Thursday, October 3, 2013

the type A twilight zone

the fabulous Minute Clinic sponsored this post though all the opinions and
 thoughts are expressly my own.

i've decided that blogging conferences are a sort of parallel universe. when i attend them, i step into my own version of the twilight zone. i get to sleep - uninterrupted - in a hotel room for four nights in a row. someone else makes my bed and cleans my bathroom. there is always enough hot water for me to shower. i actually shower and wash my hair everyday. i put on clothes that are typically reserved for a rare night out, church on sunday or a meeting. i wear these clothes four days in a row. i sit in huge rooms where the background noise has changed from mickey mouse clubhouse to the melodious sound of dozens of sets of fingers clicking on computer keyboards. everything is altered and the result is something magical.

the type A conference this last weekend was no exception. it was, in fact, even a step beyond the normal conference. it left a deeper impression. here's why.

we had amazing sponsors.

period. they were amazing. heather and i have been fans of the CVS minute clinics for quite some time now. we have stopped in for rapid strep tests, ear infections, flu shots and everything in between for years now. the minute clinics are fast, close by, and accept our insurance. on a weekend, instead of heading to an emergency room or an urgent care if our kids get ear infections, we could pay our normal doctor visit copay and hit a minute clinic. it has always been a no-brainer for us. so, when minute clinic asked us to work with them at this last conference, we jumped at the chance. it was a blogger/brand match made in heaven and we were thrilled.

the conference time we spent with the minute clinic team was, in short, a blast. not only did they pick a great group of bloggers to work with at the conference but they themselves were an absolute delight. we laughed hysterically with them, chatted about life and got to promote a company we already love while passing out beautiful essie nail polish to bloggers as they came by. in what world do you get a new nail polish gifted to you on a daily basis? as i said, it was a parallel universe.

the speakers were relevant...and awesome.

the speakers at this conference were truly amazing. at every session, from the opening session to the breakout sessions, i learned something new and was able to glean new information to take with me. there were, in fact, some sessions i had to war within myself to choose between. in the twilight zone blogging world, worlds like "google +", "linkedin", "SEO" and "brand relationships" send little jolts of adrenaline through our systems. we crave more information, new tips, and guidelines to learn how to do this blogging business well. we strive to be great writers, but we also are trying to run our own businesses. the combination can be daunting sometimes but conference speakers somehow bring all the details into relevant and easy to understand terms. the speakers this year gave us more useful information in one session than we had received at other times in a whole conference. maybe we were more ready to hear. maybe they were just that much better. it is the twilight zone...anything is possible.

"we still blog"

this is, by far, my favorite part of this parallel universe. for an hour, we got to sit and hear ten bloggers read their best piece of writing from the past year. these writers are truly talented. i respect the writers of novels, of newspapers, of other printed material. still, bloggers are something special (i am admitting a bias here.) these authors are daily writing a piece of themselves for the world to read. they are sharing some of their most hilarious or vulnerable moments. the "i still blog" session holds the very best of the best. i cried one minute then laughed until i cried the next. these weren't made-up stories. these were real life moments. we could relate and they were wonderful as they connected with each and every person in the room. we were gifted with an hour of hearing excellent writing, uninterrupted, read by the authors themselves. twilight zone indeed.

the people

i have heard the type A conference equated to a summer camp for bloggers. i don't love this analogy as i feel i have a hard enough time getting people to take the blogging business seriously. still, i have to admit, there is something in the atmosphere that almost has a camp vibe. don't get me wrong, conferences are work. we sit in classes all day long. we are about the business of meeting new people and collaborating. we are constantly in a state of interaction and absorption. it is a work trip with serious business men and women. still, i have to say that from the biggest blogger to the newest blogger, the people at type A are gems. everywhere we turned we encountered some of the loveliest people we have ever met. when i say we were greeted, we were not just greeted with hand shakes, we were greeted with exclamations and hugs. no one was pretentious. the overwhelming majority of the people who attended were genuinely kind. that is the kind of parallel universe i want to return to.

as i sit in the reality that is the life i returned to, i am loving on a three year old with pneumonia. my bags are still not unpacked. laundry has not been completed. the sounds of "sophia the first" fill my kitchen as i type and my sick little man lies on the couch. the transition from conference to real life is always difficult but how could it not be? we are stepping from one universe to another. there is bound to be a little culture shock. the good news is we've got a golden ticket that promises we can return to the land we left for years and years to come. that, my friends, is the best part of it all.

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