Last week, I attended New Media Expo 2013 in Las Vegas. Formerly known as BlogWorld, it was my first year attending this conference. And let me say…it was awesome!
I found it interesting to be at a conference that wasn’t a blogging conference geared toward female bloggers. I love my lady blogger friends, but it was fun to meet a lot of smart guys that I could share my nerdy technical side with.
I included a photo collage in my Wordless Wednesday post about #NMX last week, but I didn’t say who was in the photos with me. Without further ado, here’s a rundown of some of the awesome people I spent time with at #NMX and the best parts of the conference:
The first day of the conference, I spent most of my time with @elijahryoung and @thatguydeuce. Both of them had attended BlogWorld in previous years, so they were able to introduce me to a lot of great people. Scott (@thatguydeuce) and I had gone to Dick’s Last Resort the night before, and it was a good kick-off to a really fun few days.
@ahockley – Aaron was one of the first people to reach out to me in the weeks leading up to NMX. Being a newbie this year, it was nice to establish a connection with someone before arriving. I attended his photography session titled “You’re a Better Photographer Than You Think You Are,” and got some great tips on how to use my new Canon Rebel T3i. He’s from the Portland area, which automatically makes him a winner in my book.
@WPmodder – Adam and I met at the opening party at Lavo. It was so loud in the club, and we both had been screaming to talk to people, so our voices were hoarse. We went out to the hallway to chat, and threw around blogging and WordPress ideas. He was an invaluable friend to make, because he was the one who connected me to so many other new friends during the conference. He was at the conference representing ManageWP, and he connected me to James, the CEO of ManageWP. He told me about FooBox, a great WordPress plugin for image management. We ended up hanging out several times through the conferences, including time at the top of the Rio at the Voodoo Lounge.
@jmowery of @ManageWP – James got the crash-course rundown on who I was from Adam, because I went to the ER for a reactive hypoglycemia attack (and I’d been updating Adam on how I was doing). When I was back from the hospital, I went to the expo hall to check out the booths, and briefly met James. Later in the evening, we became acquainted in the hotel bar with lots of other conference-goers. My favorite memory of the conference was when he was a bit tipsy from some vodka cranberry drinks, and he was just fascinated by me eating TicTacs. I would shake them out of the box, and it would look like the box was empty, but there were a few stuck up in the top (which you couldn’t see because the dispenser was covering them. But the next day I hung out at his booth with Adam and learned all about ManageWP, which is a great integrated dashboard product for WordPress users who manage multiple sites.
@WendysHat – Wendy and I met at Bloggy Boot Camp in 2010, and we’ve been wanting an excuse to see each other again. NMX was our excuse. She LOVES to wear hats, and I caught her for a photo-op at a rare moment where she didn’t have a hat on.
@cebsilver – Curtis and I met at Type-A Parent Conference in 2011 in Asheville, and we ate at a really good restaurant (and all I can remember is that I met Curtis that night and the food was good). I tend to run into him at a lot of conferences, and he was at NMX on behalf of Gunnar Optiks. I chilled with Curtis and the Gunnar folks, and spent some time in the pimped out Gunnar bus.
@Matt_Siltala – I have been following Matt online for several years, but had yet to meet him until NMX. He was there with the crew from Avalaunch Media, who are so local to me in Utah, I could walk from my house into their office. I think he’s pretty much a digital marketing rockstar, and it was fun to get to know him on a personal level.
@kristenwright_: Honestly, there weren’t a lot of women that I talked to at NMX that I didn’t already know. I met Kristen for dinner at the hotel bar with James and Adam, and we talked WordPress and ideas for upcoming website launches. It’s always refreshing to find ladies in the tech field who have a brain like mine (understanding the quirks of HTML) but also have a spunky side with an irreverent sense of humor. Kristen and I hit it off immediately, and I’m sad that this dinner was the only time we could hang out during #NMX.
@petershankman – Another digital marketer I admire, Peter and I ran into each other in the hall the first day. We’d met each other before, and I was impressed that with all of the people he meets, he immediately knew that he knew me. I’m excited that we got to connect at NMX because he’s the featured speaker for February’s Social Media Club of Salt Lake City event.
