What’s a MackiTAC?

Something a little different today (I know you’re waiting for that Shepler Ferry Captain post, and I promise I am working on it).  Tonight I want to share with you an event I attended on Saturday – the first Mackinac Island MackiTAC Tweetup.

MackiTAC.  That word has been floating around for at least two months, and anyone who lives on the island (or visits the island or wants to visit the island) and is online with those two social media giants, Facebook and Twitter, had been deluged with invitations to attend this event.  When I first heard about it, I thought, “MackiTAC? – I like the word, but what is it?”

Well, it turned out to be a big party and a way for all of us Mackinac Island lovers (and those of us who live and work anywhere around Mackinac Island) to come together, hear each other’s ideas about promoting northern Michigan, and put faces to the names we see everyday on our computer screens.  The MackiTAC Tweetup was the brainchild of the Island Bookstore folks, and Shepler’s Ferry quickly came on board as a co-sponsor.  Ken Grisnak and his trusty companion, Bucky (a very extroverted parrot), provided enthusiastic support online and as the Tweetup’s narrator.

It was Ken who called and asked me to join the line-up of guest speakers, and how could I refuse when his only request was that I speak from my heart about what makes Mackinac Island special to me. 

The concept of the event was simple.  Presenters would talk about the different aspects of social media, with plenty of time between speakers for interaction within the group.  Now when you get a group of computer-happy folks together, you know something more “worldly” is going to happen than just some people talking into a microphone.  Connections were “connected” (sorry – I still don’t understand how a radio works, much less the internet), and the entire Tweetup was viewed around the world by anyone set up on a particular social media website.  Throughout the event, people from all over the U.S. and from several foreign countries chatted online as they watched and listened to the speakers.  Tweet-up participants manned laptops in the Lilac Tree Hotel’s conference room, where the Tweetup was held, and could chat back and forth to anyone online anywhere in the world who had “tuned in” to the event.  It was pretty darn amazing to this old girl!

The MackiTAC Tweetup crowd - mingling before the event began.

Katie and Misty from Shepler's Ferry, and Ken - with Bucky.

At the sign-in table was a Bronner's Christmas Store representative, who gave out Bronner's cookie-cutters to all participants. Bronner's is in Frankenmuth, MI and is the largest Christmas store in the world. Ted and I stopped there on one of our very first trips to Michigan, and he had to drag me out of the place after I'd shopped for three hours - and hadn't even covered 1/4 of the store. I love Bronner's!

The MackiTAC Welcome Sign!

Stu Stuart, who has a comedy show on the island, warmed up the crowd with 10 minutes of Mackinac Island humor.

Joni Hubred-Golden, speaking passionately about her Michigan Women's Forum website http://michiganwomensforum.com. I've been on that website today, and I found dozens and dozens of stories by, for, and about Michigan women (I'm adding the site to my blog roll). One of the many books I found that I want to order is "Writing Home" by Cindy La Ferle.

I did not have a chance to get photographs of all the speakers, but each one was interesting and informative.  Misty Martinchek from Shepler’s Ferry was my contact for the upcoming “captaining” story, and she spoke eloquently about Shepler’s and their desire to make sure their marketing keeps pace with all the trends and electronic capabilities available in today’s world.  Shepler’s is using Twitter and Facebook to get their story out, and it has made a tremendous impact on their business.

Other speakers included Dan McDonough, a Michigan lumberjack who takes part in the Jack Pine Lumberjack Show just outside of Mackinac City.  He presented a short video of the show, which includes log rolling, pole climbing, and other traditional lumberjack events.  It looked awesome!  Lori Libka, from Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, MI got me so excited again about that store that I wanted to go back with her on the ferry!  Allan Coyle from Lansing talked about targeting community building for restaurants through social media.

The Tweetup crowd listens attentively to one of the speakers.

Throughout the Tweetup, people around the world were asking questions, giving opinions, and just enjoying the camaraderie from the comfort of their homes or offices.

Within this group were folks who have commented on Bree's Blog - and who I have now met in person!

The last presenter of the afternoon was me.  I have never spoken before without notes, and I spent a few hours jotting down an outline and some specific stories to tell.  At the last minute I trashed all that, left my notes on a table in the back of the room, and just winged it.  I spoke from my heart about my passion for this special rock we live on for five months, and (thanks to your prayers) did not get tongue-tied once.  Unfortunately, ya’ll must have concentrated on the “not being tongue-tied” part of that prayer request, and not on the “don’t let me fall on my face” part – because I tripped stepping up on the stage, but managed to catch myself before I went down.  That’s me – Mrs. Grace.

If you’d like to see and hear what I had to say, there is a link below provided by Bruce Serven, who attended the Tweetup and writes a blog he subtitles “postcards from the land of entrepreneurship” (http://bruceserven.com).  Thank you very much, Bruce, for editing out my “trip-up”.

The Tweetup was great fun, and I hope it becomes a Mackinac tradition.  Thanks, Ken, Island Bookstore, and Shepler’s Ferry!  You did a great job!



11 thoughts on “What’s a MackiTAC?

  1. GREAT debriefing Brenda!
    Thank you for the inspiring story from the heart. What a powerful message you are telling and living. That is very cool to witness.

    The Jack Pine Lumberjack Show video is available on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hc4G02Lx5kk

    It was great to meet you, hear your story, and I look forward to discovering what’s next for our community!

    All the best,

  2. Like Janet I thought your accent was so cute Brenda. 🙂 I wish I had been home that day to participate online but the hubby had his company picnic which we go to every year. I didn’t realize how big of an event it would be until I came online later that night. At least I did get to hear your speech thanks to Bruce, which by the way was wonderful!

  3. I was one of those from around the world that watched the MackiTAC from my computer at home. I live in Indiana. (So I am not that far from around the world). I have to tell you that I just loved your speech. Your idea to “wing” it worked out perfectly and was very inspirational. It gave me goosebumps. Someday, I hope to live on the island with my husband when we retire. (unfortunately that is a long way off). 😦 I just wanted to say…..Great Job!

  4. There should be more of these. You did super! Great job to all who were involved! I have been to Bronner’s and you’re right… I have to be dragged out by my hubby too – so much to see there. Happy Tuesday!!

  5. Brenda,

    It took me all day and many many tries, but I finally was able to see the video of your speech. How wonderful it was to see and hear you at the same time and to know that I’m one of that thousand who are reading your great blog. Obviously, I’m part of a prestigious group of people. Makes me feel kind of special.

    However, there is one thing I must correct you on (I think). You said you thought you had been every place on The Island, but you haven’t mentioned seeing the Jean Nicolet tablet. If you have, I stand corrected. It was there 50 years ago and I assume it’s still there.

    Once again, I really enjoyed seeing and hearing you speak. You’re living what I have dreamed about for so many years and will probably never be able to do.

  6. I’ve missed reading your Blog for a couple of days….looks like everyone has been having a FAB time!! Great pnotos, as usual, so many beautiful things to record. The sunset was gorgeous. You were there at the perfect time for the reflection off the big Mac Bridge!!! What a shot!

    Our gardens around here are estecially beautiful this year also. I think all of the rain and humidity we’ve had here has been very helpful. Have fun!

  7. Just came across this post while checking out social media activities in northern Michigan. Here’s to a MackiTAC 2011 event. I’d be happy to make the trip to the island for that. Sounds like last year’s event was a success. Congratulations!


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