At the recent Social Media Breakfast in Cambridge, a fresh-faced entrepreneurial type—whose name and company my caffeine-deprived brain cannot recall (forgot to get business card, D’oh!)—averred that the Greater Boston Area is in many ways a more significant incubator of social media then the Big, Bad Apple.
The gentlemen didn’t offer any specific data to back his assertion, but I think he was suggesting that in terms of energy and executive talent, the Hub beats the City That Never Sleeps.
Is this just a bunch of Beantown braggadocio or is this indeed the case? Or perhaps I simply “misremembered” the conversation?
Anyone have insights into this? Is there supporting material out there in the way of links to stories, blog posts, et cetera that give some flesh to the bones of this assertion?
And on an entirely unrelated note, welcome aboard faithful listener, blogger, and editor extraordinaire Karen Wise, who has graciously agreed to undo all the damage trailing in my written wake. She has also promised to bless us with some posts when the muse so strikes.
Update: Zach Hofer-Shall, who blogs at Ampers & Dot (Okay Zach, I will make an effort to shorten my blog posts), is our gentleman in question. Given his very detail response to my questions, I am elevating his comments into this post with the hope it will spark further discussion about this issue.
Actually, I think I proudly have to take credit for this one (great to meet you at SMB by the way!). Glad I’m following you on Twitter or I wouldn’t have seen this.
My argument was that after the obvious choice of San Fran, the greater Boston area is home to more influence in social media than anywhere else in the US.
First and foremost: No there is no data to back this up- it’s purely based on speculation.
But my argument then, and now, is that Boston has been a strong hub for tech that arguably survived the bubble boom better than NY because its more remote financial center, but strong hardware concentration (not that DEC didn’t crush the local tech spirits). All many of the survivors of bubble #1 rolled into blogging (if not already) thus giving Boston a strong social media presence.
The other argument made was that Boston does indeed have a very strong startup scene and even though not many of them are directly social media related, many are interactive-web related and thus find an easy connection to blogging.
Lastly, the influence of web 2.0 startups and strong tech community has built a large PR/Marketing field to support it. Defren’s SHIFT is a key player for PR 2.0 and my social media team at Prompt Communications is able to thrive in the Boston area.
And while I’m throwing names around it’s only fair to point out that at the Social Media Breakfast we were joined by Chris Brogan, Stever Robbins, and Steve Garfield… all big players in the social media field.