Social Media Breakfast Edmonton, better known online by the hashtag #SMBYEG, have been running monthly events at Startup Edmonton to help local businesses network with each other & improve their social media strategies for almost four years.
To start this season with a twist, SMBYEG are planning a family-friendly Field Trip to beautiful Rundle Park with geocaching, giant games — and breakfast, naturally. We caught up with SMBYEG’s communications team (Jacqui Fraser, Steven Hodges and Tineke de Jong) to get the goods on what they have planned for participants.
TLG: Since this is pretty different than the usual SMBYEG events, what kind of new opportunities does it offer (from an attendee point of view, and a planning/logistics point of view)? What about the challenges that it offers?
JF: It is different and it is not. SMBYEG events always offer a combination of education and networking opportunities to our attendees. SMBYEG curates our content carefully, often looking for topics which are out of the box, and geocaching definitely fits that bill. The biggest difference for this event is that we have broken the mould in order to make the event more interactive, but overall it is still the same great SMBYEG experience. From a logistics perspective, one challenge we have come across is competing against the many other events happening the same day.
SH: Not only does it take the conversation offline, but it takes it outside! This is something new and exciting and, quite frankly, it terrifies me. But if it didn’t scare me, it wouldn’t be worth doing. We have some amazing supporters who have attended our events regularly and now we want to break the box and learn about nerdy things WHILE exploring beautiful Rundle Park.
TLG: OK, so you’re getting some fresh air at Rundle Park — what’s neat about that location, why should people come check it out?
SH: Edmonton has so many great outdoor venues and Rundle Park is one of them. It may be a bit of a trek for some, but with the open green spaces and scenery, it will be totally worth it!
TdJ: If Edmontonians haven’t yet experienced Rundle Park, they are in for a treat. Not only is it a treasured green space, Rundle also offers great picnic sites, tons of walking paths, disc golf, (real) golf, playground, plus washrooms, swimming and more in the ACT Centre.
TLG: Do you expect to attract the same audience with the geocaching and field trip aspect, a totally new audience, or a mix?
SH: I think a little of column A and a little of column B. This is a great opportunity to get to know our audience in a different way, while introducing ourselves to people we normally wouldn’t get a chance to meet. There’s no such thing as strangers, just friends you haven’t met yet, and this a great chance to meet new friends!
TdJ: Moving to Rundle Park increases the family friendliness of the event and allows us to all be kids, whether big or small.
TLG: How popular is geocaching in Edmonton? (Disclaimer: We think it’s really cool. Tell us why you find it interesting.)
SH: I don’t know, but Edmonton seems like a perfect location for geocaching. With the ravines and river valley, we have so many places to explore with a GPS (or smartphone). The City of Edmonton has a great geocaching program, and SMBFieldTrip is providing a great entry point into this awesome hobby.
TdJ: After the recent Road Block on the Amazing Race Canada, I think more people will be interested in learning about geocaching. There’s already a large following of people who are passionate about exploring, and this is an excellent opportunity to learn amongst new friends through the City of Edmonton program.
JF: Geocaching is becoming increasingly popular and has a niche following here in Edmonton, especially with families. There are forums, meetups, and Google+ circles all dedicated to sharing their victories and challenges with one another. In this day and age it seems like everyone and their dog has a smartphone, which means that this hobby is more accessible than ever, because you no longer need specialized equipment to play. Applications like the Ingress app on Android are even gamifying the geocaching experience.
TLG: Without giving too much away — will any of the giant games or caches have a social media twist?
JF: It wouldn’t be a proper SMBYEG Challenge if we didn’t incorporate some kind of social media twist.
TdJ: Keep your eyes peeled Sept. 28 (the day of the event) for interesting posts, tweets and hashtags! (Editor’s note: follow SMBYeg @SMBYEG; you can also find the organizers Jacqui @SavageTiner, Steven @Hedgehodge and Tineke @dreamerdejong.)
TLG: SMBYEG has been around for a while now. What’s the need you continue to address in the community?
SH: I think the niche we fill best is providing people an opportunity to learn how digital tools, when used correctly, can benefit your personal and professional life. Jacqui has gone out of her way to program top-tier speakers, and it shows when our events are consistently at capacity. The digital horizon is constantly changing and we want to ensure that people stay connected and are prepared for the next best thing.
TdJ: The world of social media, and how people and businesses are using it, is changing daily. SMGYEG is able to connect Edmontonians with current, relevant information, real-life examples and like-minded individuals who are learning and growing together. It’s comforting to have friends, new and old, to help mitigate the expansive opportunity that encompasses most everything online.
JF: One of the things I am most proud of is how open and welcoming our SMBYEG community is. Our connections aren’t always just business, but rather they are a nice mix of personal and professional. We encourage people to build and nurture connections, be that finally meeting someone you follow online in person (or IRL), or connecting with someone at an event and continuing the conversation/relationship with them online.
TLG: What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way (both from running SMBYEG in general and planning this specific venture)?
SH: Not all people are as energetic as me in the morning. *laughs*
TdJ: Everyone’s got a great story to share. And if you have any questions, it’s likely that someone else is wondering that too.
JF: The work to make it happen is a lot lighter and more fun when you can share the load.
TLG: Why does this (the event, the organization, this specific venture) work in Edmonton?
SH: Edmontonians have been so supportive of SMBYEG since the very beginning, and this event works because of the energy and commitment of the organizers. This organization strives to be the best at what they do and refuses to be stagnant with their programming and offerings. I think it’s that and our long-term vision that will keep us strong for years to come.
TdJ: There’s something special about the Edmonton community, both offline and online. Edmontonians are connectors. They are open to learning and open to sharing. The SMBYEG leaders continue to find creative topics, engaging speakers and fun events to bring everyone together!
JF: Bottom line, it works because of the people. Certainly organizers play a critical part of that equation, but without the generous contribution of our sponsors, speakers and the faithful attendance and support of our attendees we wouldn’t be where we are today, with three years under our belts, and continuing to grow.
Interested in attending? Use code LocalGood_SMBOverEasy for a 20% discount on tickets: http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/smbfieldtrip
Monthly SMBYEG events are always on the last Friday of every month (except July, August, December or months with special events) from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Startup Edmonton.
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