In the spirit of practicing what I preach, I’m publishing a post today. I normally don’t publish on Saturdays. Saturdays are usually devoted to fun and, if I make time, reading. Reading during the week is purposeful; my goal is to keep up and ahead. But during the weekend, it’s more relaxed, for pleasure and intellectual stimulation.

This week I wrote about my wish for more fresh content on weekends. The post was inspired by the realization I had last weekend that my Facebook newsfeed was devoid of updates from organizations I follow. And my Google Reader, once I emptied it, wasn’t being populated by new posts to read. On the weekends I’m reading but not too many are publishing.

I learned through comments and tweets that most people aren’t reading or visiting blogs on the weekends. There are some of us, but we seem to be the exception. My blog traffic is quieter on the weekends so that proves that point.

But for those oddballs like me out there, here’s a quick peek at some of my recent guest posts on other blogs.

Tips to Reboot Your .Org Workforce’s Mindset at SmartBlog Insights – Inspired by astronauts and the Overview Effect, I share ways to “reset” at work.

BYO Meeting Evaluation Forms, Parts 1 and 2, at SmartBlog Insights – Too many times we want to give feedback about a meeting or conference, but the evaluation form doesn’t address our frustrations.

Even Small Staffs Can Blog at Splash – Yes, there are ways to manage a blog and publish content, even at a small staff organization.

MIA: Young Association Leaders at SmartBlog Insights – Where are the 30 year olds? Are associations attracting and preparing the next generation of leaders?


Like many of you, I didn’t attend Blog World Expo this year. Instead I blogged live from the TEDxRaleigh conference on Friday morning and left on Friday afternoon to go camping at Ocean Isle Beach. In putting this post together I dipped into the most recent portions of the #bwe10 hashtag archive and selected the posts that either described sessions or gave personal take-aways. If I encountered a pop-up window upon arriving at a blog, I shut it down – your obnoxious attempts to tease me with some lame offer result in no visit from me.

Maggie McGary wrote in her recap of BlogWorld that “being there was like swimming in a sea of Kool-Aid and everyone was drinking it. Maybe in the for-profit world experiences like that are par for the course, but in the association world, they are so rare as to be basically non-existent.” She also gave link love to these posts by other bloggers:

David Griner also wrote two other posts about sessions he attended:

Lisa Barone shares excellent and thorough daily recaps of three days at BlogWorld.

Lulu Grimm discusses how the need to be certain causes paralysis in blogging.

“Timeliness is everything” writes Callan Green in her ten takeaways from BlogWorld. That’s why I’m scrambling to write this post!

Corey Creed shares his notes from 11 sessions plus his final thoughts on the conference. He reminds us that content is still king.

A mind map drawn by John Haydon illustrates his social media on-ramp for nonprofits.

Priya Ramesh found five social refreshers at BlogWorld including “blog with passion and SEO will follow.”

Blogging and social media go hand in glove” is one of the five business trends that Anita Campbell uncovered at Blog World.

Barry Moltz share seven things he learned at Blogworld including “it’s all about how you tell the story.”

Have you written or read a good BlogWorld recap? Please share it in the comments below.

Fishing on Ocean Isle Beach, looking at Sunset Beach, not Las Vegas


I’m live blogging from TEDx Raleigh this morning. I’ll be posting notes as each speaker finishes. I’ve never done this before and will probably get distracted, so bear with me.

TEDx Raleigh is an independently organized TED-like event. TED’s annual conferences in California and Oxford UK are described as “riveting talks by remarkable people” and “ideas worth spreading.” Here are some of the ideas I’m hearing, as I’m hearing them.

Dean Hering, OVO Innovation, Chief Innovator at NetCentrics

By engaging their own passions, his company created an experience for those visiting the Michelin exhibit at the Detroit Auto Show. They knew that no one would visit a tire exhibit when new concept cars were being rolled out in other exhibits. Their visitors felt what it was like to experience the ride of different tires through history. Engage through experience.

How to get people engaged. Get them to bring their whole self to work:

  • Encourage appropriate fun.
  • Arouse people’s passion and tie it to something your organization provides.
  • Get people comfortable with taking risk and failing forward faster. If you’re comfortable with risk, you can change the world, or someone’s life.


