TxSC 2012: When's 2013's Conference?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

We came. We saw. We shopped. We learned.

Ironically, we did not blog.
Sunday's symposium. 271 registered attendees. Photo ©Market Publique

I've been spending the last day resting up and reading the Texas Style Council recaps (and stealing everyone's photos. Please don't sue me). The common thread of the recaps posted is those who were able to attend the TxSC were so busy and tired that we were not able to blog. We were up early and out late, many of us skimping on sleep and subsiding just on Kind bars and HonestTea. I ran my staff into the ground as Elissa, Linda, and Rachel can attest. Just like the last two years, I was spread so thin that I did not take a single photo. Blog fail. Blog whine.

Before I wax poetic here, you should know that this is now the third time I've sat down to write this post. I'm not sure if I can sum everything up in one recap post. I'm not sure if this is the place to do a multitude of posts on my TxSC experience. I'm never going to be able to say everything I want to say and I don't want to gloss over my experience as this year's conference organizer.
Photo ©Airstream Photobooth: My super staff- Me | Assistant Rachel | Registration Manager Linda | Community Manager Elissa

Would I do it again?
You know... in my first draft I wrote "Yes, wholeheartedly, yes." But on second (and third) thought my answer is a firm "maybe". Don't get me wrong: I am proud of the community we have created and what the TxSC represents. There's enough conferences out there telling bloggers that in order to take it to next level we have to give up our day jobs and sell out our content to make money. There are enough networking events out there that maintain the myth that any style blogger worth their salt is taking outfit photos everyday and has Coach knocking on their door. The purpose of this year's TxSC was to encourage bloggers, brands, designers, and boutique owners to think beyond their own websites... to take online connections offline. As our keynote speaker Kendi so eloquently put it:
"Your purpose is much bigger than your blog. Your blog will amplify your purpose, but it is not your purpose... let your blog be what drives your purpose, not what is your purpose."
As I'm not so eloquently putting it:
"At the end of the day, it's just a blog. You can dress it up with how ever many ads as you want or fill it with how ever many pretty photos of yourself, but until there's a true passion driving it and some sort of point, it's always going to be just another shallow, insignificant part of the internet."
I'm still trying to figure out what my purpose is and how Adored Austin fits into that. In the last few months I have figured out what Adored Austin's purpose is not, and I'm making steady strides to refocus my content. I got lost somewhere along the way, but because of the inspiring lessons I learned over the weekend and the smart and talented women I was able to connect with, I think things will start looking up over here.
Speaking at the symposium, wearing Lela Rose. Photo © Dress With Courage

Would I do TxSC in 2013? You know, I don't know. Grechen, my 2011 co-organizer and I weren't sure if we were going to do 2012. It wasn't decided until December, and I only did it because I felt there was still a need for it and I had interested sponsors and interested attendees and a willing community manager and assistant. I think people will always need events to network and learn from each other, but unless we can present something new and decidedly different from other blog conferences, what else is there to learn? I took to heart the lessons that we taught this weekend: We've got to start thinking beyond our own little spots on the web and start connecting in legitimate ways with our community, readers, and customers. We've got to start dreaming bigger than our websites.

My passion is community: meeting people, hosting public events, and giving talks on faith and social media. My loves are writing and making videos. I'm not a great photographer. I'm not an exceptional dresser or stylist, but because I've been trying to force myself down the path of bloggers who are great photographers and trend setters, I've become jaded with Adored Austin and it shows. That is going to change. My new commitment to you and to myself? More writing, more videos, more fun, and more events. Less worrying about being the odd one out in this strange world of "personal style bloggers". As for the future of TxSC? Let's brainstorm on how it can once again be a stand-out conference in 2013. If we can't come up with any answers, let's all just meet at my house for BBQ.
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