I'm not surprised to find myself still brewing and unpacking the reverberations of this weekend at SOBCon07. The conference was a concentrated burst of energy, community and challenges, that I haven't been able to completely process.
Part of it for me, and I think for many attendees, was diving headlong into something completely new, without any expectation of what to expect, or what we'd get out of it.
I didn't know anyone but my buddy Phil Gerbyshak, so I had to step out and meet some new people. That's the wild thing though — people were stepping out to meet me, treating me as an old friend.
Some of this must be chalked up to knowing Phil, but much of the warmth and friendliness of other people seemed to be at the very core of the SOBCon vibe.
Here are some observations after much brewing and pondering:
We all came to give and take. Everyone present came ready to give something away, while being confident they would receive that much and more in return. Everyone I met was sharing energy, which encouraged me to keep sharing my energy.
This was our conference. Bloggers dreamed it up, handled the logistics, showed up and then created it like a barn raising. We connected and encouraged each other, challenged each other and made it happen. Two nights in a row, I witnessed people spontaneously gathering to talk, pulling chairs into circles until no chairs were left.
We are brands, like it or not. One thread running through the Saturday sessions was how we're all projecting a brand (ourselves), whether conscious or unconscious. From our writing to our blog design, everything we project and communicate is our brand. The challenge for everyone was how to sync your brand with who you really are.
We're communicators, not bloggers. David Armano challenged us to stop calling ourselves bloggers, and instead consider ourselves “conversation architects.” I'm a communicator — whether with words, sketches, graphics, sound or video — I aim to communicate with others through this space on the web. Rohdesign is now operating without "Weblog" in the title to reinforce this idea.
Conclusion: I had a great time at SOBCon07!
It was more powerful than I expected, and the people were wonderful. I've already established relationships with several people I resonated with, and plan to build more relationships as the week goes on. Relationships really are at the heart of SOBCon.
I was also challenged to step my communication to the next level. After 4+ years of writing at Rohdesign, I'm energized to keep on sharing, encouraging and learning.
I can't wait for SOBCon08!
Jonathan C. Phillips
Sabu N G
Dr. Rob Wolcott
Special thanks to Jonathan C. Phillips for providing this extensive list of attendees. :-)
Photo: Vernon Lun