David HwangThrive and Managed Data Group(MDG

Statistics was never my best subject so I’m sure I’ll miss a lot here. His company deals with big data. Statistics and big data can tell us stories about our world, like which urinal at the airport is used the most. Useful data for his clients. But you can’t always focus only on the data. Data can fool you if you don’t know what other factors are affecting it, like the World Cup going on. We’re not as smart as we think we are – J is for Jackass. Big data is often beyond our cognitive ability to understand — why we need tools to make sense of it.

What’s happening with data? It’s now more accessible to all. It’s also being used by non-humans — computers, robots. We’re in the era of Big Answers. Honestly, this presentation didn’t do much for me, as you can tell by my lousy interpretation, but I’m more of a verbal gal.


Liz Bradford – Scientific Illustrator

The collision of art and science. Art is a tool we use to learn about past civilizations. Art has always been a teaching tool — Leonardo da Vinci, for example. His study of science made his masterpieces possible. Darwin’s illustrations helped him to understand evolution. Pollock’s work as maps of inner reality. Modern art emerged at the same time as the scientific leap into quantum physics. Paradigm shift.

Drawing as meditation. The tiniest things can have infinite complexity – you can get lost in that. She definitely is “in the zone” when she’s drawing. She still remembers drawing sea shells long ago — memories of drawing stick with her. She really sees, in a way that I think many of us don’t, with both aware artist’s and scientist’s eyes.  I remember taking a drawing class years ago, and during that time, I did see the world in a different way, aware of space and contours and shadings. I miss that.

She made a trompe l’oeil painting in homage to Albert Einstein. Beautiful work. Trompe l’oeil is fool the eye, hyper-realistic paintings.

She spent a summer at Dinosaur National Monument – cliff with layers of dinosaur bones. She created a mural based on the bones. She makes educated guesses as to how they really looked. Hardest part – coming up with the whole picture, the big idea. How her mural will affect the views of kids — her favorite part. Artists have created every single image we’ve ever seen of dinosaurs – never thought of it that way.

Art is a tool to discover the world around us, to express outer and inner realities we face, a spiritual and meditative practice. Pick up a pencil and see the world.

My FAVORITE presentation so far. Loved it!


Matt KopaciContact

Convergence is happening between for- and non-profit organizations to solve big problems in innovative ways. Many for-profits are focusing more on purpose — social responsibility, green business — triple bottom line of people, planet and profits. Non-profits using revenue-generating programs and other business strategies to achieve their missions. Hybrid organizations are being created — for-benefit corporations.

Triple bottom line of people, planet and profits are not mutually exclusive, in reality, it’s just the opposite. Certified B corporation – focus on stakeholder interests and using the power of business to change the world.

B corps as a marketing opportunity: Employees are seeking meaning in their work. Consumers are more aware of who’s socially responsible. Managers believe there are factors as important as profit. Tax incentives. Investments are flowing to socially responsible companies. You can take a B corp or Green Plus assessment to see how your business is doing.

Legislation is pending in NC to make B corporations a legal structure. NC already has 15 B corporations, second highest in country, only behind California. We vote with our dollars, our purchases — that’s how we can support B corporations.


Phew, live blogging is hard. Fingers don’t always keep up with the ears and brain.

The second session starts with a video of David Blaine’s talk about holding his breath. What a freakazoid, but fascinating. Very dead-pan delivery about dying and being brought back to life after lots of other exploits. It’s amazing what this guy has put himself through, for what? To break a record? Fame? Because he’s a performer and magician. But he has great observation skills about what’s happening in his body while he’s in the process of dying. A New York magician’s version of Jill Bolte Taylor experiencing a stroke.

Josh WhitonTransLoc

Josh, who in the brochure is described as a CEO who is “working on an electric car startup, an urban farm, and a lecture series that he hopes will nourish many an intellect in his neighborhood,” presents us a “carefully crafted portrait of a healthy successful man,” but says that it rings hollow. He spent many years living with severe depression. A psychiatrist prompted him to recall if something happened to him before he became depressed. It had. He lost his religion and became convinced that life was meaningless. It almost sounds like he overthought his way into depression.

