If I expected it to be a 7/10 it was a 200/10. Take every single positive word you can use and throw it at this conference.
Amazing. Outstanding. Wonderful. Beyond expectations. Inspiring. Fun. You get the point.
Why was it so spectacular? While I was busy learning and networking the conference team was busy snapping photos, which I am so excited to share with you as they showcase the conference and what I loved so well!
Hello San Diego
As a Vancouverite I’ve enjoyed a Winter full of rain, with lots of snow up on the hills. This means my body was dying for some vitamin D and San Diego didn’t disappoint. My hotel was conveniently located right next to the conference and I was able to walk down the street and soak up all the sun on my way to and from SMMW.
Welcome to the Conference
From the second you open the doors to the conference you realize you’re somewhere special.
“Can I Help You?”
The beach themed decor surrounded by volunteers who are literally reaching out to help you makes you feel welcomed and well informed. I literally couldn’t turn around without seeing someone who wanted to make sure I was okay, had everything I needed, and knew where I was going.
As a woman travelling alone, I am always at a heighten awareness when watching my security. I was so impressed with the level of security that was offered at this conference. With my wrist band and my ID Badge, I was ensured access at every checkpoint, and there were many! This makes sure that everyone who was supposed to be there was there, and that we were safe and secure at all of our events.
The amazing thing about social media is that it brings people together and nothing was more evident than the countries that were represented at the conference. I spent my morning run with a lovely woman from Norway. Lunch was with two gentlemen from France and that evening at the networking event I met an Irishman at the bar (shocker!). It was great to meet people from all around the world and share our challenges and collaborate on new ideas.
With over 140 sessions, 4 keynotes, and tons of on site resources, the biggest PROBLEM I had with the conference was that there was so many sessions I wanted to attend but not enough time. This is why I loved my all access ticket, I now get all of the recordings for one year and I can go back and catch up on the presentations I missed, or watch the presentations I’m interested in again and again.
World Class Sessions
Duncan Wardle was the Head of Innovation for Disney for 30 years. He opened up the conference talking to us about how to get creative in the workplace and presented tons of practical tips you can implement right away. This was just one example of several AMAZING presentations I saw, and I have already started to implement those changes into my organization.
Whether you’re good or bad at networking you’re set up for success at this conference. This is the networking plaza and each section is colour coded depending on what you want to talk about or who you want to meet. Each table has a “table topic” that also helps kick off the subject matter and get the conversation flowing. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant!
Networking Party Beyond Expectation
You step out of your bus (which picked you up at your hotels front door) and you look up at a huge aircraft carrier. The sound of a violinist playing rock and roll music welcomes you down the red carpet, where you pose, (or jump, if you’re me) and get your photo taken. After that you’re welcomed by a Veteran who will give you a tour around the ship and tell you stories about it’s history.
Networking Night Two
On the second night we headed down to “The Park” where we were welcomed into not one, but three night clubs. Each club had its own vibe and you could hit the big stage and do Karaoke, head downstairs for a traditional club vibe, or stay in the park area and network and chat without the noise. The one thing I learned about a social media conference, is that social media people know how to be social both on and off their phones!
5000 New Friends
Whether you were at the conference to learn, to network, to overcome a challenge or to get some creative ideas, you were in a room of like minded people at all times. With over 5000 people in attendance, it was easy to find someone in a similar situation and brainstorm solutions. Or if you found a speaker that you really connected with, you could easily meet them after their session and ask them to expand on their recommendations.
A Conference or a Concert?
There were many times throughout the keynote presentations and the networking events where I wasn’t sure if I was at a conference or at a concert. Live music, on stage musicals, saxophone solos, random mic takeovers, a whole choir… the energy was high from curtain up to curtain down making this concert… uh, I mean conference, amazing!
Come With Me Next Year!
I am so excited about the conference next year that I’ve already bought my ticket for 2019! Want to come with me? I signed up as an affiliate as I can’t recommend this conference enough! Click this link to learn more and get your ticket! And if you have any questions please email me at [email protected] and I’d be happy to answer them!