Interview: JMatt

Interview: JMatt

Interview: JMatt

We recently sat down with JMatt the Milwaukee-based content creator and host of HashtagMKE to talk about networking events, content creation and staying connected during a pandemic.

For those who don't know, tell us a little about what HashtagMKE is.

HashtagMKE is Milwaukee’s premier networking community for social media enthusiasts and content creators! Basically, we host free events that bring locals together to collab, share best practices, and inspire each other.

The thing about a networking event filled with content creators is that phones and cameras come out regularly during our events. Creation is encouraged and when it happens, it shows us that we’re doing something right!

How did you get started?

I’m someone that likes to attend networking events and meeting new people but I would frequently find myself in conversations that didn’t interest me. The few times I got into a conversation about social media content, I would get excited and wanted more of that!

Before the days of HashtagMKE, there wasn’t a local group targeting people like me, so I figured I could start it myself and I did. Our first-ever event was on January 12, 2017 and 4 people attended including myself.

In my eyes, it was a huge success! We had conversations around our mutual interests for 2 hours; our community has grown significantly ever since.

You had to pause live events, what has been the hardest part about keeping people connected?

We tried to do a virtual event in April of 2020 and while we had a good turnout, it was difficult to have those casual networking conversations we’ve come to expect. I think many of us can agree on know how awkward digital events have been and after more than a year of it, we’re burned out by them.

We made an early decision to put a pause on our events. Even engagement in our Facebook group started to decline (which is typically our more-engaged social platform purely on how easy FB makes it to have conversations and ask questions to the community).

I didn’t want to ‘force’ it with content and engagement… so we slowed down our content, waiting for the timing to be right to return to our prior momentum and from what I can tell, our community is okay with waiting, for now.

How did you get involved with Koss?

I didn’t realize that Koss World Headquarters were located within the city of Milwaukee until it was pointed out to me at an event. As our group became more established, I wanted to try bigger ideas and I knew I would need some help to pull my ideas off.

After a meeting, it was clear that we shared some similar goals when it came to Milwaukee. Koss has been a great partner by offering incentives to our community through Headphone and Bluetooth speaker giveaways at our bigger events over the years.

Why has it been so important to have local Milwaukee companies be intrigue part of the HashtagMKE experience?

Simply put, Milwaukee is an underrated city in the United States. We have a lot of value to offer and there are so many local brands doing great things in our community.

So far, all of our events have been within the city of Milwaukee – I have enjoyed helping members of our community check out places they’ve never been before and hear them rave about how cool it is or how they can’t wait to come back in the future.

I enjoy working with local brands that want to get in front of our creative community and see the potential that Milwaukee has! It's been great partnering with local Milwaukee companies like Koss and others over the years.

At some point in-person events will resume; whenever that happens, what are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to having conversations face-to-face!

There’s only so much you can pick up on through digital conversations (even video chats). Our social channels have always meant to be a way to promote our in-person events and HashtagMKE’s goal is to get people to meet offline… in real life!

Where do you see HashtagMKE in 5 years?

It’s hard to say what HashtagMKE will look like for us in 5 years, we certainly didn’t factor in a pandemic to last over a year! We have evolved a lot since our first event back in 2017 and we will continue to do so for the next 5, 10, 15 and more years into the future.

As long as social media is still relevant, we will still exist and plan to continue to host free monthly networking events for our community.

You recently launched an all-new website with new merch, tell us more about that.

Yes, we did! This is one of the silver-linings of the pandemic, we have wanted to launch a website for a while. Plus, many Hashtaggers (what members in our community are often referred to as) have seen my signature HashtagMKE hat and have asked that I make it available to purchase; my response was always “eventually” haha.

Well, eventually finally came and now we have an online merch store! Eventually (oh no, not that word!), I want to have some of the merch available at our events too.

Head over to HashtagMKE.com to find something for yourself or someone else in your life that loves Milwaukee as much as we do!

When can people start attending HashtagMKE events again?

July 2021! We just announced 3 HashtagMKE Socials (our free networking event series) at HashtagMKE.com/events and will be updating that page regularly as we continue to add more events in the future!

If you're looking for a place to talk about all things social media related, then you're more than welcome to come. If you have any questions about safety protocols or what to expect, feel free to reach out to HashtagMKE - we'd be happy to chat more.

HashtagMKE’s socials: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok

JMatt’s socials: TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat

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