It’s that time again; the time known as after-the-blogging-conference; the time in which I spend what few quiet moments I have mentally composing a post that will effectively convey my experiences at said conference (all while trying, rather unsuccessfully, to hit the ground running and get back into parenting mode).
For the last few conferences I’ve attended, however, I haven’t written that post. I just didn’t have that much to report, which is a polite way of saying my personal experience really wasn’t awesometastic enough to make the effort.
This past week, I went to the Mom 2.0 Summit in New Orleans. I’d never been to Mom 2.0 before but I’d heard great things about it so when I had a chance to go as a representative of Aiming Low, where I’m employed as the Operations Editor, I accepted the opportunity without hesitation. The fact that it was in New Orleans didn’t hurt. My dear pal (and boss) Anissa Mayhew and I had planned, at the very dawn of our friendship, to go to NOLA for a BlogHer regional event a few years ago. Unfortunately, it was canceled and I’d been itchy to get there ever since.
Before I move on to the more personal side of my trip, let me first say, with a few bullet points and link love, that Mom 2.0 was a great conference.
• The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans hotel was fabutastic, mainly because they have the most hospitable, accommodating, friendly and well-mannered staff I’ve ever encountered.
To be fair, there was a major glitch with my friend Anissa’s handicapped-accessible accommodations, the interior hallways were so excruciatingly cold it was like being in a meat locker and the softened water made my hair really flat & lifeless—but otherwise, the hotel rocked.
• Regarding sponsors, my personal faves were Community Coffee, Children’s Claritin, New Balance and PBS—all relevant to my life. Almond Accents gets a special nod for the amazing three course lunch on Friday.
• And finally, the jewel in the crown of Mom 2.0? Less than 500 attendees, which dialed down the conference crowd-o-phobia factor considerably. Being able to spot random friends across a room? PRICELESS.
That last bullet point really resonated with me when we went to register on Thursday. After I got my badge and swag bag (a fine, fine bag, I might add), we hung out in the general vicinity waiting for our turns to get interviewed by a video crew that was documenting Mom 2.0 (a move I’m sure I will live to regret because when the cameras come on, my stupid flows freely)
It was like a personal blogger reunion party for me—every five minutes I was running into friends I felt like I hadn’t seen in years and not to get all corny but it warmed my heart to see women that, while we had probably been at many a previous conference together, I’d not connected with in a very long time. These moments, at the very beginning of Mom 2.0, convinced me that this conference was going to be different.
Just about every single moment at Mom 2.0 was remarkable…starting with my friend, roommate and co-worker, the inimitable Miss Britt. I got to meet my fabulous online co-workers, whom I now call friends, hang with some dear *old-school friends, bonded with awesome new friends and partied til the wee hours with many of them. FYI It’s been three days and I finally don’t feel like someone tap danced all over my normally pristine liver.
I ate at interesting restaurants. I drank new drinks I’d never heard of before. I saw amazing and unique things. I rode in lots of cabs.
I saw a sign on the sidewalk that said “Titties. Beer. Sports” which made me laugh hysterically because I’m really a twelve year old boy.
I went to one of those wack above-ground cemeteries while on a Jazz Tour sponsored by PBS Parents in which I learned that maybe ragtime doesn’t totally suck that much and that standbys like John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck are, perhaps, not the only good things about jazz.
Also? PBS Parents knows how to do an event, what with their open bar and Flip HD camera giveaway (of which I was the winner!!!) Thanks PBS!
Rather than being merely informative/networking events, I find the best parent blogging conferences to be like short little summer camps for moms (and dads). You go, you blow off steam, you learn a few new things, you do stuff you don’t get to do at home, you make new friends and bond intensely with them over a short period of time, you come home exhausted, cranky and sad that it’s over and can’t wait to go back next year and do it all over again.
At the end of the day, Mom 2.0 was just a conference. They do what they do and they do it well. But for me, it was an answer to something that had been plaguing me for a while…the loss of my tribe, my girls, mah beeshes…whatever you want to call them.
Mom 2.0 brought some of them back to me and renewed my belief that not everything in the blogosphere can be measured by metrics and influence…
Noteworthy: Mom 2.0 will be held in May 2011 in Miami, FL (finally a conference in MY state!!!) and Dad 2.0 will have it’s inaugural conference in March 2012 — yay for dads!
*Motherbumper, I missed you terribly—but there’s a solid chance I’ll be going to BlogHer this year!
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