Another weekend in Orlando has come and gone. Camera ready, hotel booked, Tickets purchased. Time to head to head on over to the blogger conference. Wait, what? I was supposed to say convention, right? Well, this weekend was a bit of a different one. I decided to attend my first bloggers conference and also the first professional conference of any type. I attended FLBogCon this past weekend located at Full Sail University.
I entered the weekend not really knowing what to expect. I am used going to geeky conventions so this was going to be a bit out of my element. I did manage to get over my trepidations and have a fantastic day. The first bit of culture shock was the sprawling campus of Full Sail. My higher education came on very small college campuses, but Full Sail was such a sight to behold. Everything was bold and sophisticated. The college does have a reputation as being very cutting edge and the classrooms that served as the meeting rooms for the conference were all impressive. The sponsors of the event were easily recognizable. Several Ford vehicles were stationed outside. Brighthouse had a presence as they live streamed the main events hall for the day. Several vendors had sample and coupon stations set up and were very eager to talk to the local bloggers. Ford supplied a swag bag with several items including a selfie stick, which proved to be a hit among many of the attendees. I have a love hate relationship with selfie sticks as anyone from my retail job would know.
The day kicked off with a very interesting opening keynote. We were asked to open our mobile devices and don earbuds provided in our swag bags. The opening keynote was done in an interactive audio podcast which was a fun use of technology. From there, bloggers divided by their niches for breakout sessions to interact and gain insight from others in a similar field.
After the ice breaker sessions, the main tracks for the day began. Class sessions were divided into four main categories: Content, Technical, Social Media, and Monetization. I made it my goal to attend at least one class from each session. I feel this was a good choice as I got some great information and I am still processing it several days later. Probably the most impressive session was from Justice Mitchell who presented 45 Tactics in 30 Minutes, which outlined numerous tips to get content to all of your social channels. Another great session was the writing workshop hosted by blogger and comedian Adam Avitable. He gave some great tips about being concise, evoking emotion, and avoiding cliches.
The day ended with the after party hosted by Adam Avitable. Featuring karaoke, prize raffles, and samples from sponsors Florida Dairy Farmers and Jim Beam (Jim Beam Apple is quite smooth and tasty, FYI), it was a fun way to end the day.
What I can really take away is a sense of love. Bess Auer and her team put on a great event that was very welcoming and encouraging. I did not have a lot of experience with sites outside of the nerd community and this event was a great experience for me. I have a lot of ideas flowing and so much more I have to go back over. It was a refreshing day and I look forward to using the experience to make the site better. For someone like me who is very much on the shy and reserved side, I would highly recommend FLBlogCon to anyone who has a passion for blogging. I felt welcomed and supported by the blogging community. I still have a lot to learn about networking, but I would call the weekend a success as I definitely got so much more out of it than I was expecting to.