I touch down in San Diego Sunday morning for my first PRSA national conference in 8 years. This time, I’m attending not as a PR professional or educator, but as a PR blogger — a media person in search of a story. (Stop your snickering!)
What does this mean? I have no idea. But as a “credentialed journalist” in a tough economic year, I’m not expecting a press room stocked with champagne and caviar. OK, it would be nice. But I’m told PRSA has eliminated the media room altogether, an anachronism from an analog age.
(Update 11/5/09: PRSA email says there is a “media center” at the conference. I stand corrected, but I still don’t need it. Opps! See next update. I guess I DO need it!)
No matter. I’ll find a place to collect my thoughts and dash out a few lines of copy. But don’t count on detailed coverage of the sessions or keynoters. I’m one of those oddballs who sees live blogging and tweeting as disrespectful to the speakers.
Reining in the budget. I stopped attending PRSA conferences when the out-of-pocket cost exceeded my academic travel budget by 4-fold. This year, it’s a bit different. I snagged a cheap flight and booked a 4-star hotel near the conference at less than half the conference hotel rate. The Hilton Bayfront, via hotels.com, is just $109 a night. I’m told you can find even better rates on Priceline.com, but I don’t trust Captain Kirk since he gained all that weight and became a travel shill.
Talk to me about tweet-ups. I’ll be watching the Twitter hashtag #PRSA09 for news about social gatherings in San Diego. I way more interested in talking with conference goers than listening to presentations. But I’m thinking the place for me, at least on Monday night, is Bub’s Dive Bar in Pacific Beach.
Bub’s is where the Steeler faithful of San Diego meet to worship. If you didn’t know, our World Champions in black and gold meet the Broncos on Monday night football. That’s a 5:30 start on the West Coast. A word of caution to the Steeler Nation: No boilermakers until halftime — or about 7 o’clock.
What will I write about? Maybe nothing at all. But look for some short blasts on my Posterous site and my usual snide remarks on Twitter. I doubt I’ll have time to write much for ToughSledding until I return, since real blogging requires focus.
Update 11/6/09: Just learned the conference center doesn’t have wifi available. Who knew? So I won’t be doing any microblogging on this trip, which means no Posterous and no Twitter. That’s fine with me. It’ll improve my focus! The media center at the conference does have an Internet connection, so at least I can check my email! And don’t suggest I run out and get an iPhone. Ain’t gonna happen.
Thanks to Arthur Yann and Diane Gomez, the PR pros from PRSA, for offering me a shot a covering this meeting as a “media guy.” I wouldn’t be making the trip were it not for their invitation.
Oh, yeah. If you hear of other places where the Steeler Nation is meeting up on Monday night, drop me a line, OK? I may not make it to Bub’s, but I gotta be with my people.