It’s hard to believe that another ASHA Convention (popularly hashtagged as #ashaconv) has come and gone. After landing in Philadelphia on Wednesday evening, I find myself now (on Saturday) aboard a flight to Tokyo, Japan. Of the six times I’ve attended #ashaconv, this was undoubtedly the best.
Side Note: If you’re not familiar with Twitter, #ashaconv is the hashtag used to tag all ASHA Convention-related posts.
My whirlwind two days in Philly were a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, leaving me still trying to process it all—but what fun it was!
Expectations: As someone deeply engaged in social media, I was eager to meet many of my online acquaintances in person. I chat and tweet with numerous people daily, making it feel as if we’ve already met or, even better, are best friends. I was especially excited to meet industry leaders like Samuel Senott, the creator of Proloquo2Go, and Sean J. Sweeney, the “Speech Techie.” I also looked forward to catching up with friends from previous ASHA Conventions and meeting other app developers and my #slpeeps at ASHA’s Tweetup. The big question on my mind was: will anyone recognize me as @geekslp?
Arrival: Fresh off a long flight sans internet, I headed directly to downtown Philadelphia’s convention center. After picking up my badge and registering my first-ever ASHA booth, I set up my displays and retreated to my hotel to recharge for the exciting days ahead.
Day 1: The ASHA Convention’s atmosphere is electrifying, filled with professionals eager to learn and share. This year was no exception. Several of my virtual friends, including Maggie from ASHA and Samuel Senott, stopped by my booth, proving they’re just as delightful in person as online. Although I wanted to attend an apps presentation, the room was at capacity by the time I arrived. My evening concluded at the Hispanic Caucus meeting and then a gathering with MC2 friends at the Marriott.
Day 2: Despite the previous late night, I was at the Overlook Café by 7 a.m. for the ASHA Tweetup. There, I met even more of my social media friends, including Jeremy Brown, a teacher attending the convention. Many attendees recognized me by my @geekslp Twitter handle or from the apps I’ve developed. By 5 p.m., I was headed to the airport, my voice nearly gone from nonstop talking.
I can’t wait to see my ‘virtual’ friends again at next year’s convention and meet new ones along the way. Until ASHA 2021 in San Diego, stay connected and follow me on Twitter!