Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fun at the California Family History Expo

I arrived back home safe and sound in Chicago after a fun-filled weekend in California.  The main focus, of course, was the California Family History Expo held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, California on Friday, October 8th and Saturday, October 9th.

While you can follow all the posts of these that participated, including presenters and bloggers, here are my personal observations:
  • Although the location was far away, being part of a Family History Expo guarantees not only a fun time, but an educational one, even for presenters like me.
  • I had the chance to present on four topics - all social media related - in front of enthusiastic participants. The Facebook for Genealogists presentation was the most popular with over 50 people scrambling for extra seats.
  • All my presentations were made in the Exhibit Hall. At first, I wasn't sure how successful this format would be, but I actually enjoyed it.  It didn't bother me if people sat down in the middle or got up to leave - it was more important that they got what they wanted out of the materials.
  • I am convinced that Amy Coffin of We Tree and I should never be at the same table with a case of the giggles.  And Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist is not much better in terms of a table companion.
  • A separate bloggers area is a great way not only for the bloggers to meet and to do some live blogging about the event, but it also allows us to answer questions about blogging from event participants. More genealogy conferences should consider setting up such an area with wireless internet access for bloggers.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and seeing some old faces too.  Thanks to all my blogging buddies for their hospitality especially Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems podcast who hosted a wonderful "after party" on Saturday evening.
  • I could not survive a conference without my iPhone: looking up directions, checking weather, getting restaurant reviews on Yelp, locating the nearest Panera for hazelnut coffee and wireless internet.
  • The time passes too quickly.  It seems you are just landing at the airport and then you are back preparing for a flight home.
Speaking of which, I am now preparing for my next speaking gig: at the Family Roots seminar presented by the Alberta Family Histories Society in Calgary on October 16, 2010.
Disclaimer: I have been named a Blogger of Honor by Family History Expos for the Atlanta Family History Expo which entitles me to complimentary registration, complimentary wifi access, admission to the Friday evening banquet as well as other promotional gift items. See Disclosure Statement for more information on the material connections I have with Family History Expos and various genealogy and non-genealogy vendors.

© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee


Amy Coffin said...

Hey man, *I* am not the problem. I blame Ms. Teets for the last incident.

I concur on the need for bloggers' areas at events. Great post.

Jim Ericson said...

Thomas, these are great concepts. I think we have a similar concept for bloggers in the works for RootsTech in February. I look forward to seeing you in SLC next week.