His “grand ephiphany” came one day. What if he didn’t know the real truth about the world and life? Life was a mystery again. His depression ended.

We are not alone in our minds. He talks about the monkey mind that happens when you meditate — assailed by thoughts, images, etc. His depression was a disagreement between his conscious and subconscious minds. For him, his depression was a necessary process for him to self-actualize. I’m thankful I don’t feel the need for depression to self-actualize. It seems that choice is missing in this talk, but I guess choice is not an option for someone who’s depressed.



Bob Davis – Backyard Chicken Advocate, founder of the Tour de Coop

Chickens to the rescue! Chickens can save the planet! Chickens can help restore our connection to the earth – get us back in touch with natural cycles.

When in England he saw that many people kept chicken coops at home. Back in Raleigh, one mile from the Capitol, he built a coop. Then he started teaching chicken keeping 101 — 700 people have taken his class. Why is there a revival of chicken coops?

Chickens can change you. A guy he knows sits by his chickens at the end of the day. All his troubles fall away as he becomes present. He found a connection to the earth. Bob does not look stressed.

Home-raised chicken eggs are healthier than factory eggs. Chickens eat insects, weeds and weed seeds. They turn your compost daily and add their own “black magic” to it. Make fishing flies from the feathers of your own chickens.

Industrial Revolution gave us a linear process with which we messed up the planet. Compare that with nature, which runs well without our intervention. Nature is circular — web of life. Birds respond to nature — they sense the change in the length of days.

Chickens might be a good substitute for yoga — being present, connection to breath/nature, stress reducer, plus eggs!

Chickens don’t have an odor. In nature, they sleep in tree limbs — an odor would make them prey. Factory chickens are stinky, but backyard chickens aren’t. They’re not noisy. Hens cackle at about 60 decibles; a dog’s bark is 100. Chickens live into their teens.

I’m learning a lot about chickens. We do have room for them, hmmm. The next Tour de Coop is May 21. I’m intrigued. My second favorite presentation so far.


Richard HolcombCoon Rock Farm

Rich grew up farming and has always loved it. When he came of age, the farming mantra was “Get Big or Get Out,” so he did. He went on to become a software entrepreneur. He was getting tired of that and saw that his kids weren’t having the same childhood experiences that he had; they were watching tv, staying indoors and fighting. He bought a farm out in the country and they spent weekends on it. Soon the kids didn’t want to return to Raleigh. They weren’t fighting anymore.

He talks about how farming has become an industry — big factory farming. Monocultures. What used to be manure that served as fertilizer for crops is now industrial waste. Farmers who don’t have animals purchase fertilizer made from petroleum. Nature never intended cows to live the way they do in factory farms. They’re sick cows; their milk has to be pasteurized. Factory cows live knee-deep in their own poop, side by side in huge lots. 80% of ground beef is doused with ammonia before you eat it. Oh yum. Same deal with factory pigs and chickens who live in fake environments.

There’s a better way, we can fix this — farm to fork movement. Farms can have chickens pecking around in the grass, imagine that! Farms don’t have to be monocultures – his farm is home to cows, pigs, sheep and chickens.

The real cost of factory food – pollution, carbon, water (the Central Valley is an irrigated desert), health care, farm bill (federal subsidies – 40% of factory farm costs come from these subsidies), and military costs (lives/budget) to keep the oil flowing.

Question he gets all the time: but can you feed the world on organic non-factory food? Rodale Institute study – organic farming produces exact same yields of corn and soybeans as conventional farming with less energy expended.

The choice is yours — what are you buying? I just wish organic and real food wasn’t as expensive as factory food. I wish it was in my local supermarket — that depends on the demographics of where you live. I’m conflicted about this all the time.


I had to leave the conference at noon.

working on an electric car
startup, an urban farm, and a lecture series
that he hopes will nourish many an intellect
in his neighborhood.

Tomorrow I’m spending the morning at TEDx Raleigh, an independently organized TED event. TED’s annual conferences in California and Oxford UK are “riveting talks by remarkable people” with “ideas worth spreading.” TEDx Raleigh runs all day but I’m leaving at lunch to go camping at the beach – unfortunate timing but it’s no fun to set up camp in the dark.

