In one word, I can describe last week: WOW! If you’re looking for a vibrant social media community, it’s quite noticeable that anyone who was or is participating in the Social Media Week Vancouver online (and offline) conversations are extremely driven and passionate individuals to surround yourselves with. #SMWVAN is still buzzing even to this day and it’s well over a few days after the event.

Last week, on the week of September 19th, Vancouver was lucky enough to be among the 12 different cities in the world to host such a great free week-long conference. Did we mention free? The quality and quantity of the content that came out of this conference was amazing, not to mention the quality of the people in attendance mostly locals but also, from other regions of the Pacific Northwest, as far as the Netherlands.

Many attendees have written their recaps such as Socialized with a very thorough summary along with upcoming events or the extremely enthusiastic TLC Raves listing many Twitter handles, thanking the speakers showing an enormous amount of appreciation and I feel the same way! Talk about someone who’s well connected within the Vancouver community – Teri (@TLCHOME) was engaging with her tweets and her blog post shows how passionate she was; while I haven’t met her in real life yet except for Twitter, I already know that she is passionate! Check it out and you’ll see what I mean. At the bottom of this post, I plan on aggregating all of the posts related to this event as I find them on the Twitterverse. There are so many that it can be challenging to keep up! Why not be a “one-stop shop”?

Unlike other lucky attendees, I was only able to be present from Wednesday on. However, I was still able to attend all of the following sessions: Leading Women in Social Media Mash-up, Bridging Social Media Silos in the Enterprise, Mobile and App Summit, Social Media Club Vancouver BBQ, The Enterprise 2.0 Summit and finally, the Social Media and Health Promotion – Mashup.

My last post was surrounding community during Startup Day and I find that this theme continues to pop up throughout the day here at the office, so I might as well continue the conversation surrounding such a vibrant and exciting topic. Community is at the heart of everything.

Sharing your stories and serve with intent
At the Leading Women Mash-up, anyone in attendance would have been able to tell you how supportive everyone was. The panel themselves were sharing their stories, even via video conferencing, and we, as a group, were privileged to hear their social media journey from how they got started to where they are today – role models to the community, to say the least. The majority of the folks that I conversed with included students, other business and media professionals in all sorts of industries and some small business owners. During the Q&A, everyone was able to chime in and share their stories on how Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media platforms have helped each of them in their lives or careers. It definitely has changed lives and I can agree with everyone when it comes to that very point. There seemed to be a consensus that by sharing what you knew, you could help the ones around you strive for a better understanding in social media but also, helped them get closer to their own goals by sharing interactive content or having meaningful online exchanges. It’s about helping one another without keeping tabs.

The panel included Suzanne and Madeleine from Lunapads (@Lunapads), Janice Tomich (@JaniceTomich) of Calculated Presentations, Teri Conrad of Socialized, Jen Schaeffers (@jenu2) of CKNWOrphans Fund, and Meena Sandhu (@meenasandhu) from ING Direct (@OrangeYVR) was moderating.

Building relationships online is as important as building them offline

During the Social Media Club “BBQ” (since it was raining, the BBQ was moved in an indoor venue which was best for everyone), I had the opportunity to spend time with other social media professionals and there was nothing like getting to know one another on a more personal level. Remember? It’s social. Along with other folks including top influencer Roch Courcy (@roch) and Shehani Kay (@ShehaniKay), I even got interviewed by the Social Media Club Vancouver itself, to be posted later on the site. The question was, “What does social media mean to you?” Our responses varied but the common factor is that we each used it to connect with others, to find information, and to share interesting content that we thought our audience might feel compelled to connect with to name a few. In the end, it was about being a part of this social media community and we all agreed that it was fun! I even had the opportunity to meet with Kemp Edmonds (@kempedmonds) from Hootsuite which is located right here in Vancouver and if you’re looking for a community, you should definitely check them out – they definily have a huge following!

Passionate communities grow organically
One of the most passionate mash-ups was held over at one of our clients, Hello Cool World where they share stories about some of their recent campaigns and how they were able to get the community to participate and be an active voice during the process. As a company, we’re looking to build our community one customer at a time and we definitely use social media to connect with them like we did during Social Media Week with the rest of the attendees. #SMWVan was buzzing and I’m happy that I was able to add to the conversation.

What a fantastic conference! Now, that’s worth tweeting about.

What theme did you pick up? Or, what did you learn? Please share your comments and feedback with us and especially your own recaps, so that we can include them down here.

Here are more recaps from around the web:
• Social Media for Small Business by Paper Clip
• 5 Things You Need To Know about Social Media and SEM Enterprise 2.0 Summary Part 2 by Kelvin Claveria
• Social Media Week Vancouver Roundup by Raincoaster Media
• Where Business Meets Social by Socialized

** 7 updated links **
• 6 videos from Women in Social Media Mashups by Socialized
• Video: The New Social Media Impact on SEM by 6S Marketing
• LACE @ Social Media Week Vancouver! by Hello Cool World
• Photo stream: Social Media Week Vancouver 2011 by Cathy Browne
• Video: My Government & Politics Social Media Week Session Videos by Dave Teixeira
• R.I.P Social Media Summary of Eric Weavers’ Enterprise 2.0 Talk by Kelvin Claveria
• Social Media Week (1): the success of social media campaigns by Fris in Communicatie BV You must know how to read Dutch.