THE DAD 2.0 SUMMIT is an annual conference where marketers, social media leaders, and blogging parents connect to discuss the changing voice and perception of modern fatherhood.
More men are defying stereotypes by taking active roles in their children’s lives, making day-to-day household purchasing decisions regarding products and services, and chronicling these experiences online. The Dad 2.0 Summit is an open conversation about the commercial power of dads online, as well as an opportunity to learn the tools and tactics used by influential bloggers to create high-quality content, build personal brands, and develop viable business models.
I have been thinking about the many angles I could use and just how to write about this event that I just got back from. In one hand I could do a big recap of what happened and how it happened but most of it would turn into a post that was 6000 characters or more, so I decided to just post my thoughts on the convention as a participant first. Lots more to come.
First a little bit of context. I have been attending conventions, summits and events for quite some time. Some of the biggest and more notables are around Realtors, Computer Security, Video Games and Anime. This summit had a little flavor from all of them, but in a way it was a lot different than I expected.
I went into it thinking that it was going to have parenting as a theme and even though there were elements of it, it was not a parenting conference. It also had a lot of sponsored aspects to it, but it felt natural and helpful rather than a sales event. I felt like the sponsors were there to network with people not to shove product down your throat. It was a nice surprise for me.
The bulk of what the summit was about was meeting other dad bloggers. This is where most of the positive came from but I know I am coming from a privileged point of view and I will explain why first.
Being part of a group is a lot easier when someone brings you in. I had the fortune that Daniel (Fit to Be Dad) is my best friend. That made it so I could ask someone without judgement about what I observed. It is easy to pass judgement on people and situations if you don’t have the full story.
This group of people has a lot of inside jokes, and even though they make a attempt to share them with others there is no way to fit 5+ years of camaraderie background into a single post. There is also the story of Oren. All I can say is that it can be daunting to approach the subject because I did not know him directly, but I look at it as the more the community grows the more we are honoring his legacy. He also (via his wife reading a very personal letter of his to himself) has inspired me to write letters to my daughter. I am still trying to decide if I should make that a private or a public endeavor.
With all the positive there was also some negative. I think part of it is perception, how someone can seem unapproachable if they are shy, or how walking into the middle of a joke can sometimes feel like the joke is about you. I am sure there are also people that are there just to see some people and not the other 400+ attendants. So let me give you some perspective.
Working on podcasts, blogs and other online communities the physical or (meat) space as some more introverted people have described it to me can seem downright terrifying. Some people also don’t get to see some of their favorite people in the world but twice a year. You might talk, chat or text with someone every day but don’t get to see them all that often. I think that having a place to meet with a purpose is awesome but it also has the potential to alienate others either new to the community or without the connections already there.
It felt weird sometimes when groups of people knew to go take “a group picture” but you were really not part of that “group.” Maybe next year we can have one general Dad 2.0 Picture at some point, I always find those group shots of tons of people impressive. (Not that I am signing up to coordinate such a thing!)
I can tell you that I met around 100 different people while there and one very interesting thing I observed is that maybe but a handful asked me about my family. Nobody asked me about my kid. I found that interesting for a Dad conference. I did find one negative with interactions and every time it had to do with “hits” “followers” “views.” I know I have to care about those things and I will start to pay more attention, but it was 2008 when I stopped caring about page views.
That said I did change my tune on something big. I will start thinking of this outlet as something more than just a place to get better at my English and turn it into a respectable place for content once again. Dad 2.0 did that. The conversations I had there did that. I am motivated, energized and excited to be a Dad blogger.
“IT’S OK GUYS! I’M A DAD!”