I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. SHRM’s director of Social Engagement, Curtis Midkiff included me in his blog squad of over 70 people. Additionally, Sabrina Baker and Susan Avello, a couple of my peers from Illinois were also in this group. Said another way, we were Curtis’ guests. We were also hosted by the folks from Dice.com in the bloggers lounge, and they turned out to be a great partner for all of the bloggers and SHRM as well.

As part of the deal it was expected that we would attend and help promote the event through social media outlets, that we would attend certain events and that we write and tweet about it.  Heck that’s one thing we all enjoy doing, so who wouldn’t want to go to the big show and do what you enjoy doing.

When you get on site along with the rest of the folks (the numbers vary but let’s say 15,000) the opportunity to network is phenomenal.  This was not a stated objective of the blog squad, but it is also very conference like.   The first stop was meeting all of my fellow bloggers that I already knew and exchanging hugs and handshakes.  Next I wanted to meet some of the folks that I had not met  in real life.  Most of these folks could be found either at The Hive or The Blogger’s  Lounge.  After hooking up with blogger friends it was time to meet some people and make some new friends.

On Sunday evening I was at one of the tweet-ups where I was conversing with my fellow Illinoisans; Susan and Sabrina whereupon we were roundly castigated by a Mr. Steve Browne, networker extraordinaire.  Steve told the three of us,“Hey you folks from Illinois, break it up, go meet some new people, you can talk to each other when you get back home.”   While Steve’s comment was somewhat tongue in cheek, knowing Steve I suspect he was about 2/3 serious.

While at the big show I continued to attend the litany of events, traveling to them with new friends, and friends from out of town – ones that I rarely get to see. I was networking.

Now that’s the set-up; word got back to me via several folks that I was snubbing the Illinois SHRM delegation, because I didn’t go hang with them.  Really?  I thought I was doing the right thing.  Well see where Big Steve comes down on this one. The jury is out.