Friday, June 4, 2010

SxSe Talk: From @vicequeenmaria

"Only connect! . . . Live in fragments no longer. Only connect." -- E.M. Forster

Organizing SxSe this year was NOT a labor of love. Let me explain: it was definitely all about the love, but I'd hardly call it labor.  In fact, it was a pleasure.  You could say I was a little selfish in my intentions, because I knew I'd be rewarded with a gift:  enjoying the company of good friends I love, all in one location, here in the sunshine state.

As the event approached, more and more people asked me if there was a speaker's schedule, if a press pass was required -- heck, one person even showed up at the poolside cabana thinking SxSe was an actual conference!  But if you read the description on the top right hand corner of this site, you'll see that it's clearly defined:  "We're a group of friends on Twitter who love to get together for partying in South Florida."

That's it. Simple enough, right?

I think the spirit of SxSe, which is extremely unconference, truly defined itself this year.  We really didn't do much at all, except hang out and connect, re-connect and just plain enjoy ourselves in camaraderie with good eats, drinks and of course, many laughs.  No one here had an agenda. No one was trying to "sell" anything. No one was a "persona" or an "expert" though we did have our share of a few dipshits who tried to leech off my tab. If I could write another tag line for SxSe (besides the cocktail one), it'd be this: leave your ego at the door.

So even though the big tweetup on Saturday night had a much bigger turnout than I expected -- I estimated 50 but surely there must've been at least 70 -- the days before and after were quiet, pleasant and relaxed. A few of us enjoyed cozy, intimate dinners around Fort Lauderdale's riverfront area, drinks at the hotel lounge, beach walks and swims, naps (by ourselves, of course!), Sunday brunch, sunset cocktails and poolside lounging under the stars.  Tying all these moments together were endless, interesting conversations.

Perhaps the more riotous shenanigans took place Saturday during the day at the poolside cabana, but what happens in SxSe stays in SxSe -- Facebook or Flickr evidence proving otherwise.  And the most "official" thing we did was a live internet radio show, recorded in the Hyatt lobby.

I had a late checkout Monday after the event. Everyone was already gone. The intensity of the weekend was winding down and it felt surreal.  I couldn't go back to Miami without a swim at Fort Lauderdale Beach and that's exactly what I did. I love this beach in particular because it's probably the only strand in South Florida where you can still sit in the shade of giant Casuarina pines! As I sat on the sand and looked out at the ocean I wasn't thinking about the number of room nights sold (26), the number of schwag bags we filled (17), number of people who showed up at the big tweetup (70+), the number of times I posted to twitter with the hasthag #sxsemia (countless) -- no, none of that -- I wasn't thinking about numbers.

I was thinking about things you can't quantify, things you can't touch. I was thinking about things that have to do with the heart.

The party is over, for sure, but we remain connected by these electronic pipes and most importantly, the invisible threads of loyalty and love.

I think @mkohpotts also captured this feeling beautifully in her post about the event:  Rockin' South Florida @SXSE

I can't wait for next year! Word was being tossed around about Key West.  Stay tuned and in the meantime, see everyone on Twitter.

And now for some business ...

The Hyatt Pier 66 turned out to be a great location, not only because it was beautiful, but because we could stick together and not deal with any of the transportation logistics issues we had last year. The hotel assigned a fabulous food and beverage manager to take care of us throughout the weekend, which made all the difference in the world.  Working with the Hyatt was a breeze and I'd recommend this hotel to any event planner, hands-down.

We had significant community support this year and I'd like to list those folks here. Many, many thanks for the goods, discounts and services you offered!

Annie's Costumes
Chef George Catering
The Cookie Maven - Broward & WPB
Dunkin' Donuts S Fla
Fort Lauderdale CVB -
Himmarshee Bar and Grille
Hyatt Pier 66
Jan Idelman Creative Group
Lucid Salon
Miami Tour Company
Mind Active Media - Syncrospace
Preppy Dude TV
Slice Fort Lauderdale Pizza
Soul of Miami
Sweeter Days Bake Shop
VICINOS Italian Kitchen
WPBR Radio

Photo credits:  1. mkhall 2. brendajos 3. bsoler (cakes by Sweeter Days Bake Shop)

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