Confab was the conference I had been waiting for. I’d had it on my calendar since before it even had a name (I’d jotted it down as “Brain Traffic Content Strategy Conference”), and I signed up as soon as my boss began allocating professional development for the year. Since Confab promised to be devoted solely to content strategy, I chose it over South By Southwest.
I began to have giddy daydreams about the conference. All of my heroes from both Twitter and my bookshelf would be there, and in the months leading up to our three days in Minneapolis, the #contentstrategy community was jumping with excitement.
One person called it the “content strategy prom;” I likened it more to summer camp. I imagined walking into that first cocktail hour session, surrounded by people greeting each other in real life for the first time, and amid joyous shrieks of reunion, being told, “I totally get what you do, I think you’re brilliant, and I must hire you to work at this fantastic job where you will be challenged and your unique talents will be tapped and you will be lauded for all to see on a daily basis. Would you like some whiskey and cake?”
What I did experience were thoughtful presentations from experts, and meaningful conversations with a broad range of people who, in these nascent days of content strategy, are doing very good work. What’s more, they work hard, starting their own businesses, asking tough questions of their colleagues and clients, and logging long hours to improve the state of the Web.
I was expecting to hear “You’re awesome!” but instead, I got “You better work, because being a content strategist means a life-long love for learning and improving and doing.” That, and “Want some cake?”