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Get your hashtags ready: Social Media Day Detroit is the ultimate meet and greet for online junkies


Detroiters love their social media – we tweet our 313DLove, we “share” our X Games support, we Instagram the bejeesus out of Belle Isle, downtown and any other sight that moves us.

1 food_drinkMaybe that’s why there was such as strong reaction to the first Social Media Day Detroit when it launched three years ago. Friends Nicole Yelland and John Policicchio heard about the event, spread word via social media about said event and a whole bunch of people showed up.

This year, the event is slated to draw hundreds more to the MotorCity Casino Hotel, where the Soundboard stage will be set for Tweeting, status updating and photographing with filtering beyond comprehension. Because Detroit loves to share its story – told with our truths, explained with our words and illustrated with our carefully unedited images.

The event, which starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, is a celebration of social media, what it does for companies and what it is doing for the rebranding of Detroit. There will be networking. There will be a quasi job fair. And there will be fund raising for Gleaner’s Community Food Bank. More on that later.

Here’s what to expect…Well, that’s a tough one. The idea is to make the night memorable. To have things that are worth 140 characters. I’ll leak a few items. There will be a Chevy vehicle. There will be UHaul box full of stuff. There will be mega giveaways from every sports team in town. There will be a message from Gov. Nerd (I mean Snyder). There will be live music by this amazing ePrize band.

2 brandsThere will be a unique hashtag that will be used worldwide, so you better be clever, Detroiters, or you won’t make the live feed. Yes, that’s a throw down of the social-media kind. It’s a night of jobs, innovation and celebration – but it also puts us in a good place to spread the good word(s) about Detroit in a very public way.

Livio and MotorCity Casino Hotel are teaming up to host the event with the goal of bringing the community together to celebrate social media and meet up face-to-face. Event founders, Nicole Yelland and John Policicchio, are hoping we’re prolific enough to trend on Twitter; I’d like to think we are mouthy enough to get that all-star attention. Last year, Rio claimed the most Tweets – we need to drop those parade-loving people a notch or two.

“Detroit has a lot of bragging to do when it comes to social media,” said Yelland, Director of Marketing & Communciations at Livio Radio, a Ferndale-based company that creates innovative Internet Radio products for the Home and Car. “What started out as a party is now becoming a movement.”

A great part of the event will be the section set aside for Detroit start-up companies. Livio, a startup that has since become a full-fledged success story, particularly likes this part of Social Media Day Detroit, Yelland said. And these up-and-coming businesses will all be set up by the food (Little Caesar’s Pizza shoutout!) so you know they’ll get some traffic nearby.

“We’re a startup and someone was nice to us. They gave us a spot and a spotlight. So we know it’s important to pay it forward,” Yelland said, noting that there are high hopes that those business startups that attend the free showcase could possibly find local investors among the attendees. Attendees such as Google, Twitter and more.

Policicchio, Director of Interactive Marketing at MotorCity Casino Hotel, notes that the event’s sponsors are an amazing bunch as well: Livio, MotorCity, Chevrolet, The Detroit Red Wings, The Detroit Tigers, ePrize, MLive, Plex Systems, Lush Yummies,, Gleaner’s, Core Detroit, Twitter, UHaul, Yelp, Plex Systems, Opportunity Detroit, Fathead and Quicken Loans.

Detroit can be a really big city, Yelland and Policicchio agree, unless you get to know people. So the smaller this community gets in terms of hanging out, the better it is for Detroit.

“You won’t see anybody staring at their shoes at this event. They’re very social. They’ll definitely be making a friend or three,” Yelland said.

4 SMDDIt is a time to meet in person, rather than via smartphone or computer, Policicchio said.

“We communicate with each other all long. But this is fun event where you can meet offline,” he said.

Now, back to that donation info: Plex Systems has donated their event sponsorship presence to Gleaner’s Community Food Bank. They will be collecting cans of food at the event but to make it a bit more digitally friendly, the good folks at Social Media Day Detroit are encouraging attendees to consider donating right from their phone.

To text to give: Text EAT to 85944 to donate $10 – that’s 60 meals! (Standard message rates may apply.) To give online: (includes a mobile friendly site). Every dollar provides 6 meals. Nice, huh? Right now, and throughout the summer, all donations are being MATCHED dollar-for-dollar by the Charter One Foundation & other generous donors, as part of Gleaners’ Hunger Free Summer, a campaign that will provide 2 million more meals to hungry kids while school is out for the summer.

Here’s your hashtags: #SMDay #Det

Here’s the skinny: You must be 21 years old. Make sure to register at Eventbrite. Doors open at 6 p.m. Once you get inside MotorCity Casino Hotel, go to Sound Board; look for the signs, it’s pretty easy to find.  The event closes at 10 p.m. MotorCity Casino Hotel is at 2901 Grand River Avenue. Self park and valet are free.

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