As someone whose been to more than few conferences, the obvious question is, is there still value in going to a conference, and for me the answer is absolutely yes. Shawn Rorick the Director of Search Marketing for Cirque du Soleil, gave the opening keynote and spoke about the convergance of new media and old media, and how a website is part of an overall marketing strategy. It’s a concept he called Halo Media
taking a holistic marketing approach is something I’ve been trying to teach my clients, but halo media does a better job of simplifying the concept in a name. You can see all of Shawn’s presentation here
Something that was hard to miss at this years Pubcon was social media. I like that social media is now considered part of SEO (or maybe seo’s annoying little brother), but I dont think it’s going away even after the “shiny new toy” aspect wears off. I didn’t get to go to as many sessions as I wanted but I did read most of the recaps from SEORountable, We Build Pages, and Bruce Clay blog. As a sidenote I find the debate about live blogging kind of interesting. As a conference promoter I could see how you might view live blogging as a bad thing, but as a conference attendee or non conference atendee, if you think live blogging is any substitution for attending a conference you’re kidding yourself. Live blogging is good for sessions you couldn’t attend because of scheduling conflicts, but not for missing a show entirely. Being able to pull up a chair and talk with Greg about some ideas I have is a good thing. Getting to sit down and talk with Cesar Serna and talk about some plugin development is a good thing. Getting suckered by Vanessa into fixing her wordpress theme is good thing (at least that’s what she told me 🙂 ).
Going to Pubcon and going to conferences in general isn’t just about what you get in the sessions. It may seem like it’s fun getting to go to great parties like the search bash thrown by Webmaster Radio and Microsoft. But what it’s really about is connecting with friends, building relationships and trust.
The two most important things that I get out of every conference are new ideas and inspiration. When Lee Odden asked me to speak at Blog World, I found the inspiration to get off my butt and make the ViralConversations.com go from idea to reality. Meeting Sugarrae at 6:30 in the morning (because we were both still on east coast time) to play Pai Gow and then go to breakfast was the kick in the butt needed to get a neglected project back on track.
Going to a conference isn’t about what you learn, it’s about what you do with the knowledge and experiences when you get back.