Our own Brandon Chesnutt and Nikki Stephan played integral roles in this year’s Future Midwest Conference, going on now. In today’s Detroit Free Press, Mark W. Smith takes a look at the local social media environment, events and players:
Today, the momentum builds as hundreds plan to gather in Royal Oak for FutureMidwest — the Midwest’s largest tech conference — to explore how social networking can improve communities.
Consumed by social networks nearly 24 hours a day, Brandon Chesnutt has become a leader of Detroit-area Twitterers and Facebookers who are trying to get organized and work together on behalf of the region. Chesnutt’s passion is using social media websites to organize events that force metro Detroiters into real life interactions.
Gatherings like Tweetea are a contradiction to some of the commonly held beliefs about Twitter and social media: that it’s a one-way conversation that remains online.
Chesnutt said he wants to help change the national perception of Detroit as solely a manufacturing-based economy.”What we’re hoping to do is to get people to come to Detroit,” Chesnutt said. “And hopefully leverage that to turn Detroit into a great place for start-ups to begin and for entrepreneurs to find different opportunities.”
Just last month, a group of four metro Detroiters set out on a Chevy-sponsored road trip with teams from seven other cities that sought to reward the country’s most engaged online community.
The group amassed points on a two-day trek to a Texas tech conference by completing tasks and measuring how much Twitter traffic about it was generated back in metro Detroit. Team Detroit held the lead the whole trip, winning the title by a big margin.
Chesnutt — a member of Team Detroit — said the win “proved that we have one of the strongest interactive communities in the country.”
Read the whole thing, and check out the photos!