Social Fresh Conference goes on sail
By Austin Light CHARLOTTE — Less than three months after the first Social Fresh, a conference in Charlotte started by social media strategist Jason Keath, and the Social Fresh brand has gone on sail. Last week, the first Social Fresh Cruise returned from its maiden voyage, and though there are a few kinks to straighten out, organizers Rich Tucker and Lyell Petersen of Charlotte said it went swimmingly. Tucker and Petersen work together at Cruisedeals.com, and Tucker runs a cruise blog at CruiseSource.us. In 2004 when Cruisedeals.com started, Tucker said, few people in the cruise industry were utilizing social media. He and Petersen dove in, taking an active part in the community — Tucker helped plan local Tweet-ups and Petersen spoke at conferences like Barcamp, an on-the-fly conference with sessions pitched and led by participants, all the while promoting cruising. “I wanted to position our brand as being the leader in social media in the industry,” Tucker said. In order to do that, he started pulling together a cruise ship conference, using his cruise business and social media contacts.