I couldn’t go to bed tonight without first writing a post about the amazing experience I’ve had these past four days…HighEdWeb Buffalo 2013.

My job automatically groups me into the “Higher Education Website Professionals,” also known as the HighEd Web Association, which links me with thousands of professionals (inter)nationally. (Canada!) There’s an annual conference, HighEdWeb, where we all get together and talk about working as website/social media/techie professionals in Higher Education, and this year it was in Buffalo. Awesome.

I was excited to go, especially to meet the people that I’ve seen have similar discussions on Twitter about Higher Education, social media, etc. In my head, they were mini-celebrities with a ton of amazing, engaging, and thoughtful things to summarize into 140 characters and send out into the Twitterverse, sparking a bunch of retweets and responses. I couldn’t wait to be a part of it.

I refuse to allow this post to become a diary entry of the past four days, but I will jot down some highlights:

  • So much food.
  • I sent 345 tweets regarding #heweb13 in four days. Sorry everyone that wasn’t at the conference!
  • Karaoke at a small gay bar packed with over 100 HighEdWebbers is insta-fun.
  • Buttons, pins, and super awesome “swag” was basically everywhere. Thanks vendors!
  • Steve Wozniak and Scott Stratten as keynotes. Steve – incredibly insightful and inspirational. Scott – my stomach hurt from laughing. Watch the presentation here. You won’t regret it, especially if you’re a marketer.
  • New friends!

Outside of the highlights (and a ton more), I left every session each day feeling inspired and slightly overwhelmed. Each session made me think of 10 new ideas I wanted to try out at work, and I know that I can’t do it all, which is frustrating yet realistic. To be able to talk to all of these people (and Tweet at them) about their ideas in a short amount of time certainly left my head spinning with excitement.

The conference had ended, and I realized very quickly how much I had gained. I had pages and pages of notes for the sessions I attended, emails I had sent myself with ideas I wanted to try, some new phone numbers to keep in touch with, tons of followers on Twitter, and even more relationships with people that work in my field than I ever thought I could possibly have. There are times at work where I get frustrated with the job, but this conference essentially patted me on the back and said “it’s going to be ok.”

I was also a part of the live-blogging team that covered each session throughout the day. A conference-goer compiled her own list of the “top 13 blog posts” to read from the conference, and all of mine made the list! Quite excited and flattered about that, but it’s easy to do when the presentations are so awesome. Check the list out here. (I’m numbers 12, 10, and 5.)

To avoid this turning into a diary entry, I’ll summarize by saying that I’m pretty sure I picked the right field.

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