Last spring I attended TEDxRTP. I was intellectually stimulated all day long and left with lots of ideas — some found their way into blog posts and presentations, some are still simmering away in my brain. It was a fantastic experience so I look forward to tomorrow.

I’m tempted to compare TEDx to a French 17th century salon but I bet TEDx is better. In Mme. de Rambouillet’s salon, you would be surrounded by other rich coddled sophisticates with perhaps a struggling handsome young poet thrown in for exotic appeal. At TEDx you hear from people outside your normal bubble about ideas and projects you might not normally read or think about. Diversity in thought and perspective is such a rich valuable experience, yet we don’t often have a chance to enjoy it up close and personal, except on Twitter of course.

I was looking through my notes from the TEDxRTP and found some that still tickle my brain.

Tribes & organizations

The future is malleable. Think about what the future should look like and draw up a plan to make it a reality — a good board exercise.

Tribes can change our world. Find something worth changing and assemble your tribe.

Transformational organizations are those with high over-arching missions that promote and inspire selfless service. They have the methodology to give people what they want – transformation. Trappist monasteries, the Marines and Alcoholics Anonymous are examples of transformational organizations. Associations can be a vehicle for transformation, giving members the opportunity to grow, get passionate, learn and contribute.

The building of Europe’s great cathedrals required centuries of sustained civic and spiritual determination. Innovative engineering, architectural and construction techniques — like pointed arches, ribbed vaulting and flying buttresses (ah, memories of art history!) — were used. The cathedrals inspired civic pride and transmitted a legacy of spiritual knowledge. Except for the master architect, we don’t know the names of the men who helped build them, but we marvel at what they accomplished. At a time when famine and disease were rampant, these impoverished people committed to building something they would never see completed in their lifetime. In an attention-deficit I-want-it-now culture with an eye on the next quarterly report, are we still capable of achievements like that?

Personal growth

We should all have a personal board of directors that acts as a trusted support system, providing different perspectives and truthful feedback. It’s unfortunate that many real boards don’t offer that to their organizations.

Jot down your ideas all the time. Carry a notebook. Keep one by the bed on your desk and in your car. Pay attention to your ideas; write them all down, even the wacky ones. Creativity is like a muscle that needs exercising or it will atrophy. If you don’t capture your ideas, you’ll stop recognizing the good ones. I made a note to start mind-mapping, but I must confess that I haven’t yet.

Shift your fear of failure to fear of regret. That’s one to live by.

What’s appealing about many movies? They’re a story of someone’s transformation. We watch vicariously; we want the transformational experience.

Make a daily habit of being still; renewing yourself. I’ve written about meditation on my other blog. It amazes me how five minutes of being still and present can make a positive difference in my day.


Outside my bubble

Online games can be incubators of collaboration and leadership as players practice real life skills.

Do you know about the astronaut overview effect? I didn’t and it blew my mind. Apparently the Earth doesn’t look like the photos that are sent from space. When astronauts see the Earth from space, the experience has a huge lasting emotional effect, one that is studied by NASA and others. It’s not space euphoria, but a shift in perspective. The astronauts believe that if everyone had the opportunity to see Earth as they have — a whole planet — it would give us a more unified global perspective.

We also heard about Indian healthcare, real food, homelessness and relationships, missing fathers, benefit corporations and more.

Have you ever done the wave at a conference? We did. How about watching an improv performance or hearing a classically trained new music trio? We did. If TEDx comes to a town near you, take a day off and go.

Have you been to TED or a TEDx event? I’d love to hear about your experience.

Blogging has been on my mind a lot lately. I’m working on a post about blogger’s block and how to break through it, and plan to write more about blogging and content marketing in the future, particularly from a small staff perspective.

But mostly, blogging has been on my mind because I recently realized I really like doing it. I love writing for this blog, my personal blog Grabbing the Gusto, and SmartBlog Insights, an association and non-profit industry blog. Writing makes me happy. I could spend, and have spent, all day doing it, and that’s a good day by me.

I started blogging after getting to know some association bloggers on Twitter. One day in the spring of 2009, someone started a meme about volunteering and I decided to take the plunge. The reception from the blogger community was welcoming and generous. That sense of community has been the best reward.

