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“Why Do You Attend Conferences Like #NMX?”

The short reason for attending conferences that may not be at my skill level: people. The slightly longer explanation – and a slideshow filled with people from the New Media Expo- is below.

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A question I am asked a lot by peers is why I attend conferences and offline gatherings so much. When I told some work friends I was going to NMX, I heard everything from “conferences are rip-offs” to “why would you attend a conference you could speak at if you’re not speaking?” to “you’re just wasting your money”.

There were times I felt they weren’t too far off. The first five years of my current career in web content and marketing, I rarely went anywhere in person because I couldn’t. Not only couldn’t I afford to go, I physically could not be there for reasons I’ll bore you with on one of my own blogs.

So for the first several years, I had to survive without knowing any of the critical people in my career in person. It’s possible to succeed in a technology or web related career without going to conferences. And yes, if you don’t know how to get the most out of a conference, they could be a rip-off where you’re wasting your money.

This one wasn’t – it had its low moments, but was far from a waste of time or money. But those types of conferences do exist, though I’m a firm believer that you can get great benefits out of even a bad conference experience. Another article for another time.

Right now, I want to speak to the idea that New Media Expo’s time has come and gone, and that those of us who speak regularly or are advanced enough to teach topics at these conferences won’t learn anything new.

A very successful mentor of mine once told our group how much money she spent per year on learning materials at levels that were even basic to newbies. We were astonished – some of that didn’t make that in a year. She didn’t just tell us the common advice that you have to keep learning. She told us that it’s worth the time spent going back over things you already know from time to time to learn from a different source.

Her reason was that there’s always some small nugget of information or data that you’ve overlooked, or didn’t quite “get” the first time, that can completely transform the way you do business, or solve some problem you have, or put something into perspective.

Over the years, more and more of my successful mentors told me that and I started to listen. Just because I have been blogging since 2002, doesn’t mean I can’t learn something new from someone who started a decade later. It’s the height of arrogance and the start of ignorance to think you know everything, just because you’ve reached a high level of expertise.

To keep myself fresh, I not only attended a few workshops I could probably teach with my eyes closed, I also went to sessions in areas where I’m not an expert, to close gaps in my knowledge.

However, even if I hadn’t learned a single thing, the entire experience would have been worth it, to meet people. People teaching and on panels, people I socialized with, new peers and relationships that came as a result of networking.

If I’m being honest, I bought my ticket very early to be there in support of a friend who was speaking, and to see people I haven’t since Blog World 2010. Teaching. learning or socializing, the best part of a conference is being able to connect in person with other people.

You never know where that experience will take you in days or years to come.


The Faces of 2013 New Media Expo

Featuring, but not limited to, peopleI’ve met or reunited with at New Media Expo. I’ll keep adding pictures as they come out. cc: me on Twitter if you have one you’d like included (#Tinu) and I’ll do my best.

