The Ragan Social Media un-Conference

Posted by Rachel Esterline on May 9, 2009 in Blogging, Conferences |

@LindsayMAllen (teal) and myself (navy blue) after the un-Conference (Taken by @AmyMengel)

(Photo Credit: @AmyMengel)

Following a stressful week from my final exams, I went to Chicago with Lindsay Allen (in the teal shirt) for a social media un-Conference.

Even though I had no idea what an un-Conference would be like, I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to learn more about PR, see Chicago and meet up with people like Allan Schoenberg, Mike Pilarz, Amy Mengel (see a post I wrote with her help here), Christine Hartter, Nikki Stephan, Lauren Weber and Ari Adler (who, by chance, is not an M&M in real life!).

The Ragan Web site said, “There will be no speakers at the un-Conference, meaning we’ll all be learning from one another. However, there will be conference facilitators leading all of the idea-generating, problem-solving sessions.”

This unstructured environment was great because it enabled public relations professionals to ask for advice and trade ideas and strategies with their peers. People talked about Twitter, Facebook, blogging, building relationships and more.

When the facilitator asked for blog success stories, not many people raised their hands. Lindsay whispered, “Rachel! Raise your hand! Raise your hand!” So I actually gave a quick, impromptu spiel about how I started blogging and how it has been effective in my career to a couple hundred people. I even got a few cheers when I announced I was a CMU student.

In addition to the discussions, another valuable aspect was the networking. After the un-Conference, many people made arrangements to meet-up (or tweet-up). Having dinner with people you had only previously known from Twitter is a great experience. And people you already know will introduce you to more great professionals.

Have you ever been to an un-Conference? What did you like about the Ragan un-Conference?

At the Ragan un-ConferenceAnd here’s a picture of me at the un-Conference taken by Lindsay’s MacBook. The Drake was a great place!

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6 Comments

Christy
May 10, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Hey! I’m glad you spoke up about your success in blogging! So what if you’re billed as a student?

I was following @tvdeegan’s tweets, and it sounded like a lot of really smart people were there. I’d love to hear more about what you learned that you can use later!

@xybrewer on Twitter


 
amymengel
May 10, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Rachel, so glad that you could make it to the un-conference. It was great to meet you in person! Good luck with your internship this summer – can’t wait to read your posts about it.

@amymengel


 
Dave Van de Walle
May 11, 2009 at 10:09 am

Great update – when you spoke, some guy standing next to me yelled “Go Chippewas.”

Keep blogging!


 
Rachel Esterline
May 11, 2009 at 9:44 pm

@Christy Thank you. It really was a great experience to have as a student. I think it is important to interact with professionals and attend these types of events. Reading posts from the hashtag #RaganUnConf overviews everything better than I could ever sum it up.

@Amy It was great to meet you too! Keep in touch!

@Dave That’s pretty funny. I was pretty surprised to hear cheering when I announced I was from Central.


 

[…] went to Podcamp Ohio, a new media unconference. I like the idea of an unconference and enjoyed the Ragan Unconference I attended last May. This unconference was structured quite differently than the Ragan […]


 
Podcamp Ohio | Bizzy Women
Jun 24, 2009 at 8:14 pm

[…] went to Podcamp Ohio, a new media unconference. I like the idea of an unconference and enjoyed the Ragan Unconference I attended last May. This unconference was structured quite differently than the Ragan […]


 

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