tl;dr I went to a conference. It was great. I got to Hangout with @BryanAlexander. It was great.
I have written about NERCOMP Annual Conference before. Last year my key take-aways were support and connections I could use for pursuing my doctoral studies. See how that worked out? Well, this year I was eager to meet with people I admire, meet new people I could learn to admire, and maybe learn a few new tricks of the IT and edtech trade.
I have been working with NERCOMP in managing their social media accounts for the past few years (you’ll have to read my old blog for that history). It has its perks. This year, my fellow social media and web strategists and I worked up a plan to lure the keynote speakers away from the stage to do a Google On Air Hangout after their talks. Lance Eaton (from Northshore Community College) had the honor of chatting with Jeff Borden who gave a brilliant talk on Tuesday morning getting the crowd geared up for #NERCOMP14.
I was on deck to chat with the Wednesday keynote speaker, Bryan Alexander, someone I have followed on Twitter, G+ and the blogosphere for several years, but had never met.
At the end of the keynote, we set up the Hangout while Bryan chatted with people by the stage, then we dragged him away and put some headphones on him. I had a blast and it is a total blur as those things usually are, but we have the video to enjoy.
WHY I DO THESE CONFERENCE THINGS? The internet is awesome; IRL can be, too.
- Conferences are opportunities to network – to share ideas and get feedback, to meet new people to expand access to support, advice and guidance.
- GREAT conferences are ones where a decision is made or a conclusion is drawn that impacts your life or changes the way you operate. When the mental fireworks start going off, you know you are at a great conference.
- Meet people – leverage the name tag. I see you; I see your name; I see where you work; let’s talk. Ask a question and start talking – “what did you learn today?” or “what have you heard today that pleased or displeased you?”. It’s not difficult and is usually rewarding.
- Ask for help – get an outside perspective. Conferences are communities of people who share a common interest. Odds are they share common problems. It’s a great place to get new ideas and insight.
This year my take-aways are seeds of ideas that I can nurture this year in my studies: IT governance; CIO responsibilities in relation to higher ed problems; organizational planning. I rekindled some relationships, spent time talking with people who I plan to connect with as I flesh out dissertation topics and think about who I need on my dissertation committee.
Bryan blogged about the conference – and the hangout with me! – so you can read his take on it, too. And here’s the Hangout video. Pop some corn; enjoy.
UPDATE 4/9/2014: One of my tweets made the official post-conf newsletter. #baskingintheawesome