.

9.  Schmooze Fest
More local politicians, businesses, chambers of commerce and real estate agents became social media savvy. PR companies without Twitter accounts started claiming they were social media experts.  Most actual social media experts scratched their heads.

10.  National Attention
The Ford Fiesta Movement picked two Miami agents for a massive, nationwide social media campaign. National Geographic Traveler used Twitter to travel through Miami. Gaping Void thought Miami was shallower than LA and traveled all the way from Texas just to prove it.  Social Fresh Cruise embarked from Port of Miami, throwing a spectacular tweetup in a downtown hotel. SxSe, in its second year, was the mother of all tweetups, bringing a

generous handful of out-of-state travelers -- one even from as far as

Norway -- to the 305. Many a tourism brochure sat collecting dust; the

event was created and organized exclusively on Twitter.

2009 was a good year. Let's hope 2010 is even better. Happy New Year's from Silicon Beach!

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Miami native Maria de Los Angeles currently journeys in northern latitudes but is a correspondent for the Magic City. A community advocate, she pens stories about art, culture, good folks doing good things, women's issues, and only-in-Miami moments.