she wears it well.

This is my slightly tardy response to the September PodCamp Pittsburgh Blog Blitz question — What Pittsburgh individual, business or organization is doing great things with social media?

chris
Thanks, SickPuppy and Father Spoon.

Over this summer, a bunch of us have had the pleasure of getting to know Chris Dilla, the owner of Bocktown Beer and Grill in the Pointe at North Fayette. Most of the group has come to discover Bocktown through Chris’ Twitter account (@bocktowntapshot) and the pictures she provides through her Brightkite account as well.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Chris for nearly as long as she’s had her amazing restaurant and craft beer bar open. I’ve watched as she’s started a stream of monthly email updates for fans of the place. Like most of you, I’ve become a Facebook fan of the bar. I listened to the Should I Drink That episode featuring Bocktown as soon as it was available. And I’ve been so pleased to see her become more and more active on Twitter.

We’ve had a few discussions about her social media ventures. In many cases, it’s still new enough that it might be tough for some to determine a definite return on investment, but in Chris’ case, I think we’d all agree that it’s had an impact. She’s established a a great social media personality, engaging both her customers and those in the craft beer business. And she’s been extraordinarily generous, even offering a beer on the house to those who have tweeted with her.

Chris has told me several times that she feels like she still has lots to learn about the social media realm — and that’s why she’s planning on attending PodCamp. But given the dividends she — and we — are seeing already, I’d count her among the city’s best and brightest. If you haven’t already, make a trip out west to meet Chris and have a beer and dinner at Bocktown — you won’t be sorry you did.

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meaning.

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Although I’m not serving as an organizer for Podcamp Pittsburgh 4, I couldn’t pass up the chance to help my Podcamp buddies with my take on their assignment for today — a blog post explaining what social media means to me.

Let’s be clear — this is a very personal response to this question. If you’re considering attending Podcamp in October, I can say unequivocally that you should. The knowledge — in terms of both the content and technical sides of social media — you’ll be exposed to is unsurpassed. And if you have more personal questions about what you can be doing with your social media forays — pretty much regardless of the platform — you won’t find more people willing to help in those two days at AiP.

For me, social media has done a couple of things. I don’t want to slight the professional side, because that’s going to be an increasingly important part of my job at the newspaper. I’m fortunate to be involved in all of my paper’s tentative social media experiments, and I’ve started a few of them, with the support of editors and executives who, while not necessarily understanding why we’re doing all this stuff, seem to think it’s important enough to try. I hope my professional involvement in SM continues to grow, whether that’s at my current place of employment or at another mainstream media outlet that’s looking for that help.

Vastly more important, at least to me, are the personal relationships I’ve fallen into because of my social media involvement. The community here in Pittsburgh really puts the “Social” in Social Media, and Mrs. Crappy and I have been so fortunate to have been accepted by a group of amazing, diverse people, all of whom have some sort of connection to Podcamp or the larger group that supports it; they’ve taken me in despite my technical limitations, my involvement in Old Media and even though I’m ten years older than JUST ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE.

plunge

cindymike

rachchach

abbyjen

turkey

In the last couple of years, I’ve become friends with dozens of these people; I’d even count a few of them among the best friends I have anywhere.
I think the professional side of social media has a nearly unlimited ceiling, and it’s what I hope to be doing until I retire. But I’m happy to say the other side — the social side — is already paying off. And I wouldn’t change those experiences — or those friendships — for anything.