Sunday, October 2, 2011

Barkworld Social Media, day two

Who knew that a social media conference could be so fun. Anytime pets are involved or the ultimate focus, it is going to be fun. That's part of what made the Barkworld Expo so enjoyable this past weekend. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the conference brought together some of the leading 'social petworkers' for a confab and learning sessions galore. One element in particular that emerged was that of QR Codes (QR stands for 'Quick Response', our friends at Wikipedia have more info on QR Codes here). These QR Codes are slowly emerging as a communication tool for marketers, events, merchants and others to give consumers and the general public a way to learn more. For example I was at the Atlanta Airport flying home and saw a sign in the terminal about airport shopping and restaurant offers with a giant QR code. So I took out my iPhone, opened the scanning app and scanned the sign. It brought me to a website that had a bunch of offers and coupons for the various restaurants and shops in the airport. I decided where to eat based on what I found from that site. Interesting huh?
Well one exhibitor, called Pet QR Tag had a nifty item for pet ID tags that had the QR Code technology, which is very clever. That way if you move, change your number or even post a special message on the website, it is easy to update, but the QR code on the pet's tag allows you lots of options. In all honesty, QR Codes are still not in heavy use by the general public but it is a fascinating way to communicate. I suspect lots of people, like myself just don't know how to get their phone to be able to scan QR Codes. (all you need to do is go to the App Store and search for 'QR Code Scan' or 'barcode scan' and a bunch will come up. I like 'Red Laser' which was free, and is easy to use. Start looking around, you'll see these QR Codes more and more, so explore them and have fun.
It was great to run into my friend and fellow paw-pal Diane with her flat Cosmo, better known in the Twitterverse as @CosoHavanese. This is one cool dog who can do amazing things! Diane is really sweet and does a lot to help raise money for pet charities and all sorts of groups. If you don't follow @CosmoHavanese on Twitter you should do so!

In addition to the learning sessions throughout the Expo, there was a nifty room for blogger networking, where attendees could sit, relax, catch up on e-mail, chat with other folks, or just relax and watch the giant screen in the room with the live Twitter feed from people using the #Barkworld hash tag. It was a nice quiet, cozy space that is rare to find at conferences today.
Barkworld founder Denise Quashie (center photo) is one of the nicest people I've ever met. She plans and hosts this entire social conference, providing a wide range of interesting and valuable sessions for attendees. This year was an impressive event even over the prior year, which I thought was pretty darn good too. One of the sessions I attended was presented by Cheryl Lawson, CEO of 'Party Aficionado' an event planner and Social Marketing Specialist. She is a very sharp person with a heck of a lot to offer, should you ever need a consultant or assistance within your organization. Anyway, Cheryl's session encouraged me to engage with Google+ so I filled out my profile and have that up and running. I prefer Google+ to facebook, as I don't really want to share every facet of my life with everyone, so Google+ is closer to what I want out of an online social presence.
As I mentioned earlier, it's always a big plus to have pets at an event. They add an element of warmth to the activities and for those of us who missed having our pet with us it was great to have a fluffy friend to pet. Some of the pets were the "voices" behind some of the top Twitter handles on the Internet, others were just along for the ride.
One of the exhibitors, petco had a preview of their holiday pet fashions, toys and other cool things. They had a drawing for a free petco gift card and digital camera, which seemed to generate strong interest from everyone passing by their booth. As one a 'diamond sponsor' of this year''s Barkworld Expo, petco was engaging with pet bloggers and social media experts to enhance relationships and build more opportunities for the future.
I love this photo, it is of 'Precious' known to many online as the personality behind @ImaJackRussell on Twitter. Precious is wearing the red shirt, and next to her was a super cute friend in a pink satin dress, with a pearl necklace, sniffing around in her mom's Juicy Couture bag.
I'd like to give a shout out to Denise Quashie from Barkworld who did a great job this year. 

I give Barkworld "two paws up" for the entire event, and recommend attending next year; I know that I plan to do so. By that time, I hope my Sheldon has a bigger following on Twitter (he is @SheldonGryffin) and maybe I'll bring him to Atlanta for meet and greet!

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