Having been away from the conference and events scene for five years (in those wilderness months I wrote solely about destinations and travelling), I went to my first convention this week since 2007. I was only in attendance for a couple of hours, jotting down notes for a case study that you will be able to read in an upcoming issue of Meetings & Incentive Travel, so I will not give too much away about the whys, whos and wheres, other than to say it was the Adobe Digital Marking Summit at Battersea Evolution. But suffice to say, I got back that buzz that comes from being on the convention floor. It hit me pretty much instantaneously. I remembered it. I like it.
I had missed that feeling. There you are amid the rush, the sounds, the bustle and the excitement of being among people who are there for a decided purpose, buoyed by the giddy idea that hundreds of fabulous projects will emanate from it. As this was a technology conference, there was added to the melee the incessant (and this can be tiring, as we all know) click, ping and whir of countless iPhones, Blackberrys, iPads, PCs, Macs and other assorted gadgetry, as well as the sonic vibrations stemming from breakout sessions, entertainers, lunch servers and the cries of hello from those who finally found the one person at the show they really needed to talk to.
One of the organisers of the event told me an anecdote concerning technology that came from one of the previous day's keynote speakers, Arianna Huffington of New York City's Huffington Post, the founder of perhaps the most-read online news source in the United States but only now becoming a household name in the UK. In her address, she urged attendees to put down their electronic toys once in a while (oh, the horror!) so as not to miss out on what else life had to offer. This, I was told, was met with applause and sage nodding of collective heads, before everyone instantly tweeted her advice to their thousands of followers, who no doubt did a fair share of re-tweeting.
A humorous moment, but one more that made me think how lucky I have been and still am to be involved in this industry. I hope everyone knows this, too. It can be tiring and trying, sure, but it is far, far better than, say, waiting for the 53 bus weighed down by too many shopping bags from Sainsbury's.
As I left the show, I walked across Chelsea Bridge towards Sloane Square and saw to my left the preparations for next week's Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show. Yet another show. And I hope, yet more buzz.