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Why Attend a Social Media Conference?

Me Ra Koh

Top three take-aways from EVO:

1. I REALLY need to step into the current century and swap  my Blackberry for an iPhone!

2. Twitter is more powerful than I realize!

3. Oprah doesn’t have it all figured out, and that’s why we LOVE her so much!

I’m a newbie to Social Media conferences, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when Brian and I arrived at EVO.  Can I just say my expectations were blown out of the water!!  First of all, Utah…PARK CITY…is CRAZY BEAUTIFUL-TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY-PINCH YOURSELF EVERY MORNING YOU OPEN YOUR CURTAINS kind of scenery!  Just look at this cloud photo Brian took on his iPhone!

With a gorgeous background, this was the most fun three day conference (and not just for me and Brian but our WHOLE family)!  The kids went to the coolest adventure day camp, riding gondolas up to awesome hiking trails (Pascaline saw her first MOOSE!), swimming in the afternoon, bowling, and more!

The keynotes were fascinating, especially hearing the candid creative process that Oprah and the Harpo team are in the midst as they reinvent themselves with OWN.   The workshops had such great hands-on takeaway too!  Brian and I had a blast doing an intensive photography workshop with the fabulous WhiteOnRice duo.

And all the EVO sponsors were incredibly approachable from the Sesame Street marketing team to the Southwest Airlines group to crying over babies stories in the Huggies suite.

But what strikes me most about this conference is what was missing from EVO.   Ego.  Ego was totally missing from this conference!  No rock star attitudes whether you were the VP Creative Director at Harpo or a down-to-earth @Bloggess who keeps it real while blowing her audience away, despite her fears of presenting.   Instead of ego, there was intense PASSION for making the world a better place, whether your tool is Social Media or a nerf gun with intention of empowering other parents to engage in SERIOUS PLAY with their kids (thank you Meredith!).  There was room for every kind of passion, and I especially love the ones that have a mind to spread sparkles everywhere!

Everyone I met at EVO was so incredibly approachable, friendly, wanting to learn from each other–I wish I had more time with every new friend I made.

(me with Meredith from Hoo-dee-Hoo!)

And I know I made new life long friends that will help me grow and laugh along the way.

(me and Rachael Herrscher of Today’s Mama / Co-Founder of EVO)

Whether you are a newbie to blogging, Twitter, and every other vice of Social Media, or maybe you are an old pro at it all, or maybe you want an excuse to come to one of the most beautiful places in the world and make new friends while your kids have a blast at the coolest day camp (and you scream your pants off on the Alpine Coaster)–whatever reason you can justify to come to EVO next year–YOU HAVE TOO!  The word is that EVO’s Early Bird Registration started (and last year they sold out lighting fast!).

And Jeramy, dudes are invited too!!  The tagline of the conference is “the evolution of women in social media” but it was awesome to see a handful of men attend who are interested in seeing how women are shaking up the sm world!

Big shout out to my amazing publisher, Amphoto Books/Random House!  They gave a copy of “Your Baby in Pictures” to the first TWO HUNDRED people to grab their seat for my closing Keynote!  I LOVE this photo!  It’s the perfect combination; women laughing while eating chocolate and holding my book!

But seriously, I can’t thank YOU enough for all your well wishes, thoughts and prayers toward my Closing Keynote.  I practiced that talk for weeks, and I can’t imagine it going any better.  My stomach was a flurry of butterflies in the hours leading up to my talk, but when it came time to get on stage I thought of Oprah’s words “Fill Your Space”, and I went for it.

The response that has followed on Twitter has left me speechless.  So many hearts resonated with what I shared, and I love that we got to go on a journey from a psych ward to the jungles of Thailand to the Nate Berkus Show set–and we even whooped like Gibbon Apes with Pascaline’s help!  (big thanks to Trevor Christensen for these photos!  I love my baby girl’s smile as she stands on stage with me!)

When we left Utah Tuesday night, I tweeted “My heart is full.”  EVO truly filled my heart on so many unexpected levels. Fingers crossed we’ll see eachother next year!

Thank you to the amazing #evoconf team for ALL their hard work, thinking of the smallest details, and making us feel so welcome.  It was a honor to be with all of you!

I took a TON of photos at the party after my keynote, if we got a photo together will you tag me on Facebook on this page?  I’d love to see them and stay in touch!

Now, for those of you who are veterans at attending social media conferences, what are your favorite reasons for going?

xoxo,

m

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  1. Kathy

    July 14th, 2011 at 8:08 am

    It was an honor to meet with you prior to your presentation. (I was the mama in the back with the baby in the stroller).

    My biggest take away is this: we are united through a digital sisterhood and have the power to make a difference.

    My company (www.littlestinkerusa.com) donates 10% of our profits to providing diapers to families in need. (my intention for sharing this is not a shameless plug) After meeting with the Huggies team and the gal that started the diaper bank it made me want to do more. I’m working on creating a diaper drive in our community.

    My second take away was your gift. Your book. I read it cover to cover and even cried a little at the end where you so sweetly talk about the changing phases of a baby and how we try to capture the milestones in the stories we tell through the pictures we take. Each day since the conference I have used your tips and photo recipes to tell the story of my children.

