Still basking in the glow of the HighedWeb Conference (#heweb13) in Buffalo this week.

The best thing about this conference was the community. I guess it’s not odd that with so much of our focus on social media, it’s the social aspect that really makes this conference shine. This isn’t in anyway meant to disregard vast amounts of knowledge and experience that was abundant in the incredible presentations. I have pages of notes that will turn into weeks of research. But for me, the feeling of being a part of a group of people who share your experiences was invigorating.

Speaking from years of experience as an army of one, it’s really easy to fall down the rabbit hole and feel like you drank the shrinking potion, like you’re the only one facing the issues that you do. I wonder if this is as true for people at larger institutions where they have larger teams. I imagine there’s camaraderie, commiseration, and long nights of drinking. So the best part is the realization after talking and listening to others that we’re all in the same boat. So many people have the same frustrations, struggles, forehead welts from their desks… and they’re getting through. It’s comforting.

The social aspect is the part I struggle the most with at a conference. I was stepping pretty far out of my comfort zone, and it was great. I met some really awesome people, and they all made this socially and technologically challenged introvert (what has two thumbs and gets their Twitter account hacked on the second day of using it? this guy…) feel at home and at ease. And I’m thankful to everyone I shared a drink with.

For a long time at my job I’ve felt like I’d lost focus on what I’ve been doing and why. I feel like I have a grasp on it again. A small grasp to be sure, but I feel like my hand is back on the wheel.

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