Social Media Marketing World: Coronavirus didn’t cancel this event

With coronavirus fears looming over events that are being canceled all over the world, Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner trekked forward with the globe’s largest social media marketing conference, Socal Media Marketing World, held in San Diego from March 1 to 3.

I expected to see Japanese bows and foot-tapping to avoid handshakes and hugs, but habit takes over the human experience. It seemed people’s fears dissipated as soon as the doors opened to let us in…almost. Over the three days, I met plenty of people who were not willing to extend a hand, but rather nod or verbally acknowledge each other instead.

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Michael told me, “We have been doing a lot of fist bumps, and of course, hand sanitizer is all around the convention center. Most people indeed extended handshakes. I would say the vast majority of our attendees are focused on making amazing connections and not letting fear stop them.”

As Facebook canceled its F8 Summit, Shopify also canceled Shopify Unite, followed by Google canceling its upcoming conference in Las Vegas. Veronica Jeans, an online e-commerce expert, and Shopify partner said to me, “I really appreciate Shopify doing their best to protect their Shopify partners.” As people placed their pins on the attendee map from all over the world, China had only two attendees. Nearly 200 people canceled their trips to San Diego out of about 5,000 for this conference, with a few vendors pulling out at the last minute as well.

Pinned map of attendees of SMMW20. Photo source: Sally Hendrick, News Landed

Many more events around the world are being canceled as a precautionary measure, as the spread of COVID-19 continues to rise.

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