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What is Your Social Media Conference Attending Personality?


After attending a few social media conferences, one becomes very aware of the various personality types of the different attendees. Many  are nothing at all like their Twitter personalities, and some of them are downright surprising. If you spent any time at one of the big social media conferences, you no doubt recognize some of these personality types:

1. The Partier: You attend conferences for one reason, and one reason only; to party. Sure, you may show up at the convention center and shake a few hands for an hour or two, but your days are mostly spent making up for your nights. Nights you don’t remember until you catch glimpses on YouTube. Not too much business happens  when you attend conferences, but you come home with enough business cards so your employer feels it’s justified. It’s all good though, no one really takes you seriously as a business person anyway. They like having you around because you’re buying the drinks.

2. The Vacationer: Like the Partier, you don’t necessarily attend conferences for their ROI value. Instead, they’re a vacation. They get you out of the house and away from the spouse and kids for a few days, making them well worth the expense. You can go out to dinner to restaurants that don’t serve crayons with the placemats, and sleep as late as you want in the morning. Maybe, just maybe you’ll even attend a session or too.

3. The Swag Collector: You travel to conferences with an extra, empty duffle bag in tow in order to bring home your swag. You’re not so much interested in the speakers or networking, and a sponsor paid for your ticket so it’s not like you have to work. For you, it’s all about what you’re coming home with. Free T-shirts, pens, and even laptop stickers have you squealing with delight. You go to the trade show as soon as it opens looking for the big ticket items so you can grab a few freebies before they run out. When you get home and your kids ask “what did you bring me” you don’t disappoint.

4. The Engager: For you, it’s about the people. You attend conferences to meet up with old friends and cultivate new relationships. You’re always seen in the hallways talking with groups of people and your dinners are never intimate affairs for two. The more the merrier. Unlike Partiers and Vacationers, you really are hoping to meet with people for both business and pleasure. You’re looking to build relationships for now and for the future. It’s no wonder you have no problem finding collaborators for your projects and know exactly who to call when specific situations arise.

5. The Star Gazer: You come to catch a glimpse of the big name superstars. You attend their sessions, stand in line for their book signings and make sure you don’t go home until you have a picture featuring you and the biggest names in the biz. For you, it’s not as much about meeting people as it is meeting the right people.

6. The Learner: For you, it’s the sessions. You came to learn from the best, and by golly, that’s what you’re going to do. You want Chris Brogan to teach you about trust and John Chow to show you how to make money online. You’re serious about getting ahead in the game. Parties and dinners don’t interest you. It’s the talks you come for.

7. The Job Hunter: You’re on a mission and that mission is to score employment. You show up in a suit and have a briefcase full of resumes. You learn who is hiring and arrange for meetings. You’re all business….not that there’s anything wrong with that.

8. The Volunteer: You can’t afford tickets to conferences because they’re so expensive. However, you found a loophole. You volunteer to help out. The only problem is, you’re so busy running around, stuffing bags and manning elevators you don’t get a chance to enjoy the conference itself.

9. The Speaker: You’re THE authority in your field and you want everyone to know it. Speaking is the best way to promote your books and your services. If there’s a conference, you’re sure to be found on a panel or session. Your advice is dead on and you can’t leave the room after your talk because your admirers have questions and want to snap photos for their blogs. Your talks go so well, the conference isn’t over before you’re planning your next talk.

10. The Pimp: You attend conferences because you have something to sell or promote. You wear T-Shirts proudly displaying your message and hand out a business card and spiel to everyone you meet. You WILL go home with multiple sales if it’s the last thing you do.

11. The “We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges” Guy: Conferences aren’t really your thing. You don’t like the sessions or all the hand shaking and you’re not really into frivolity. You fly to the city where the conference is held and even sign up for some parties and interesting events. However, you don’t buy a badge. You don’t need one. Everyone you want to speak with will meet you for dinner or at a party. You’ll put in a few appearances so everyone can see you were there, but you stay as far away from the actual conference as you can.

12. The Celebrity: If there are Star Gazers in attendance, they won’t be disappointed. You show up to see to be seen.  You and your entourage are front and center at all the parties and events. You have a pocket full of sharpies  for autographs and drink only the finest champagne. You time your entrances, and your exits, and never met a camera you didn’t like.

13. The Reluctant Celebrity: You’re famous in your circles but you’re not really into your fame. You want to be able to walk down the hall without stopping for autographs and photographs. You want to be able to sit and chat with your friends for more than two minutes at a time. You’re happy life is working out well for you and don’t mind sharing your secrets to your success, you just wish you could attend these things without an entourage.

What are some of the personality types you spotted at the various conferences? Do you see yourself in any of the above?

Deb Ng is founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs network. Follow her on Twitter @debng.


  • Gabrielle Faust

    I hope to be a Speaker at your convention this year. 🙂

  • Samer Forzley

    I have attended so many trade shows, and can imagine someone in each of these categories. Oh so true, this post is bang on, awesome

    But you forgot one, “The clueless Bimbo”, these are booth babes that are hired to look nice but have no clue what your company does. Not sure which one is worse, this way of attracting folks or those who are attracted by this type of marketing.

  • BenSpark

    Hmm, I can see a few of these personalities in myself. I can’t say I fit specifically into any one personality only. Nice observations.

  • Michele McGraw

    I have seen all of these at conferences. I think I’m a combination of the learner and the engager. Since I work at home, I love getting out and really connecting and engaging with other people who have the same interests as I do. By nature, I’m a learner. I love to learn new things and part of the thrill of a new project for me is learning something new. I like to soak up as much information as I can and meet and connect with old friends and new friends. There is nothing like that moment when you realize you are talking to someone you’ve talked to on Twitter a lot.

    I come home from conferences with this renewed sense of where I want to go and what I want to do. I feel so upbeat and positive and ready to take on new things.

  • Average Jane

    I’m definitely The Engager (and sometimes The Speaker).

  • barbara

    I have to BUY my badge? Shoot, now I really am going to cry…

  • Shava Nerad

    The Lurker: Adept and insightful online, the lurker is actually a bit owlish and reticent in person. Quiet until engaged in a conversation on a topic of interest, but then can’t be shut down for an hour.

  • David Wells

    I’m usually in learner/engager mode at conferences! I’m there to take something away from the speakers and meet people of like minds. There is something very powerful to be said about meeting with the people you tweet with on a daily basis in person. It help solidify those bonds.

    I’m hoping to be a speaker one day! Stay tuned for that. =)

    Great post.

  • Joe Buhler

    Great stuff. You can find these different species at just about any industry gathering.

  • Terry Prince

    Great post – I would add several more:

    The First Timer – excited, hungry for information and often gets lost and overwhelmed.

    The Go-Fer – This is an assistant to the Celebrity, Speaker or even the Pimp category – who isn’t connected directly but has work to do to support this VIP personage.

  • James Neil

    Seems most of us are “hybrid” attendees. As for me, I’d say I”m 1 part Learner, 2 parts Hunter and 3 parts Pimp, although, I know more Celebs at these things than I care to admit.

  • Dustin Woodard

    Great list. Sometimes people will evolve from Learners to Engagers to Speakers over time or from Volunteer to Partier in a short order.

  • Natalie T.

    I’ve definitely seen these personality types at conferences. That said, I would say most people might be a mix of these personality types and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as the attendee gets the most out of the conference in the way that they intended (or didn’t intend…serendipity, right?!).

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