Bringing Online Community Offline at the 20SB Summit

Going offline (or “going dark” as we now call it) is the best time to get real work done and really think about ideas and how to turn them to actions. That’s what Scott Belsky taught me at the first keynote at the 20SB Summit. So here I am, on a flight back from New York, finally getting stuff done. After working on wireframes and specifications for new Livefyre features, it’s time to blog. Finally, 2 weeks later, I’m writing my recap of of an eventful weekend in Chicago where I spoke to and learned from some of the best of 20 something bloggers out there.

Bloggers @ginidietrich and @SeanMcGinnis representing @Livefy... on Twitpic

It was my first time in the Windy City, and I was lucky enough to have the best tour guides in the area. I didn’t have much time to explore, but I did get to meet a number of Livefyre bloggers. Thanks to Sami Ari, one of my co-panelists and the resident Chicago Tweetup organizer, we were able to gather a small group enjoy some drinks outside at Kirkwood Bar. It was great talking with Gini Dietrich, Lisa Gerber, Sean McGinnis, Sara Davidson…the list goes on. I love geeking out and talking blogging and community, so I felt right at home. I also got to meet my other co-panelist, Sara Altier from Eventbrite, who knows all the great places and showed me a great time throughout the weekend.


And now for the conference. All of the sessions seemed right up my alley – community, collaboration, working with brands, photography; a lot of what I do with Livefyre and what I want to do more of on my own time. Normally when I go to conference sessions about topics I’m already familiar with I hear a lot of what I already know. What I loved about 20SB Summit is that each session was about personal experience and allowed for open discussions with the audience. Interesting stories were told, intriguing questions were asked and answered, and each one left me inspired to blog more, learn more, and DO more. It was great hearing Jenny Blake tell her story, as I met her when I first got into the industry and learned a lot during my start from her Life After College blog (now a published book!) She left her job at Google (I KNOW! right?) to pursue her passion. After she spoke, I could tell the room was filled with people ready to follow their dreams.

Jenny wasn’t the only person I reconnected with that I met 1.5 years ago at SXSW when I unofficially started with Livefyre. It was at a 20SB and Brazen Careerist meetup at Molotov if you know Austin, you know this rooftop bar with brand new roof from, where I realized that I was going to follow my dream (and that I was already living it) of living in San Francisco and working for a startup. Seeing Jenny, Doniree, Ryan, Elysa, and of course Derek made the nostalgia kick in and really helped me see the future.

The future…is US. The 20SB community is over 18,000 bloggers, and we are voice of what is yet to come. We work for startups, agencies, ourselves, and more. We have ideas we are making reality and leading our peers towards the next hot thing. The friends I have made from 20SB will be with me throughout my career. We know the importance of community, collaboration, and networking, and I’m sure we will continue to work together. This is the first conference of its kind, getting Gen Y influencers together to learn from each other. I’m looking forward to next year’s that I’m sure will be bigger, better, and will inspire others to join our journey.

Thanks to everyone that made the 20SB Summit happen, especially Derek Shanahan, Justine Meek, and my Dream Team co-panelists Sami Ari and Sara Altier. Our panel was about building community online and offline. The conference itself was a perfect example, and the three of us planned two other successful events over the weekend. There is something so magical about turning online friends into offline friends, and how those relationships continue to grow when we reconnect over Twitter, 2000 miles away. See you there next year?

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