One of my favorite things about hanging out with my social media friends is that we are all alike. We can’t handle putting down our phones for more than the time it takes to eat a meal. We tweet. We take pictures of our food. We punch up a website in our mobile browser to show each other. We show each other the newest apps. I try to not be totally chained to my phone when I’m out to dinner, but when everyone else at the table is too…it’s hilarious. All of us snap photos of each other, and sometimes silly panorama shots appear online that show just how silly we are.
The content of the conference was some of the most relevant to my interests and career than any other conference I’ve attended to date. I love going to blogging conferences, but it was nice to be able to get a more integrated approach to new media, podcasting, blogging, and the evolution of digital marketing. Since I’ve become a social media manager for my company, learning about the ways to integrate strategies for different platforms has been a daily source of research. To be able to hear the latest and greatest from industry leaders made it 100% the price of admission. The fact that I was able to connect personally with people that are making a difference in the digital marketing and new media space was just icing on the cake. I just can’t get over how many cool people I met!
The opening night party of the conference was held at Lavo Nightclub in the Palazzo Hotel. Going clubbing in Vegas typically isn’t my thing, but I have to admit that it appealed to me a lot more this time around. I’ve lost a lot of weight, I had a cute and sexy dress, and I arrived without any group of friends. It made me go out of my shell to introduce myself, dance around, order my Diet Coke at the bar, and enjoy the energy of the club that hadn’t appealed to me much in the past. My main frustration was that it was so loud and so dark that you had to get up into the faces of the people you were talking with, and sometimes be cheek-to-cheek to hear what the other person had to say.
It was humorous to me that I was hit on by so many guys…because I wasn’t wearing a blingy ring. I was wearing my new Celtic ring from Ireland that Taylor got me for Christmas, which is a simple woven silver band. Even though it was on my left ring finger…I had some disappointed men when I mentioned my husband. It was the first time since losing my weight that I felt uber-attractive and got a lot of attention…and it was interesting that it coincided with the first non-female-focused conference I attended.
The only part of the conference that wasn’t fun was when I went to the Emergency Room. I partied too hard…which is funny to say for a girl who didn’t touch a drop of alcohol. I made the lousy mistake of staying up for 23 hours to play and party, then only slept for 3 hours, and then went to the hotel gym for a workout (since I knew it would be the only chance I had for the day). I went to a networking breakfast after, but apparently I didn’t eat enough. While I was in Guy Kawasaki’s keynote, I started feeling the evil crash of reactive hypoglycemia. Dizziness, double vision, sweating, and they chills. It was time to eat again – NOW.
I slipped out of the ballroom and got some food from the hotel convenience store. I sat down on a bench in the hallway to eat and recover, but it didn’t happen as quickly as usual. I flopped over so I could lay down on the bench, and a concerned conference-goer grabbed casino security for me. They called in the EMTs, who gave me some gross glucose gel and tried to get my blood sugar back up. Usually after 15 minutes, I feel remarkably better…but not this day. They called in the paramedics, who took my blood glucose level. Even though it was back in the normal range, my symptoms hadn’t improved. They strapped me on the gurney and rolled me out to the ambulance.
During the conference, there was a contest going for a free conference ticket for the best photos with the hashtag #NMX on Instagram. I was in a memorable predicament, so I had to document it for the chance to win. Once vitals were taken and oxygen administered, the paramedic took my picture in the ambulance. I Instagrammed that sucker, and arrived at the emergency room.
They took several vials of my precious blood, and hooked me up to an IV for fluids. The ER was busy, and since I was no longer a critical case at that moment, I knew I’d be there a while. I napped for the majority of the 4 hours at the ER, where they concluded that I was severely dehydrated and my electrolytes were out of whack. 3 bags of IV fluids later, they discharged me with the charge to rest and recuperate.
I still kept pretty busy during the rest of NMX, but that hospital visit was enough to scare me into not push it quite so hard. I ate more frequently, avoided a lot of physical activity, and spent time in conversation with friends instead of partying it up my last night in Vegas. I missed most of the conference on Monday, but caught everything I could on Tuesday. I spent a lot of time talking to people in the expo hall, and made some great contacts.
Overall, NMX was a blast…and I can’t wait for next year. Now, to see if I win a free ticket for next year for my ambulance Instagram photo…