Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CNMC: What I Learned

In no particular order:
  • Adoration is essential before speaking to a large group (even if only for 2-3 minutes). I'm eternally grateful to Fr. Roderick for having a chapel on-site.

  • I just get fonder of Will Duquette the more I hang out with him. And this isn't just because he's my buddy. He very politely was sure to remind me that paying attention to my writing was more important than taking on new projects (like helping with a new podcast idea ...). Drat. But the good friends are the ones who'll talk straight to ya (politely but straight).

  • That when Sarah Reinhard spends the night at my house, it is literally possible for the two of us to never stop talking. For three days. And we still had more to say when she left. (Surprisingly Tom is not deaf. I don't understand it.) ALSO, she is not afraid of interactive materials for her talks. She gave a very hands-on presentation ... with actual beach balls ... and it provided a lively time that Tom enjoyed.

  • Someone can meet your eyes, smile, and finger waggle at you ... and it is better than an introduction. Elizabeth Scalia did that to me through a little triangle formed of people between us, right before beginning her talk. I felt as if I'd been given a hug. (Of course, personal connection is one of her super-powers, but we can all attempt this ourselves.)

  • Also, I had tears in my eyes when Elizabeth spoke about the moment every Catholic blogger has experienced: feeling as if one should stop blogging and then receiving an encouraging email. I've never mentioned that to anyone much because I fall into the "coincidence" trap a lot (don't want to assume miracles, dontcha know?). To hear it spoken of so publicly and matter-of-factly was a wonderful reminder and reinforcement of our common mission for Christ as bloggers and podcasters (because, yes, it has happened for the podcast also).

  • Always put a photo so that the Pinterest gang can link to you. (Note the graphic above! I hear and obey.) I am not sure who the fellow was who was such a fan of Pinterest, but he piqued my interest because you just don't think of guys hanging out there but I absolutely loved his enthusiasm.

  • Got to meet Shannon Hughes from Emmaus Road (for whom I do book design and layout). Face to face! Woohoo! What did I learn? That she values my enthusiasm for design ... I suppose that includes my passionate defense of my layouts. (Sorry about how that passion overflows sometimes, Shannon!) But wait till you see what I've thought of for our next project!

  • Bishop Coyne stole my heart with his admission that continuing to focus new evangelization on Christ as a person has transformed his personal prayer life. Also, I never knew that that new evangelization is focused on bringing back those who left the Church instead of going to places where no one has heard of Christ. Not that there's anything wrong with that either. PLUS, Q&A is one of his super-powers. I'm just sayin'.

  • God does miracles even when we're talking about tech and business and suchlike. Of course, for Him this is business as usual ... and noticing it should be the same for us. But is it? It's nice to have reminders.

  • That guy you noticed and felt like you should go talk to because of his T-shirt and the fact that he's not sitting with anyone? The one you noticed three times? Do it. Because he's great and has a zombie story that'll kick your ... well, you'll like it. A lot. In the first letter: that thing about the cupcake? Got me and Hannah right there.

  • Jennifer Fulwiler is gutsy enough to spend her entire talk pointing out all the ways the devil uses the internet to attack us. I like that in a talk. A lot.

  • Being on a panel means you shouldn't grab the microphone every time a question is asked ... because sometimes you don't really have the answer. Ask me how I know. Wait. Don't. Although it did bring me into a very interesting conversation afterward. So maybe it all worked out ok.

  • Jennifer Fitz ... have always loved reading her blog, Riparians at the Gate. Loved even more getting to hang out with her. She is generous with helping people make connections, giving them books with Roman churches (lovely photos) in them, and in laughing when I make a joke. Ahem. In no particular order ...

  • Everyone should go through hair and makeup before going on camera. Or probably before giving a talk in bright lights, as I panicked about much too late to do any good. So I ignored it and sailed along anyway. Lesson learned from Rob Kaczmark from Spirit Juice Studios.

  • Building community through interactive tools can be as simple as turning voting into a live "horse race." Fun and gets everyone engaged ... somewhat like off-track betting (in the movies, anyway) ... as we all see which answer "wins." A clever bit of illustration of their points from Lisa Jones and Shelly Kelly.

  • Dorian Speed ... I like her in my living room at dinner ... I like her doing a presentation with hand drawn pictures. Wow. Clever, funny, sensible, and able to serenely handle equipment break downs on the fly. My new hero.

  • Brandon Vogt looks exactly like his photo (you'd be surprised how few people that is true of). He's also as nice as he looks. AND gives a fantastic presentation. I wondered how he'd be able to handle his topic without saying anything negative ... and he did it. Really great.

  • Blogger is disliked by a surprising number of people. Or is it that WordPress has an "Apple" vibe going on right now ... it's the cool kid on the block? I was stunned by the high level of "woah, people, use WordPress." Happy Catholic does not just happen to be left on Blogger because I ignore the lack of features. It is owned by Google. It's been updated. But a lot of people didn't check that before talking about it.

  • It really is all about the people and the face-to-face encounters though. So many people that I met and didn't get to talk to long enough ... and that is what made me go around for the last couple of days feeling as if I had a "retreat high."
Here is a page where you can find lots of recaps and comments from CNMC attendees.


  1. Re: Blogger v. Wordpress: I had to pull the plug on blogger for a group blog in late 2011 because it didn't have the features we needed to do the group thing effectively. Otherwise, it was fine. Liked some things better, some things less. I think I picked Wordpress for my own blog because I like the word "word" better than the word "blog". And "press" reminds me of . . . coffee. Which makes me happy.

    1. And you're funny. Did I say that? I never thought about the word "word" versus "blog." But I actually like "blog." Now I will waste time thinking about that ... aaargh!

      BTW, I made some revisions this morning but must have not hit save. So your entry is now fixed ... check it out. :-)

  2. Don't give me too much credit. It's really just that I like your writing and I'm not that into podcasts.

    Other than that, I believe I agree with every bullet. I'll have to link to your summary so that I don't have to write one.

    1. I viewed your desires as God's prompting on what I already knew but was either ignoring or forgetting. :-)

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Julie!

    I was honestly surprised at how dominant WordPress was in people's talks as I know there were several people in attendance who use Blogger. WordPress is obviously my personal preference, of course. And I think I might have initially gravitated there for some of the subliminal messages Jen mentioned. What was even more telling, to me, was when that one priest mentioned Tumblr and there was a general rumble of "oh, yeah, nobody really talked about Tumblr!" Kind of weird since it's such a popular platform.

    1. I remember that and also the Pinterest guy ... it makes me think there needs to be an overview (or something) of the platforms that aren't mentioned much. And poor TypePad. Not a mention that I heard. Though I wasn't there for tech day. :-)