Last weekend I went on a trip to Atlanta with a girl I met on the internet. That came out wrong.
Actually, no, that's exactly what happened.
Because last weekend my Twitter-pal-turned-real-life-pal (who you met here), Elizabeth Hyndman, and I trekked down to the ATL to hang out with some other bloggers, writers and tribe-leaders at a conference called Killer Tribes.
Despite what it may sound like, it's not like running with the bulls where you are chased by a mob of angry natives from a foreign land. I'm almost certain no one was impaled by a spear during the course of the weekend (but don't quote me on that).
No, no. This conference is for people who want to lead. Some were there to learn how to better lead businesses, some to lead fans or followers, but all of us to lead...someone. A group. Dare I say...a tribe. (I KNOW I KNOW I deserve an award for that one. Just let me know where to pick it up.)
On Friday night, I got to meet some of my Twitter friends (IT'S TOTALLY A THING YOU GUYS) and eat cake pops with mustaches on them and talk about Justin Timberlake and how Google Reader ruined all our lives...and I'm not gonna lie, it was good to be around "my" people.
We stayed in Athens with one of my best friends, Sarah, then woke up too early for my liking on a Saturday and trudged back to the ATL(ish) to mingle with people we didn't know.
Let me tell you, a room full of semi-to-severely-introverted writer-types trying to mingle is kind of a hot mess, but we did it, you guys. We really did it. And I talked to people I didn't even know from Twitter. Everyone give me a virtual high five.
Here are a few things I learned (some might be applicable to you, some almost certainly will not):
1) Sometimes when you avoid wearing your cat shirt so that you won't match your friend who also owns said cat shirt, you neglect to ask your Twitter friend what she is wearing and end up matching her instead.
2) Regret is not bringing your Evernote Moleskine to a blogger/writer conference.
3) People will pay you to ghost-tweet. Jason Boyett was part of the "How to Make a Living as a Writer" panel, which I loved. I learned a ton. He does communications-type work and part of that is ghost tweeting. I want in. Guys, you wouldn't have to hear as many tweets from me because I'd be busy tweeting for other people. It's a win/win. So if you know anyone, it's really for the betterment of society that you recommend me.
4) People will also pay you to write their stories for them. Shawn Smucker did a great job in the same panel talking about how he got started writing books for other people (and himself). I loved it. I've done some journalism in college and love interviewing people and writing their stories for them, so this is definitely something I'm going to try to pursue.
5) On an unrelated note, services I now offer include ghost-tweeting and ghost-/co-authoring. I'm only 10 percent joking.
6) Capitalize on your experiences and what is unique about you. I loved John Saddington's talk about utilizing on things you take for granted: your interests, your background, your culture. It was a whole new way to look at my situation and draw material from.
"Maximize your God-given uniqueness…do not take even the shoes you wear for granted."
For example, he used his long-time World of Warcraft fandom to create a dating website for World of Warcraft…type…people. He's an entrepreneur so he thinks differently than I do, and it was really cool to hear his perspective.
7) Ask questions to everyone you meet. Learn from them. (Crystal Paine)
8) I still love spoken word poetry. Check out Amena Brown. She was fantastic.
9) Maintain real life friends, and be careful not to let your tribe become an idol. I learned this from Kristen Howerton, who was just great. I've only read her blog for a few months now, but I like her style. She had a lot of great insight on valuing and growing a tribe but still balancing online/real life.
10) Great lists are in increments of 3, 5 or 10. I had to get to 10. So…I also learned…how to separate an egg yolk from the white using an empty water bottle (thanks, Tripp & Tyler!).
If you're a leader of a tribe in any capacity, or would like to be, you should go to this conference next year. And we can be real life friends if we're not already.