Saturday, August 07, 2010
Day 2 starting soon
In the morning, after a breakfast for people new to the conference, my sister and I went to a really good session on how to stoke your creativity. There I sat at a social media conference with my laptop in my tote, taking notes with pen and paper. I am hopelessly old-school in some respects.
After lunch I wandered around the exhibits halls for a bit. Favorite booths so far: the Honey Board and Playskool. Playskool gave me Weebles. Remember Weebles? I begged for them for Christmas and got some weird wooden toy people instead--not Fisher-Price people, something else. All I remember is that they were a family, the mother was red, and they had some sort of van they all fit in. I thought Santa misunderstood, or didn't watch TV (Sing it with me, folks, "Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down!"), and that's why I got these. Being a fairly easy child to please most of the time, I shrugged and played with those things instead.
They also gave me a canister of black Play-Doh, and -- one of the weirdest giveaway items yet -- Play-Doh scented perfume. And you know what? It smells great.
Back to another session in the afternoon about taking better pictures. Most of the women in there had DSLR cameras. Mine's a point-and-shoot, but they said you can do most of this with a point-and-shoot camera as well. It was mainly about the "rules" of photography -- composition, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, Dutch angles, lines. Someone had told me some of these things before, but since I hadn't been taking notes then everything except the Rule of Thirds fell out of my head. The Rule of Thirds, incidentally, is that the most interesting thing in the picture should take up 1/3 of the picture. Centering things makes them less interesting.
The Voices of the Year keynote was great. They do this every year. People nominate bloggers for a particular post they've written over the past year, a committee chooses the best, and then those people get up on stage and read their posts aloud. I mismanaged my time a little, so I only caught about 2/3 of the program. They were all very good. There was one about a woman meeting Holocaust survivors in an airport, and introducing them to her friend's grandmother, who had been in the same camp at the same time. That one made me reach over and hug my sister.
That night there was a gala in the ballroom, an art display (for an auction that's going to start online on Sept. 15), all sorts of stuff to make and do. We got to the make/do part after everything was over, but that gave us as much time as we wanted to look at all the art. All the proceeds of this auction are going to benefit Gulf coast clean-up.
This morning we have a presentation by/for the International Activist Blogger Scholarship recipients, and then I'm going to a session on how to improve my photos through editing. After lunch I'm going to troll through the expo hall I didn't get to yesterday, and maybe visit the sponsor suites. Someone came up to me and invited me to one of them. Said something about giveaways for readers (all four of you), so I'm gonna look into it.
One thing that really surprised me was how friendly everyone is. Strangers walk right up to you, say hi, want to know what you write about, where you're from. They hand out cards with their blog info on them (I keep kicking myself for not doing that. I'll have them next year). There's a very egalitarian atmosphere.
And then I wonder why I'm surprised. This is what we're here for, to connect, to talk to each other, to find like-minded folks, to grow and learn.
Yesterday after breakfast they announced where next year's conference is. San Diego. Time to start saving my pennies. I want to do this again.