I am heading to my 2nd Mom 2.0 Summit this week. Opposed to last year when I boarded a plane to Mom 2 all by myself and knew no one except for Stacey Ferguson and Liz Gumbinner. This year, I am looking forward to seeing a lot of people I know. I met the majority of these women (and men) last year at Mom 2 when I was brazen enough to go all by lonesome.
This year, I am even lucky enough to have a roommate, who makes the experience all the more fun.
But, don’t mistake this upcoming trip as simply a reunion. While it is exciting to reconnect with women who I have not seen since last Mom 2.0 or Blogher, I am heading out with goals in mind.
Last week, the WSJ posted a piece which claimed mommies (mostly stay-at-home/digital mommies) use conferences as a front to escape their homes, families, and day-to-day responsibilities. Many bloggers have already written responses to this which would dwarf anything that I would have to say on this subject. You can read them here and here and here. I am definitely NOT going to throw my hat in the ring in responding to that post.
What I will say is that conferences provide a much-needed foreground for meeting people IRL in this digital age. Often. I read and write about the new level playing ground afforded to us with the intro of the internetz. We can network, chat online and grow relationships all from behind our screens in our very own offices or while wearing our bathrobes at home. The truth is, these digital connections only take it so far, and I am a big believer in moving digital connections into something face-to-face.
I know that this is not easy to do. First and foremost, it costs money (but money worth spending). Secondly, it is scary. It is crazy scary to head off somewhere where you potentially know no one, but that is what makes this being a digital age an advantage. Before you even take off, you can tweet, DM, or like someone else heading to the same place you are – if they happen to look like their avatar (because we all do), then you already recognize one smiling face.
I have kept to my face-to-face policy in all that I have done over the last few years whether it being conference going, picking up prototypes in person after a few hour drive, or skyping with China. I will admit now that heading to Mom 2 was the scariest of them all.
With an impressive lineup of who’s who in blogging to celebrities and big cavalry of sponsors, I was biting my nails. I think at one point, I mentioned to Stacey that I wanted to go crawl in my bed in the hotel until the conference was over. I didn’t do that – thankfully. I had a fab time. Believe or not, I learned a ton that I was able to put in practice when I went back to the real life.
I also met really great women, and no one bit me. NO one. Like I said, I even have a roommate this year.
So, I am leaving town to do it again this year.
For all the newbies, I say this:
Be yourself…Of course, you are great.
Go and talk to someone who looks like you would never have anything in common with them. This makes everything a bit more fascinating.
Participate in the sessions. Don’t be shy. Share a question or a pertinent thought.
Have goals. I know everyone says it. There is reason.
Don’t go up to your room and hide in bed.
Look for me….I am pretty tall so you can’t miss me. R