I had the opportunity to attend BlogWell in New York City this week. It was a great event.

The event began with some opening remarks from Andy Sernovitz (CEO Gaspedal) and Steve Douty (nGenera EVP, Products and Platform). One of the things they mentioned was that they encouraged the audience to tweet and blog during the event. During a presentation focused on Social Media I feel this is definitely acceptable and should be encouraged. However, there are people that don’t know how to do this in a subtle undisruptive manner. If you decide to tweet or blog on your laptop and someone five miles away can hear you banging on your keyboard, it’s no longer acceptable during a presentation. On a side note It’s also unacceptable to eat nacho chips during a presentation. The person next to you does not want to hear your crunching. This is why they have a dedicated “snack time” during the conference. Crunch on your chips during “snack time” only.

The first case study I attended was from GE. The presentation was focused on GE Reports (@GE_Reports). Megan Parker and Sean Gannon were the representatives speaking from GE. It was interesting to hear how closely Megan and Sean work together in a corporation that is so large. One thing GE tries to do is humanize their stories. A good example of this is how GE participated in the 25 things post that went around facebook. GE posted 25 facts about GE giving some of them a little humor while still mentioning important facts that some consumers might not be aware of. I found it interesting that in such a large corporate company that Megan, who tweets for GE does not have to get her tweets approved. I think that’s great and gives Megan the opportunity to move quickly and keep the twitter feed current. Megan and Sean gave a great and useful presentation.

Next I attended a case study presented by Molly Schonthal from Nokia. Molly’s presentation seemed to focus on the fact of Nokia listening to the consumers and bloggers. She talked about how Nokia reaches out to bloggers and invites them to Nokia facilities for a hands on experience. This is something that I think we are starting to see a lot more of. Large corporations are turning to bloggers to help promote, sell and discuss their products. Molly said it is all about listening and that is one of the challenges she faces. Internally Nokia has what is called BlogHub. BlogHub collects all internal blog content into one place and allows employees access to what other people inside the company discussing. Molly also talked about Nokia Conversations which is the blog that engages readers. If you’d like the blog summarized for you then you can choose to listen to the blogbite found on the blog’s homepage. Thought that was a cool feature. Schonthal discussed briefly how she deals with comments posted by readers. She feels everyone should be honest and Nokia encourages that. If a comment is wrong then she addresses it with the correction otherwise everyone is entitled to their opinion for the most part. You can also follow Nokia Conversations on Twitter @nokconv.

After the first session of case studies there was a performance by Rhett & Link. I had never heard of them before this event so I wasn’t sure what to expect. They were awesome. Rhett & Link are funny, entertaining, creative and talented. You must check out their website and YouTube videos. Here is one of the songs they performed yesterday.

Ed Nicholson presented the third case study on Tyson Foods. I’ve followed @TysonFoods on Twitter for quite a while now so I was really interested in hearing what Ed had to say. Tyson Foods uses Social Media in many ways but one of the biggest is the fight for hunger relief. It’s so great to see a company doing so much to help others. Ed stated that this is much more than a campaign for Tyson Foods. They keep giving to the communities and the communities continue to give back. Tyson utilizes guest bloggers to tell their stories on the Tyson Hunger Relief Blog. This humanizes the brand which Ed stated is important to Tyson Foods. Nicholson also talked about relationships. Tyson builds relationships both on and offline with food banks and other hunger relief agencies. Ed stated that human relationships survive through technology changes. I couldn’t agree more.

The last case study I attended was Johnson & Johnson. Marc Monseau was the presenter from J&J. Monseau talked about how consumers are becoming the experts. He stated that after 120 years the company needed to start listening more to what consumers were saying about their products. Bloggers were talking about J&J online so it was important that the company do so also. They started small and simple by creating a blog called The Kilmer House (The story behind Johnson & Johnson and it’s people). Now J&J has a blog called JNJ BTW which is focused more on product and user experience. I really enjoyed listening to Marc’s presentation. He demonstrated well how J&J has a process for getting social media items moved through corporate quickly.

I noticed right away on one of Marc’s presentation slides that @JNJComm doesn’t have a customized Twitter background. Currently J&J is using the Twitter clouds as their background. Every company should have a custom background on Twitter. Don’t you agree? Marc, if you happen to read this I think J&J needs a customized background. Let me know if I can help you out. 🙂

The event was very well organized and very informational. Thanks to everyone involved.