When I was working in the music industry, there was one venue that many artists would talk about called the Pearl Theater. Most of anybody who is legendary has gotten to play on this stage in Las Vegas at the Palms hotel. I never could have imagined that little ole me from New Port Richey, Florida would be rockin it out on that stage. How did this happen? Recently I got the chance to visit Las Vegas for the first time to attend Blogworld New Media Expo, but hold on to your butts kids. Blogworld is much more than just 10,000 bloggers and social media mavens getting together in the middle of the desert. I know you are probably visualizing a very strange techy version of Burning Man, some guy running around in body paint painted up like the Twitter bird. Blogworld was filled with the leaders of the tech and social media communities and lead influencers along with up and comers, all sharing one space to learn, network and celebrate new technologies and products.
1. Be prepared to end up with 1000 new friends
Blogworld 2010 ended up being more than just a conference, but a learning experience about how the world of social media is a unique yet diverse, collaborative tribe of innovative, smart and fun loving people. People who will rock your face off and someday may just be running the world. I was amazed by the sense of community, I’ve been to many conferences in different areas of business, there is something special about the social media community. We are VERY social people, from day one, I was meeting people that I was just the week before tweeting with through the #bwe10 hashtag. You are never alone at these conferences, if you see someone that is invite them to your group. We also help each other out…not only in connecting people with new clients or business partners. But I saw people coming together to make sure everyone had a good time… that didn’t have rooms were getting to stay in suites, if people needed rides or food there was always someone offering a helping hand. I have to say huge thanks to a few people that made my Blogworld amazing, Scott @unmarketing for the fancy pants dinner and all around awesomeness, Raj @eraj for taking the best care of me that weekend with limos and fancy dinners and Brett @brett from Mashable getting me onto the Pearl stage when I arrived late to Tech Karaoke. We all tend to work together and look out for each other, of course there are a few bad apples but just use your best judgment of people. It amazed me how businesses and companies also looked out for us Blogworld attendees. Hotels involved with twitter such as Luxor, were personally greeting me upon arrival and Red Bull Las Vegas actually dropped off a few cases of Red Bull for me at the front desk, Blackberry sent me a Blackberry Torch. All through the power of twitter! Remember, always pay it forward. I played Red Bull fairy in dropping off cans and boxes of Red Bull to people that helped me out that weekend.
2. Work it! Opportunities are EVERYWHERE
From the moment you step into the conference hall to the very late night parties. WORK IT. Remember that you are in a wonderland of opportunities to be in the front of over 1000 or more companies and leaders in your industry. Be kind, be memorable and ask questions! Before I arrived I contacted a bunch of companies and people I knew to set up interviews and meetings at the conference, for example had an Interview with Barry Moltz.for Blog Talk Radio on personal branding and brand awareness and I also opened up the doors to endless opportunities as well as sponsorships and new clients. Don’t forget to have a kick ass business card, treat people well and a pizza from Dominos in a casino can make you tons of new friends. Always be on your best behavior even in Vegas. Well, for the most part.
3. Get involved
Never stay in one spot too long at Blogworld, get out there and find those hot spots of activity in the expo hall, the parties or in the conference hallways. I like to listen to conversations on twitter and in real life on what panels, parties and people that other people are excited to see. This is usually how I form my schedule and I always make sure that I meet up with the most interesting people at the conference. Have fun in the expo hall with the vendors, get involved in what they are doing and you may never know what may come out of it. I helped my friend comedian Mark Malkoff shoot a hilarious video where I ended up getting harassed while blogging, this ended up being the closing keynote video and the talk of Blogworld. Always get involved with the pulse of the conference, interact… I don’t care if you are one of the most anti-social people, you are in Vegas you might as well have a crazy story of you being social.
4. Meet and learn from your heroes
As a brand ambassador I was very excited to go to Blogworld and get to meet one of my heroes of social media Scott Monty who runs Ford’s social media. It’s incredible the amount of amazing minds that you’ll run into over five days, I always make sure that I make a small mental list of the people I would really love to learn from outside the information in the panels and have a few questions to ask them over drinks or dinner, or in the hallway. I think the most I have ever learned or the best partnerships and ideas have stemmed off of a barstool at a convention, seriously… find like minds and start finding out how you can help each other. My favorite person in social media Scott Stratten @unmarketing was the opening keynote this year and I was lucky enough to see not only my good friend again but be inspired by his new journey in life as an author. Here’s a little bit from his opening keynote.
Unmarketing’s Keynote Speech. (Video) with my favorite quote… “Every time someone asks about the ROI of Twitter, a kitten dies. And a unicorn.”
Mostly what I took away from Blogworld other than the honor of having Rick Calvert that runs Blogworld say to me “You were the talk of Blogworld this year”…*jaw dropped honored* I came out of Vegas with HUGE sense of everything I have ever worked for in the last six years is starting to actually pay off and that I wouldn’t want to be in any other field than social media. It’s changing the world and bringing people together like no other media really has been able to capture, I came out of Blogworld with a overwhelming new outlook and pride about social media. No matter if you are a struggling blogger or a billionaire, Blogworld makes you feel like a million bucks, even if you may have lost a few at the casino.
Check out my videos and photos from Blogworld 2010 here…