First, 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):
Lee 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
Don 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
Connie Bensen, community strategist-Techrigy. For demonstrating that geography and location have little to do with talented people participating in a big way.–@rickmahn
Paul 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
Jason 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
Jason 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
Dave Erickson, director of e-strategy, Tunheim Partners. For his long standing evangalism for all things social media and for introducing me to Twitter. –@rickb
Arik 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
Jen 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
Christopher 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
Joshua 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
Gary Koelling, Best Buy, co-founder-Blue Shirt Nation, giftbag.com. For working social on the inside with BSN–@leeodden
Albert 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
Lee 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
Julio 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
Blois Olson, executive vice president, Tunheim Partners. Because not only are his tweets informative but they are quite helpful as well. –@kathyswanson
Mykl 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
Paul 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
Greg 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