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The Plus 1: When Social Media and Events Collide

In the age of posts, hashtags and retweets, social media has totally revolutionized the event throwing industry. Long gone are the hopes of seeing a party flyer for the next big event, or even hearing about where the secret kickback is going to be through word of mouth. Nowadays, you can track where the nearest soiree is by simply doing a random Internet search. Through the ebbs and flows of our social media lives, we’ve seen the “Dark Ages”: party promoters assaulting your Facebook inboxes telling how their party is the “Next Big Thing”, or asking if you wanted a “free” birthday event. But as everything else evolves, this new class of social entrepreneurs have learned to adapt to the social climate and are using these networks to get their ideas out farther than they could even imagine.

The first step of creating the perfect party scenario in 2013 is evaluating market needs. Events like “1,000 Bottles,” “HennyPalooza,” and “Brunch Bounce” all came from their creators recognizing that something was missing from their nightlife experiences. Irving Benitez, creator of the NYC-established “Brunch Bounce” event series, came up with the idea for his event after visiting the famous Washington Heights neighborhood and couldn’t find a satisfying brunch. “HennyPalooza” founder Kameron McCullough came up with his event after wanting to have an “intimate gathering” of friends where Hennessy was the spirit of choice. These influencers created organic experiences for their friends and saw a vision where they could take it further. James Murray along with his business partner Francis Roberts created the “1,000 Bottles” experience during the Howard Homecoming Weekend, and in a land where there are literally numerous “official” events; the two Howard alums have used social networks in order to separate from the pack. In the promotion for these events, simply creating and using a Twitter hashtag not only generates more traffic and interest, but also keeps track of analytics for potential partnerships with sponsors. There’s no need to have someone vouch for your event when you have thousands of digital impressions spanning the Internet.

With the only thing remaining constant being change, it was only a matter of time where these digital ringleaders use their social voice to amplify their initial vision. “This new breed of event provides a sense of intimacy for our patrons,” says Benitez, who recently took his “#BrunchBounce” to Miami for the first time recently. “By using the hashtag #BrunchBounce, it allows anyone who’s never heard of the event to get a second hand perspective of it, which creates interest to see it for themselves.” It’s this mindset that allows for these types of events to shine through. As James Murray put it, “Working in this digital space allows for us for touch so many people in an instant. It allows for us to keep our core demographic while allowing for potential party-goers to get involved.” While the fancy, industry-type club events are falling by the way side; these new social-driven events are taking the main stage, and are gaining ground with each successful venture. “We all have different visions, but the same goal,” says McCullough. “We want to create the best experiences for our friends and the people who support us. It’s up to us to repay them with the most fun time we can provide for them. It’s the Harlem Renaissance of event throwing.”

Cory Townes is a Digital Content Producer born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa. His work has been featured in Vibe.com, The Grio, RapDose.com and other media publications. For more of his work, visit www.CoryTownes.com and follow him on Twitter at @CoryTownes.

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