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The LinkedIn IPO Changes Everything

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Brand new horizons for start-ups, conferences, corporate education and more.

I was at a financial services conference this weekend and someone remarked, "LinkedIn changes everything. It's like Netscape in 1995." So true.

Yes, the flag dropped on Thursday, May 19, 2011 and the race is on. Yippee! It seems everyone is finally waking up from a long slumber -- the VCs are suddenly voraciously looking for social dealflow, the job market seems brighter somehow and there's a kind of hope that smells of innovation, money and success in the air.

And like 1995, we're just at the beginning. Remember, Yahoo!, Google and Amazon weren't even born in 1995. Jump to May 2011 and corporations are just waking up to the fact that they better get smart fast because real-time social media is here to stay.

Yes, that conversation about their brand is taking place whether they're in it or not. Yes, influence matters, and if you don't know your Klout score, you're not with it. Not only that, but the organization alignment issues that business process change engenders are coming like a fire hose blast. Does social belong in marketing or customer service? What about the legal implications, regulatory and policy considerations, talent sourcing (LinkedIn, again!) and more?

We offer Social Media for Executives corporate education and since Thursday, my email inbox is full and my phone is ringing off the hook with requests to schedule that internal corporate ed seminar we discussed months ago. And rightly so. The social media revolution is going to happen with you or without you, so get on board now.

Conferences have a new level of excitement as well. Whew, just when we thought we'd all die of boredom if yet one more smug executive preached the blah blah blah about "digital marketing," something has shifted.

We launched Gravity Summit back in February 2009 to great accolades and buzz. But our next event as part of the FutureM week in Boston is drawing the biggest buzz yet. Sponsors are lining up at the door. We believe it's partially because we're part of the MITX's FutureM -- an intellectual marketing mash-up: a five-day long offering of events, discussions and parties throughout the Greater Boston area. We see this as the way of the future in the 'new conference experience' and we're excited to be involved.

Second Line in New Orleans is another intriguing concept and format. Earlier this month, the inaugural Second Line launched as an interactive conference celebrating the New Economy successes and strategies with disruptive innovation, value creation and sustainable social impact. I'll be involved in next year's event and can't wait.

I'm personally fired up and ready to go. I'm excited about influencing what happens next and how this will play out. I'm also passionate about educating the business community on what this all means. So come on in, the social media water is fine.

Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summit, Inc. and the Co-Author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. Contact her to schedule Social Media for Executives training at beverlymacy@gmail.com. And follow her on Twitter @beverlymacy; @PowerRTM; @GravitySummit or email her at beverlymacy@gmail.com.

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