A couple weeks ago, I undertook my first “extended” road trip as a PPC Associates employee. I visited Nashville (actually Franklin), Tennessee, to meet with a client about to launch campaigns with us. Then, I traveled to Chicago, where I spent three days working in that office and getting acquainted with a bunch of folks who had only known me as either a demonic account manager who makes unreasonable requests of our production staff, or a social media lunatic who seemingly spends his entire day in cyber-conversation.
Before I headed to Nashville, I reached out to my friend Jon Henshaw of RavenTools. I had only met Jon briefly at Pubcon a few years ago, but we have been good social media buddies for quite some time. Jon not only picked me up at my motel and took me to a #OMFG brunch; he also gave me a city tour and took me to his office where he showed me some things he and his company were working on. Incredible Southern hospitality…even though he ain’t Southern. :.)
When I arrived in Chicago, the first thing I did was slag the place via social media:
And just from this one tweet, I got invited to lunch by David Dalka, someone I knew by reputation but had never met, as well as gotten another social invite from someone else I knew but unfortunately couldn’t meet up with due to time constraints.
Why am I bringing this up?
About a month ago, Barry Schwartz wrote a post about how the SEO Community isn’t united like it used to be. As for the political aspects of the industry, he’s probably right. However, I think the core of people who have been in the industry 5+ years and who see Danny Sullivan as the de facto “leader” of the industry remain reasonably “together,” though the overall community of Internet Marketers has grown and morphed so much recently that many newbies don’t have that strong connection to Danny that we old-timers do. I believe that an incredible camaraderie exists when I meet pretty much anyone who is, like I am, a “Tribe of Danny” member.
There are a couple main reasons for this:
1) Depth of shared experiences. We all got into the game when the algorithms were much simpler and Google just showed one set of results to everyone. We’ve watched together as Google SERPS fractured into many different verticals; Yahoo crashed and burned; and MSN rose from the dead to become viable.
2) From my blogging and social media activity, I have developed a very distinct online persona. People judge me, positively or negatively, based upon it, and when I meet someone who has followed me, the “awkward” period of introduction is minimized, making the conversation much more comfortable. In the case of Jon, who also has a very well-developed online persona similar to mine that I was very familiar with and who has many of the same shared online experiences, we were able to hit it off straight away.
While I happened to just connect with Jon and David this trip, I believe that I could have had similar meetings and experiences with many thousands of “Tribe of Danny” members throughout the world who have traveled the same professional path as I. I’m not much of a traveler, but these sorts of meet-ups are definite trip highlights.
– Todd Mintz, Sr. Account Manager