DEMA Show 2010 Las Vegas Day 2

Another long day down, six seminars and an after party behind me. My feet are holding up great, my technology choices for this trip are working splendidly and I got two killer stickers for my water bottle (thanks Princeton Tec!)

Some Things I Liked

PADI has revamped and expanded their rebreather training which looks pretty cool, even beyond the macho aspects of rebreathers. There’s going to be two sides of the training, one more recreational (with shallower depths) and the other more technical. The theory behind the recreational is that the units are becoming so idiot-proof that the training can be much simpler in order to get more people diving rebreathers. They claimed that the kit a rebreather replaces is getting closer to the same price as newer rebreathers, so that could be very cool. They’re still hammering out some of the details, so we’ll have to stay tuned to that one.

There’s also a nice hum of excitement on the show floor. This is one of the reasons I like coming to DEMA; as much as people complain about the industry the rest of the year, people seem to get rejuvenated (at least temporarily) from attending the show.

Wetpixel and put on a nice after party as well, it was nice getting to chat with people in a more relaxed environment.

The Bad

People were getting pushy, downright rude in my opinion over a presenter not providing handouts. A) Handouts are a waste of paper and B) who didn’t bring a pen and something to write on? Even though I have both my iPhone and iPad that I’ve been taking notes on via Evernote, I still have a notebook and a pen. Figure it out, did you show up to school when you were a kid without something to write on and with?

PADI started out on a kick I liked by recommending a blog as your business web site (something I’ve been preaching on here for some time), but then their social media seminar began to falter. They showed off a Facebook “Page” that was not a page, but a business with a personal Profile. This violates the terms of service of Facebook and that person runs the risk of having the Profile shut down and losing all photos/video/connections. That’s bad. So don’t use it as an example. When I brought this up, the presenter said she really didn’t know, but that she was sure it was a Page despite me showing her I was looking at it live on my iPad.

Here’s a hint: if it says “Add as Friend” it’s a personal Profile, if it says “Like” it’s a business Page. There are other ways to tell, but that’s right at the very top of the page and is fairly obvious to see.

I’ll cut PADI a little slack for promoting themselves as a good example of Twitter usage…actually, no I won’t. I have a “things I don’t like about Twitter” post coming soon, but I’ll share one of my dislikes early: a Twitter account that is only an automatic feed from other sources is not a Twitter account, it’s spam. PADI’s Twitter account is 99% auto fed from Facebook and they don’t appear to reply to anyone that writes them. Plus they haven’t updated in a week.

The Ugly

I almost didn’t include this part because it may come across as me being mean or petty. But I just had to share it so you know some things to look for in a “consultant”.

During the presentation, an attendee spoke up and pimped out their services as a social media consultant working with Facebook, Twitter, blogs and email marketing. The person named their business, let’s called it Jack in the Box Media.

The typical internet user would type in to find this person. The problem is, that site is an ad placeholder for a domain that’s for sale. If I were saying that was my business name, I’d buy that domain name, especially if it’s for sale. If it’s out of my price range, I’d either change my business name or introduce myself more closely to the actual domain name, Jack in the Box Media Consulting.

Okay, so we finally find the site and it looks kind of nice. It should, it’s a $33 design with very little customization. Then we look closer. We realize the site is in a language we don’t understand. A language called “lore ipsum”, which is fancy placeholder text in the web design world. Not actual content. Just filler text.

So we start to click around. The links all go to blank pages. Not even an “Under Construction” animated GIF of a construction worker with a shovel. Just a title then…nothing. The sidebar widget showing off the Twitter account shows the last time it was updated was 79 days ago, the Facebook Like widget shows that this business has been liked by THREE people. The blog is more lorem ipsum. Yet this is someone trying to sell you, the dive professional, on their “consulting” services. Someone who appears to not know how to do any of the things they’re trying to sell you on.

The one page with content on it? The content page, you might think. You’d think wrong. Yeah, I don’t want my potential customers to reach me either, I’m busy! The About page! Neat, we get to learn all about this person! I especially liked the interests at the end including golf, tennis, hiking, horseback riding, yoga and travel. That’s right, no SCUBA. So this person doesn’t appear to be a diver, definitely isn’t a dive professional (we all have ego’s too large NOT to include that), doesn’t use Twitter for business, doesn’t use Facebook for business, doesn’t use blogs for business, yet wants to take your money for all of those things.

These are the snake oil salespeople you need to be wary of. I’m too busy with my day job and personal life for you to hire me at the moment anyway, but on more than one occasion just because someone sent me a nice email or message on Facebook/Twitter, I’ve given free advice to steer you in the right direction. So before you pay someone, feel free to bounce your well-formed questions off me. It might take me a day or two to respond, but I want to see people interested in these topics succeed, so I’m more than happy to spill my brain. The same goes for you PADI 🙂

Nick’s so Mean

Online marketing for the SCUBA industry is what I do. It’s not just this blog, it’s my day job. I love this sport passionately, I see great potential in so many individuals and modern dive centers out there embracing these tools even though they don’t understand them, but I will also be critical of the people claiming to be experts yet acting like beginners. With my critique, I also offer advice for anyone who wants to ask. Am I perfect? No. Have I seen someone I consider to be perfect? No. But I’ve been doing this for ages in Internet time and I do this professionally, so I have a few ideas that might work.

Since I’m using an iPad and they still don’t have multitasking on it (next week please!) and I’m tired, I’ll write a summary post at the end of DEMA with links to all of the various other sites talking about the show. Two off the top of my head worth checking out are over at Deeper Blue and SCUBA Gadget. I was also on the SCUBA Obsessed podcast which is available here. I’m tired, it’s technically day 3 now, so I’ll report back again tomorrow. I’ll fix any glaring mistakes tomorrow too 🙂

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