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What the Heck is Up with All these Conferences?

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I was Skype chatting with my sister the other morning , talking about IzeaFest as I’m still not sure yet whether or not I will attend. “Wow,” she said. “For people who want to work at home, bloggers sure go to conferences to be with people a lot.” Though I explained to her that the majority of work at homes aren’t doing so to stay away from people, she did get me thinking. There are a lot of conferences for bloggers and social media addicts.

I did a little hunting around though. There are conferences for foodies, accountants, techies, writers and more. The conferences themes don’t matter, most of us attend for the same reasons – To share, learn, meet and network.

There DO seem to be a lot of conferences geared towards the web 2.0 crowd, though. I think there are several reasons for this:

  1. This is a growing industry. Blogging, new media, social media, web 2.0…it’s all relatively new stuff. Every month new businesses, brands and individuals jump on board. With more businesses wanting to explore their options on the interwebs, it only makes sense more people will want to attend these conferences to network and learn- and more events will unfold.
  2. New rockstars are born every day. Most conferences tap some very familiar names to speak at sessions and workshops, but there are new stars and they have something to say too! Each conference introduces someone new and exciting.
  3. We want to meet the people we only know online. Times are different now. We’re all communicating online. Conferences and meetups give us the ability to meet the people we follow on Twitter or friend on FaceBook.  Unlike the old days when we only moved in small circles, we now have the ability to make friends globally. Conferences are terrific for taking those connections to another level.
  4. New products and tools emerge every day. Progress progresses. Every day new apps, programs and tools launch, some with fanfare, some without.  Each conference unveils another great new tool or product. Meeting the builders and tweakers face to face and receiving personal product demos are a valuable part of attending any conference.
  5. Not everyone can travel to Las Vegas or Austin. Let’s face it, airfare is a little pricey. Many people would like to attend conferences but the location isn’t convenient. Having several conferences throughout the country, or world for that matter, will allow interested parties to attend in the location that is most convenient.

Not all conferences are alike. Every conference reaches a different group of people. BlogWorld focuses on blogging and new media, while SXSW focuses on interactive including gaming and web hosting. BlogHer is for the women who blog, WordCamp is for WordPress lovers and Podcamp is for podcasting fans.

When we attend conferences, it’s not because we want to get out of the house. It’s to learn new ideas and to meet and network with other creative people. Sure, there are a lot of conferences, but each one is a unique experience. My only regret is not being able to attend them all.


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