Let’s Go Fishing

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I love a class.   Going to workshops, taking a course at the local community college – it’s all about learning new things.  And if there’s a work-related conference that involves travel – count me in!

Friday I went to a one-day learning extravaganza called Converge South.  It was a full day focused on online branding and social marketing.  Now, I’m still climbing up the learning curve.  I’m not clueless, but no one would apply the words “tech geek” to me.  I knew there would be lots of gadgets in use by other participants, but hey – I replaced my cell phone with the antenna about a year and a half ago with an iPhone.  That puts me in the game!

Since I am equally enthusiastic about a cup of coffee in the morning, I headed for the carafes upon arrival and then took a seat for the opening session.  I spent a few minutes observing my fellow students.  I was happy to see a good showing of my peers in the over-40 (and -50) group.  Because it was auditorium seating, I had a clear view of the iPhone belonging to the younger person in front of me.  While I am thrilled with my page and a half of apps, this person had pages and pages of apps.  And lots of folders with even more apps stored within.  It was all I could do not to ask, “What in the world is all that stuff?” And maybe more importantly, “Who has time to look at all that stuff?

Thankfully the morning session was called to order and I had to get focused.

There were great topics to choose from each hour, with options for novices and the pros.  The best part of the day, however, was talking with other participants and learning together.  Every presenter was friendly and more than willing to talk with you after the session.  Business cards, email and twitter addresses were shared throughout the day.  Every attendee I approached before or after a session was more than happy to share their experiences and answer questions about what they were doing and how they got there.

What was decidedly absent was the guardedness that so often goes hand in hand with competition.  You could hear people encouraging one another and offering suggestions.  Very refreshing!

As I drove home, thrilled with the day and trying to mentally corral all the new ideas racing around in my brain, a Chinese proverb familiar to many of us made its way into my thoughts:  Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

I was “taught to fish” on Friday.  What a sunny day!

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