The speakers were all really great. We all knew the out-of-towners would be fantastic: Chris Brogan, Sarah Evans, Jeremiah Owyang, Shawna Coronado, Ellyn Angelotti, Scott Raymond. Each had a great way of relating their personal stories about social media and took time to answer questions from the audience at length. (I am fairly sure that Jeremiah made the audience's collective head explode.) Insightful and inspiring. The local panel was great, too, although honestly they could have gone on for a lot longer. Zena Weist and Ramsey Mohsen, Tony Botello and Shea Sylvia talked a lot about the importance of community, integrity and the value of blogging.
The Lawrence community TweetUp was a highlight after the first day although I must admit I only made it to two of the destinations. I am told that we got the first swarm badge in Kansas at The Sandbar, which many folks were thrilled about. Also Fail Whale shots and the pretty blue drink you see below.
Ramsey is a KU grad and heartily endorsed the "shark attack" at The Sandbar. It comes with a grenadine-filled shark that you upend, swirling like blood into the azure sea… so cool!
Of course, Ramsey is also the one who coerced the lovely Zena Weist and myself to climb onto the bar for a local tradition known as "the hurricane." Thankfully, he is a merciful videographer and captured brief moments of what ensued.
Now, if you've ever wanted to see Chris Brogan, Sarah Evans and Shawna Coronado dance on a bar for an uncomfortably long time (just call me leadfinger), well, here you go:
I had a couple of hours to reflect upon Free State Social while I drove home. It was very Kansas- big and wide and open for possibilities. A bunch of us Wichitans are planning to get a social media breakfast group together this week and see what happens. Keep the momentum going. Ease on down the road, so to speak.
And the cherry on top? I was quoted about the conference in the Lawrence Journal-World and not only didn't sound totally ignorant but my headshot didn't make me look like a criminal. Phew!