So, you say to yourself, it’s been a while since IT Girl got back from Mom 2, where the heck is her recap post? Everyone else who is everyone has already written theirs! Was she taken out by the hurricanes and hand grenade cocktails? Were the rumors about Nic Cage true? Did she slip into a Mir trap and not get up? Or was that 5 hour delay spent in the company of the most capable person-I-would-like-to-take-on-the-Worst-Case-Scenario-Handbook tour do her in?
Nah. I just had to make a quick business trip to Boston after the meeting and didn’t have time to write it up. But the other options certainly sound more interesting. Of course, interesting is what New Orleans is all about. Except I barely left the hotel. But that’s a good thing, for I was in New Orleans to experience my first Mom 2.0 Summit. I’m a BlogHer veteran from all the way back in 2007, but I really haven’t experienced the other smaller and more specialized blogging conferences out there. Likewise, attending a conference with “MOM” in the title was definitely not on my radar. I am a mom, yes, but I am SO MANY OTHER THINGS. Am I going to go and have people expect me to be able to show off the clothes I made myself , when I cannot even sew on a button (no, really)?
Apparently, I was missing out. Mom 2.0 was small, certainly, at 450 attendees. For a blogging new-be or someone wanting to tackle a lot in a short period of time, the conference was just right. While you may see attendees like these at other places like BlogHer, Mom 2 gave me the opportunity to interact with them in more than a hallway conversation, which I appreciated. So many great connections are possible at a conference like this and I wanted to take advantage of as many of them as possible.
One of my responsibilities here was to serve as a panelist on the Book Publishing panel. You can read a recap of it here. I will say that *I* was the one who was gushing about Karen’s book. It’s important to note who her stalkers are, and I am definitely one of them.
So, overall, here’s Mom 2 as seen through my lens:
- By far, the attendees. I met a lot of the bloggers whose work I have admired from afar, and got to gush about them to their faces. Too many to mention without fear of leaving someone out, but I can put forth Erica Diamond, Helen Jane Hern, Melanie, Mir, Stephanie Smirnov, Donna, Lisa, Cindy, Leticia, Pam Lewis, Susan Getgood,Leah Segedie, Cecily Kellogg (love her new hashtag), Rita Arens, Meg Keene, Anissa Mayhew, Asha Dornfest, and Lisa and Belinda from Juno. So many others, my apologies if my fingers started hurting before I got to you.
- How do I work the conference is usually my biggest quandry. Not a problem here. At most conferences, I wear two hats, that of blogger trying to be taken seriously and brand manager trying to find new ways to connect my products to a prospective audience. Here, I felt these two hats worked really well together and neither side was overwhelmed.
- Timing – there was enough time to go to sessions, network with attendees and visit sponsors. That’s hard to manage as a conference organizer. It worked here.
- The sessions – there were good quality sessions with strong take-aways. Also worth noting is that scheduling seemed to allow me to have at least one during any time period that was of interest to me. I didn’t sit there saying, “Curse you 2pm! How can you put 5 panels I want to see all during that time!” Not to take away from anyone, but two good ones that come to mind were the “Design for Non-Designers” led by Aimee Giese + Laurie Smithwick and the “You are your Niche” workshop that Stacey Nerdin ran. When I’m taking notes and Tweeting like a fiend, you know good stuff is all around.
- The location – if you’re going to be in NoLa and not getting a chance to leave the hotel, you might as well be at the Ritz Carlon. Like Laura Mayes, our charming Mom 2 Krewe leader said, if you cough, someone from the Ritz will hand you a lozenge.
- The good – there was a lot of social good available to you, if you chose. From the opening keynote from Abigail Disney talking about her remarkable PBS series, and the participation of the MD Anderson Center and American Cancer Society, to the Go session that offered a chance to build a playground locally, it showed that causes can have a place at the table at any conference and fit right in.
- Oh, and much love to Laura Mayes who puts her heart into everything she does here. It showed. Glowingly. Running a conference like this is not easy, not by a long shot, but she makes it look like anyone can do it. Note: you can’t.
- Did you ever read “Pattern Recognition“? If not, pause this blog post and order it for your Nook or Kindle immediately. I felt a little like Cayce at times at the conference. Some of the brand engagament, especially at events like the cocktail and pajama parties, was very-in-your-face. As a marketer, I appreciate that the organizers were trying to give sponsors their money’s worth, it just seemed a bit much at the time. For sure, some PR people were better than others at engaging attendees, and that’s a big part of it, and really out of the organizer’s hands. I think next time some of the sponsors need to really think about what an “open conversation between moms and marketers” means. There were several companies that got it right at Mom 2 – most notably the Zatarains and New Balance people who were at the exhibit table and the Office blog folks. They were others, but these were the ones that stood out for me after the conference as positive engagement.
- Timing – Running late and off schedule annoys me. I’m very literal. I was worried I was late for my session when the “set-up-in-advance” Tweet said that the afternoon sessions were starting. Forgot that we acknowledged we were running late. It also caused the workshops to be shorted, and I was only able to attend 2. The two I went to, Stacey Nerdin’s and the one run by the Office blog folks were superb. Wonder if I missed any other good ones.
Overall, it was a conference that was totally worth my time, and I’m happy I had the chance to participate. As always, I need to thank my sponsors, who in this case are my husband, babysitter and mother who allowed me to travel and not panic about who was watching who.
Note, that next year there will also be a Dad 2.0 Summit. I’ve already put 2012′s Mom 2 on my calendar and I hope to see you there!
Disclosure – I received a free attendee pass for agreeing to be a speaker at the conference. All other costs of the conference were mine. I received free products from companies mentioned in this post (Zatarains, New Balance) and from companies not listed who sponsored Mom 2.0 Summit.