I’m juuuuuussstttt getting around to writing my wrap-up about NEPA BlogCon. It’s been a crazy 2 weeks, and I haven’t been home much.
As part of my role with the Fearsome Foursome, I was tasked with being the “Technology Wrangler” on the day of the event. No sweat because this is the type of thing I do every day at work, right? Kinda. I did run into some challenges on the day of the event.
To prepare for the big day, I made lists. Lists of everything. I used Google Docs to store this information. I had a list of login information, a list of the girls laptops available at my disposal, a registration list, a list of who received swag vs. who did not receive swag….etc, etc etc. I think at one point Karla freaked out at how many documents of lists I created!
In my technology arsenal, I brought my iPhone (where I did most of my live tweeting and updates), my MacBook Pro, a Samsung tablet I had on loan from Verizon, and a Netbook I had from work. LCCC equipped us with a WIFI login so that people with devices could login to the College’s network and use the Internet as well as a computer login, so that if attendees wanted to login to a computer and try something they learned in class, they could. I have my own student login for the computers at LCCC, so I used that. I found out rather quickly that the machines did not have “administrative rights” under the special login or my student login. This was a problem because we had 2 Skype sessions and also videos to transfer and play.
I first grabbed for my MacBook because I thought when I had checked the computers out earlier in the week, I would be able to do a DVI connection to the projector. WRONG. It only supported VGA. And because Apple has proprietary cables for everything, I’d need a special connector (read: $49.99) to get it hooked up. Plan B. I try to download Skype to the computer because I thought I might get lucky and be able to skirt around the administrative rights issue the way Google Chrome does when you install it. WRONG. I was denied access to installing the program. Plan C. I pull out the Netbook from work, which is crappy, but amazingly enough, it has a VGA connection and Skype already installed. After fiddling around with the display settings, I was able to get it working with the projector in the first room. Shirley Yanovich was our LCCC/CIS Computer Club partner, so I had to get her to call the help desk at LCCC. After a short eternity, they were in the second room helping get Skype installed. YAY! I copied the video files to both computers and did a test. It looked perfect. Not too long after that, people started filing into the rooms. Darling Stewie and I stood in each room and used hand motions to time the start of the Gala Darling‘s keynote so that both rooms were roughly cued up to the same time.
Issue #2 arose when we tried to Skype in Gala Darling for a Q and A session. Since this was a last minute thing, we did not have time to test it out. We wanted both rooms to be able to participate in the Q and A, but we could only get Gala up in one room. She wasn’t sure how conference another person in with Skype. To get around this, we were able to cram everyone (uncomfortably) into one room to participate in the Q and A. This is a learning point for next year….Q and As might be done via Twitter or we will use Google hangout instead.
The rest of the morning sessions went off without a hitch. I started a video that Hey Shenee! sent us in advance about Branding. The video played fine, but the sound was a little quiet. I had to crank it all the way up to get it to an audible level for the room. I didn’t really have time to check the videos ahead of playing them, as we literally received them THE NIGHT BEFORE. I’m not even kidding. Later, I assisted Shannon Nelson and Jessie Holeva with their presentation – I pushed the button to make the slides advance, don’t laugh….it was an important duty!
The afternoon sessions went mostly well. We were a little concerned about Kris Jones’ whereabouts, but he showed up right on time. There was another Skyped session with Lauren O’Nizzle that was a mess. I don’t know if there were connection issues on her end or on our end, but the video was really choppy. Gala‘s skyped Q and A from earlier did look fine on the screen despite the conferencing issues. I would have to assume the connection issues were on Lauren’s end, but I cannot be sure. Again, I think next year, we will avoid the Skyped sessions and opt for videos in advance (those worked out extremely well) or just do live presenters.
During Kris’s presentation, there was some online trolling going on in our Tweet Chat. I won’t bore you with all of the details, but Karla covers it in her post here.
After the event was over, I collected surveys from the attendees and crunched the data into a Powerpoint presentation. The overall response was positive. There were a lot of good suggestions that we will take into account when we start the planning process for next year. For now, you can check out all of the videos of the sessions and panels by visiting our website: http://nepablogcon.com/blogcon-2012/videos/
(Hey….now I can watch everything I was busy troubleshooting…SCORE!)
The mission of the conference was to educate Northeast PA about the social media and blogging tools at their disposal while giving back to the community. I am happy to report that we raised over $2500 for our two charities, the Arc of Luzerne County and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Veterans Multicare Alliance. We also had a TON of food over from the event. All of that was donated to a homeless men’s shelter in South Wilkes-Barre. For having 100 registered attendees, I would say this wasn’t a bad first year. We are already starting to talk about next year and how we can make the event grow.
Whether you attended, sponsored, presented or volunteered the day of the event, we cannot begin thank you enough. Without you, this day would have not been possible. THANK YOU!