Back in March I posted a blog about a team of Detroiters and a community of supporters that were competing in a contest against seven other cities for the chance to win an “Epic Tweetup” in their hometown, and what they were doing for the city of Detroit. I confronted the naysayers, inspired the believers and afterward, continued to do my part to help our team absolutely destroy the competition.
It is now Sunday, the day after the Epic Tweetup, and I’m sifting through my Facebook and Twitter feeds as I see people posting photos and tweeting about the great time they had. With nearly 500 people attending the event, some traveling here from Toronto, Chicago, Ohio, and Florida, the one thing that goes through my mind is that it’s hard to believe the city of Detroit is being hit hard by the worst recession we’ve seen since the Great Depression.
The social media landscape in Detroit has changed dramatically since March, attracting the attention of many of Detroit’s professionals. Stephen Clark, (@sclarkwxyz) action news anchor at WXYZ television has built an interactive community through social media that empowers individuals in Detroit to become as big of a part of the news as the anchors themselves.
Michigan Gubernatorial candidate, Rick Snyder, (@onetoughnerd) took his “One Tough Nerd” campaign to social media, and managed to secure the Republican nomination against numerous candidates ingrained in Michigan GOP’s good-ole-boy network. He has started out with a commanding lead in the polls, and continues to use social media to share his vision with Michigan’s online community. While this is not an endorsement of any kind, I must admit that his pioneering of social media in the political arena is encouraging, and will effect my decision in November.
Urbane Apartments (@eric_urbane) used social media to achieve 99% occupancy. Livio Radio (@livioradio) has used social media to increase sales. Detroit artist Black Milk (@black_milk) used social media to successfully launch his new popular single titled “Deadly Medley“. Believe me, the list goes on.
We have even seen big things from our team’s contestants in the Chevy SXSW Roadtrip. Brandon Chesnutt (@bchesnutt) was chosen for Crain’s “20 in their 20s” list. David Murray (@davemurr) quit his job to embark on his own “solopreneur” project. Henry Balanon (@balanon) has launched a number of successful iPhone and iPad applications, and recently announced he has a baby on the way. Audrey Walker (@techsocialite) got in touch with Girls In Tech to start a Detroit chapter.
Let’s not forget that this was all made possible by General Motor’s head of social media, Chris Barger. (@cbarger) One can only imagine how happy he was to see the home team win the contest that was a product of his vision for GM’s social media strategy. I believe that Chris would say that the outcome of the Chevy SXSW Roadtrip and Epic Tweetup has far surpassed his expectations. We owe a great deal of gratitude to Chris and GM for giving us the tools to catapult Detroit’s social media community forward into a phenomenon that has captured the world’s attention.
As for myself, I have big plans as well. The relationships I have built through Detroit’s social media community will help immensely as I lay the groundwork for a new enterprise. I have been secretly watching, planning and giving as much of my time as I can so that I too can be a part of the movement in Detroit that will soon make us an economic and technological powerhouse.
What did the Chevy SXSW Roadtrip do for Detroit? (besides get us drunk) It pulled a community together. It helped launch dozens of entrepreneurial ventures. It boosted many local businesses and supported the local economy. It gave the world a glimpse into the great things we are doing here in Detroit. It gave us a break from all the negativity that the media has been trying to bring us down with. It showed the world that even in our darkest hour, we are still a region that is deserving of nicknames like Motown and The Motor City.
Stand up Detroit! Let’s keep this momentum going. I’ve never felt more inspired to succeed in my life. Thank you Chris Barger, General Motors, Stephen Clark, Dave, Henry, Brandon, Audrey, everyone who participated online, The Magic Stick, Better Made Chips, Livio Radio, The Jolly Pumpkin, Bacardi, Urbane Apartments, Biggby Coffee, Vintner’s Cellar, Ann Arbor T-Shirt Company, Reware Vintage, A Shirt Bag, Verizon Wireless, Fashion In Detroit, Fist of Detroit Apparel, Chris Xiromeritis, Double Take, John Phillips, Noel, Hubert Sawyers, and even the spectators. We couldn’t have accomplished this without everyone involved. Let’s kick some ass again next year!