Top 20 Minnesota Social Media Innovators

sminnovatorbadgeFirst, I want to thank everyone who submitted a nomination last week. In total we had more than 70 individuals who posted, DM’ed or emailed nominations. Wow. As I said in the initial post, we have a tremendously dynamic social community here in Minnesota–something we should all be proud of.

What was interesting throughout this process was the niches of folks that bubbled up across the state. People nominated folks in the legal, not-for-profit and health care industries. There were nominations for groups (MinnoV8) and even agencies (Fallon and the Nerdery–well deserved recognition). There were even nominations for people who live tweeted a birth (Paul Saarinen; Mike Keliher, can we expect another in August with Kermit Keliher?).

Keep in mind, this is a top 20 list. Really, it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what we have to offer here in Minnesota. There are so many more talented people who aren’t on this list (just look at the nomination list). It’s not intended to be exclusive–but instead to help raise awareness for the wonderful people who are doing truly amazing work in this community, and state. 

Finally, I’d like to call out one specific individual who helped me immensely in this process: Lalo Carter. Lalo graciously volunteered to help me with the badge design (read: It was all him)–something I never could have done on my own. He provided mock ups for review under very tight timelines, and all for no payment. Thank you, Lalo. Thank you. And if you’re looking for a designer, I’d encourage you to reach out to Lalo. Find more about him at www.lalopop.com  (he even makes his own “thank you” cards).

With that…drum roll please…The top 20 MN Social Media Innovators (in alphabetical order):

leeaase1Lee Aase, social media strategist-Mayo Clinic, founder-Social Media University Global (SMUG). But don’t forget about @LeeAase, the leader behind Mayo Clinic’s social media identity. –@allanwoodstrom

donballDon Ball, founder of Unsummit. For his conception and brilliant roll-out of the Unsummit (http://www.unsummit.org), two of the best and most original conferences I have attended in a long time. –@megcanada

connieConnie Bensen, community strategist-Techrigy. For demonstrating that geography and location have little to do with talented people participating in a big way.–@rickmahn

pauldPaul DeBettignies, IT recruiter, co-founder-Minnesota Recruiters. Who supports his community teaching people how to use social media for job searching during the economic downturn.–@megcanada

derushaJason DeRusha, WCCO-TV reporter, blogger. I would also like to nominate Jason DeRusha from WCCO. He is really reaching out to his audience and keeping people interested in news and MN events with Facebook, Twitter and his JasonCam at his desk at WCCO. He is a great guy, and is putting social technology to work in great ways.–@nikkisticks

jasondJason DeBoer-Moran, Concordia University, blogger at newcoventry.com. For exposing higher education to the benefits of engaging students and prospects on their own turf. –@thomasknoll

davideDave Erickson, director of e-strategy, Tunheim Partners. For his long standing evangalism for all things social media and for introducing me to Twitter. –@rickb

arikhansonArik Hanson, Principal, ACH Communications, blogger at Communications Conversations. As a communications professional, I find Arik’s blog extremely valuable in the overall global conversations about the evolution of an industry I have been interested in since I was a kid. His contribution to the conversation is thoughtful, well articulated and provides great value to many locally and far beyond. –@lulugrimm

jenkJen Kane, owner, Kane Consulting. Great teaching style, passionate about bringing the world of social media to events. She also does a great job making it accessible to newbies and welcoming them into the conversation.– @newcoventry

chrislChristopher Lower, Owner, Sterling Cross Communications. I’ll second that call out for @MrChristopherL, who has single handedly done more for bringing attention to great, local, unique eateries to national and global attention than anyone else I’ve known.–@rickmahn

joshkJoshua Kahn, recruiter, blogger. Josh is leading a group at Best Buy and many/most of the new ideas they are running with are coming from his team. –@mnheadhunter

garykGary Koelling, Best Buy, co-founder-Blue Shirt Nation, giftbag.com. For working social on the inside with BSN–@leeodden

rickmRick Mahn, social media strategist, Land O Lakes, founder-Social Media Breakfast, Twin Cities. I nominate Rick Mahn for taking probably one of the most difficult jobs in this field, and making sure we all keep in contact once a month. –@taulpaul

albertAlbert Maruggi, Provident Partners, host-Marketing Edge podcast.The man who continually reminds us that social media began long before the internet, he brings passion the conversations, and loves asking hard questions.–@newcoventry

leeoLee Odden, CEO, Top Rank Marketing. As far as communications go, we are more integrated now than ever. The PR, ad, mktg. and search worlds have collided, all dependent upon one another for optimal results. A PR person that aspires to learn enough about search to be a bit dangerous, I am constantly impressed at Lee’s Online Marketing blog and twitter interactions. I learn much from his insights regularly.–@lulugrimm

