By now I am sure you have read the wonderful recaps from my fellow attendees at last month’s Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Phoenix and the previous events held in Philadelphia and Chicago. Hopefully, our numerous recounts regarding the inspiration shared by the brilliantly chosen speakers throughout the On-The-Road series have even sparked a little motivation and determination to follow your own dreams. (You can read mine here.)
Honestly, I was a little apprehensive (read Bashful) about attending the conference, as it was my first ever social media event, but I figured I would quickly feel at home in a room full of Disney lovers, like me. My stomach was a flurry of tiny butterflies as I strolled from my room to the meeting center. As I opened the doors and walked into the lobby, I took a deep breath. I was excited and hoped my lack of blogging experience wasn’t laughed at or frowned upon by fellow attendees. I tried calming my nerves by whispering to myself, “You’ve got this, everyone had to start somewhere, right?” Now, normally I am not a shy person, but on this day, I felt like a freshman walking into High School for the first time — nervous, excited, and probably immensely over- thinking things. I started sharing my excitement for the event on social media and then put my phone down, looked up and was ready to go for it. Networking is such a huge part of these events and I didn’t want to miss a moment. The first person I awkwardly introduced myself to (okay, so maybe it was just awkward in my head) was Jennifer Humphries of JENerallyInformed.com. Jen is a published children’s author, an established blogger and a Public Relations pro. You’d think having my first interaction of the morning with such an accomplished woman would deflate any confidence I was trying to hold on to, but to the contrary. Jen was so incredibly sweet and such a pleasure to talk to I got the boost of energy and self-assurance I needed and went to meet some more attendees. I took a moment from visiting to update my status and was then approached by Carol Kneece from the Fans of Mickey Mouse’s House Facebook Page. Carol was darling. She knew I looked familiar, but couldn’t quite pinpoint it until she read my nametag. She then quickly talked to me about my twitter account, my blog and my experience on the Disney Parks Moms Panel. Carol and I chatted a few times and even had time to take a fun picture at the photo-booth.
I also finally met Dawn Cullo of IAmAMommyNerd.com and Patty Holliday from NoGuiltLife.com. While I hadn’t actually ever met these ladies, you wouldn’t have guessed it by the way we greeted each other with huge smiles and the warmth you feel when you see an old friend again after a long separation. These ladies put any last feeling of hesitation I had out the window with their hugs and kindness. I am amazed by the friendship that can develop online, simply by going through similar situations and experiences. I really wish I had more time to pick these ladies brains and learn more about their journeys. In mentioning sweet ladies, I can’t forget my fellow Disney Parks Moms Panel sister, the adorable Darcie Maranich. Like the previous women, Darcie is also incredibly accomplished. She is a published author and blogger at SuchTheSpot.com and was extremely kind with her sincere welcome to her beautiful state of Arizona. Speaking of Arizona, when I found an empty spot to call my own for the day it turned out to be at a whole table of delightful Arizona bloggers who were not only friendly, but as warm to me as the temperature outside. We also had a bit of silly fun at the photo-booth.
So why am I telling you about my uncertainties and about the astonishing women I met? The conference was incredible and I shared my recap of the event and the powerful messages I took away, but as a conference newbie I was just floored by the positivity and camaraderie from many of my fellow attendees. I met several ladies who didn’t care if you had been blogging for one day or ten years. They weren’t judgmental by your stats and followers; they were solely interested in what your unique story was and how you were sharing it. (Which happened to be the main talking point in the morning’s presentations.) In talking with many of the women attending, I never felt incompetent or under-experienced, but rather I received offers of assistance if I ever had any questions or needed some advice. It was wonderful to feel like I wasn’t in some crazy competition, but rather, everyone was there for a good time and to be inspired. (I seriously love NO drama!)
While Disney, BSM Media and the sponsors hosted an amazing event filled with incredible speakers and activities, the women I had the pleasure of meeting, really added to the magic. (After all, where else can you meet people for the first time and have them immediately agree to form a Conga Line with you and parade in front of the live-streaming camera? Thanks ladies!) My first social media conference was an unbelievable experience and now I am hungry to book another one and further my knowledge!
I sincerely apologize for not being able to mention everyone whom I was so fortunate to meet. You were all incredible!
For those of you who have attended several different social media conferences and events, are they all like this? What has been your experience with other attendees?