I used to go to Macworld Expo (now Macworld/iWorld) every year. I covered the show for MacUser along with a swarm of my colleagues, roving the aisles to find new products, and meeting with vendors who had secret things to show me. When I became a freelancer, I continued attending the show. I always had a book to sell, or a writing project research. A few times, I gave presentations or signed my books. I helped put on a few parties, and published a bucketful of podcasts, too. That was always a lot of fun. And then there was the annual spectacle of the Steve Jobs’ Keynote. I was there for all the big announcements, doing my best not to get sucked into the very real Reality Distortion Field. Macworld was a social whirl, too. I have so many friends in the Mac economy, and we had some truly great times, running from event to event on cold San Francisco nights in January.
My last Macworld was in 2008. I was editor of Blogger & Podcaster Magazine, and I was trying mightily to raise our profile that year. Sadly, it didn’t work. Our publisher declared bankruptcy. As you might expect, that pretty much killed the magazine.
This year, I’m headed back to San Francisco, and a Macworld/iWorld that seems, from the outside, anyway, to have changed quite a bit since I last attended. The event itself is less focused on business and professional Mac users, and more oriented toward hobbyists and iGadget fans. And of course, we are now fully immersed in the social media and mobile epochs, meaning that simple things like meeting up with friends, and finding venues will work very differently than they have in the past. And many people I’m used to seeing at the show won’t be there: they’ve moved on in their careers or, like me, haven’t been able to justify the trip in a tough economy. Social media comes into play here, too, as people find ways to connect without schlepping across county to shoulder a plastic bag and a laptop on a trade show floor for three days.
But the more profound change for me is that I will not be attending as a member of the press; gifted with an all-access pass to sessions, parties, and the mix-and-mingle center that is the press room. I can handle buying my own bottled water (gasp!), and even the inevitable sorting that goes on when an acquaintance or vendor peers at your badge and discovers that you are but another attendee (and potential customer), not a writer they want to impress. The challenging part will be physical separation from the friends, colleagues, and mover/shaker types who cleave to the behind-the-scenes spaces where one can relax, type out a news story, or scarf down a sandwich between vendor appointments. It is in these places that you run into people you need to run into.
And here I should take a moment to mention my reason for making the trip. I have a book project in the works, and I need to plug it to anyone who will listen. I’m still writing, so my promotional efforts are in the nature of a warning. Look out, because sometime this spring, awesomeness is headed your way, and I’ll be asking your help to promote it. I’ll have more to say about the book as we reach Macworld week and beyond. I need to keep you coming back here, don’t I?