Blog Indiana – Valparaiso: the Night Northwest Indiana Proved It’s More than Steel Mills and Casinos – a Short Story.

By: Nat Finn Last Updated: March 3, 2010

February 24th, 2010 was flurrying by like the lake effect snow out my office window when I got the call. It was Douglas Karr, president of DK New Media and keynote speaker for the evening's much anticipated "Blog Indiana - Valparaiso" event at Golden Technologies.

"Is it really 4:23pm in Valparaiso?" he asked, sheepish.

"Yeah, why?" I answered, concerned.

I knew they were on the road. His buddy, Bill Dawson, already tweeted (message on Twitter) that they were passing the new windmills on Interstate 65. My fear was that Doug was contemplating whether or not they were going to be able to drive through The Region's latest Blizzard.

I mean, they are from Indianapolis. They typically don't see this weather.

I couldn't blame them.

Up to this point in 2010 there had been 2 really bad weather days. Our NWITweetups occurred on both of those evenings.

So as I tried to make out my car amidst the piles of snow in the parking lot, I started to accept that the 3rd time was going to be the cursed charm.

Such as life during the winter in The Region.

The whole thing started to feel choreographed. It was a tune to which I was tired of two-stepping.

In his signature casual, gregarious cadence, Doug answered my question with a bit of shame.

"Um, because we're already in town."

The stressed exited through my chuckling as laughed politely at him, with him.

"I forgot Valpo's on Central time, too."

"Welcome to The Region, Doug."

Exhilarated, I slipped out of work to meet Doug and Bill at Uptown Cafe in downtown Valparaiso (site of the March 2010 NWITweetup #1) and had a round of coffee and tea. It was great catching up with him and getting to know Bill a little more.

But as we traded verbal jabs and shared laughs, the hair on the back of my neck stood up on end:

Speaking of people driving up here from Indianapolis, it was 5:30 and I hadn't heard from Shawn and Noah.

Shawn Plew and Noah Coffey are the co-founders of Blog Indiana. Not only were they attending the event, but they were going to run the video and sound. Both A/V elements were important not only so we could record the event for prosperity but also because Blog Indiana Valparaiso was being streamed live on Ustream. In fact the main monthly Tweetup in Lafayette was coordinating with Blog Indiana and NWITweetup so they could watch Doug Karr speak via Ustream.

Not to mention those around the state who also tweeted their excitement to see the event live on their computers.

And given how much snow had already accumulated...

I got Doug and Bill squared away in the Boiler Room and went into the office to admire two purchases I made for the evening: a case of Gumballhead Ale from Three Floyds Brewery and a bottle of Johnnie Walker - Green Label. The purchases were made as a retainer for the audio and video guys I had on standby in case something happened. As I picked up the bottle of Green Label and held it in my hand, I reluctantly fished in my pocket for my iPhone.

I was going to have to make a phone call.

Then my iPhone rang.

"We're close." It was Shawn. "We've been stuck in traffic because of an accident on US 30."

"Where are you now?"

"We just crossed Rt. 51 and are headed east. The snow is letting up some."

They were only 20 minutes away. We were going to have to scramble to set up, but we're gonna be okay.

I took a deep breath and relaxed, finally

Shawn and Noah arrived, guests started to trickle in. And then a funny thing happened: much to my surprise, guests had burrowed through drifts and started to pour into the Golden Tech boiler room. They came in from as far as Mishawaka. One even came up from Fishers, IN to hear the Indianapolis resident speak to us.

Fishers!

Sure, we had a few Tweet their regrets, but many started to retweet the link to the Ustream video and tweeted along during the show.

I was so overwhelmed by the full room of guests who braved the blizzard to attend the Northwest Indiana Social Media event to hear Doug talk about SEO and Blogging for SEO.

Who knew our little community had come so far?

We were in such a hurry that we made a rash of mistakes:

  • Forgot to get out the signup sheet
  • Forgot to collect business cards for the door prizes
  • Forgot to roll out the white board for Doug to use (he still had a projector and screen and was using his smartphone to advance slides)
  • Forgot to thank the regional sponsors: Golden Technologies, Pass Times, Cartronix

And the mother and father of all mistakes:

  • Forgot to push the 'record' button on the Ustream broadcast
  • Forgot to push the 'record' button on the backup

Luckily, the last couple mistakes will be remedied because Doug is going to do an encore of his presentation down in Indy later on this Month. And when he does, we'll put it on the NWITweetup Announcment Blog.

But despite all those mistakes, everything faded away when I stood in front of the camera and had the opportunity to the introduce the internet marketing community to my hero, Douglas Karr.

And, yeah, Douglas Karr is my hero.

The buzz after the event was electric. Tweets and one-to-one feedback showed not only an avid appreciation for Doug's presentation, but also a more-than-idle curiosity downstate by those who in the industry who are starting to recognize that The Region is starting to know its New Media.

And if we keep this up, who knows? Our economy might be known for more than Steel Mills and Casinos.

Humbly Submitted,
Nat Finn
Internet Marketing Specialist at Golden Technologies

Did you attend the Blog Indiana Valparaiso event at Golden Technologies?