September 21, 2007

Is there ever a day when mattresses aren't on sale?

I'm at the Internet Ministry Conference this week. I had to go. When I say that I had to go, I really mean that I had no choice. Part of our agreement between the camp and is that we will have a representative at their annual conference. However, we didn't send anyone last year . . . or for the five years before that. So, we received a letter that went a little something like this:

Dear Somerset Beach,

Send someone to our conference, or else.


So, I'm here. I came into this conference with two basic assumptions:

1. Everything would be way over my head.

2. I would be the coolest person at the conference.

Assumption number one was not necessarily true. I've learned a lot about online ministry . . . who knew? While there are some sessions that lose me a little, I realized that I know a lot more about marketing and web design than I thought I did. There are, in fact, people here who know less than I do. The problem is that the less people know, the more they feel like they need to compensate for it by pretending they know EVERYTHING. Consequently, they make themselves look really stupid. Even as I type, there's a conversation going on at the table next to me that is making me want to cram the fake fruit from the centerpiece in front of me into my ears just to make it stop.

Another insight that I gained was that I underestimate my "boringness." You read that correctly. According to a few of the conference attendees, I do not use my blog as an evangelistic tool; therefore, it is egotistical, esoteric and boring. So be it. I've never forced anyone [but my husband] to read it. Ironically, I was excited to be a part of that conversation because I knew I could come home and blog about it.

Assumption number two was correct. I mean, it wasn't a Star Trek convention or anything, but most of these people were definitely way nerdier than I am.

Here are a few of the highs/lows of the conference:

  • The first presenter tried to say "baby boomers" and instead said "booby bangers." I, of course, started giggling like a 12-year-old.
  • While we were praying during morning devotions, I heard the guy next to me shuffling papers. I opened my eyes and glanced over at him and had to hold in the laughter. He had his eyes closed but was squinting enough to still look at his conference schedule through the small slits created by his eyelids. He did this as if he thought he was fooling everyone into thinking he was actually praying. You know . . . the same way a 7 or 8 year old might if he were trying to finish his coloring page in church during prayer without being scolded. If your eyes look closed, you're still praying, right? Hey loser . . . just open your eyes!
  • Obviously, 95% of the people here have laptops with them and are on them through sessions. In fact, most of the presenters have you follow along with their presentations via the Internet. You all know that I'm loving that. But what I don't love are the "loud typers." Several of these people have laptops that have been around since I was in junior high and they pound their keyboards as if the keys will not understand what they're trying to spell unless they are very emphatic about pressing them. The lady next to me also feels that she has to type every word the presenter says.

  • Every presenter had some sort of alliteration tool to aid in comprehension. One guy had 6 separate alliterative lists. SIX! (Side note: I spell checked to see if 'alliterative' is a word. It is.)
  • I went back to the hotel quickly this morning to bring Kyle the stroller that I had inadvertently taken with me. In the lobby, I noticed a man sitting at a small table with a 8 1/2" x 11" sign that said, "Register here." It was weird but I was in a hurry so I didn't give it much thought. As I walked toward my room, I saw no less than 15 people in the hallway sitting in chairs up against the wall across from the door to my room. All of the rooms on that side of the hall had open doors with signs on them that said things like "war relics," "jewelry" and "coins." A Grand Rapids version of the Antique Road Show was set up in our hallway. Meanwhile, Kyle spent the whole day trying to get Jack to nap with crowds gathered outside the door. It was bizarre.

  • I would estimate that most of the conference attendees were between the ages of 40 and 50. This did not surprise me. One of the presenters, however, was about my age. He kept talking about opposition from people in the "older generation" and referring to the "40-year-old guys who make things difficult for people who have anything to do with the Internet." I was so embarrassed for him. Come on buddy . . . KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!

  • At this conference, the heated debate regarding Mac vs. PC raged on. I saw the people with Macs staring at others with PCs as if they have a cross to bear. I made the comment yesterday that I made a conscious choice when I bought my Sony over a Mac. . . there was an audible gasp around the table. Part of me wonders if my strong allegiance to my PC is the equivalent of those who refuse to switch to Windows from DOS based programs. The other part of me doesn't care.

All in all, it was a good experience and rather entertaining. I did enjoy being the coolest person in the room for once in my life. For that reason alone, I will go back next year.

1 comment:

Bobby and Jason said...

I suppose its good for you to be at a confess where you can be the coolest. Especially since you have to live in my shadow of coolness all summer. Congrats.