Reflections from evo ’11

It’s been nine days since I left beautiful Park City, Utah.
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I’ve been asked what was so great about evo, a conference about the evolution of women in social media.  My immediate response was the information, the people and the swag; where my attentionwas focused in the middle of the conference.

When asked more pressing questions, my thoughts swirled together and I needed to check my notes to start breaking everything down to bite size information that is more useful.   By Tuesday I came up with a top ten list, but even that was the tip of the iceberg.  Do you know how hard it was to limit myself to ten?  Some of the items on my list were fun, some were valuable information I gained, and some related to personal connections.

I don’t think too many of you would be interested in reading my pages of notes, so I figured I’d simplify.  My top ten list, the stack of business cards, my notes, plus everyone else’s evo ’11 summaries lead me to one word – empowered.

I don’t consider myself shy; more like awkward.  I tend to have “great” ideas, and then bury them because of insecurities about myself and my abilities.  I took classes on WordPress, growing your blog, the business of blogging, and syndication that sparked a ton of ideas  and boosted my confidence.  The instructors were genuinely interested in helping me become successful.  I heard similar comments from those who took other classes and workshops.

Granted those people were compensated; helping us is why they were there.  The other conference attendees were also there to learn, and there was a great sense of community.  It was uncomfortable to introduce myself to people I didn’t know, but everyone was in the same situation.  Many of us went to the conference without knowing another soul there.  I had “met” Rachael, Erica and Amy through email; I had some anxiety approaching them in person.  Actually, Amy and Erica recognized me, so I only had to approach Rachael.  She, like 99% of the other people I met, was friendly and truly glad I introduced myself.

Like any industry, blogging has its celebrities.  I’d hear the excited voices proclaiming that the person walking by was “somebody”.  I must admit I didn’t recognize too many of the names and even fewer of the faces.  I recognized “Tip Junkie”, whose name is actually Laurie.  She’s much more famous in my mind than her own.  And that was the norm; I didn’t meet any self-proclaimed celebrities.

One of the few faces I recognized was Justin Hackworth.  He was the official evo ’11 photographer – with help of his assistant, who may or may not have taken a picture of my butt during yoga class. (Just saying.) I told Justin on the first day that I enjoyed his work – then I walked away feeling like a star struck dork.  He was gracious and we chatted several more times throughout the conference.  Just before the final keynote speaker, the amazing Me Ra Koh, I teased Justin with a little revenge and took a picture of him and his assistant.  He was so excited to have his picture taken and they posed; then he asked for a “real” picture and they posed more traditionally.

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I will continue digesting my bite-sized morsels of information to improve my writing and my blog, and I’ll follow up with those great folks I met.  But most of all, I will do it with more confidence.  Who’s going to evo ’12 with me next July?

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