I have a confession to make: I have a real job. If you have visions of me as this edgy fashionista jetting all over the country as a shoe blogger, well….. a snapshot of me in a cube farm sporting a company ID badge and a conference call headset is probably more accurate.
But one of the perks (or horrors, depending on whom you ask) of having a real job is that I sometimes travel for work. And when I find out a business trip is in my future, you can bet your sweet patootie that I immediately start scouring the Internet for shoe blogger related activities that I can work into my trip (which is how I managed excursions to the Allen Edmonds factory in Wisconsin, and the oldest shoe store in Atlanta).
A shoe blogger comes out
Until a few weeks ago, my two worlds – business and blogging – remained distinct parts that coexisted but never coincided. Oil and water, not cake and ice cream.
But recently, I attended a conference for a professional communications organization I belong to, and somewhere along the buffet line, I just said “screw it” and decided to let my shoe blogger freak flag fly.
And proudly did it wave. I snapped shoes with abandon, and posted them on the conference’s Twitter hashtag. I talked about why I loved menswear-inspired shoes, and how being a shoe blogger had forced me to become more social media-savvy. I traded tips and WordPress secrets. I listened as other people opened up about THEIR passions.
They liked me. They really liked me!
And a funny thing happened. My Twitter posts became one of the most talked-about topics at the conference. People started seeking me out so that I could photograph their footwear. Some attendees snapped their own shoe photos and Tweeted them. In one conference breakout session, when everyone introduced themselves, I led with my real job. Then, almost as an afterthought, I mentioned that I was the shoe blogger. I got cheers and applause!
In short, it was best conference ever. I learned skills that will be helpful in my professional career, absolutely, while adding scores of Twitter and Instagram followers. And I made some new friends, to boot.
Above all, I realized that sharing your passion – no matter where, when or with whom – encourages your worlds to collide in really positive ways.
Now, if I can just figure out how a shoe blogger gets an expense account…..
Conference image at top courtesy of IABC Headquarters