Blogging also gives me the opportunity to share what I know and love. That’s why I’ve been focusing lately on social media basics. I’ve always enjoyed teaching and training others; this is yet another platform. Of course, there is the recognition. Who wouldn’t love that? Especially when recognition often leads to clients and contracts…

…or, free full conference registration and Southwest airfare when you win Dads Talking Blog World Expo Giveaway. So that’s where I’m going with this! Yes, the Blog World & New Media Expo is happening in a few weeks in Las Vegas. I’ve already spent my professional development budget, yet with my developing focus on blogging and writing, this is the ONE conference I would love to attend. Perhaps, with the help of Southwest, Blog World Expo and you, I’ll win the Dads Talking contest.

me and dad (and mum and bro) many years ago

You’re thinking, um, hello, you’re not a dad. Yes, know that, but I’ve searched on Topsy and I don’t see any other entries. Thanks, Maggie, for the heads up on that. My boyfriend’s a dad; he thinks I should win, so I’ve got the dad seal of approval. No children will miss me when I’m gone. Okay, maybe a dog and a cat, but they’re rooting for me too.

Several friends from the association community are going to #bwe10, including Maggie McGary, Sandra Giarde, Kiki L’Italien and Jeff Hurt. I’m sure other friends and acquaintances from the social media community will be there too. The brain buzz and friend potential from a conference like this is beyond compare. Imagine, a conference full of blogging and social media geeks! That’s my Vegas.

And the speakers! Scott Stratten (aka @unmarketing) is a keynote, along with one of my long-time copywriting heroes, Sonia Simone, plus Problogger Darren Rowse and Copyblogger Brian Clark. I can hardly look at the session schedule. I’ve taken a few peeks but it seems too cruel to really look if I don’t end up going.

I’m hungry for blogging knowledge, eager to meet more Twitter friends, excited to see my IRL friends and thirsty for beer. Beer and conversation  about kick-ass keynotes and sessions, the state of the blogosphere and our dads.

How can you help me? It will be easy, I promise. Just tweet this (with the hashtag) a few times a day or as much as your twitter stream can bear:

I’d love @deirdrereid to win Dads Talking Blog World Expo Giveaway. Thanks @SouthwestAir & @BlogWorld. Pls RT. #bwe10

If you don’t tweet, please leave a comment of best wishes for me, I’d appreciate that too. Thanks in advance for any comments or tweets you, your followers, friends and dads can send out on my behalf. The contest ends Thursday, September 30th at Midnight PST. Thanks to Southwest and Blog World for making this even possible.

Blog World is the premier conference for bloggers and social media, with your help, I can get there. Thanks.

me and dad a few years ago

I can’t help myself. Whenever I go anywhere for more than a night, I have to check out my neighborhood and find out the locations of the nearest grocery store, good beer selection and cheap eats.

However, I’ve learned that when I attend conferences, even if I bring a Word doc full of beer and food recommendations, it’s rare that I get to more than one of them. Usually because I’m going along with the flow from sessions to receptions to pre-planned dinners and then convenient watering holes, and my list stays tucked away in its folder. But, I’m always prepared, and now you can be over-prepared too!


During #asae10 I’m staying at the Westin Bonaventure in the downtown financial district at 404 S. Figueroa St. The Convention Center is about eight blocks away at 1201 S. Figueroa St. There’s a Ralphs market about six blocks away at 645 W. 9th St. If there is time to venture out of the neighborhood, the 7th Street Metro Center is only two blocks away. I’ve learned that there’s an exercise circuit on the 2nd floor, food court on the 4th, a Subway on the 6th and a revolving restaurant and lounge on the 35th. How retro!

Apparently the hotel is a modernist nightmare that’s worn and in desperate need of renovation. No big deal because there’s a brewpub, Bonaventure Brewing Company on the 4th floor. I haven’t read any decent reviews on the beer sites so I don’t have high expectations. I confirmed with the Director of Operations Suzanne Melson that they have free wifi. Beer? Wifi? My LA office! Happy hour is Monday-Friday 3:30-7:30 p.m. Their current seasonal is a Hefeweizen.

You might have flashbacks when walking into the Bonaventure. It’s where True Lies filmed the chase scene where Arnold rides a horse into the elevator.


