Two years ago I attended the inaugural Social Good Summit in New York. It was the first year the United Nations Foundation and Mashable had come together to create a conference where global thinkers could unite both virtually and face-to-face to hammer out new ideas about how to combat serious global issues and share solutions about what is working and what isn’t. Little did I know the summit would be my biggest transformative moment as a blogger.
The day of the conference I remember walking gingerly into the 92nd Street Y, where the Social Good Summit is held every year. With laptop bag firmly in hand and my purse on my shoulder that was weighted down with too much stuff I slowly glanced around at the crowd. I saw men and women donning power suits, press credentials dangling around people’s necks, news crews, and a media galley. It wasn’t my normal crowd for sure.
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
Up until that moment my only vantage point about social media and blogging conferences were the fun, casual women’s conferences I had attended for years and the occasional marketing summit where I spoke about mom bloggers and brands. I felt comfortable at those conferences. Everyone was a member of my tribe. We talked about blogging and social media from a mom’s and woman’s perspective. We talked about our families and growing our online businesses. I knew and understood these women. We sat back, chatted, and kicked off our shoes. But the people who attended the Social Good Summit were a broad mix of social media types, bloggers, traditional journalists, workers at NGOs and non-profits, global thought leaders and even celebrities. And, of course, the summit attracted a gender mix.
I immediately felt out of place and a little intimated.
Despite having to snap out of the intimidation quickly and get used to the new crowd and despite being labeled “the mommy blogger” by those I met it was the first time I saw myself as someone other than “just a blogger”. Rather, I saw myself as a connector and someone who could open up conversations about weighty issues to my online friends and peers. I felt like I could honestly talk about global issues that mean life or death to some. In an instant I became someone other than the founder of a community of mom bloggers with a voice too tiny to matter on issues like global poverty, hunger and maternal health. I became someone who has ideas to share and solutions to create. That was my epiphany moment.
When was yours?
Photo: 92nd Street Y and the Social Good Summit (September 2010) – Jennifer James