Sunday, September 30, 2007
2007 PNME After Thoughts
So the 2007 "Podcast Expo" has come to a close. I've been fortunate enough to attend since the beginning, all three years. And I've already booked my hotel at next years event, the 2008 New Media Expo. Yeah... another name change. :)
The expo is always an interesting and exciting time for me, as I get to meet 5 groups of people.
Listeners and/or fans
The first group is always a rush. Yes, as I said on one of the talks I gave, I'm in this for the ego boost. I'm in it for lots of other reasons, too. But the ego boost ranks right up there. As the PotUSA say, 'Everybody wants to be naked and famous'. These people can recharge me after a long day (or the morning after a longer night) without fail. Heck, it happened in the airport on the way home, when I was moments from curling up in corner waiting for the flight. Nope, wide awake afterwards and buzzing again!
The second group is the "fall back" collective. I don't mean that in a bad way. I think of these people as family (others have called it a Tribe), and it's the most natural thing to walk up to them in the middle of a conversation and just chime in, with not much more preamble than a much-needed hug to kick things off. I truly love these people. The composition changes from conference to convention -- as does their size -- but they remain an unwaivering highlight of any trip.
Something strange happens every year at the Expo. I see a group of people -- some 20 or so -- who I only see once a year: at the Expo. The rest of the year, our correspondence is usually limited to the occasional Skype or email conversation, though it's been boosted this year by the advent of Twitter. But outside of that, I only see these people at the Expo, and every time we meet, we fall right back into the friendship like it's been some unit of time a lot smaller than a whole year. And when we said our goodbyes this year, it was with calls of "See you in Vegas!". There's something magical about a friendship that needs no more -- or less -- work than that.
Though the Expo didn't grow a whole lot this year over last, I've gotten to know a lot more people in the new media space than before. And though we've never met, we've struck up a friendship thanks to the interwebs. Over last weekend, I got to move a lot of those into one of the two previous categories. But I'll keep making online friends through the course of this year, and I'll finally get a chance to meet them next year in Vegas.
But of course, no Expo would be complete without someone acting as a 'connector', dragging me along and saying "You have got to meet this person!" I do, and many times that connection leads to something more. Other times it comes from a turning to the guy or gal on the barstool next to me and saying "Hi. Tell me your story". Or maybe I heard them speak and made it a point to go out of my way to strike up a conversation. I look forward to the next year where I can get to know them better and grow the friendship. And when we meet again, we'll see which category they move into!
I'll end with a thought: as much as I enjoy the "social" aspect of the Expo, not everyone wants, needs or maybe even understands what it is that I and just about everyone listed above is talking about. At the Expo, I know for a fact that many people attended the sessions, walked the Expo floor, found a place to have dinner, and then retired to their rooms to watch TV or work the night away. All while us social butterflies partied the night away. And that's OK. People have different wants and needs. We should all be wary of assuming that what we think is required to make the show successful is really what is required to make the show successful for everyone else. I'll have more to say on this in the coming weeks/months.
And in case I don't see you before: see you in Vegas!