Seven Things I Learned Outside the Sessions at Type A Parent Conference

by melissa on June 28, 2011 · 18 comments

When a blogger goes to a blog conference, you KNOW you’ll get at least one post about it, right? I went to Asheville, NC last week to attend the fab Type A Parent Conference. It’s a blogging conference about—you guessed it—blogging.

Yes, I’ll be sharing some of the blogging knowledge I soaked up. Stay tuned next week on Momcomm after Bloggy B-Card Week is over.

But this post is about what I learned outside the sessions… about people, about traveling and about myself.

1. The deep relationships don’t happen in the sessions.

Sessions are for learning, catching up with those you already know and casually getting to know some new faces. When you meet someone new in a session, you’ll probably exchange blogger business cards too. But the sessions aren’t where you really get to know other bloggers. That happens in the hallways, at dinner, during the parties, on the patio or in your room as you wind down from the day’s events.

2. My Twitter name might as well be on my birth certificate.

When bloggers introduced themselves at the conference, it was almost always followed up with their Twitter name. Why? Because Twitter is where online blog relationships really happen. It’s where you get to know other bloggers more than anywhere else.

In fact, I often found myself quickly saying “I’m @adventuroo!” after I said my name but I didn’t want to risk the “WHO are you?” look after saying just Melissa Culbertson. I sometimes said “and @momcommblog too” but my other account has more followers so I started there and waited for that blank look. Ha.

If you’re a Twitter noob, you’d better get on it before your next conference. You can read my post about making sense of Twitter and then sign up already, will ya?

3. You can’t always rely on technology.

Okay so this point came up in the sessions but it’s not about the sessions so nanner nanner. The wi-fi at the conference was spotty (to put it nicely) and left some frustrated peeps during a few sessions. But that’s not the only thing you shouldn’t rely on. There may not always be a place to plug in your laptop if the battery starts to die either. Always bring a notepad and pen to a session. I went half old school through most of the sessions, taking handwritten notes but also using my laptop to tweet (since I’m much faster than on my phone). I love writing things down in a notebook for some reason.

Oh and I accidentally ran my finger down my notepad once like I would on my iPhone. Technology lives on, even when I’m going old school.

4. Bring your kids a gift back from the conference.

After you smother them with hugs and kisses, won’t you look like DA BOMB when you whip out cookies, toys and a Wii Monster Truck game with its own steering wheel? Oh maybe that was just me.

Seriously though, bring them a little something. Kids dig it and you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy watching their eyes light up. Even my toddler was excited (cookies are always a hit, for real).

5. Don’t be attached to the same people all the time.

I traveled to the conference for three other Raleigh bloggers. And sure, we hung out some. But I also made it a point to meet new people. As a conference-attending pro, Fadra was my trusty sidekick at times, introducing me to people she already knew from previous conferences. But I definitely wasn’t afraid to just walk up to someone and start the chit-chat.

If you go to dinner with people you already know well, ask a few bloggers you don’t know that well to come along too. And don’t be afraid to join in on a conversation you may be standing next to (depending on the seriousness of the topic of course). I ended up doing that and met new folks right up until the last 5 minutes before I went upstairs on Saturday night.

6. We ALL need a break from our kids.

I’ll be the first to admit that three full days and two half days of traveling was a long time to be away. By no means do I regret it, but I definitely won’t do a long stretch like that often. That being said, I came from with a flutter in my stomach ready to see those munchkins. And this week, preschool is closed and ya know what? I’m not going insane. In fact, I’m more patient and generally just going with the flow more.

You may not need a conference to do that. A date night might do it. Even going solo on a one-hour trip to Target is sometimes enough to re-boot your kidometer. Point is, we all need some time away from the kids.

What I noticed at the conference is that when bloggers talked about their kids I noticed we bragged about them. We showed others their cute pictures. We put the kids on speakerphone so those nearby could hear cute, little voices. We reveled in motherhood. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

7. You can only grow your blog so much without face-to-face interaction.

This one may catch me some flack but hear me out. This doesn’t have to mean flying to a new town and spending hundreds on dollars on a conference. If you can afford at least one conference a year, go for it. But if you can’t? Get local, baby! If you want to work more with brand, start attending local networking events. If you want more followers, get active in playgroups, local mommy events, your preschool, wherever you think your readers might be.

I can tell you this. While I was at Type A last week, this point really hit me. Interacting with people in person will make connecting with them online so much deeper.


There ya have it. My first Type A post that’s hopefully relevant to those who didn’t attend! Stay tuned tomorrow for photos from the conference aka the Love Fest (or feel free to skip it- I won’t cry).

