The double punch of sleep deprivation and jet lag left me wiped out when I returned from a week at BlogWorld Expo in glorious New York City. I’m finally ready to reflect on the three conference days.
Most bloggers go the session-recap, photos-with-peeps and pictures-of-massive-plates of-food route. I could do that, too, but I’ve decided instead to offer a few BlogWorld observations that intrigued or surprised me. Here they are, straight from Bob’s quirky brain:
Post-Conference Twitter Followers Went Up Exponentially – NOT!
Each time I attend a conference this size, I expect to return to find hundreds of new followers on Twitter. But, typically, it doesn’t happen. Sure, I meet some new peeps, we have great chats, and we end up following each other. And then there are the lurkers watch the twitter stream for the BlogWorld hashtag. You know, the ones who follow you, get a follow back and then promptly unfollow you?
What happens more often is that I spend quality time reconnecting in-person with people who are already in my social networks. We have long, meaningful conversations, which strengthens the relationship on both ends. So, not so many new follows, which is fine with me.
Vendors: It’s Not Always About Sales
At BlogWorld, I spend quite a bit of time talking with the vendors in the Expo. The reason is two-fold. First, they spend a lot of bucks to be there and I think it’s important to recognize that. Secondly, I always find great tools. Not just for for myself, but for my clients. Resources that I might not have found otherwise. And as we gather at the booths and talk, I end up meeting more people than just the expo vendors.
Swag: The Times They Are A Changin’
Everyone loves to collect swag from conferences and I am no exception. But this time I picked up less of it. Maybe I am just getting too old to carry around tons of stuff during the day. My low-tech partner, Judy, wanted pens—lots of pens. She does love her pens. But, amazingly, I found only one vendor giving them away. When I asked, “Where are all the pens?,” the answer was, “For the price, and the fact that most people just throw them in a drawer and forget about them, it’s not worth it.” Makes sense.
Not to mention that BlogWorld is billed as a new media conference. I guess looking for pens aged me. In fact, more booths were giving out sunglasses. And one of my favorite free gifts was the set of Woodstock Ear Buds I got from Stitcher Radio. Very cool.
The Freedom of No Expectations
Some people come to a conference with a check-off list: goals, objectives, rigid schedules. But the beauty of being your own boss is that you can be flexible enough to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. I may plan to connect with someone at the conference, but it doesn’t always happen when I get there. On the other hand, I sometimes run into someone who lives 20 miles from me, but I haven’t seen in months. And we travel to the East Coast to bump into each other. Imagine that.
I did have lunch with my friend Becky McCray. Since Blogworld in LA, we seem to have made this a ritual, one I always look forward to. And there were so many others, but I’m not going to list them here because I don’t want to appear to be name dropping. And finally, I have no expectations of coming back with a new client. When that does happen, it’s because it was a natural progression of conversations we started having at the conference. (I am working with a new client this week who I was in my WordPress session at BlogWorld.)
I know what you are thinking. Where did this come from? I am ending this post with a couple of experiences that weren’t planned and may not be able to be explained.
On the first morning, I sat down with a cup of coffee in the New Media Lounge. Shortly after that Rick Calvert, CEO and Co-Founder of BlogWorld, came over. He sat down and we chatted for a few minutes. We hadn’t connected at the last two BlogWorlds I attended, but we promised each other to make the effort to at least say hello this time. It was a short conversation, but very nice to connect and catch up. After he left, I thought, “Wow, the conference is just starting and he took the time to sit down with me?” Then I began to wonder. Was this Rick’s doppelgänger? How could someone in his position take the time at a critical moment on the first day to chat? Was this the real Rick? I can only wonder.
Secondly, I am convinced that poltergeists are bloggers too, or at least they attend blogging conferences. Why? I had originally set up my iPad to give my presentation. When I found it wasn’t working, I took out my flash drive and plugged into the MAC they had provided. But as I dove into my session, the slides eerily started changing by themselves. I was using a remote, but I swear I didn’t touch it. It kept happening and I would have to quickly try to get back to the slide I wanted. Finally I sat the remote down and walked away from it. But again, it had a mind of its own, moving to the next slide, and the next, and the next. In the end, we disconnected the remote and things were fine. The poltergeist who was having fun was finished messing with me. I can only wonder if after that it moved on to another unsuspecting speaker.
So that’s my take on BlogWorld. It was a great event. I met new peeps, reconnected with old friends, and absorbed the collective wisdom of both fellow speakers and attendees. All in all, a trip well worth my while.
Do you go to conferences with a planned agenda?
Now I’m looking forward to Las Vegas in Jan 2013. Ironically though, the saying “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” pretty much gets blown out of the waters when thousands of bloggers invade the city.