    Thank you.

    Sending you much love,

    Kathy Dalton aka Danish Mama
    @Kathydaltonslc

  2. jeramy

    July 14th, 2011 at 8:57 am

    it was so fun to watch you during the keynote. so great!

  3. Cyndi

    July 14th, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Hey Congratulations!Sounds like you did an amazing job, and I am dying to see your keynote speech! Can anyone out there let me know where I can see it, since I missed it live?
    You deserve and have earned every wonderful experience you are receiving Me Ra!
    Congrats!

  4. Jen @how_i_mountain

    July 14th, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I LOVE that you loved it here. I lucky enough to call Park City and the surrounding area home, and it takes my breath away every day. As the self-proclaimed ambassador of the country, I really wanted all the EvoConf attendees to appreciate how awesome it is here.

    Thanks for sharing your story. You inspire me.

  5. Amy Harman

    July 14th, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I loved your keynote speech so much! I laughed and cried and became a little better for listening to you. I am so inspired, and I’m still thinking about it. One of my favorite parts of your keynote is the concept of living with fear and doubt. It’s true, fear and doubt will always be with us to some degree, but we must live our lives anyway!

    I can’t wait to read your book, “Beauty Restored”!

    Thanks.

  6. jennyonthespot

    July 14th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I have a pic of We! Or, Laurie Turk has one! I’ll track it down 🙂

    Your keynote was so heart-fulfilling. Thank you so much for sharing your story… sharing your heart… sharing your joy-filled smile. It was a privilege to meet you and I will try hard not to be too stalker-y – especially when driving through T-Town 😉 I just think you are super sparkly neat-o!

  7. gigi

    July 14th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    As I said to you after your keynote, I felt like I was meant to attend Evo just to hear your speech. timely words in an inspiring format. Your energy and positive spirit is just infectious. Thank you so much for blessing us with your stories!

  8. Jamielyn@iheartnaptime

    July 14th, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    It was so great to meet you! I absolutely loved your key note. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. You are absolutely beautiful and I admire all the wonderful things you are doing with your life.

  9. Emily

    July 14th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Best. Keynote. Ever. I am still glowing. Well, not as much as you but I’m learning.

  10. Charlotte

    July 14th, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Me Ra’s world-rockin’ speech here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/15897854
    This message was the knot at the end of the rope for my down-trodden soul.

  11. Daisy Reyes

    July 14th, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I hope after visiting Utah and seeing its beauty, you’ll consider doing a confidence workshop here someday.

  12. Maya Bisineer

    July 15th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    So glad we met. And so so sad to have missed your keynote 🙁
    Am sure we will see each other again!
    XO

  13. andrea S

    July 18th, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Just watched it…and LOVED it! MeRa, I’ve heard your story several times and it NEVER gets old. So inspirational and beautiful. I always feel uplifted after hearing you speak. Keep spreading your story and inspiration. The world NEEDS it.

  14. Alisa: Modern Palm

    July 19th, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Loved meeting you and hope we can get to know each other better at future conferences. Your keynote was amazing and inspiring! Your positive attitude is so refreshing and I just love that you are willing to share yourself and your story so that others can grow and learn… so very unselfish! Thank you! xoxo

  15. Claudia Constantino (@citygirl912)

    July 20th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    So exciting to hear MeRa! I am a HUGE fan of Social Media! I’ve loved Twitter from the moment I first signed on in 2009. I found that it brought a wealth of information into the palm of my hand! It also helped me connect w/ a community of people with like interests who are all so supportive and caring. I’ve seen tremendously successful businesses built exclusively through word of mouth marketing on Twitter. My “shiny” new social media toy is Google+ and I was so excited to see that there is already a list of photographers to follow on there: http://www.recommendedusers.com/Photographers/

    What I love most about media is that it connects people and fosters an environment where you can share information and common interests.

    So I’m so excited to read this blog post and see you delve into it a little more. I’m even more excited to hear you are getting an iPhone! Yahoooooo! It will change your life! 🙂 LOL I’m such an apple fangirl. 🙂

  16. Jill Greenlaw

    July 29th, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Thank you for sharing your story and your talent with so many of us at evo. I attended one of your workshops and I am forever changed. You have enspired me to pick up my camera again. I put it down when things got financially hard and we started having issues with our teenager. I literally wanted to climb in bed and flip to the next chapter of my life. Seeing your light, knowing you have overcome obstacles in your own life has giving me strength and hope for a brighter future. Thank you again for rekindling my passion for photography. I love to take pictures and now I am taking my camera and life off of automatic and dialing in to new hopes and dreams. I am so grateful for you. I have read your book you gave us and my pictures have really improved. I am now saving money so I can attend one of your classes next year. Your on my bucket list. Thank you again…Jill

  17. Raejean

    August 11th, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I’m grateful I could attend your keynote address. You are a blessing to women to share your story in a way that empowers them to overcome challenges and thrive. Thank you.

    I’m also enjoying your book to help me take great pictures of my new grandbaby!

  18. Blog Photography: 10 Ways to Gain Confidence With a Camera « Mom it Forward

    September 13th, 2011 at 6:40 am

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