Social Media Success Summit The Social Media Success Summit is a completely online conference led by social media powerhouses Gary Vaynerchuk, Darren Rowse, Chris Garrett, Brian Clark, Michael A. Stelzner, Denise Wakeman, Ann Handley and Jason Alba – all of whom I follow and respect.

I love going to conferences, but there are so many and with a busy schedule I can’t always make it halfway across the country. Either I can’t afford to take the time off because I’m swamped with projects, or I have conflicting plans. The Social Media Success Summit looks like an opportunity to learn from the experts without the expense or inconvenience of traveling to a conference.

Chris Garrett has posted a chance to win a free ticket to Social Media Success Summit on his blog. You can enter up to five times by posting the following tweet to your Twitter account:

Win a FREE ticket to Social Media Success Summit 2009: #smsuccess

You can also enter to win the grand prize (two tickets to SMSS, Darren’s book, Mike’s book, your site critiqued by Chris, and a social media marketing consultation with Michael) by writing a blog post detailing why you want to win the ticket… which reminds me!

Why Do I Want to Win?

I bought Michael Stelzner’s book Writing White Papers when it was first released back in 2007, in both hardcover and PDF versions. While I haven’t met him personally, I follow his blog and respect him immensely.

I met Darren Rowse at SxSW in March, 2008 and bought his (and Chris Garrett’s) book Problogger as soon as it was released (pre-ordered it actually). Darren is a role model for any aspiring blogger or online journalist, and is also a genuinely good person. I’ve been reading Copyblogger, Brian Clark’s blog, for as long as I’ve had an RSS feed reader. Darren, Chris and Brian are the definitive experts on blogging.

Gary Vaynerchuk just might be my biggest inspiration in business. I discovered Gary’s Wine Library TV several years ago, and have been following Gary’s show, blog and @garyvee Twitter account ever since. I’ve seen Gary keynote or speak half a dozen times and he knows his stuff. He just landed a 7-figure 10 book deal to write about succeeding in business and life, and his first book Crush It! is due out in October.

These are not a group of wannabe “social media consultants” who just appeared out of nowhere to sell something. These guys know their shit. They were in social media before there was an industry or name for it. Most of them were in marketing before there was even a Web 2.0, much less social networking websites. They’re thought leaders… they’re rock stars.

I want to win because I want to know everything these guys know. I want to soak up that knowledge like a sponge and apply it across my companies and those of our clients at Kelsey. I want to win because you can actually speak with these social media superstars. Yep, it’s a live event and you can interact, ask questions, discuss the materials. You can network with other attendees and with the presenters themselves. Who doesn’t want to rub elbows with the likes of these guys?