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1 Ashley @ Mama of All Trades June 28, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Oh how I wish I let myself follow #6. It was so stressful having the family there and I didn’t get any time to decompress at the end of the day. As much as I love them, they are staying home next year.
Ashley @ Mama of All Trades recently posted..Top Ten Tuesday: #TypeACon Takeaways: Sessions

2 Shell June 28, 2011 at 9:20 pm

All very true!

I left on Saturday to go to a wedding on Saturday night and I had to stop myself from introducing myself by my twitter name there. LOL

Oh- that new post that popped up as my most recent- there is a cute pic of you on it… with both your twitter names. ;)
Shell recently posted..A Really Loud Purse for a Good Cause

3 Brittany {Mommy Words} June 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm

It was so great to meet you! I’m just sorry I missed dinner. I have alwasy had my kids (at least one) with me so while I have had a lot of brand connecting the evening blogger time has been a lot more spotty. I can’t wait to go to a conference without them, as cute as they are.
Brittany {Mommy Words} recently posted..I’m All Kinds of Kludgy Today

4 Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama June 28, 2011 at 9:26 pm

What a great post because indeed some fantastic learning occurs outside the planned conference sessions! And personally, I love #2! It was nice to meet you at Type A and hope to see you IRL again soon!
Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama recently posted..A Farewell Post

5 Andrea June 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Love it, Mel. I totally feel the love and the tips and the importance of it all. Great summary, I know I am going to have several running, as well. Cause one post just won’t cut it!
Andrea recently posted..Why I wanted to go … part I.

6 Kellyology June 28, 2011 at 10:47 pm

What she said. :) Excellent post. So happy to have met you in person at the conference.
Kellyology recently posted..Wedding Flowers – Money Saving Techniques to Create a Beautiful Memory

7 Lindsey June 28, 2011 at 11:14 pm

I’ve always wondered about these types of conferences. Hummm, sounds like there is much to be learned. Thanks for the rundown.
Lindsey recently posted..Teach Anticipation and Foresight. Plan a Hike.

8 Meghan June 28, 2011 at 11:57 pm

I couldn’t have put it better myself! Perfect and I had so much fun.
Meghan recently posted..I Heart You–Wordless Wednesday #WW

9 Shanna Goodman June 29, 2011 at 12:19 am

Well said! I enjoyed meeting you though we didn’t spend a whole lot of time together. I have to admit that I remembered you as “Adventuroo” and not “Melissa.” :)

10 Shanna Goodman June 29, 2011 at 12:21 am

And….. in a comment referencing Twitter, I forgot to add my Twitter handle. Hmmm. Here it is now. :)

11 Living the Balanced Life June 29, 2011 at 6:57 am

I know we ran in some similar circles, but unfortunately I don’t think we ever officially met! I am glad you enjoyed the conference, and you are so right on in all your points here!
One hard one for me it to miss sessions so I can meet and talk with people instead! I feel like I am missing out. But like you said, some of the best connecting goes on OUTSIDE of the session rooms!
Hope to meet you next year!
Living the Balanced Life recently posted..8 ways to slow life down

12 lisa @thebeadgirl June 29, 2011 at 9:38 am

yes yes yes! great post and so so true!

next year there will be QR code tattoo’s :)
lisa @thebeadgirl recently posted..How to create a Vision Board for Kids

13 blueviolet @ A Nut in a Nutshell June 29, 2011 at 10:16 am

The wifi, oh boy…that was something, wasn’t it? I am so bummed we didn’t get a chance to meet! Next time, definitely!!

14 Sheridan June 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm

This is great. I am planning on going to BlogHer this summer and sort of dreading it. (I already bought the ticket and it is in driving distance, so I know I will go, but…)

I went to a Birthing Conference last weekend and it was great, so I know a blogging conference will be great too!
Sheridan recently posted..Day 2 of the CAPPA conference was great!

15 karen ho fatt@fire pit reviews June 29, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Insightful post. Item 2-I ditto that opinion about twitter. I am not a parent but being away from my nieces and nephews for more than a week can be daunting. It would be interesting to go to one of these conferences, the learning never seems to stop.
karen ho fatt@fire pit reviews recently posted..Landmann 28347 Big Sky Fire Pit, Wildlife Pattern Review – Rustic Backyard Fun

16 Audrey's Mom July 1, 2011 at 11:37 pm

I found myself feeling silly for selecting an inappropriate twitter handle and promptly changed it when I returned. Now @toddleraudrey is accurately @audreysmamma. Next time I won’t feel so silly when my twitter handle is my AKA.

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