Coffee & Wifi

If you can’t find free wifi in the hotel, here are some nearby places.

  • Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf – 601 West 5th St.
  • Starbucks – 445 S. Figueroa St. (Union Bank), 505 S. Flower St. (Arco Plaza), 444 S. Flower St. and 400 S. Hope St.
  • 7th & Fig shopping center – few stores, several food options, open Sat 10-6, Sun 12-5, M-F 10-7


There are many sources for beer reviews (Beer Advocate, Pubcrawler and more) but I like Beermapping the best. All locations are plotted on a map so it’s easy to figure out what’s nearby. Their reviews are limited but usually thoughtful.

  • Bonaventure Brewing Company – I found a video of their patio.
  • BottleRock at 1050 S. Flower St., east of and in the same building as the Rivera Restaurant at the corner of 11th and Hope. In addition to their huge wine list, they have an extensive beer list with a dozen microbrews on tap.
  • Yard House at 800 W. Olympic Blvd. They have 100 taps, mainly American craft beer, but also Belgian, German, Czech and others.
  • Library Bar at 630 W. 6th St (6th & Hope, enter on Hope), has a large beer menu.
  • Wurstkuche at 800 E. 3rd St, has 25 beers on tap, mostly Belgian and German. They describe themselves as an “exotic sausage grill located in the downtown historic arts (warehouse) district”. The menu is in fact limited to sausage and Belgian fries, yum. I read that it’s not clearly marked so a little hard to find, but well worth the hunt.
  • If you’re in Hollywood, the Blue Palms Brewhouse is at 6124 Hollywood Blvd.


It’s true that I am usually thinking about my next meal. Here are some good resources to learn about what LA has to offer for good eating.

I like eating fresh real local food whenever possible, but I’m not against going to places that are city icons, especially when there’s maple bacon donuts involved. I had enough 5-star expensive meals in my earlier years that I’m not really interested in that anymore, something my wallet is happy about. Here are some regular places that caught my eye.

For mid-day eats, the menu at Mendocino Farms looks fantastic. Real local food. There are two locations: one in the California Plaza at 300 S. Grand Ave. (open 11-3 Mon-Fri) and one in the Citibank building at 444 S. Flower St. (open 11-7:15 Mon-Fri).

Wurstkuche, mentioned above, is on the short list too, open 11 to midnight (Sundays open at 12).

The French Dip sandwich is an LA invention. Two places claim to have invented it and have been serving it for about 100 years – Phillipe’s and Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet. Cole’s is closer to the hotel at 118 E. 6th St, a 17-minute walk according to Google.

If you have time for breakfast, The Pantry, at 9th and Figueroa, is another local institution that’s been around since 1924. Reviews are very mixed, but everyone agrees the sourdough toast is the best in town.

Redwood Bar & Grill at 316 W 2nd St., off Hill St., is said to be a bar with character and good food at reasonable prices. It used to be a Los Angeles Times hangout and still has a red phone that used to be connected to the City Desk.

How can you not want to go to a place that looks like this?

Clifton’s Cafeteria

Another LA institution, Clifton’s Cafeteria at 648 S. Broadway (near 7th) is open everyday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. It’s not “pay what you can” like it was during the Depression, but like all cafeterias, it’s cheap. And what an ambiance!

Wood Spoon is a Brazilian restaurant at 107 W. 9th St. (between Broadway and Main) that’s “not to be missed” but it’s closed Sunday and Monday.

You’re still wondering about those maple bacon donuts, huh? They can be found at the downtown Nickel Diner at 524 S. Main St., open 8-3:30 and 6-11, but closed Mondays.

One last food stop is the Grand Central Market where, in addition to the usual market fare, you can find all kinds of amazing Mexican street food. I found these directions from my hotel. Exit the hotel on the 6th floor overpass toward the YMCA, walk past the Y across Hope St., then upstairs (or escalator) across Grand, and downstairs past the water plaza to Angel’s Flight for 25-cents funicular ride down to the market’s doorstep. He recommended Maria’s Seafood’s fresh fish tacos as “the stuff of dreams.”