Juliojulio Ojeda-Zapata, Pioneer Press, technology writer/columnist. I second Julio Ojeda-Zapata. In the journalism world, he’s done an incredible job crowd-sourcing via Twitter. He’s an evangelist internally at the Pi Press. –@derushaj

bloisBlois Olson, executive vice president, Tunheim Partners. Because not only are his tweets informative but they are quite helpful as well. –@kathyswanson

myklMykl Roventine, designer, blogger, founder-TechKaroake, Minneapolis. For his kind, patient teachings of social media AND for combining his passion for social media and love for music/singing to bring Tech Karaoke to Minneapolis.–@karyd

paulsPaul Saarinen, consultant, digital culture and media advisor-Bolin Marketing & Advertising. For being a true innovator: he live tweeted the birth of his daughter before half of us were even on Twitter. –@marrina

gregsGreg Swan, social media strategist, Weber Shandwick, blogger at Perfect Porridge. For being one of my very first teachers of anything related to social media; for constantly working to connect smart people both on and offline; and for loving his job so much it makes him glow –@karyd

21 comments
eugenespammer
eugenespammer

I think that there are a ton of other people in this state who are doing stellar work, so I reserve the right to add to your list. So I hope that it will continue growing until you'll get listed all them.

Regards,

http://www.creditcardspecialist.com

Dane Hartzell
Dane Hartzell

I work with TaulPaul so I'm obviously glad to see he is on this list. From someone working with him daily, he truly is passionate about this arena. That said, I would have also liked to have seen Andrew Eklund on this list. Andrew introduced many ideas to me almost 5 years ago when I was managing interactive marketing for Andersen Windows. Another sharp guy who I almost want to keep a secret is Pat Fury. Pat understands how to help Fortune 500 CEOs see the light.

jlbraaten
jlbraaten

As an Internet marketing and social media enthusiast, I've been following a lot of these folks for some time now. Some of the names I didn't recognize, but that won't be for long thanks to this list. Great idea. I'm so happy to see Twin Cities-specific posts out in the blogosphere.

Andrew Korf
Andrew Korf

Hmm...

All white (or nearly all) and over 30? Certainly there are some young turks and voices outside the echo chamber that could have made the list - at least the Geek Girls should have made the cut.

Mark Palony
Mark Palony

The most impressive thing about the list is that it barely scratches the surface of the social media brainpower that exists in Minnesota. It will be interesting to watch as the practice and list continue to evolve in the months and years to come.

John Reinan
John Reinan

Excellent list. Thanks for the call-out to my colleague, Keliher. If anyone puts together another list like this in a year or two I think he'll be on it. The man's got game.

John Daenzer
John Daenzer

Arik....

Great list. I am a fan of several of these very bright people. But I am especially proud of the social media work and innovation that Jason embodies on behalf of WCCO! We have several new projects on the launchpad that we believe will be pretty cool. I look forward to more sharing and learning together.

Best to all!

John Daenzer
Director of New Media
WCCO-TV | WCCO.com

Kasey Skala
Kasey Skala

All of us in Minnesota should feel blessed that we're fortunate enough to have these folks right here in our backyard. These are some of the brightest minds out there.

Great list filled with great minds.

arikhanson
arikhanson

Thanks, Lee. Just fixed the links!

Arik Hanson
Arik Hanson

To be clear (I didn't spell this out above), but this list was built by the MN social media community via nominations (comments on the blog, DMs, emails) last week. I didn't post the number of nominations for each individual because I didn't want the list to become a popularity contest as many of you noted in your nominations--again, the point was to recognize some of the great people--and innovative work--going on in Minnesota.

Congratulations to all the finalists--and the long list of nominees last week.

Lee Aase
Lee Aase

One problem, though...as I tried to click some links to follow those I hadn't yet met, I got error messages. Looks like the name links are broken.

Lee Aase
Lee Aase

Very cool list, Arik! And I'm particularly glad you made it in alphabetical order. ALL lists should be done that way ;-)