I’ve attended many conferences in my day. Mind you, there were for Environmental Health Officers. So we mostly sat in a hotel hall, listening to the latest non-changes in legislation. Then we’d let lose by complaining about room prices and making witty puns about food temperatures, water filtration and radon. We like to party….but with control measures so nobody gets a communicable disease (ok, I’ll stop now).
Since I gave up this career and began blogging and writing, I longed for a ‘blogging’ conference for the main purpose of meeting other bloggers IRL. I feel like I make a lot of connections online that are comparable to wine tasting and never buying the bottle.
So then comes this mysterious ‘ROAM’. The dates lined up, the location was too conveinent and I knew the people planning it produced quality. So I bought my early bird ticket without knowing the speakers, agenda or even what this ‘new conference experience’ would even mean.
ROAM was a small gathering of bloggers, brands, businesses and social media mavens in Kelowna BC. It was two and half days of intimate, fun and interactive learning….and eating…..and tweeting….and more eating….
Here are some things I did at ROAM 2015 (in list form, cause that’s how this Lady Nerd rolls!)
- Arrived to a conference full of people I’ve never met IRL. So I followed some women down the street to crash their lunch all because I recognized them from their twitter handle picture
- Met the sweet, demure and classy Elena who outfitted us all in bold, sass and bling!
- Went to a 1920s soiree at Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery. I was born and raised in the Okanagan so I’m always proud when I see amazing families using the local crops to make world renowned products. Long story short, I bought one of everything to bring home for Father’s Day
- Slept in through Dai’s morning run and boot camp, and sunrise yoga. Oops, my snooze button must have got stuck on ‘F -it, I don’t have to wake up to three kids asking me to make french toast ‘like Dad’ ‘
- Roomed with a blinddate roomie, Gillian, who made me feel right at home….and off-handedly helped me solve a blogging problem I’ve been mulling over by making a ‘system’ that would streamline the process. She’s the sweetest, most-travelled brainiac I’ve ever met
- Felt all the feelings at the very first session by Shelagh Cummins. If a blogger is on the verge of ugly cry and doesn’t tweet it, are the tears truly pending? Deep stuff, I know
- Got the insider rundown on influencer-brand relationships from Jennifer Powell and Julie Nowell, who I like to refer to as Honey and Hotsauce. (Disclaimer, these nicknames are not officially endorsed by said ‘sweet as Honey’ and ‘spicy as Hotsauce’, but I’m pretty sure they’ll warm up to them)
- Overlooked Okanagan Lake while listening to tips on Twitter chat and Twitter parties from women who know their Twit!
- Drank a Bliss Bullet from Bliss Bakery while listening to an information shakedown about Facebook pages. Then my heart turned into a caffeinated hummingbird and flew away to the BC Wine Museum. Oops!
- (Finally) visited RauDZ Regional Table to enjoy some of their amazing fare while listening to the Pinterest Queen give us her best tips….the same Pinterest Queen who I just sat with on a bus ride two nights before and we chatted about sleep training tips, working at home with kids, college life, and her metaphorical coronation into the Pinterest Kingdom
- Drank wine in a hot tub, during a rain storm, with a dozen other social media influencers and experts talking about motherhood, bras, chickens, and Twitter
- Shocked my husband with a text picture of me drinking a Morning Rose at Sandhill Wines while learning about how to use YouTube (yes, ‘Morning Rose’ IS a thing!)
- Heard way, way too much about chickens…..or should I say ‘herd’?? Right????
- Took private patio selfies after hearing about visual story telling and Instagram
- Ate cheese with nearly every snack and meal = winning at life
- Emptied my email inbox (Inbox Zero, it’s a thing, a very weightless feeling thing)
- Met some very genuine, talented fellow bloggers that now have me hooked on their sites all because I’ve meet them and enjoyed their company and stories so much! You get so much more hearing someone’s warmth, tone and timbre and then reading their words with their real voice in your head. It’s a game changer!
There is a part of me that wants to recommend ROAM to all those in social media…..but the other part of me never wants to see it get too big to retain the small-scale togetherness of it.
I know it is my first social media conference, but I think it was tremendous. The content, the venue, and the ability to share such a intimate setting with such a great mix of experts, influencers and brands was of incredible VALUE.
I could go on….but to sum, this wasn’t just ‘information sessions and night time boozing with mom bloggers’, this was an EXPERIENCE…..
and now back to real life….and trying to make French toast ‘like Dad’…..
Check out more my pictures of ROAM 2015 below. Follow the hashtag #HowWeROAM on Instagram and Twitter! Read more about the Resident Experts.
*The photo of Gillian Duffy and I was used with permission from Bright Spark Media, find the full Facebook album here