E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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#e2conf 2011 Highlights – Offline Social Networking Still Rules!

#e2conf - Offline Social NetworkingOnce again, it’s been a little while since I put together a blog post over here, but this time around for a very good reason. As most of you folks know by now already, I have just returned back from my last business trip, one of the longest this year so far, for sure!, as I got to attend the Enterprise 2.0 conference event (a.k.a. #e2conf) in Boston, MA, the whole of last week. One of the most wonderful experiences I have enjoyed so far in attending a tech conference. And I do realise that I keep saying that very same thing year after year, but this time around I can certainly confirm it 100% it’s been one of the best I can remember and for a good number of reasons! Yes, I am now back to work, back to the social grid, back to carry on with my usual blogging mojo. And that means it’s time to kick off another series of blog posts where I am planning to share some of the major key highlights from the overall event itself, as a way of sharing with you folks a few glimpses of what I found the most interesting this time around.

Thus from here onwards, and over the next few days, I’ll be putting together a series of entries, where I will talk about the conference itself, i.e. keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, networking opportunities, etc. etc. And will try to mix it all with a few other interesting things I have bumped into over the last couple of weeks, so it won’t bore most of you folks. I will also share with you all some links of the phenomenal live blogging that happened throughout the event, specially, coming along from very talented, and good, friends like Mary Abraham, Emanuele Quintarelli and Bill Ives. And at the same time I will be pointing you to some of the great highlights and write-up blog entries that a bunch of other good friends and thought leaders in the 2.0 space have been putting together in the last few days. It’s going to be a busy time, but with plenty of good fun!

However, before we go into all of that, I thought I would resume my regular blogging activities sharing with you folks the inspiring video clip of the week mixed with what’s been one of my major highlights from the overall Enterprise 2.0 conference event for yours truly: the offline social networking interactions! Indeed, if there was a single key highlight I would want to stress out from the event itself, is how, once again, the offline networking was absolutely fantastic! Superb!  … To the point where I think it was the very first time at a tech conference, that I can remember, that I spent more time talking offline to folks than being online, both, before, during and after the various speaker sessions I attended. And that’s a new one, to be honest, because time and time again I always had that urge of wanting to check things online, see what people were thinking and commenting on, catch up with blog posts, etc. etc. And it surely was quite an exhausting activity. Well, not this year!

That’s right! A couple of days before the event I decided I was going to change things slightly on how I would approach attending the conference. So, except for the live tweeting I did for the various presentations I attended, I was basically offline for most of the time, talking and connecting with people in the real world! And, boy, was that such a wonderful experience?!?! My voice struggled quite a bit trying to keep up with the pace of conversing with some many good old and new friends. I am also ok with the fact that I gained a few extra pounds after all of those wonderful conversations over coffee breaks, lunches, networking gigs, dinners, after dinner drinks, late night drinks, etc. etc. It was totally worth it! Big time! #e2conf - Offline Social Networking

That’s something that I should probably be grateful to the Social Business Forum event, held in Milan, Italy, a few weeks back, because, once again, it showed me how important, and critical, it is to converse, share and learn from those around you, face to face, at such events. It’s amazing how the Social Web can take you away from those offline interactions, just because you may want to be in the know, when what really matters, probably, in most cases, is those very same face to face conversations we do with people who share the same common passion we have for all of this social business stuff. It’s true that I knew I would be capable of catching up with the online Social Web thanks to the absolutely wonderful piece of work from Jim Worth who created, once again, the Enterprise 2.0 Boston Social Web Coverage June 20, 2011, but this time around I thought I would try to be as disconnected from the online world, as I could, specially, before and after the main agenda was covered and dealt with.

And, goodness, did I make the right choice?!?! It was brilliant just hanging out with plenty of good friends whom you have kept in touch with through the Social Web over the course of time, as well as meeting a bunch of news ones during the event!, and do real, proper catchups! I wouldn’t change that for anything, to be honest! In fact, if there is something I have learned from that whole offline networking experience from last week is that I need to learn to become less dependent on the Social Web, and, instead, converse more with people in real life. Face to face interactions still do have a place, even in the workplace!, and they are critical for us all to build better, more trustworthy relationships, that we can then continue to nurture and cultivate online till we meet up again! And that whole experience was quite an eye opener to me, to the point where as I was coming back home, playing that catchup I mentioned above, I decided it’s probably a good time to start now break loose from the dependency on the Social Web and continue to enjoy those offline interactions, even while at home!

Which is why I am going to make a connection with the inspiring video of the week to show you what I mean with this. Yes, you all know, it’s now summer time! The weather is gorgeous probably in most places where you are, but instead of enjoying it all going outdoors, mixing and mingling with other people, you decide to stick around your computer for that little longer, which, eventually, turns out to be a couple of extra hours, here and there! Well, not anymore! At least, for me! And here is the main reason why:

You may be wondering why I am sharing such a lovely musical video clip titled Something Good Can Work from Two Door Cinema Club, right? Yes, I know! It’s not a summer song, by far, but, hang on for a minute, if you listen to it carefully and let yourself go for a bit, it does sound like perfect for the summer. Even more when you watch the video clip and you come up with some of those wonderful imageries, which is why I wanted to share this video clip this week, because the footage from the entire video, except perhaps the first few seconds, has been done in the island where I live: Gran Canaria!

In fact, a couple of the places shown throughout the video clip are just like 5 minute drive from where I live myself, which, making a connection with the rest of this blog post, you would understand what I mean with spending a lot less time online than what I am doing now to enjoy those outdoors. Who wouldn’t, right?

Well, they say that striking a good balance between work and life is perhaps one of the biggest challenges knowledge workers, specially, remote ones!, face in today’s working environment; there is no easy solution, for sure. In my own case, I have learned to switch gears and move away from that balance and, instead, strike for that work, life full integration. And I’m surely finding it somewhat ironic that I had to travel over 5.000 KMs away, to attend #e2conf, to realise what I really have been missing over here in the last few months with all of that frenzy happening at work and elsewhere on the Social Web…

So a big highlight for me, from the Enterprise 2.0 conference, is a big Thank You!, to everyone I conversed with, learned from, shared common experiences with, etc. etc. yes, you know who you all are!! (Too many to mention all of you over here in a single paragraph! And to those other folks I never managed to catch up with, unfortunately!! Will need to fix that next time around!), who showed me how important and incredibly paramount it’s to nurture, cultivate and enjoy to the highest level possible, face to face conversations and interactions with those close to you. Even if that means on the way back (I enjoyed a delightful weekend in Madrid, in between, as well!), or even closer: at home!

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    1. Hi Susan! Thanks much for dropping by and for the kind comments! Yeah, I know what you mean! I miss folks already! Grrr 4 days of conference is just too little time to try to catch up with everyone and still make some sense out of it! Had a wonderful time catching up with ya and with your daughter and, like I said, if she ever comes over to Spain, which I am sure she will, let me know and I may be able to share some tips on places to check out 🙂

      Look forward to the next one! And for the time being, onwards with the Social Web! hehe

  1. Luis, thanks for the kind citation.

    It’s really hard not to agree with you! The best part of international events is coming to know and call ‘friends” some of the smartest minds all over the planet by having quality/fun time to spend with them.

    I miss you all as always but we know there will be many chances to meet in the second part of the idea.

    Virtual is definitely not enough and not the entire value social enables to all of us!

  2. Luis, it was so great to finally meet you in person! I didn’t realize what a concerted effort you were making to enjoy the in-person, offline time… I just thought you did it all! 😉 May you enjoy those beautiful outdoors, and I commit to do the same!

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