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It may not make the front page in next week’s papers, but I’m excited to be one of the speakers on the topic Social Media in Practice at the upcoming Interactive Minds business breakfast in Brisbane, Queensland.

The main reason I’m excited is because this event is just one of several indicators that social media, as a subject for discussion, analysis and systematic application, has now reached an important stage.

A tipping point? Maybe. But certainly in my part of the world – Australia’s Gold Coast region – and in circles here reasonably well informed about business communication, it’s clear now that a discussion about social media does not need a laborious preliminary explanation.

That’s a relatively recent development.

A few years ago people looked at me strangely when I mentioned blogging. Some still do, but they are the exception: I suspect that even people who would not know a blog if they fell over one have heard or read enough to know that it’s possibly not cool not to know.

On social media, a year ago I had a challenge getting a discussion going. Now there is an active Social Media Club Brisbane and another just started here on the Gold Coast.

But one thing I know a lot of us who work in this field professionally would like to have is more case studies. For me, that means Australian or New Zealand case studies, and also some regional and local stories. If I’m talking with a Queensland, Australia company, I get polite interest when I cite case studies from the USA – of which there is no shortage – but I am looking for more than polite interest, so I want to be able to say, see, this worked with this company and this company and this company in Queensland.

So I am really looking forward to picking up some good case studies as I listen to the other speakers at the Social Media in Practice session tomorrow week.

I’ll be kicking off at the civilized hour of 8 am with a brief explanation of Social Media and some tips on how to get started in using  social media for business.

Then Chris Chambers, Director of Digital Marketing at Tourism Queensland together with Rob Bell, Founder and Director, XCom Media will talk about elements of Social Media that Tourism Queensland use, as well as examples of how social media was used in the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef  “Best Job in the World” campaign (with 15,000+ applications now being sifted, that bit has to be worth the price of admission in its own right!).

Chris will also talk about Tourism Queensland’s learnings and future approach to the use of these platforms.

Murray Berghan, Managing Director of internationally award-winning Make Communications will also be speaking (check out the hilarious video used as part of the campaign they did for AMF Bowling).

Our panel will be facilitated by Genevieve Robey, Editor of WotNews, the people who deliver my personalized news digest to my inbox every morning.

Details : Wednesday 25th February 2009 | 8am – 10:30am |
Grant Thornton Brisbane, 102 Adelaide Street | Cost: $49.50
More details including registration.

If you attend, I hope you’ll say hello.

I’ll probably do some slides and put them on Slideshare.

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).