Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Could Twin Cities be social media capital of the world?

SMBmsp-logoCould the Twin Cities be the social media capital of the world? Or at least the social media breakfast capital of the world?

It felt like it Friday, as a mob of people began gathering bright and early, with the smell of bacon and eggs wafting above the expansive lawn at Deluxe Corp.’s headquarters in Shoreview. The scene was the 16th consecutive monthly meeting of an organization called Social Media Breakfast-Twin Cities, or “SMBmsp” for short. Complete with a “Jumbotron” on wheels for the presenters’ slides, the event was unofficially dubbed “Social Media Palooza” by the sponsor, and beach balls were even bouncing from row to row before the morning was over.

The event was originally slated to be held indoors at Deluxe, but free tickets for the 125-person-capacity room sold out on the group’s online sign-up site within two hours. So, organizer Rick Mahn and sponsor PartnerUp (a Deluxe company) scrambled to accommodate demand. They quickly decided to open up the event by holding it outside, and then promptly sold out all 250 tickets. WideShot-8am

Just what is a “Social Media Breakfast”? As explained on the group’s website (a social networking site, of course!): “It’s where folks get together to talk about using social media and social networking tools in their business or careers. It’s about networking, it’s about learning, and mostly it’s about people.”

The SMB concept has taken off nationally, now with 25 chapters. But in early 2008, the Twin Cities group was one of the first to get started — the third, actually, after Boston and New York City, according to Bryan Person, the founder of Social Media Breakfast. Person spoke May 16 at the local “SMPmsp 15” event at Concordia College in St. Paul. (Person is based in Austin, Texas, and is a blogger, podcaster, speaker and social media evangelist for LiveWorld. He is @BryanPerson on Twitter.) Person also said the Twin Cities SMB group has held the most meetings of all the chapters and consistently has the biggest attendance. Thus, one could conclude that Friday’s outdoor event was the biggest SMB breakest ever held nationally, since attendance was about twice that of the largest previous SMBmsp event.

Speakers at the “SMBmsp 16” event included Tim Brunelle (@tbrunelle on Twitter), pictured at right below, who spoke on “The Impact of Social Media on the Advertising and Marketing Industry,” and Minnov8’s own Steve Borsch (@sborsch on Twitter), at left, who presented on the topic of “Personal/Professional Hubs: A Place to Aggregate Your Digital Life.” Steve Borsch, left, and Tim Brunelle. (Photo by Jamie Thinglestad.)

Borsch commented later, after he had left for Chicago immediately following the breakfast. “Wow, what a great event. Thank you to PartnerUp and Deluxe for going way above and beyond the call of duty to host this gathering and making it such a success.” As he was presenting, Borsch said he was thinking: “Gee, if I’m sweating up here in the shade, imagine how they must be feeling!” He said later on the SMBmsp site’s blog: “This event just goes to show the level of interest, the strength of our community, and that each of you recognize how fundamentally important is the shift being exhibited by the onrush of social media … Or it was all just about free hats and bacon?”

Borsch uploaded a PDF of his Apple Keynote presentation, which was shown on the Jumbotron (he’s shown here readying for his talk), and it is viewable and downloadable at that link above. “I was using my iPhone to control the presentation with the ‘Keynote App’ from Apple. You can see one slide and your notes — flickably scrollable to advance the slide or scroll your notes — or, in landscape mode, to see the next slide queued up ready to go. It runs over wifi.”

For more on SMBmsp, you can read all the tweets posted about it by simply going to and entering either “SMBmsp” or “SMBmsp16”. You can also see some great photos here: a Flickr set by Jamie Thinglestad.

Anyone may join the “SMBmsp” group by registering for free at its site. There are currently 827 people who have done so, according to the Members page. The site has a regular podcast, and also a blog where any member can post.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Tim Brunelle on 07/01/2009 - 09:31 am.

    Thanks for the insightful post, Graeme! This was my very first Social Media Breakfast, so I figured, “they must always draw a 250+ crowd!” As I said in my speech, we live and work in a very robust, vibrant marketing and advertising industry–more than I’ve seen in Boston or NYC. Lots of talent and lots of enthusiasm here, with many thanks to organizations like SMBMSP.

    Here’s a link to the text of my speech: “The Impact of Social Media on the Marketing and Advertising Industry” at SMBMSP #16


Leave a Reply