I’m not typically at a loss for words, but it’s been challenging for me to identify where to start when it comes to writing about the Mom 2.0 Summit. So I will start simple. If I were to use one word to describe this conference it would be AWESOMENESS. However, if pressed to expand on the Mom 2.0 = Awesomeness equation, I would edit it to read:
Mom 2.0 = Awesomeness = ((Happiness x Thoughtfulness x Quality x Meaningful Engagement)2.0) – (Excessive Quantity + Any Drama Whatsoever)
Can you tell I logged several years at Harvard and MIT?
Now, allow me to address each piece of the equation in turn:
Mom 2.0 = Awesomeness =
Happiness. Gretchen Rubin was one of the keynote speakers and she is truly amazing -- humble, smart, and kind. I bought a copy of the The Happiness Project at Mom 2.0 and started reading it on the plane ride home and adore Gretchen even more. Happiness truly matters, as was so very evident through the laughter and hugs translated throughout the conference. One night at a Mexican dinner out with friends we all laughed so hard that we literally were in pain. I welcome that kind of happiness pain any day.
Thoughtfulness. An extraordinary amount of thoughtfulness clearly was put into this conference. The details ranged far and wide (and some will be covered in points below). However, one telling example was a session led by Gwen Bell. She started by asking everyone to sit back from their laptops and smartphones, close their eyes, breathe deeply, and attend to the present moment. Though we weren't always meditating, that degree of awareness and thoughtfulness was pervasive throughout the conference.
Quality. Similar to the thoughtfulness component, quality was evident throughout. And I found it particularly well reflected by the keynote panel including Heather Armstrong, Maggie Mason, and Gabrielle Blair. These women discussed a number of issues related to bloggers and brands, but what I found particular beautiful was the closing message of quality over quantity, particularly given that I am a firm believer that metrics are not indicative of the full picture. In fielding an attendee question about influence and numbers (from the perspective of a “small” blogger), Heather responded that it doesn’t matter how many followers you have. If you are involved, you are powerful; if you are engaging at all, you are influential. And Gabrielle followed to emphasize that it is not necessarily about the numbers, it’s about the quality of engagement. So true.
Meaningful Engagement. Speaking of engagement, Mom 2.0 is about fostering an open conversation between moms and marketers. And I was impressed by the examples of brand engagement I participated in. First was the Nintendo Wii Fit PlusTM yoga suite, which offered attendees an opportunity to engage in self care while learning about the product in an impressively appointed space (note to self: Buddha statues go a long way in making a conference room feel zen). Second, I was impressed by the Barilla dinner event. Admittedly, I was a little skeptical before going, unsure of what to expect, but it was more than a schmoozing dinner. Not only was it fun to hear from the passionate Barilla team about their Share the Table initiative, but then we engaged in that very practice with one person from every table cooking a pasta dish for the other members of the table. I was our table’s cook and there truly was a lot of love and joy in being able to share the table with friends. All of the above raised to the 2.0 of course, minus:
Excessive Quantity. I adored that this conference was purposefully swag light. Yes, there were welcome tote bags with a few things inside, but it was compact and thoughtful and then it was up to the attendee to check out the expo if they were interested in samples. I did not want or need more stuff so I went through the expo simply to thank the sponsors and learn more about what they were offering. It was perfect.
Any Drama Whatsoever. A tweet by Mir Kamin inspired me to add this last piece (or rather, non-piece) to the equation. I actually hadn’t thought about lack of drama because the conference sailed along so smoothly free of it. The organizers of Mom 2.0 deserve huge kudos for constructing things so beautifully, as do the attendees, for focusing on what matters: content and conversation with others.
I have additional thoughts about interpersonal engagement that I hope to share soon in a follow up post. Meanwhile, I wanted to express my gratitude to my generous sponsor Care.com for making this trip possible financially, and also to my in-laws for taking care of Laurel while I was gone. And this photo -- taken by the utterly lovely Gabrielle Blair -- is a fitting close for this post. Awesomeness is what I asked Katherine Center to write on my arm at the Mom 2.0 art exhibit.