One week from tomorrow, I’ll be hopping in the car and making the marathon drive down south for my favorite genealogy event of the year: the Southern California Genealogical Society’s Jamboree.
Don’t think that means I’m packing, this far in advance. I tend to do that sort of prep work all in one swoop, the night before heading out.
There is one aspect I am attending to this early, though: planning my networking strategy. After all, one of the virtues of attending conferences in person is meeting people. Otherwise, why endure a six hour road trip? I could just stay home and check out live streaming of key sessions in the comfort of my own living room.
That, however, wouldn’t offer the opportunity to get to know my fellow genealogy enthusiasts—and certainly would not afford me the chance for face time with my favorite geneabloggers. We all spend enough time connecting online, as it is. It’s good to switch things up and go the personal route sometimes. I may be a wallflower, but I’m certainly not a couch potato.
So, when I read that another geneablogger is going to be at Jamboree, I send her a tweet to make initial contact—or an email, if we’re not connected via Twitter. I’ll never forget the time I learned, through a blogger’s post after Jamboree, that we had both been in the same sessions but hadn’t realized it! I don’t want to come away from this four day extravaganza (including DNA Day) without meeting with people I know from blogging and research connections.
Granted, those are online connections. You and I might spend a few virtual minutes together each day—at the very least, tag teaming it—over the posts at A Family Tapestry, but if I were to cross paths with you in real life, it’s quite likely we’d both be oblivious to that fact. Unless, that is, we had some way to be alerted to that detail and to then introduce ourselves.
This is our chance to give each other that heads up.
Besides—okay, you shrinking violets out there, back me up on this!—how many of us are quite handy at walking into a room full of strangers, sticking out our hand at random and shouting, “HI! MY NAME IS….”
Isn’t it so much nicer to discover who the other person is, ahead of time? To make plans to find that person and grab a moment to chat?
I’ll never forget the time I realized I was sitting across the aisle from fellow blogger Melanie Frick: it was after tweeting a comment about the Jamboree session I was attending. I had used that year’s Jamboree hashtag; right away, she saw it. The inevitable follow-up:
Where are you?
That is how we met. If not that way, I’d likely had never known she was there.
I would much rather meet people that way, than to shoulder my way through an army of strangers in hopes of connecting with someone I’ve never seen in real life. Yeah, I know: shy and retiring. But I have lots of company.
I once went to a place for lunch, a restaurant in the Bay Area whose cheeky menu invited comments—even complaints. “You have a mouth; use it” was their tag line.
Now we’re in the twenty first century. That motto may as well read, “You have a Twitter account; use it.”
At least, I do; it’s @jacqistevens. If you have a Twitter account too, and are planning to attend Jamboree, why not do two things during this week leading up to Jamboree Day One:
- Send me a tweet saying you’ll be there too, and
- Use the Twitter hashtag #scgs2015 for all your tweets during Jamboree.
Consider yourself deputized to become a part of Team #scgs2015. In today’s world of social media, anyone can, really. Together, we’ll not only blanket the social media genea-sphere with our take on Jamboree proceedings, but send out a signal that says, “Hey, I’m here, too!”
That way, you and I and everyone else there can connect on a more personal level. After all, if we’re not connecting while we’re all there together, we may as well have taken it all in from the couch-potato hermitage of our own homes.