Storified by Tinu Abayomi-Paul· Thu, Jan 10 2013 10:18:26

Featured Set: People I Mixed It Up With

RT @Tinu: #nmx Ann Handley is Not impressed with Sam Fiorella. @samfiorella @marketingprofs #annisnotimpressed http://pic.twitter.com/WjIhi3uqAnn Handley
#nmx Me and @cc_chapman cold chillin in the cut. pic.twitter.com/xmEvVKYBTinu Abayomi-Paul
@anneweiskopf & @susanborst at #nmx, outside Scott Monty’s. pic.twitter.com/GOi3z7iaTinu Abayomi-Paul
In which I finally take a picture with @shashib & what luck, @ramonray! pic.twitter.com/2Qs7umlZTinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx @AnneWeiskopf & @cc_chapman throwing up blogger gang signs? pic.twitter.com/w4HuL4FGTinu Abayomi-Paul
Another with @shashib and I need your daughter’s handle lol pic.twitter.com/FOGzhnC8Tinu Abayomi-Paul
@carolhink is a great freelancer I just met who writes about conserving the ocean. #nmx pic.twitter.com/hBAqroqCTinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx Just met Mona @cookthisgetlaid – she has a cooking blog. Fresh design. pic.twitter.com/D3dTdSdoTinu Abayomi-Paul
@LinHumphrey Also met this hilarious person. Pictured with @cookthisgetlaid #nmx pic.twitter.com/zfLrvqPlTinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx Finally me @LivaJudic! Then this happened. #goarmy pic.twitter.com/qaXIeXl7Tinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx @bcjstudios @jenleereeves @cookthisgetlaid and me! Pre-expo crawl. pic.twitter.com/KJNYZQNqTinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx Just met @timtrye of @theblogfrog – good stop for bloggers who want to write for brands. pic.twitter.com/VEQCwieGTinu Abayomi-Paul
Chillin with the @feedblitz crew. @phollows in the m fing expo. #nmx pic.twitter.com/ZIen7vV8Tinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx Just met @chilihead. :) pic.twitter.com/TXNrAKlyTinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx @amyvernon @samfiorella and pic.twitter.com/oQ9ZoXdqTinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx Just met @samelad she produces dance shows. pic.twitter.com/FOmBglaMTinu Abayomi-Paul
my gal @Tinu and me at #nmx Vegas. pic.twitter.com/lstXhholSam Fiorella
NMX Blogger DinnerShashiBellamkonda
NMX Blogger DinnerShashiBellamkonda
#nmx pic rt my blog post about this will begin "@1timstreet walks into a bar". And it will be true. http://pic.twitter.com/eFrS2VjTTinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx pic in the Rio Wine Cellar @wordwhacker, myself, @samfiorella, @amyvernon http://campl.us/nB4TTinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx pic @wordwhacker and I in our best collaboration http://campl.us/nB44Tinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx pic With @wordwhacker, me & @samfiorella http://campl.us/nB4PTinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx pic It’s me & wifey! @amyvernon to be clear, not my first wife @jillfoster, who refused to come to Vegas. http://campl.us/nB4YTinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx pic Only have your handle @samofiorella :) http://campl.us/nB4uTinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx pic Featuring @samfiorella -again. So um… Why are you in every picture, Sam? lol http://campl.us/nB4LTinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx pic -hi @AmyVernon http://campl.us/nB4BTinu Abayomi-Paul
#nmx pic @jenleereeves @samfiorella @anneweiskopf -will send you the uncensored version later. http://pic.twitter.com/knOqmVutTinu Abayomi-Paul

People of #NMX

This section features  people in connective mode..
Super fan panel at #nmx today with @taraplatt @caseymckinnon @blacknerd http://t.co/h6UdwDGhKristen Nedopak
Listening to an amazing presentation @randfishkin #nmx http://t.co/oeVHhGJ7Gina Horne
Thank you for the great goarmy work-out #NMX @ NMX ’13 http://t.co/MJYEYm1WLinda Sherman Gordon
RT @dragonflytweet: Foundation Room shenanigans @JessicaNorthey @run4sweets @zaneology @amandablain #nmx #ces http://t.co/oIyqu5DkZane Aveton
Was a blast RT @mitchjoel: Dinner with good friends @ambercadabra @cc_chapman @annhandley @techguerilla #nmx http://t.co/Hpf0nzyrMatt Ridings
RT @godfree: The legend @leolaporte . #nmx #pca12 @ Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino http://t.co/OulkjehrGamertag Radio
RT @drnatalie: “@SJDMediaGroup: @drnatalie with @JessicaNorthey @dylantaylornow cc @arleneriveratv @jamesdnico @socialnetshow #NMX http://t.co/nnpaU6fJ”Dylan Taylor
RT @dragonflytweet: Hanging w @DylanTaylorNow #cmchat #nmx with @jessicanorthey @run4sweets @louiebaur @amandablain @mamabrit @jboitnott http://t.co/80dZfkMiDylan Taylor
Total highlight at #nmx was meeting @scottmonty Global Head of Social Media for Ford #fordnmx http://t.co/4es8DmrMAngie Newton

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