Social Media Innovators in the Twin Cities - My Thoughts

Last week Arick Hanson posted a request for people to suggest five of what would become a Top 20 list of Twin Cities social media innovators.  The post really got me thinking, what does it really mean to be an innovator in social media?  Is it possible for an individual to be innovative in her or his use of social media or is that domain left primarily to companies who do amazing work with social technology?  There clearly are some companies and organizations that do an excellent job at doing new and creative things using the social tools that are out there.  This is a quick list of those companies.

WCCO and @JasonDeRusha
In terms of the local news WCCO is doing amazing work listening and communicating news.  DeRusha keeps the news human. Altogether WCCO has beomce people I love interacting with. They are innovating on how I feel about news coverage.

The Uptake, @jasonbarnett, @chuckumentary, and @noahkunin
Keeping with the news, the folks at The Uptake are astounding.  Their coverage of the RNC in St. Paul and the news they bring is excellent.  They are really innovating in the citizen journalist space of these social tools.

#SMBMSP and @rickmahn and the others behind making this event happen.
Everyone behind our local chapter of Social Media Breakfast are innovating by taking us back to the basics.  They help provide an outlet for the face to face conversations that are at the root of social technologies.

UnSummit, @myklroventine, @donmball and @megcanada
I love the story of the birth of UnSummit. An oversold event in town could have easily brought frustration to the burgeoning social media community but, instead of complaining, innovation occurred.   I had an amazing time at the MIMA summit last year, but a part of me wished I would have been at the inaugural UnSummit.

#kanecamp and @JenKaneCo
Jen Kane provides innovation with the use of social media in the event planning and teaching realm. I have had the chance to volunteer to help at a few of the Kane Camps. I enjoyed the presentations. Jen provides an excellent example of the importance of listening to the backchannels and working to ensure everyone gets what they want out of her events.

@motoi2go, @punchpizza, @izzysicecream, and @bajasol
All of these restaraunts are all doing great things in the social space. Moto-I  offered the first social media based contest I ever experienced and I still feel it was done the best. Imagine a time without retweets and feed spam. I was happy to have won the sake tour, so maybe I am a bit biased. The passion that Blake brings to sake radiates into the social media experience.

@joshuakahn, @garykoelling, @benhedrington, and @camgross
Last but certainly not least, Best Buy has been unparalleled in their use of Social Technology to level the playing field. The above mentioned individuals must only be a tiny portion of the many people who make this happen. From Blue Shirt Nation to the recently released @Twelpforce they have been awesome and constantly on the edge of what will soon become standard use of social technology in the workplace.

This post differs quite a bit from my original comments on Arick’s blog.  I’ve had a lot of time to mull this over and I know there are many many others who could be on this list.  Who did I miss? Please let me know in the comments.