I arrived in Dalian on Wednesday, and I was pretty jetlagged since I had been traveling for about 24 hours. The first day of the conference was both filled with amazement and wonder for me – not only due to the size and scope of the event, but how I was treated.
Dalian was indeed different from Beijing and Hong Kong in so many ways. The residents were very friendly and accommodating – and a lot spoke English, which I was not expecting. Dalian is also considered to the technology hub for China, so if people found out you work in the technology industry, you were treated like royalty.
What were some of the things I experienced during my time in Dalian? Here are just a few experiences and perspectives I wanted to share with you all:
- Getting the rockstar treatment: Never before have I entered a conference where photographers were clammerating and pushing each other to take pictures of the speakers. I felt like they were the paparazzi and thought they were taking pictures of someone else. However, they kept following me and were not only taking pictures, but video as well. I was taped throughout the RI Conference in Beijing a few years ago, but never to this scale. I was followed to my seat where again, I was the focus of many camera lens and photographers. This was indeed a first for me.
- Growing need and curiosity of social media in China: One of the first things I realized when I got to the conference was how technical some of the presentations were since they were all about how to set up networks, wireless connections with mobile, etc. I was one of the few communication professionals at the conference, and one of just a couple dedicated to talking about social media.
- A true global conference: What I also found out about this conference was that there were so many people from all over the world not only from various professions, but also businesses. I had a chance to talk with a couple of IBM distinguished engineers about their Smart Cities initiative and what they were doing to help out cities solve problems. I thought this was very interesting to learn more about.
- Great presentations, but great networking opportunities as well: Where in the world do you get the opportunity to share a meal with someone from Japan, China, Germany, Canada, Australia, and the UK? Not too many places – we were sharing stories, experiences, and perspectives when it came to the issue of emerging technologies.
My presentation was discussing the past, present, and future trends in strategic communications when it comes to social media. It was a fun presentation to work on and the response I got was very good. Several wanted to talk to me about it further not only regarding possible collaboration projects, but also potential future invited speaking engagements abroad as well. Pretty cool!
This conference meant a lot to me in many ways. First, it was my first invited speaking engagement overseas, which I was honored to be a part of. Also, it marks the last of my 2013 conferences in the new cycle (next one is AEJMC in August). So, this means I will not be traveling across the globe for at least a few more months.
Overall, I was able to experience China again in another city filled with promise and inspiring goals in the area of technology. Dalian was a wonderful host and it was an honor and privilege to be part of this line up of invited speakers.
Hope you all are having a great day!