Monday, May 26, 2008

Newbie will MESH you up

Wow, it has been a LONG time since I posted. In my defense, it has been a crazy month. Among the highlights, I attended the MESH conference -- my first, because for the first time MESH was not at the same time as BEA. And not only did I attend -- I was a panelist, on Social Media and the Enterprise. Oh, and in a random drawing I won a free copy of Microsoft Ultimate Office! W00t!! Best. Swag. Ever.

I have to say, the experience of being a panelist was first-rate. I really felt welcomed and taken care of by the entire conference staff, from the Tuesday appreciation night at the Drake to the MESH after-party on Thursday. Our esteemed moderator, Michael O'Connor Clarke, did a fantastic job of guiding the conversation to encourage meaty questions and divergent points of view. I appreciated that my fellow panelists had a different take on social media for business, and I'm glad I could provide a counter-point.

With free wifi and multiple electric outlets, it was amazing to look out from the stage and see a sea of laptops; and gratifying as a panelist to know that every time I referenced one of our online properties as an example, half the room would be looking it up right away. Talk about immediacy of impact!

It's incredible to see amount of Twittering that goes on at these digital-themed conferences. On two occasions I found that a panel was veering away from the topic I'd hoped they'd cover; both times all I had to do was check the tweetstream or the live blogs and I was instantly in touch with what was being covered in other rooms, by other workshops and panels. (I confess: once I even ducked out to catch the last half of another workshop after a hot tip via Twitter.)

Needless to say, as both an attendee and a panelist, I enjoyed myself immensely. The entire event ran seamlessly, which as a natural-born organizer and planner, I always deeply respect and appreciate as I know how much work goes into that appearance of seamlessness. And of course, I found the workshops and panels interesting and engaging, many of which sparked ongoing dialogues with many more questions raised than answered.

I have to confess though, that like many digital-themed conferences, my main takeaway was not anything I learned during the keynotes or panels, but the connections I made during the breaks, lunches, and after-parties. I met some truly fascinating people doing innovative work on both the technical, product side and the marketing / social media side. I look forward to maintaining the connections I made through Twitter and other means!

My final note about MESH: This is absolutely the LAST TIME I attend a conference without a laptop. I'm sick to death of being the only one scribbling on a notepad while all around me people are connected, live-blogging and twittering. Big shout-out to Eden Spodek for allowing me to read Twitter over her shoulder!

4 comments:

michaelo said...

Great to meet you at Mesh, Jenny, albeit briefly. It was good to see so many Harlequin folk at the conference, and really encouraging to hear how much good work you're doing in the social media space.

Jenny Bullough said...

Likewise, Michael! As with most medium-to-big companies, we're still figuring out how social media fits with our brands; but we believe it's important to experiment, and it's good to hear we're doing some things right! :)

Eden Spodek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bargainista said...

Jenny, you can read twitter over my shoulder anytime. After watching so many attendees liveblogging at mesh '06 and twittering at mesh '07, I was determined to bring my own laptop this year. ;)