Utah Social Media Developers Garage a Success!


Utah had it’s very first Social Media Garage meeting as a non-Facebook specific group yesterday, December 11. Phil Burns and I started the Utah Facebook Developers Garage, and at our October meeting, the group agreed to making our name much more generic so we could support technologies such as Open Social. I think the meeting yesterday went better than I could have expected.

Jeff Barr, evangelist for Amazon Web Services, was our featured guest speaker for the night. He spoke on Amazon ECS (E-Commerce Service), S3 (Simple Storage Service), EC2 (Electric Compute Cloud), and SQS (Simple Queue Service). I think it was very educational for all that were there – many there were not aware of what Amazon was doing.

Towards the end he featured Social Media technologies that are currently using AWS. He talked about Paul Allen (the younger)‘s We’re Related (a company I consulted for as they were planning the software) and their tremendous success in dealing with 1.8 million users in just 2 months, utilizing AWS, S3 and EC2 to help them with the process. He featured a couple other examples, including iLike, that were also using their services to scale on Facebook.

My favorite feature of the night was Jeff Barr’s demo of how he uses Second Life to help him evangelize, and present AWS to a worldwide audience. He gave one of the coolest demos I’ve seen on how he’s using the second life rendering engine to model the AWS systems in 3D. He clicks on a little Amazon logo in his model, and in animated 3D in Facebook it all runs, demonstrating the process flow in real time right there in Second Life! He says he plans to tie in a real system to this model, feeding real data to display the data in a real environment. He also showed how he has weekly meetings with AWS developers in right in Second Life, and went on to show a presentation he had made in Second Life to a users group half-way around the world!

Jeff Barr, after last night, convinced me that Second Life is here to stay – it’s an invaluable tool that, if used right can be a great method of communication, presentation, and meeting with a worldwide audience. He convinced me that Second Life is even more useful for businesses than it is for the average non-business user using the service! I strongly suggest if you are a business owner, looking at a Second Life strategy to communicate better with customers, lead-gen with customers, and build new business.

After Jeff’s talk, we went over a few more samples of sites using AWS. The Bungee Labs folk demoed some of their services using the service. One guy (trying to remember his name – sorry, I promise I’ll get it!) showed off his site that counts down to 2008 in binary (http://11111011000.com/ is 2008 in binary)! I talked about my Holy Rolls applications (We’re Catholic and We’re Baptist) and how for an application with 4-5 thousand pageviews a day, AWS handles it fine, and I always have the ability to scale if I need to.

When the event was over we all put our names into a Santa Clause hat and drew for 2 Google Water Bottles given to us by Google Code, and some cool WordPress T-shirts provided by Joseph Scott, from Automattic. We then finished the evening with a great competition (and great singing voices!) of Rock Band on the PS3. It was quite a Social!

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Jesse Stay has been a pioneer in the space of social media marketing since before it was called "social media marketing". Originally a software developer, Jesse built a tool called SocialToo.com which helped brands like Pepsi, Brittany Spears, and MC Hammer grow their social media presence, and before he knew it brands were coming to him for help to grow their presence in very unique ways. His tool was featured on almost every tech blog and even mainstream news sites like New York Times, Techcrunch, and Mashable. Jesse also spent a brief period working FOR Facebook, Inc., helping them to build out their documentation to help companies integrate Facebook Connect into their websites and mobile apps. Jesse took his skills and helped the LDS Church kick off most of its social media programs. While there he helped launch the award-winning "I'm a Mormon" marketing campaign with global reach worldwide in the millions of views and followers. Jesse established new global programs at the Church to further grow its reach amongst both members and non-members of the Church, working with every department of the Church, also including entities like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Brigham Young University. He also helped the Church navigate its voice and presence during the Mitt Romney Presidential campaign due to the significant attention the Church was getting at the time. He established the social media advertising techniques and strategies employed at Deseret Digital Media growing over 20 million fans across their news properties in just 6 months, and was featured on AdWeek for his success. As founder and Principal of Stay N Alive, Jesse has developed very unique techniques in social media advertising to help organizations grow presences, within months on minimal budgets, into hundreds of thousands of highly relevant and engaging fans and followers. He designed and teaches social media advertising at LDS Business College. He has helped grow sales, and has a belief that yes, you CAN measure social! Jesse has been featured as one of 10 entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter (next to Biz Stone and Ev Williams, founders of Twitter) by Entrepreneur magazine. Jesse has written 9 books on the topic of social media marketing and development, including Google+ Marketing For Dummies and Facebook All In One For Dummies, and eats, lives, and drinks social media with a personal combined presence of over 600,000 followers on his personal social profiles.

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