Tour Detroit 2: Finding Inspiration Online and Off
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Tour Detroit 2: Finding Inspiration Online and Off

Posted in Search & Social — June 29, 2012

Earlier this year, while in Detroit for a Red Wings game, my colleague Nick Perez and I were invited to join our friend Charlie Wollborg – known to his Twitter followers as @CharlieCurve – for a “Tour of Detroit.” We visited some of Detroit’s most well-known landmarks: the Fisher Building, Whitney House, and the Guardian Building, among others. Our tour also took us to several of the Motor City’s growing number of tech companies like Quicken Loans and Detroit Labs.

Inside the Guardian Building in downtown Detroit.

Throughout the tour, we shared ideas about digital marketing and other topics with Charlie and the host of business owners and creative individuals we met along the way. Drawing inspiration from these conversations – and from the energy of the city itself – we left Detroit with plenty of ideas and enthusiasm to take back to Traverse City.

Last week Nick and I were headed back to Detroit, this time for a baseball game at Comerica Park. I dropped Charlie a note and asked if he’d be interested in helping us out with a little project while we were in town. He not only accepted, but offered to take us on an abbreviated sequel to our first tour of Detroit.

Motor City Java House

We met Charlie at Motor City Java House, part of a re-development project in Detroit’s Brightmore neighborhood supported by Blightbusters, a non-profit organization “dedicated to the stabilization and revitalization of our Detroit neighborhoods.” While we enjoyed a cup of coffee, Charlie informed us that the wood floors and much of the decor is re-purposed from abandoned homes in the area.

Social media was on the agenda for the afternoon, but before we got started, we walked a few doors down for a tour of the Redford Theater, a classic Detroit movie house from the golden age of film.

We continued on through the neighborhood, stopping at one of many community gardens throughout Detroit that have been planted in place of blighted homes that have been removed. Growth and re-birth are a consistent theme in Detroit, and Artist Village defines these concepts, using once-abandoned buildings for outdoor gardens, artist-in-residence space, and community events.

Feeling inspired by the surroundings, we returned to Motor City Java House for the second part of “Tour Detroit 2.” This part of the tour would be conducted virtually, via Twitter. The concept was to open a discussion about how we were using social media and come up with one question that we could ask of our friends, colleagues, and members of our respective social communities.

Much of today’s social media discussion involves “what’s new,” or “what’s next.” While staying on top of new platforms and emerging trends is obviously important, we thought it would be interesting to ask people what they were NOT doing with social media, or what they would LIKE to be doing. Resources can often be stretched and expanding your social sphere can be challenging. Identifying existing areas where you can improve can be a great way to grow participation within your current community.

We tweeted the following question and asked for replies: “What’s one thing you’re not doing with social media that you should [or would like to] be doing? Answer with the tag #in140.”

Here are some of the replies we received:

Nick DeNardis – ‏@nickdenardis – “Building a #Detroit design and development community with #devtroit as strong as #backchannel. We need it!”

Jeff Namnum ‏- @namnum – “I wish I was connecting to more new insight and learning more. Learning from brilliance was one of my ‘newbie’ thrills on twitter.”

Trisha Verma – @tverma29 – “…probably being more thoughtful and planning ahead. Also wish I spent more time exploring. Have a tendency to talk to same people these days instead of reaching out to new ones.”

Henry Balanon – @balanon – “I should be doing video and writing blogs.”

Charlie Wollborg – @CharlieCurve – “Less talk. More rock. I wish I executed on our own brand all of the best practices we share with our clients.”

Chad Wiebesick ‏- @Wiebesick – “Organize my twitter lists better – just need to find the time.”

BlingPress – ‏@BlingPress – “We simply need to put more effort into building our follower base! I.E. Value-add and whatever it takes.”

Ken Wohl – ‏@KenWohl – “I’d like to be building more valuable and real relationships. I’d also like to be using it more for generating business leads.”

Mike McClure ‏- @mikekmcclure – “Even though I already have about 38 Tweetdeck columns , I should set up better searches to connect better with new peps I can help.”

Todd Sanders ‏- @tsand – “Keeping the conversation more casual on official accounts. Always over filter my initial replies.”

ShiftNote ‏- @ShiftNote – “Engaging more with current customers!”

Ryan Miller – ‏@ryancmiller – “Utilizing G+ to have longer interactions with interesting people/commenting more on posts I find interesting.”

Do any of these sound familiar? Let’s keep the conversation going. What are YOU not doing with social media that you would like to be doing? Share your thoughts, ideas and questions in the comments.

Big thanks to Charlie for his help with “Tour Detroit 2.” We’ll look forward to Charlie’s visit to northern Michigan for #TourTC, coming this summer…


  1. I can’t wait to get back up to Northern Michigan and exploring one of my favorite cities with a #TourTC.

    Posted by Charlie Wollborg, June 29, 2012 | Reply

  2. We’ll look forward to it, Charlie. It’ll be hard to top #TourDetroit and #TourDetroit2, but we’ll do our best!

    Posted by Nick Nerbonne, June 29, 2012 | Reply

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