By Lori Dolginoff
After planning for months and going through some challenging days before Camp Baby even began, I must admit I had a few butterflies as I entered the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick. I mean, I knew we had put together a fun and educational program, but still…
Turns out, I ended learning as much – if not more – then the mommy bloggers who attended our Camp. I know many of the bloggers in attendance have already posted their recaps of the event, (such as here, here and here) but I thought I’d give you some of my favorite moments:
A night of laughter - Kicking off Camp Baby with Bravo’s “Top Chef” member Ted Allen was tons of fun. It was a way for everyone to enjoy a relaxing night of laughter, meet each other and set the tone for the entire conference. My personal highlight was when I told everyone that breakfast started at 6:30 AM the next day instead of 7:30 AM. I almost had a revolt on my hands -- but quickly put it down by explaining that was “my” call time for breakfast, not theirs –the crowd roared in laughter.
Eye-Opening Moment – As a communications professional, I’ve been working with traditional media for more than 15 years, but Camp Baby brought home to me how different things are now. When introducing a speaker, I looked out into the audience and saw more than 50 computers open and women happily Twittering. For me, it confirmed that the media climate has transformed and so must we all.
Hugs, Common Ground And Fresh Beginnings - Without any doubt, my absolute favorite part was meeting all the bloggers and learning from them. (Some photos of Camp Baby for your viewing pleasure -- and, yes, I'm in there too...) Gaining insights and starting this new dialogue was very meaningful to all of us involved. I also appreciated all of the hugs (can never get enough) and kind words. I felt humbled by the entire experience.
So what were my key learnings?
· While having virtual connection is the way of the world, there is nothing like real in-person contact. Having the opportunity to actually speak directly to each of these bloggers was invaluable. I enjoyed every single conversation I had.
· When working with bloggers, I firmly believe that perfection is impossible and flaws will always be magnified. But as long as you are honest and transparent, in the end the benefit will always outweigh the risk.
· Don’t ever forget that mommy bloggers are unique to the general blogosphere and have their own unique expectations. While we didn’t anticipate it all at the beginning, we now have a much deeper understanding -- which was the entire point of doing something like this in the first place. Ultimately, building what I hope will be a long-lasting relationship with these 56 bloggers was well worth it all! But perhaps most importantly, Camp Baby gave me and my colleagues a chance to connect with these women in a real and meaningful way. I truly respect all of them for their unique perspectives and individuality. We’ve Come a Long Way Camp Baby and we know this is just the beginning of a long road ahead.
(P.S., Thank you to all the bloggers for taking this journey with us and for all of those that supported this program along the way. I’ll see you again soon at BlogHer in July.)