Normally, this post would go up on the TwentyTwenty blog as an official “thank you” to the brands who got involved with our recent 20 Something Bloggers Ultimate Meetup in Chicago. It will be re-posted there, and that may be where you’re reading this.
I know that everyone who was involved with the four days we spent in Chicago last weekend were grateful and flattered that so many groups had an interest in helping to make the weekend enjoyable and exciting. 20 Something Bloggers is not a network of professionals, it’s a community of friends. It’s a young community founded two years ago, and it’s one in which even the simple act of donating a sticker or funky water bottle is still wholly unexpected.
The reason, however, that this post is here, on my personal blog, is because this “Thank You” is an intimately personal one.
It’s from me to the groups that worked with me to bring this weekend together, because now that the dust has settled and I look back on eight months of successes and failures I realize that the one thing I wanted to happen with this weekend gathering was to show bloggers and the world that there was a real community among twenty somethings.
I spent countless hours working out details for Chicago, simultaneously upgrading our network so that anyone who thought our group was a good fit for their brand or message would see a welcoming online world that matched the offline dynamic of our meetups. The brands and teams that I’m directly thanking today justified that hard work, and in my opinion are at the forefront of Generation Y marketing and engagement.
To every single one of the people who stepped up and contributed to our meetup; I am deeply, deeply thankful.
Specifically, I want to point out the efforts of a few organizations who went out of their way to be a part of last weekend.
Brand About Town has been busily touring the country and engaging bloggers (lots of our 20SB members, in fact) as brand ambassadors for their clients. They are on the forefront of digital engagement. Along the way they caught wind of our meetup, and even though it was a very last minute connection they went out of their way to get on board and help us make the weekend a success.
Farmstead Wines, founded by Anthony Nicalo, was involved in this meetup from the minute it was conceptualized. A rare artisan wine importer, Farmstead hosted us for a fun and educational wine tasting on Saturday afternoon. You should really follow them on twitter, and you should be ordering your wine from them. A true master of their craft, Farmstead has a personal, face-to-face relationship with every farmer/vinaroon with whom they work.
The Chopping Block, a premier Chicago recreational cooking school housed our wine tasting, and after a hot trek across the city it was really nice to walk into a spacious, airy kitchen that anyone would dream of having in their home. Their very big, very beautiful home. Everyone who worked there was extremely helpful and a wine tasting in a dream kitchen was really the perfect Saturday afternoon respite for a group who’d been sightseeing for two days. TCB is getting is on twitter as well! A great foodie follow.
Rebel Bar & Grill, a Chicago establishment in Wrigleyville, hosted us on Friday night for our ice breaking cocktail mixer that turned out to be a huge success. We had a huge turn out, and I want to specifically Dan Latino, the bar owner, for being such an incredible resource to me time and time again. Danny’s completely reliable, flexible, and actively interested in building relationships with his customers, and for that reason I keep going back to him. His staff reflects that…they’re all funny and friendly and constantly searching for ways to improve your experience. If you’re local, I enourage you not just to check out one of their bars, but seek out Danny or a manager, because they want to meet you.
And finally, TweetupBadges, a really cool and more importantly a really responsive badge producer provided us with name badges for the weekend, which have popped up in lots and lots of our weekend photos (check out the TweetupBadges Flickr group). The badges were worn proudly, sparked lots of questions about our meetup and blogging in general, and if you knew how quickly I was able to send proofs to Rich, the owner, and get these things in my hands you’d be absolutely floored. He even went to our community front page and pulled a color scheme and header image which turned out to be a much better look for the badges and the one we went with.
This is just a few of the many groups that became a part of last weekend’s blogger meetup. Jenn, who I adore for her help in planning and making the weekend run smoothly, just wrote a great post recognizing some of the others, and she’s even giving away some of our extra swag. Head on over there to check it out!
In the end, it was a wonderful weekend, and I’m happy to have been a part of such a monsterous collaboration.
If you feel the urge, please leave your comments and thanks for these and the other brands or people involved in the comments!