This past weekend I attended the BlogWorld Expo 2008 in Las Vegas, and had a wonderful time re-connecting with old friends and making new ones.
As I attend more conferences more frequently, I’m finding that the panels aren’t as important to me as the personal connections I make in the hallways, parties, and various evening adventures. Simply put: It’s all about the people.
Another thing I love is that conferences force me to sharpen my social skills — I tend to get extremely rusty. If you’re lucky, you’ll have someone’s attention for a only minute (or two), so you’ve got to have razor-sharp focus and efficiency with what you say. I’ll never forget the escalator conversation I had with Maggie Fox back in March at SxSW, where she packed so much insight, advice and direction into 30 seconds, from which I will draw on for years to come.
The people: It was fantastic to re-connect with Sarah Lacy and bump into Gary Vaynerchuk again. I also met the gracious and wise Chris Brogan, Brian Solis (FutureWorks), Gwen Bell (prolific content creator, Kirtsy advocate and all-around charmer), Geoff Livingston (Head of Livingston Communications and someone I follow as a model of how to grow a social media business), Jason Falls (social media guru and fellow whiskey enthusiast), Lee LeFever (Co-Founder of CommonCraft), Scott Monty (head of social media at Ford) and Annie Lynsen (from the super-awesome non-profit KaBOOM!).
I could take or leave the city of Las Vegas itself, but I really loved this conference and I’m happy to see it growing beyond expectations. Congratulations to Rick Calvert for organizing a great event! I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to check it out in 2009.
Below are some photos of Sunday night’s roving tweetup / chaos spiral that moved locations at least five times. The top two photos are from Steve Hall‘s Flickr photoset, and the bottom comes to us via Tessa.
Tweetup crowd at Rouge. Believe it or not, that isn’t daylight pouring through the windows, it’s just Vegas.
Here’s the hungry tweetup crew rumbling into a diner for some food. We rolled 40 deep that night.
Greg Swan (Twin Cities music blogger, social media strategist at Weber-Shandwick) and yours truly.