When I thought of creating and planning a local blogging and social media conference, it was a dream that needed execution. All I knew was that I wanted to do something that would positively impact the social media community in St. Louis—one that would create a possible movement of camaraderie and change. I had a lightbulb go off in my head by the way of the name “Show Me the Blog”—a reference to the Missouri state tagline and motto. Could I pull this off? I guess we would have to wait and see.
The response I received initially when I announced I was organizing a conference was varied. I knew this would be a monumental task and I was up for the challenge—at least I thought I was. When I got knee deep in the planning stages, I had no idea the work it would take to get this thing ogg the ground.
Several local bloggers and friends said they would lend a hand by way of speaking and being on panel. My goal was to have many different voices from the local blogosphere as well as a few voices as well in other cities. The St. Louis social media community is a tight-knit group of people but I didn’t see many newbies and different faces. Not wanting to be same ole, same ole, I planned to stick with my mission: Learn, grow, and connect—whether you were well known or just a “little ole blogger” like me.
My dream became a reality yesterday as I stood back and watched my baby being born. Show Me the Blog‘s first annual conference took place in a tiny room (more on that later) nestled in my community. I was nervous, scared, anxious, but the show had to go on despite many glitches.
Glitch one? Well, the original event location fell through, so I had to scramble to find a venue that was close to the host hotel since I had attendees coming from out of town. I was accommodated by the Maryland Heights Centre, but all the large rooms was taken. Yes, the show had to go on.
Which brings me to glitch two. Now that I wasn’t having the event in a banquet hall, I had to come up with lunch for my guests. Lunch on short notice in terms of being catered is hard to do with 2 day notice so I improvised. Bagels and coffee from St. Louis Bread Company for breakfast and pizza for lunch. Yes, pizza. I know I will get low marks in terms of the lunch selection at conference on the conference survey I am sending out, but with all that being said, I provided lunch to my attendees like I advertised.
Glitch 3? Well, there was a church meeting of some sort scheduled next door to us and every so often, you would hear a saintly session of voices coming from the partition. OMG. Really? Is this happening?
Which brings me to glitch 4—the infamous zippergate. Yes, while announcing one of the speakers, in front of a tight crowd, my zipper was down. When I left the front of the room, my Blackberry Chloe buzzed with about 17 DMs from attendees letting me know that my fly was down. Could it get any worse?
Happily, it did not.
I learned so much from planning and executing this conference. I learned that nothing goes as planned, but you can’t give up! You have to move forward and continue to try to kick ass despite any roadblocks.
I also learned that it is quality over quantity, a motto that I live by on my blog. In this case in event planning, its not who has the fanciest venue or the best lunch, but who really dishes out the goods as it pertains to having knowledgeable and informative speakers and panelists who aren’t just names, but bring different points of view.
People are supportive even when things are not handed to them in a bright shiny wrapper. I like that!
Show Me the Blog ended up being a well talked about event in St. Louis and was a trending topic locally. I am so thankful to my attendees for getting the messages given out there to the masses by way of Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. It is because of you that the conference did well.
Yes, I said it did well. Those glitches I mentioned earlier? In the grand scheme of things, I say we pulled it off guys!
Thank you to everyone who participated in the conference. To follow what happened at Show Me the Blog, you can follow the #SMBSTL hashtag on Twitter. You can also go to the official Show Me the Blog Flickr page to see pics submitted by attendees.
Here are a few links to attendees who have given their takes on Show Me the Blog Social Media and Blogging Conference:
Show Me the Blog part deaux will be coming your way next spring, so stay tuned for details!