Last year I attended the fourth-annual Catholic New Media Conference in Kansas City, and it was a blast. I learned a ton of new things and really enjoyed the rich discussion. The best part was meeting so many bloggers, podcasters, and new media folks who I’d been acquainted with for years online, but finally got to meet for the first time.
This year’s Catholic New Media Conference looks to be even better. The 2012 CNMC will be held in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas from August 29-31, 2012, and it’s the largest and most ambitious yet.
It features three full days of events, including the CNMC Tech Summit for Catholic web designers, app developers, and programmers, and the International Catholic Bloggers’ Summit, a whole day focusing on the ever growing world of blogging.
Here are five reasons why you should join me and attend this year’s CNMC (but if you can’t make it out to Texas, scroll down to discover the next best thing):
1. You’ll get retweeted by a bishop.
Last year Bishop Christopher Coyne attended the Conference and even live-tweeted many of the talks. When our Internet connection conked out halfway through the Conference, the Bishop let some attendees latch on to his wireless mobile hotspot—a digital twist on Jesus’ command to “feed my sheep.”
Another highlight was being re-tweeted by the bishop, as several attendees got to see “@bishopcoyne RT” next to their messages. This digital “Amen”, coming from a successor to the apostles, was really a special treat.
Bishop Coyne will definitely be back for this year’s Conference—he’s giving one of the talks—so the likelihood is high that your witty tweet will earn an episcopal echo.
2. Fascinating talks.
I was honestly surprised by the quality of talks at last year’s CNMC. At technology conferences, the speakers can often be dry and solemn. Most engineers, programmers, and computer geeks, for example, aren’t mistaken for Martin Luther King.
But last year’s talk were fun and helpful and held my attention all the way through. From the storytelling of Vatican radio host Sean Patrick Lovett, to Jeff Geerling’s mobile expertise, to the charm of Lisa Hendey and the wisdom of Matt Warner, the talks were all insightful and engaging.
This year the speakers are different, but they look just as strong. You’ll hear Bishop Coyne speak on digital charity and evangelization, blogging extraordinaires Elizabeth Scalia and Jen Fulwiler deliver keynotes on new media, and several other experts like Cliff Ravenscraft, Fr. Roderick Vonhogen, and Patrick Padley cover niche tech topics.
Plus I’ll be speaking about what Catholics can learn from Mormons, Protestants, and Atheists when it comes to evangelizing online. You don’t want to miss a talk which weaves together digital missionaries, Joel Osteen, Richard Dawkins, and (*spoiler alert*) not just one, but *two* glorious rainbows.
3. Several practical workshops.
In addition to the main talks, the CNMC will also feature several breakout sessions on Friday, August 31 as part of its daylong blogging summit. Here’s a list of the sessions:
- Dorian Speed – “Gather Round the Combox, Y’all!: Building a Blog Community”
- Dr. Jim Coyle – “Blogging to Share and Serve: Essential – and Free – Themes,
Plugins and Tools for Your WordPress Blog and Website”
- Julie Davis – “Catholic Bloggers: Are We the 1st Corinthians of the Internet?”
- Lisa Jones & Shelly Kelly – “Go Out in the World: Engaging Community”
- Lisa & Joel Schmidt – “Starting a Blog Without a Clue: 10 Basic Things We
Learned in the First 2 Years”
- Patrick Carney and John Lindner – “How to Tell the Global Catholic Story”
- Sarah Reinhard – “How does blogging fit in with your real life?”
Whether you just launched your first blog or have been hacking away for years, there’s a lot of wisdom and expertise here to learn from.
I mentioned how much I loved meeting online acquaintances for the first time. Being able to laugh, pray, and share a meal with online friends adds true depth to those relationships.
But at a Conference like this, another benefit is meeting people you’ve never encountered before. Last year, I hung out with several bloggers who were doing great work I hand’t discovered–not surprising in the huge Catholic blogosphere. Many of them I now count as close friends.
I also met people who have been integral in my own projects and work since then, people who have shared advice, connections, and resources I otherwise never would have had access to. These connections are forged in just a few hours during the Conference, but they pay dividends far into the future.
5. The Catholic Marketing Network.
This year, for the first time, the Catholic New Media Conference is being held in conjunction with the Catholic Marketing Network conference and the Catholic Writers Guild annual meeting. That means CNMC attendees will have the chance to attend presentations from other speakers like Dr. Peter Kreeft, Jeff Cavins, Imaculee Ilibagiza, and Collin Raye.
Dr. Kreeft is one of my great heroes and I’m particularly thrilled to meet him. If you’re planning to be in Texas, let me know because I’ll need someone to catch me when I swoon in his presence.
So there are five reasons why you should attend the 2012 CNMC. But what if your schedule is too packed to attend? Or what if the travel just doesn’t fit into your budget?
Well, here’s the great news. This year, for the first time in its history, the Conference is offering a “CNMC Virtual Ticket.” The Virtual Ticket will allow you to download quality audio recordings of every single session, plus exclusive interviews throughout the Conference. In all you’ll receive more than 25 hours of exclusive content.
Other conferences have done this to great success and it should be a popular addition to the CNMC. The price of the Virtual Ticket is $120 and can be purchased through the regular CNMC registration process.
Also, if you use the coupon code “BRANDON” when signing up for either the regular registration or the Virtual Ticket, you’ll receive a link to download a FREE copy of the Catholic New Media Master Class. This is an exclusive audio collection of presentations by the world’s leaders in the field of Catholic New Media.
The talks are from the first four Catholic New Media Conferences and feature speakers like:
- Fr. Leo Patalinghug (Grace before Meals)
- Fr. Dave Dwyer (Busted Halo)
- Patrick Madrid (Envoy Magazine)
- Fr. Robert Reed (Catholic TV)
- Lino Rulli (The Catholic Channel)
- Sean-Patrick Lovett (Vatican Radio)
So if you can’t physically attend this year’s CNMC, check out the Virtual Ticket. But whether you attend virtually or in person, use the coupon code “BRANDON” to get your FREE Catholic New Media Master Class collection.
Hope to see you there!