The Amateur Enthusiast blog recommends the intersection of 6th and Main as the place to go when you haven’t decided on anything specific but want a lot of choices. Sounds like a group from a conference, right? Cole’s of French Dip fame is there as well as a bunch of other restaurants and bars, including

  • The Varnish, 118 6th St. – he calls it the “home of the best cocktails in downtown.”
  • The Association, 110 E. 6th St., next to Cole’s – his “favorite after work spot,” and with that name, shouldn’t it be ours? It has an unmarked door that’s a replica of 10 Downing St.
  • The Edison, in an alley off 2nd near Main, has the “most dramatic setting of any bar in the entire city, and the best and most varied live entertainment in downtown.”

That should be more than enough to get you started. If you’re checking out any of the beer or food places, send me a DM or @, if I’m free, I’d love to join you. Don’t forget to check in on Foursquare so we can ask you about it later. Remember the hashtag for the conference is #asae10. Tweet out any other good finds so we can all make the most of our time in LA.

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In Part 1 of this series I shared many posts written by fellow #asae10 bloggers about their thoughts and preparations in advance of the ASAE Annual Meeting. With only a few days remaining before the meeting, here are some suggestions for things to add to your to-do list. Thoughtful of me, huh?

The Big Picture

First, think about why you’re going to this meeting. What are your goals? My goals this year are very different from last year. Last year I had just moved to Raleigh and was seeking an association position. This year I’m settled in and building a consulting business specializing in social media. I’m eager to see friends from last year and meet new ones. If you ask what most excites me about the association world, it’s my smart, fun and generous online association community, that’s what makes me grin. I’m also looking forward to the education and discussions that will get my brain clicking. And I’m hoping to find opportunities to give social media tips and advice to others, just a few minutes here and there so I feel that I’m giving as well as receiving during the meeting. I’m not going to LA with thoughts of sales and marketing. This experience is more for my brain and heart than for my wallet. Wise? Who knows, but it feels right.

My friend Camden Watts recently wrote a post that got me thinking about writing this series and sharing my goals. She wrote in anticipation of attending a social media conference here in North Carolina.

I also like this post by Dawn Foster about staying productive while at a conference. She advises us to stay focused on our goals and our purpose for attending, and to not multitask.

Valeria Maltoni shares excellent ideas for 21  things you can do at a conference. This is a list I will read over and over — really good advice.

Social Media

Your next stop is the Engage page on the meeting website. If you blog or tweet, add your URLs to those rolls. You can also download a badge for your blog or website. Also, check out ASAE’s meeting newsfeed page (the Hub) and its mobile version. Bookmark that. Check out the iPhone store for the FollowMe ASAE app. I have heard rumors of a Blackberry one coming but not sure if that’s expected before the meeting.

If you’re not already subscribed to ASAE’s blog Acronym, make sure you do. You can subscribe to an email or RSS feed for your Google Reader.

If you’re on Twitter, set up a search column in your Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or application of your choosing for #asae10 – the hashtag for the meeting. If you’re not on Twitter, you’re missing out on many professional development, networking and relationship building and reputation management benefits. Learn how to set up an account and create your profile.

On LinkedIn, let others know you’ll be attending by RSVPing for the ASAE Annual Meeting event.

Make sure your online profiles (website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn and any others) are up-to-date.

Save the attendee list to the computer you are bringing to the meeting. Review the list to see if anyone you know is attending. Check for those from your state. Is your SAE having a reception? If not, see if you can arrange an informal meet-up.

Your Schedule

Make a tentative schedule of social events and educational sessions you’d like to attend. I’m selecting my top three sessions for each time slot and noting the reasons why I want to go, so when I’m on site, I don’t forget and attend something else less meaningful and valuable. If I have time, I plan to check some of the handouts. I’d also like to have time to check out some of the speakers’ social media presence to see if they have blogs, SlideShare presentations or active Twitter accounts. Their online content might give me the information I need to make a decision between sessions.

Review the list of exhibitors and note the ones to visit. You can also make appointments to talk to them in the Business Connection Lounge.

Finally, see if anyone else is arriving at LAX the same time as you and arrange to meet up and share a cab. So, is anyone arriving at LAX around 4:30pm on Saturday? Contact me by email ( at or Twitter if you are and we can exchange phone numbers and hope the sky gods grant us on-time arrivals.

