Boston News

My Social Media Club Story (Part 1)

SMC Boston People 2I had already written my Social Media Club retrospective in November, looking back at five year of social media. So when requests came in to write a #MySMCStory, I struggled — what could I add to what was already said?

Then I realized that there is plenty more to say on the subject — I didn’t really speak at all about the impact the Social Media Club has had on me both personally and professionally.

Let’s start with my professional life, just to get it out of the way — as if it can truly be separated from my personal life in today’s digital world. I have occasionally complained that founding and running the Social Media Club Boston has never landed me a client. But I need to qualify that statement. What I mean is that nobody has come up to me and said “Todd, I want you to help me with my PR/social media needs because you run the Social Media Club Boston.” In truth, however, I’m pretty sure my leadership was at least a factor in some decisions to work with me and my companies.

When I look long-term, however, I’m absolutely certain that I will get business from the connections I’ve made through social media. In fact, I’ll say it here: I know that my future success will come from the connections that I have made over the past five years thanks to social media — and the Social Media Club. Let me talk about just a few of those connections.

I’ll start with some of the incredibly smart folks that Tony Sapienza and Paula Slotkin hired at Topaz Partners (now part of Emanate) — folks who shared the journey down the twisting and turning path of social media with me.

  • Doug Haslam has been my larger companion star in this voyage around the social media galaxy. I might’ve beat him to blogging, but he was the one who turned me onto Twitter, where he’s always had a significant lead on me. If there’s one person I can turn to for trends, insights, sanity checks, snarky comments and movie trivia, it’s Doug. Thanks, man — and thanks for lending a helping hand with the Social Media Club Boston over the years.
  • Adam Zand taught me a lot about PR, advertising, friendship, Premier League Football, the joys of social media boondoggles and Utterli. We’ve shared car rides, plane trips, cubicle pods and a passion for good BBQ. One of the sharpest media relations guys I know, Adam was also there for our first Social Media Club Boston event. Thanks, Adam!
  • Tim Allik was also there to present some of the award-winning work his team was doing for the Scuderi blog — work that John Cass (who was an outspoken attendee of our second event) challenged all of us on, as John is wont. Tim’s special blend of enthusiasm and healthy skepticism has kept me on my toes ever since! Thanks, Tim!
  • Susan Koutalakis staffed the signup desk for that first event, and has lent a helping hand ever since, including having her company Mzinga sponsor a few of our better events over the years. Susan is another excellent media relations professional who taught me many lessons about how to work with journalists and how to use social media to keep both personal and professional relationships strong. Thank you, Susan!
  • Alison Raymond sat right next to Susan at that first Social Media Club Boston event and eventually took over the social media practice when I moved on from Topaz before she herself finally moved on to Matter Communications. She — along with Adam and Doug and even occasionally Susan — were also co-hosts with me of PRobecast, the Topaz Partners podcast — which celebrated its 150th episode in March and which I hope Emanate keeps going. Thanks, Alison!

Scott Monty RoastThere were many other folks at Topaz who explored social media with me and helped with blogging and the Social Media Club, but this group formed my core. There were other folks who helped expand my knowledge in those early days…

  • David Meerman Scott came to the Topaz Partners offices way back in 2004 with this crazy idea that he could make money writing, speaking and consulting on how PR and marketing are being changed by technology. By the end of that year he was already making it happen, and he hasn’t stopped. Now he’s a regular keynoter on the speaking circuit, and a regular resource for me and my Boston University students. He was an attendee at that first event — where he met Todd Defren for the first time! Thank you, David! (Maybe we can get you in to speak with my class in the fall, assuming BU invited me back?)
  • Paul Gillin was another Topaz visitor in those early years, who came by to bounce a similar idea — how he planned to translate his deep, first-hand understanding of the media world into a consulting practice. Paul has been a guest speaker and active participant at many a Social Media Club Boston event. Paul is yet another required author for my BU students, who very much enjoyed his visit this year. While I don’t think Paul was at that first event (correct me if I’m wrong), he’s been with us for many more since then. I’m fortunate to be able to count him (and his family) among my friends. Thank you, sir!
  • Scott Monty was another occasional visitor to Topaz, although I don’t remember us talking about social media during that visit — I think we chatted more about Sherlock Holmes at the time. Back before he moved to Detroit and assumed his role as a social media rockstar, he was trying to figure this social media stuff out like the rest of us, and was among the 120 attendees of that first event. Thanks for being a friend and companion on this part of my journey, and for keeping in touch with all your Boston friends even though you’re living in the 3-1-3 now!
  • Todd Defren exemplifies modesty and transparency — he’s never been one to brag about himself and has been as honest as anyone could about the highs and lows of PR and social media. Todd, along with Steve Rubel, were the two guys who made me realize that Topaz Partners needed to be blogging. Todd was there for our inaugural event, and again as the guest of honor for our second event, just after he had released the Social Media Press Release. Todd, I know in my heart that I’ll always be Boston’s “other” social media Todd, but thanks for playing along anyway!
  • John Wall‘s voice is second only to Shel Holtz‘s in terms of airtime in my earbuds, between Marketing Over Coffee and his regular appearances on the Beancast. He was there for that first event, and the man behind Scott Monty’s legendary roast. I learn something new from him and Christopher S. Penn every week. Thanks, John!
  • I’m not Steve Garfield, but sometimes I wish I was. Yet another attendee at that first event, Steve made me realize that video wasn’t just a pipe dream, and I’ve learned a lot from him ever since. Thank you, Steve!

