There are luddites out there who dismiss social media as superficial, frivolous and time consuming. I would know! I used to be one of them.

I shunned social media until a friend introduced me to MySpace in 2007, and suggested I could use it as a promotion tool for my writing. I joined reluctantly, and while I’m not sure it did much for promotion back then, it did put me in touch with other writers, moms, editors and like-minded people. Some of them I am still friends with online and others have carried our friendship and even professional collaboration into the “real” world.

Blogalicious Group Picture

Ana Roca Castro, Cristy Clavijo, Jeannette Kaplun, Ana L. Flores and Lorraine C. Ladish

My sister lured me onto Facebook when it first launched. It enabled me to connect with classmates from way back when, and also with a few people who were better left in the past. When Twitter rolled around, I—like so many others—didn’t get it. So I resisted it until the fortunate day, a year and a half ago, when I decided to give it a try. I sent out my first tweet and waited. Nothing happened. I thought it was a waste of time. Gradually, others responded to my tweets or re-tweeted me, and I saw page views in my blog grow proportionally to the number of tweets I sent out. I understood the power of Twitter.

I’m a social media convert. I’ve discovered Twitter is one of the best networking and community building tools available to us today. My use of Facebook has also changed. Whereas I started out posting for friends and family, I’ve opened it up to professional connections as well. It’s the best way for all of us to keep up with what others are doing without having to travel or get all dressed up for a networking party in real life.

Still, social media conferences such as Blogalicious 2012 help us make it personal. Aside from the thrill of meeting people in person with whom we’ve been tweeting or Facebooking, conferences also work in reverse. They enable us to make a face to face connection that may not have happened online, which we can then explore further via e mail, the phone and of course, social media.

“Make it Personal” was the theme of Blogalicious2012, held at the Red Rock Casino in Vegas. With a variety of panels that addressed the importance of being authentic and engaging online, the conference reminded me that the Internet is where the party and the business is at today. Those of us who’ve embraced it have found personal and professional satisfaction and even success. Writers and journalists who resist social media don’t know what they are missing out on, and some are still trying to figure out why they aren’t making it in print.

Read Related: Latina Bloggers Gather at Blogalicious 2011

Blogalicious is a multi-cultural conference with a focus on women, but we saw men there too, thank goodness. I’ve had the opportunity to reunite with colleagues I already knew and to meet some of our own contributors in person.

Denisse Montalvan of Orphaned Earring

I met a very special person, Denisse Montalvan, of The Orphaned Earring. If you lose an earring, don’t despair…send the remaining earring to her and she will make a bracelet out of it. She’ll mail it back to you; you make a suggested donation of $7 or more, and she donates the proceeds to an orphanage.

I met her at a social media conference months ago, but this time we really had a chance to talk. When she explained how she  hustled to get her college degree without incurring debt, working several jobs, how she raised her sister’s baby while her sibling was deployed in Afghanistan, and overcome a number of challenges, I had to ask her to write her story for Mamiverse.

Another woman who made an impact on me is Antoinette Sykes, a life coach who practices what she preaches. After hearing of the loss of her fiancé only months ago, and other major life hurdles, I was impressed by her uplifting and positive demeanor. I also wanted her on board to empower other women. Nothing can replace her enthusiasm, which I invite you to pick up on by watching her video below, addressing Mamiverse readers. Thank you, Antoinette!


Antoinette Sykes is offering a special one-on-one coaching package for 30 days of LifeDesign, to help you get out of your own way, find your passion, find balance, find support and a soft place to land when “you just don´t know what to do.

This is how networking happens nowadays, this is how we connect. Tell me your story, listen to mine, and perhaps we will find a match.

Xina Eiland and Lorraine C Ladish at Blogalicious

With Xina Eiland (left), Director of Communications of Blogalicious 2012

The organizers of Blogalicious made sure the ladies were pampered and entertained after the long days of informative panels. Just when I thought I could not carry my laptop another step further, I received a massage and had my makeup retouched professionally. There was good music, tasty food and even better company.

I’m writing this on the plane back home, exhausted, but happy. I can’t wait to see what will come of the connections made and reinforced during the conference.

The main message I took away from these days of mingling, learning, and tweeting, was…don’t forget to make your online interactions personal. Be nice to the budding bloggers, engage with the big fish, and do it expecting nothing in return. Don’t put on airs. Be professional, warm and natural, and you will thrive on- and off-line