The Packing List

You’re on your own with the clothing, accessories and all that, but here are a few items to add to your list.

  • Your laptop, netbook or (suppressing envy) your iPad.
  • Lots of business cards – do they include your social media profiles?
  • Cell phone charger and computer power cord
  • An extension cord and power strip in case you’re far from a plug and running out of juice
  • Good reading for the possibly long flights and layovers
  • Journal or notebook to capture all your brilliant ideas when you don’t want to pull out your laptop

Do you have any tips, ideas or items for the to-do and packing lists that you can share with us?

I’m taking a brief break from my Twitter Basics series to get ready for the American Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting & Exposition (aka #asae10 on Twitter). I fly to Los Angeles on Saturday and return to Raleigh on Wednesday, my birthday. I’ll celebrate by reflecting on good times and great knowledge, treating myself to good airport fare (ha!) and a good book. Next up on the reading list is Heat by Bill Buford, his tale of three years going from “kitchen bitch” to line cook in Mario Batali’s restaurant. It’s been unread in my bookcase since its publication and since I spent over a year as a “pastry wench” in a professional kitchen, I’m sure to identify with some of his experiences.

Today, I’m going to share some good posts by other bloggers about #asae10. In posts later this week, I’ll share preparation tips for #asae10 and resources to help you eat and drink well while in LA.

But before I do that, a time sensitive task: take a look at your business cards. Are they up to date? Do they include your social media profiles – personal blog or website, twitter username and LinkedIn profile? If not, order some new ones today that include your regular professional contact info but also your personal social info as well. Zazzle has quick turnaround on business cards if you pay for overnight or two-day shipping.

Now for good reading — Maddie Grant starts her Socialfish post with a Twitter fountain – love that! She lets us know what she, Lindy Dreyer and the rest of the Socialfish gang will be up to during the meeting – a full schedule of many events that I’ll be attending as well. Check it out for ideas.

Bruce Hammond tells us the Three Things (He’s) Looking Forward to at the ASAE Annual Meeting – collaboration, community and content. I love that he talks about community – this is a meeting to strengthen bonds with friends you know and to meet others who will go from being strangers to acquaintances to friends. Long live the Twitter hug!

ASAE’s Acronym blog is publishing a series of posts from members that focus on “3 Things” about the conference. Here’s one published today by Marc Mestdagh from Belgium, land of amazing beer and art nouveau!

Elizabeth Engel has written several quick reads about the meeting that you can reference by clicking on her tag “ASAE Annual Meeting.” I also love the fact that she throws around the term “geek” so readily. Hello, my name is Deirdre and I’m an association and social media geek. No intervention required.

Jeff De Cagna tells us about his sessions at the meeting, always good brain food, including a special informal salon about business model innovation scheduled for Tuesday.

Teri Carden shares her excitement about her first ASAE Annual. I can vouch that the excitement continues to increase even when it’s your second time. One of the things she looks forward to is meeting Twitter colleagues. Me too, Teri!

Kiki L’Italien remembers her experiences as a first-time attendee and council member (what an entrance!) and encourages us to follow her lead and get involved as an ASAE volunteer. Great idea! She’ll also be doing a live SweetSpot broadcast from #asae10 on Monday at 12:30 (Pacific time) in the Engagement Lounge.

Mark Bledsoe tells us why he loves fully immersing himself into the association geekfest of #asae10, particularly since he really missed going last year. We all want the professional development, but it’s the people and relationships that keep us coming back.

I’m sure there will be many, like me, who will continue to write this week about their preparations and thoughts for the conference. If you’re one of them, please share a brief blurb and link to your post in the Comments. Thanks!



Of course there will be updates! Eventually I’ll stop but here are some additional posts from bloggers attending #asae10 that were published after I wrote this.

Mickie Rops shares some of what she’ll be doing. If you want to learn more about credentialing and certification, she is the one to follow.

Jamie Notter will be “pushing the envelope” at #asae10, what we gratefully expect from him.

Shannon Otto of MemberClicks shares what they will be up to during the show when they’re not in Booth 332.

Maggie McGary, although not attending #asae10 (unfortunately!), shows how social media makes a positive impact on association membership and community.


Update: Part 2 – Getting Ready for #ASAE10: the Do and Bring List

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