I know I'm a tad late on the FGS2013 ambassador prompts, but I didn't know I was heading there until fairly recently. Besides, the packing prompt was an issue I had been struggling with, and until just a few minutes ago, I wasn't quite ready to list what I was bringing.
As usual, my technology list is growing! Yes, I'll be bringing a camera and my iPad....I plan on packing light since portability is key when hopping from session to session while taking notes on the fly. As ever, my Evernote app will be my go-to choice for taking notes throughout the conference. One thing I still have not decided upon - which bag for best portability. I'm leaning towards backpack, but it might be too bulky. My backpack is great when manning a booth with all of the responsibilities, but JUST attending means I can down-size in the bag area - wish me luck!
Now, on to my dilemma, which involves technology, but not in the hardware department. I'm sure most of you will relate to my problem: My online/social media presence has become....well....complicated. I'm not so sure it is a good complexity, but it's there none the less. Here's why:
I have a day-job career that is multi-faceted. I'm a genealogy librarian at a state historical society, which means I speak, write, tweet, blog, photograph, plan events, and socialize, all for my institution - both as myself and as the institution, depending on which account I am signed in to at the time. On the personal side, I own 2 companies - one of which is related to the genealogy/history field. Which means I also speak, write, tweet, blog, photograph, and socialize for these companies as well. Plus, I volunteer for other organizations, I am a board member for a local heritage council trying to save a historic home.....the list is pretty endless these days. However, recently, when making a new connection via introduction, I'm having a hard time just introducing MYSELF. How do I introduce myself in a way that is simple, yet connects people to my pertinent professional information - regardless of which ME they are looking for?
While conducting this internal review, I stumbled upon a site that has been around for years, but has not had a lot of attention: About.me It is a free place holder for your Social Media presence. After performing a quick exploration of the site, I was hooked on the concept. I was able to place a picture (either small profile or large background), a bio, contact info, educational background....all followed by a series of apps that represented the various Social Media tools I felt best represented me. You can then include links below this section if you feel so inclined. The apps are cool in that visitors can click on one to see recent activity for that tool without navigating away unless they really want to visit the Social Media site directly. Plus, a wonderfully short URL: about.me/cheridaniels (Oh, and no log-in necessary to see my page!)
I decided to try Moo out to see how their mini cards looked - and as an experiment - I am taking mini-Moo cards to FGS as a networking debut. Each card will have a lovely photo from my personal collection (rotating about 6 designs) - usually historical in nature - and on the flip-side, I will only have my name, my about.me URL, my Twitter handle, and my e-mail address. It looks rather simple, but should accomplish what I need, in a bright, colorful way. Goodbye busy business cards - hello cheerful calling cards! (Yes, I do understand the irony of calling a card cheerful when the image is that of a cemetery - but seriously - we genealogists must wear our twisted sense of humor with pride!)
Another area of experimentation is happening in the Twitter realm. My library colleague and I were discussing the need for a Twitter handle on the conference badges - especially since many conferences are utilizing hash-tags for social interaction (#FGS2013). That way, when I meet someone new, I can not only see their name, but also their Twitter handle for a quick follow (or recognize them via Twitter handle, which has happened before!). So, as another experiment, I am bringing two options: a card to attach under the badge (same size as a ribbon - custom made ribbons were just too expensive for me), or a sticker to attach to the badge itself. After all, I know I'll be wearing blogger beads - might as well wear something to signify my Twitter use. For my card and sticker, I just made some quick in VistaPrint by using their templates and uploading the official bird logo from Twitter - easy peasy!To wrap up my conference packing I will also be bringing: pre-printed return address labels with e-mail and phone listed for easy contact/contest participation in the exhibit hall, beefier iPad case that can be wiped off after heavy conference use, multiple sets of charging chords, gedcom loaded into free genealogy app for research at ACPL (sorry, no endorsements yet, still experimenting with the free family tree apps), paper and digital conference program, and lots of my favorite tea bags with maybe a few travel mugs since I'm driving up and have room to spare - I know tea is not technology related, but it is the juice that keeps my circuits running! See you all soon! Don't forget: #FGS2013