ignite

A City Ignited.

A sold-out Ignite Memphis was held Nov. 18 at Bridges in downtown Memphis. The program was comprised of five-minute, swiftly-paced speeches that acquainted the 350-person crowd with topics from eradicating homelessness to the tribulations of owning a food truck.

Ignite Memphis is one installment of a world-wide movement that encourages cities to share inspiring and zany ideas in a format that’s reminiscent of TED Talks on speed. This was the eighth iteration of Memphis’ production that’s presented biannually by Undercurrent, the city’s monthly meet-up for young professionals.

“We always want Ignite to inspire people,” said Dan Price, a co-founder of Undercurrent and a producer of Ignite Memphis. “We work hard to pick talks and speakers from the submissions that are not only diverse and unique, but interesting, culturally relevant, and backed by passion,” Price added.

Wannabe speakers must apply and be selected to present. Presentations tend to highlight acquired hobbies, lessons learned, or experiences that are deeply personal.

“My heart got so much bigger, and I ended up loving people so much more,” said Joseph Miner while presenting ‘Everything You Aren’t Told About Grief.’ His story recounted the roller-coaster of emotions he experienced after his mother’s death. “As a culture, we don’t talk about grief that much, so talk about grief candidly and be open to share,” Miner said.

Because of the casual format, guests easily conversed with the speakers before or after the presentations while dining on hors d’oeuvres, wine, and craft beer. Some cherished the opportunity to connect with others through broad and meaningful dialogue.

“We live in a world that is so driven by connectivity and all things digital, so it was refreshing to do something that was, at least, a slight deviation from the norm,” said Jasmine Boyd, an Ignite guest. “Imagine, people actually talking about ideas instead of hiding behind Instagram posts and Twitter rants,” she said.

While the Ignite format has been replicated elsewhere, the Bluff City adds a distinct dimension, according to Dan Price. “It speaks volumes to the culture of change, creativity, and encouragement in Memphis right now.”

Here was the fall 2014 lineup. Follow Undercurrent or like them to stay afloat of ongoing events and next spring’s Ignite!

Learned Advice from Living Social Media

Well folks, the show’s over: I came, I blogged, I conquered. What most of you don’t know is that I started this blog as an extension of a grad-school course: Social Media Theory and Practice by the indispensable, innovative, and often imitated Dr. Carrie Brown-Smith.

She’s classy to share her trade secrets with novices and burgeoning professionals. And in four months, her apprentices have Googled, WordPressed, crowdsourced, conversed, curated, chatted, Cinemagram’d, Wiki’d, tweeted, tumblr’d, photographed, video’d, viral’d, YouTubed, 365’d, optimized, LinkedIn, Facebooked, FourSquared, Yelped, Pinterest’d, recon’d, resourced, TechCrunched, Jarvis’d, Rosen’d, Shirky’d, Storifed, metricked, mapped, and engaged audiences. All for our own brands.

I emphatically understand that “life is about small events,” as Brad King penned. Every interaction (IRL and online) is an opportunity. And I’ve taken advantage of many:

  • My Storifies and hashtag participation have linked me to renowned academic journalists across the country.
  • Generous link-sharing resulted in guest posting on one of my favorite sites.
  • I’ve interviewed and subsequently quoted 60 people. Many new to me and now future contacts.
  • Actively following a new Facebook group led to being cast as a movie extra…now proudly touting an IMDB.
  • Mapping data netted me free drinks on a sunshine-laden patio.

If President Obama appointed this professor to a post, she’d be THE nation’s Social Media Czar. Thank you, Carrie, for imparting your wisdom, helping me find my voice, and uncovering a new passion.

My five-minute thesis, “Journalism Disrupted: Entrepreneurs & the Nouveau Niche,” with inclusions from Dr. Brown’s #SOCIALJ and Dr. Kelley’s #JPRENEUR classes. Presented on April 8, 2014 at Christian Brothers University for Ignite CBU.