I sit here at my desk recapping my experience at the second annual Central Florida Blogger Conference while simultaneously checking emails. I begin to get emails regarding conference photos and resources that attendees can find after the conference. I mention this because it brings this great event full circle with a beginning, middle and end. It demonstrates the transparent organization and efforts of all those behind the conference. If you missed out this year - no matter where you live - be sure to get there for next year. Also, be sure to follow @MacBethPhoto because I'm about to "borrow" his photos for this post (watermarked).
I was asked to be a speaker at this year’s conference and chat about turning an online magazine into a physical magazine. I decided early on that anyone could do a quick Google search and get some results and I wanted to speak on following your passions more than anything else. I prepared and built my presentation and was ready for the big day.
I arrived at the Orlando Science Museum for the conference very early Saturday morning and was one of the first to arrive. I walked around and peeked into all the rooms that CFL Blog Con were utilizing. Each room had been marked to demonstrate what speakers would be in which room and what time they were speaking. Just like that last sentence, it was easy to navigate and simple to understand. I checked in at registration and milled about in the lobby area. I spoke to some people and everyone was generally excited and in a positive place, which was a great start.
12:30 looks like a sure bet.
I made my way to the Cinedome where the key note speaker Lou Mongello was about to begin and kick things off. I took a seat next to a dapper young man named Phil. Phil and I discussed BRINK, what he does (performer) and social media. We joked and we had some great convo. Moments later, Katy Widrick, one of the delightful team members behind CFL Blog Con was kicking things off. Then, moments later, all of a sudden, in the middle of her introduction, out of nowhere (I’m building suspense), a flashmob started to rise from particular seats and take over the Cinedome. I looked over at Phil and said, "Phil, are you going to get up now, haha" and 1.5 seconds later, Phil was up with an elbow in the air performing with the rest of the flash mobbers.
Phil is in the tie. Hey Phil!
This was so fun and the audience was really into it - energy was high. Soon after, Katy came back, surprised, and then introduced Lou Mongello.
Lou began speaking to us about "quitting our jobs," following our passions and taking the right steps to live your best life. I kept thinking I knew Lou from somewhere and quickly realized where from: I sold for Lou. When I worked at Virgin Megastore years ago, his book was sold at every register, I upsold Lou. Lou, if you're reading this, do I get a cut?
Lou, call me!
Lou's speech was great and particularly informative (especially on value, remember that readers). Ironically, many of the points he was mentioning I would soon be discussing in my own panel.
After Lou, we all made our way upstairs to the classrooms where speakers were speaking. I found myself in the Ford Recharge Room chatting with other attendees. I enjoyed conversations with Maria Diestro at Second Harvest and Carissa at Fit2Flex gym. Soon after Colleen Burns at Yelp was in the room (I call her CoBu) along with many others. The vibe was harmonious in similar interests and excitement.
As 12:30 approached, my time was near and I was about to speak. I made my way to the room in which I would be speaking. Bess Auer (fearless leader of CFL BLog Con) arrived to make an announcement and introduced me. Then, I looked directly into the eyes of my audience and thought to myself, "What Would Lady Gaga Do?"
WWLGD? for short.
Not what you were expecting? Here's what. I’m not even a big Gaga fan, but let’s give it to the girl, she evokes so much confidence with that "doesn’t give a F%$&" attitude that I needed some of that to shake my nerves.
What am I doing to my right hand? Eek.
I started to speak. And I spoke some more. And more. And the next thing I knew it was 1pm. Mind. Blown. How did that time go by so fast? I asked for questions and to my surprise and delight, a few came up. One gentleman told me that he gets comments on his blog that his posts are too long. My advice to him was to forget those comments. It's your blog! You can do whatever you want and your voice can be heard however you feel fit. Another thing about a blog is that I don't think being grammatically correct and punctuation perfect is all that necessary all the time. I want you to see my typos, hear my voice and understand my vibe. The people that leave negative comments on your opinion are trolls and probably don't have a blog of their own. Howard Moon agreed. Who is Howard Moon you ask? An audience member with the best name ever. Here he is:
Best. Name. Ever.Obsessed. I've been saying it randomly at any time for the last 48 hours.
Shortly after I had multiple people coming up to me telling me how inspired they were and how they want to move forward with their ideas. Wow - best feeling EVER. I felt like this:
Minus the destruction of course.
I checked tweets and the BRINK Twitter was on fire with positive feedback and fabulous tweets. I went retweet crazy. I didn’t care, I wanted to share these good vibes with the world.
This event was filled with positivity, excitement, many takeaways and so much more. I sincerely thank the CFL BlogCon team and everything they did to put this event together. Not only did I have such a great time, but it validated my beliefs that we as human beings are all after the same thing - to make a difference and leave our mark.
Big thanks to:
MacBeth Photo for letting me "borrow" their photos. Or maybe not letting me...
Bahama Breeze for lunch.
Katy Widrick for answering my ridiculous emails.
And many more!
P.S. Let's discuss my outfit real quick. After MBFW I was very inspired to up the ante on fashion and play with different looks. I saw these two gentlemen who were total power and control. Below is the look I liked on the left and then my interpretation.
Thank you readers and look for the new issue of BRINK out 9/26! It features Ed Sheeran, a singer/songwriter out of the UK who is doing big things here in America right now.
Editor in Chief