Have you ever had a day where when you return home in the afternoon, it actually feels like you’ve been on another planet and you come back with a whole new point of view? That was my experience with my first blog conference.
I dropped The Bun off at daycare, where she toddled off to play with her favourite Sesame Street bus, and drove to Skytrain and found free parking. (This in and of itself is a gift…we used to live in the area, so I know where each of the few spots are and have an ability to hone in on them. It’s not exactly a superpower but it does come in handy!). Freed from parental and work duties, I zipped downtown and walked to the Vancity Theatre.
It was a bit like being at a cocktail party with a bunch of people that you knew could quickly become friends. Like Christmas, but with people! Who should I meet first? I wonder which blogger that is?
I was torn between meeting everyone at once or wandering off to the impressive breakfast spread at the other end of the room. Croissants! Bloggers! Fruit kabobs! Bloggers! Thus, the conundrum. I ended up getting a plate and then wandering around, inadvertantly gesturing with a fruit kabob as I talked. (No one lost an eye, thus it is still considered fun and games).
So many people whose blogs I’d seen…Dividend Ninja, whose financial DRIP info is something that Jon and I have looked at for stock info and Rantsnrascals , who is as funny and courageous in person as she is electronically. The charismatic 3chickensandaboat , who has, after six months of blogging, taken the blogosphere by storm. (That may or may not be a word, but if Doctor Seuss can make his own words, so can I!). Northshoremama brought her tiny, sleeping person along with her, and the fabulous Princessofpavement and I had a chance to catch up. Those are just a few – so many great people!
The conference itself was about brands and bloggers getting together – the blog as both a form of social expression and a business model. It’s an interesting hybrid that has a lot of potential and scope. The keynote speech from Telus opened my eyes in a way that I hadn’t anticipated. I had no idea how much they had incorporated helping the community into their business model…I had to shift my mind from ‘big corporation’ to ‘good citizen that happens to be a corporation’, which I didn’t see coming! They build schools in poor parts of Guatemala, and provide hot lunches for underprivileged kids. Who knew??
It was also a perspective shift. Canadian Beef and the Chicken Farmers of Canada were the other two sponsors. As a girl who likes her steak (see my post on mystery shopping for how I keep myself in steak and bellinis), I loved hearing from the source of my favourite medium rare meat. And as a mom whose baby loves her morning scrambled eggs, I enjoyed finding more out about how chicken farming works. So it was a win-win all around. But it did lead me to realize that social media is a powerful, powerful thing. We have the opportunity to connect directly with the brands we care about and let them know how we, as consumers and individuals, want to work together. And that’s the most powerful lesson of all.