digital summit atlanta, thinking about work, and summertime.

A year ago I graduated from college, and had moved into a new house in Kirkwood. I’m pretty impressed by how quickly May seems to have passed. This particular May, a year to (almost) the date of the early stages of student loan repayment panic, I’m living vicariously through two of my new roommates who’ve just finished school. My contract for the Digital Fellowship is nearly up, and it’s about time for me to leave the Agnes Scott nest. I’m two parts scared and relieved. What else is new.

a scene from the new balcony porch, shortly after moving in.

No, but really, what else is new? Other than the overwhelmingly exciting fact of applying to a million zillion jobs in my field, I won something on the Internet for the first time in my life — a ticket to the Digital Summit conference, generously donated by the Social Media Club of Atlanta. I’d really meant to write a post about this when I had a free moment, but … that was before I’d remembered the million zillion things I had to do for my current job. The two days I was at the conference were Layoff Judgment Days at work, anyway; 16 staff members were laid off from the College. Cheerful. I don’t really want to get started on that.

So, my Summit experience, in a 3-part nutshell:

  1. Live-tweeting conference presentations involves a lot of hand-eye coordination that, frankly, I wasn’t quite conditioned to handle (not that I consider this an egregious hole in my education, real talk). I’ve never seen so many people tweeting and texting and tablet note-taking in my life; it was surreal. I’m also fairly certain I pissed off all of my real-life friends who follow me on Twitter — look. I was just trying to fit in, okaaaay?
  2. If you have a public speaking schtick, which is basically cramming in as many curse words into an hour-long engagement as you can muster, people will think you are a brilliant, edgy speaker. Oh. Okay. Additionally, while listening to the speaker in question, I was reminded of my high school theatre experience — not to be unkind, but TALKING LOUDER isn’t acting, it’s just talking louder. Ahem …
  3. I wouldn’t consider myself a shy person, but I don’t have much experience with the Small Talk Olympics. The Summit sort of threw me into the boxing ring in terms of asserting myself and introducing myself/my work to a totally new group of people, which was scary and awesome at the same time. I learned more from the brief, speed-datingesque conversations I initiated with people over the coffee stations than I did in the actual presentations. Huh. Having spent more than an adequate amount of time in the higher education circle, the way I explained my Fellowship was WAY different than how I’d explained it at the FYE conference in February; even disparate from how I explained it to my parents’ friends over winter break. As someone who struggles with brevity — written as well as verbal — talking about my job to marketing professionals really made me polish my 30-second elevator speech.

So, I also wanted to address something I’ve been struggling with since the Digital Summit. I had a genuinely great time at the conference, mostly for the networking aspect and actually being in the middle of a digital media conference. I’m not sure if I should blame this on my natural cynicism, or critical thinking skills, but I can’t walk away from something like this without a little bit of criticism. This may speak to the nature of the marketing profession, but it didn’t seem to me that others were the same way. In one instance, I was on the verge of an interesting conversation about the “people as products” dialogue that was being thrown around a lot (an uncomfortable amount, from a personal standpoint) with a lady close to my age, but it seemed like she wanted to back away from saying anything remotely negative about the presentations. That’s irresponsible conferencing, in my opinion. Isn’t the point of listening to presentations forming your own opinions? Even if they are dissenting opinions? Like, you can appreciate and understand something, and even like it, but at the same time point out its flaws? (You know, as you do with your alma mater.) Another story for another time, I guess.

On to the next: it’s summer, duh. I’m only at the Bat Cave for another month, which means a lot of blogging and training material development and not a lot else, since nobody’s really on campus. AND THEN… I finally accepted my post-DDF job, at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. I’ll be doing Online Marketing through the Americorps Vista program, which is going to be challenging and fun and crazy all at once (I can already tell). Since my ASC contract finishes June 30, and the GCN job won’t begin until late July, I even get vacation time. I just… I can’t even.

I will go from this:

to THIS:

So, uh, I’m pretty excited about it.

I’ve also started running. This is normal for about 99% of the people I know, but I have always been really anti-normal exercise. Now, I’m kind of into it — but people who are really into running I think are masochists at heart. I’m not going to tell you how pitifully slow I am, but it’s progress, right?

I’m also starting a week of veganism on Sunday, and hopefully Neil and I will be able to have a vegan barbecue for Memorial Day. I think I’m going to dedicate next week’s blog posts to what I’m making. I’m armed with his copy of Vegan Planet, and I really like cooking and other feminine stuff (that’s a joke, by the way), so I think it’ll be a fun experiment. The worst that’ll happen is that I’ll become too healthy. Honestly, now I live in Decatur proper with my significant other, run every day, veganize my diet and think about starting a garden and am about to work for a nonprofit — WHO HAVE I BECOME?

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