There are many other folks at that first event, more people from Scott’s roast I have yet to mention (including someone with the best rope skills I know), and a ton more people who have been big influences in my life, including, it goes without saying, SMC founders Chris Heuer and Kristie Wells. But more on all of them later…

Celebrate Our 5th Anniversary with a Social Business Focus

In November of 2006, the Social Media Club Boston held its first event. In the five years since then, social media has evolved into what many are describing as social business. Join the Social Media Club Boston and IBM on November 8th for this exploration and celebration of the evolution of social media.

Our panel of social business leaders will explore the following themes:

1. Evolution of social media into social business
2. Examples of social businesses
3. Trends in social business


5:30-6:30 pm – Registration, Networking
6:30-6:45 pm – Opening Remarks & Look Back @ Last 5 Years
6:45-7:30 pm – Panel Presentations & Look Forward @ Next 5 Years
7:30-8:00 pm – Panel Q&A
8:00-9:00 pm – Mixer & 5th Anniversary Celebration


  • Alistair Rennie, General Manager, Social Business, IBM
  • Andrew Carusone, Director of Integrated Workforce Experience (IWE) and Community Governance, Lowe’s Home Improvement
  • Michael Skok, General Partner at North Bridge Venture Partners


This free event is sponsored and hosted by IBM.

Thanks also to Corporate-AV for providing the audio/video services for this event.

One Step Closer

The Social Media Club Boston is one step closer to becoming an official chapter: we were informed a few days ago that we now have enough professional members to qualify for official status. Our next step is to hold elections for chapter officers. The leadership team will be reconvening in a few weeks to put a slate together, and to plan out the year’s activities.

Stay tuned for more news on upcoming events!

It’s Official: Boston Chapter on its Way to Official Chapter Status

As mentioned in our earlier post, the interim leadership team of the Social Media Club’s Boston chapter voted in October to become an Official Chapter of the Social Media Club. Here’s what this will mean for us, as described on the Social Media Club Blog:

Official Chapter Benefits

Legal Status
Social Media Club, Inc. will file Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws and other pertinent legal documentation required to have official Not for Profit / NGO status for the Official Chapter in your home state or country.

The leadership team for Official Chapters will be voted in by members on an annual basis. Required roles are President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. Recommended additional leadership roles are Directors in Programming, Production, Membership, Sponsorship, Promotions, and Community Outreach. We also hope that someone within your community will serve as the SMCEDU liaison with the local university communities, and that you will support other global programs as appropriate. Individual’s may serve in multiple roles with the approval of the Social Media Club global leadership.

A local bank account will be set up for Official Chapters. Chapter Treasurer will work closely with Banking liaison at Social Media Club, Inc. A portion of funds from the chapter account will need to be reserved for bookkeeping and other administrative services. The anticipated rate for these services, in line with other similar organizations, will initially be 5%, though this issue will be addressed during our first annual membership meeting and adjusted accordingly.

Leadership Education and Training
Extended learning opportunities through our official intranet and through other specific training opportunities such as the leadership day held during Social Media University. The leadership intranet will be a place where network sponsorship offers will be made, where issues such as this official chapter program will be discussed, and where we will all be able to learn from each other and share documents such as local bylaws, sponsorship packages and other program materials (like SMCEDU).

