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Did you #hashtag today? June 30th, Miami’s Social Media Day! #SMDAYMIA

Miami Startup Scene Makers


What comes to mind when you think about Miami? Probably the diverse culture, high fashion, sweltering heat, and championship basketball. But would technology make that list? Many entrepreneurs who are managing startup technology businesses in this cosmopolitan city question whether their companies can succeed as well as Silicon Valley companies. Well, Social Media Day of Miami, is the answer. Alex Carvalho along with a team of fifteen organizers successfully hosted Mashable’s world wide free event, #SMDAYMIA or Miami’s Social Media Day. June 30th, 2013, not only marked a day where young entrepreneurs could receive advice for their startup companies and learn about the changing industry, but this was the first official Social Media Day of Miami as proclaimed by Miami Dade’s Mayor, Carlos Jimenez. So for upcoming years, this will be a tradition, fostering young minds and creating new businesses.

The program consisted of more than forty sessions with fifty-five speakers housed in the Adrienne Arsht Center. The speakers shared their past experiences with their companies, gave essential advice, and helped those who were starting from scratch. The sessions were informative, entertaining, and educational.  “There’s something for everybody, of all levels,” said Carvalho. The program listed sessions titled “Nobody Clicks on Boring,” “#Findme,” “Disabled and Latina? Yes, I’m part of Social Media,” and so many more. I personally attended “Social Media Disasters-They Seriously Tweeted That?” which discussed the do’s and don’ts when using Twitter. What these workshops all had in common was the shared focus of how businesses could use social media to their advantage. For example, using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for not only social necessities, but to advertise and publicize certain companies. Now this all sounds familiar as everyone can attest to seeing the ads and several pages on Facebook. However, there are rules that come into play which segues to the next session that I attended called, “Are you bi?” Don’t be deceived by the title, the session focused on the necessity of being bilingual, especially in South Florida. In regards to targeting costumers and investors with social media, the session taught the importance of identifying the target group, properly communicating, and discovering their interests.

I then went to the most anticipated session of the day, “Miami Startup Scene Makers.” Representatives of different industries varying from television, radio, news, PR, and technology were packed in the room to hear the secrets behind a good startup from the best. During this hour length session, Alex de Carvalho (Founder of Mashable Miami Social Media), Wilfredo Fernandez (LAB Miami), Matt Haggman, and Brian Brenslin @RefreshMiami told their stories. These four started from the very beginning and launched their own individual startup businesses and now serve as mentors. They all shared the same goal, to impart their knowledge and to make Miami known for technology. Brian Brenslin, who owns Infinimedia, Inc. and is founder since 2006 of Refresh Miami and collaborates with programmers, entrepreneurs and investors, told me that, “My main advice for any younger entrepreneurs, is to aim big. Do something that hasn’t been done before and make sure it’s something you’re passionate about. If you’re not passionate, then you won’t keep at it. That’s the key, do something that you’re passionate about.” The advice however did not cease with these four. The whole day, you could see certain individuals who were bombarded with questions from eager entrepreneurs, successful men and women who make it a goal to give others a boost with advice or sponsorship as they know how it feels to start from the very beginning. “Building a community of communities across South Florida, that’s my ultimate goal of what I’m doing,” said Mark Laymon, who accomplished his own startup business, New Tech Community, Caffeine Spaces, and is collaborating with organizations like Enterprise Development Corporation.

While taking my notes, I noticed that I wasn’t the only one with a notepad. Everyone had a notepad. Everyone was taking notes and clung to every single word that was said. Questions were answered, ideas were discussed, and for the first time in Miami history, a day has been dedicated to help startup companies.  Based on today’s success, Miami can thrive in the technology industry.

About Rebekkah Mar

A graduate from Westminster Christian School located in Dade County. Was the student writer for WCS online newsletter, “The Beat,” and assistant editor of the school’s yearbook, “The Beacon". Founder, editor-in-chief, and editorial writer for the newspaper, “The Warrior”. She has done internships at 90.9 Life FM Radio and Media Relations Group (MRG). Writes for St. Thomas Lutheran Church’s newsletter under the column, “Youth Perspective”. This year, she was the the recipient of The Burger King Scholarship, Westminster's Outstanding Senior Award, Westminster's Warrior Award for Leadership, and the De la Rua Family Endowment for Courage. She is also the nominee of the Emma Bowen Journalism Work study. Rebekkah is now studying Telecommunications within the College of Journalism at the University of Florida and is a staff member of UF's "Sparks Magazine."