Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Best Conference I've Never Attended

It was the CIPD's 100th Anniversary Conference and Exhibition in Manchester this week.  I couldn't attend - had too much to do at work and travel planned accordingly.  But I did manage to multi-task (men can do it too!) and follow the live backchannel on Twitter. Many of my Twitter PLN (Personal Learning Network) were either attending, presenting, facilitating, blogging or just simply commentating via social media during the two days and, whilst I couldn't keep up with the constant flurry of tweets and blog links being shared, I did what I usually do in these circumstances, which is to 'favourite' the tweets of particular interest, so that I could revisit them in my Twitter 'faves' column later and work my way through them in slow time.  This also allows me time to absorb and reflect, 'cos my brain can't take it all in at the same speed as the 'flying fingers' of my PLN can push it out.

So now it's Saturday and I'm starting to work my way through the list, only to find that most of the individual tweets and links I had saved had already been curated and replayed on the CIPD Tumblr site by Doug Shaw ( @dougshaw1 ), along with many other tweets and links that I had missed. Top Man, Doug!  Now I can use the Tumblr site as a reference book and take my time reading, absorbing, thinking and maybe even commenting on the wisdom and commentary therein.

The CIPD is changing. I now understand the new focus and direction of the organisation and have heard its new voice, not only from the conference floor, but from the breakouts and the coffee shops and the pubs and restaurants around the event itself, where everyone meets and discusses the news of the day.

And that's why I love Twitter and the community of people I have grown to know and respect through it, active in my professional field. Much time, effort and wisdom is shared freely and enthusiastically by way too many people to mention, but suffice it to say that I cannot think of a better explanation of why social media should be considered as a vital part of our individual and collective professional development.  I wasn't at the conference, but I am as well informed and engaged, sitting here at my breakfast bar at home, as if I had been, and it's thanks to those people that I am able to say so.
Now, back to catching up on the rest of those Conference Blogs....