All official chapters will be covered by Social Media Club, Inc.’s General Liability policy. Certificate of Insurance, often required by venues for hosting events on their premises, will be provided upon request.

Local Hub on Web Site
While still in its early phases of development, the Web site is being built to represent a complete rethinking of a typical association Web site. The current state of the site in essence represents a 1.0 release. There are many other major components yet to be built such as chapter sCRM and eLearning tools. In the coming months we will also be investing in an integration program with leading Web services such as Eventbrite, and even Location Based Services. Together with your input, we will set a new standard for how global professional associations operate and how they serve the market for the benefit of its members.

Publicity and Promotion
Official Chapters, and those who have applied for this status, will receive additional publicity and promotion for events and programs of interest to members and potential members. Through our web site, and eventually through both online and offline marketing, we will work to drive increased participation in your local chapter. Additionally, you will be able to coordinate promotion with other chapter leaders through the Official Chapter Intranet and other yet to be built web technologies.

Sponsorship Revenues
Participation in network sponsorship opportunities available through Social Media Club, Inc.

Share of Membership Dues
Once the requirement of having 10 professional members affiliated with your chapter as their primary ‘home’ is met, every subsequent membership will provide the chapter with funds to use for events, for charitable purposes or other expenses of operating the local chapter. The percentages of membership dues listed in the schedule below will be discussed and amended as determined by a vote of the professional chapters during our annual meeting.

# of Members Percentage Share

Official Chapter Requirements

Qualification of Official Chapter
Once a chapter that has applied for Official Chapter status has 10 professional members associated with it, we will change your status on the web site from being an Open Community Chapter to being formally recognized as an Official Chapter. There is no revenue share on these members because the funds from these memberships, approximately $750 after membership fulfillment and setup expenses, will go towards setting up the legal and financial structure for the Official Chapter.

Legal Standing
Working together with the international organization, you will be required to keep the Official Chapter in good standing legally and financially. Each required position of the local chapter must be filled. A plan for annual leadership elections must be created and followed to encourage the cultivation of future leaders in the local community. Individuals who have a felony/criminal record may not serve in an official leadership capacity with the organization.

The Secretary and Treasurer must file quarterly reports detailing the then current financial standing of the chapter and listing its leadership. Further, a summary of chapter activities for the quarter past and a plan for future activities shall be submitted to Social Media Club International. Further details of this reporting requirement will be determined by the membership of the organization and the full Social Media Club, Inc. Board of Directors.

Professional Conduct
You are required to conduct the affairs of the organization in accordance with all locally applicable laws and regulations. You must serve and protect the good name and reputation of Social Media Club locally and globally. When approved by a majority of the total international membership in accordance with our bylaws, local leaders must agree to and support the Social Media Club Professional Code of Conduct.

Web Site Publishing
In order to keep every member around the world informed of your activities and to connect them with the knowledge and insights shared by your local members, we require that you list your events on the calendar, that you provide a summary of the events you hold within a few days after the event on the local chapter site on, and that you include your RSS feed from any external site you operate. You may continue to use your existing web properties as desired so long as these basic requirements are met.

Official Event Discounts for Members
You may choose to operate your local events as needed to ensure you do not lose money. This includes choosing whether or not to charge for these events. Should you choose to charge for events, we ask that you provide a discounted rate for Professional Members in good standing. You may choose to provide free access for professional members, but this is not required and would be dependent on the type of event you are hosting.

Support For the Official Missions of Social Media Club
Official Chapters should endeavour to fulfill the missions of Social Media Club through its local and online activities.

Aug/Sep/Oct Event Calendar

Here is the upcoming schedule of events for August, September and October. Signups are active on almost all of them — please hold the date of August 25th for the CitizenGulf Charity Event until we have details and a signup!

August 21, 2010
Urban Escapes Party – Boulders, Beers & BBQ (Everett)MetroRock

August 22, 2010
Social Media Photo Walk 3 (Cambridge)Mount Auburn Cemetery

August 25, 2010
CitizenGulf Charity Event (Somerville) – (Precinct Bar)

September 16, 2010
Social Media Emergency! (Boston)Boston Bar Association

October 4, 2010
Flying Cars are Here: The Futuristic Present of Marketing (Boston)Hill-Holliday

Go to Top