Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Freelancers Guide to DIG : Why One Girl Decided to Attend

Savanah Sewell (JLC) & Katie Wilhelm (LEDC) of 379 Collective at DIG 2010

DIG London is an exciting experience for game and web developers, where us industry folk can come together at Canada’s largest Digital Interactive conference.

As a past DIG attendee, I wanted to share from the prospective of a young developer attending the conference; those questioning whether or not to go, READ ON.

Walking into the busy room, laptop on my hip and pen in hand, I stopped at the doorway to gaze inside the Convention Centre’s grand ballroom. Artists, developers, engineers and programmers walking around tweeting on their smart phones and utilizing today’s top technology in the same room as me. I caught the Networking bug and began shaking hands like a whacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube woman. The contacts made through the first day of the conference not only inflated my twitter followers count, but won me new business and some pretty awesome new friends.

Friendly chatter aside, when it came down to dull the lights and use that pen that I had not lost yet I was instantly glad that I came. The Information and Knowledge about all aspects of industry was something that I did not learn in school. I read a lot of blogs, tutorials and general news feeds but there is something to be said about the social merit in person-to-person engagement. I realized that this human being standing behind the podium knows a lot of things that I don’t, and I have the opportunity to rub elbows and pick their brain. Living off ramen noodles and energy drinks, these chances do not arise often for a college student and “freelancer,” and for such a great price.

Needless to say, I returned the following year with a slightly better computer and a brand new pen that I had picked up from an exhibitor booth because obviously I lost the other one. Having a decent pocket of contacts and new friends attending with me, I was able to spread my digital wings and Explore the conference. A room filled with wonderment called DIGX showcasing interactive workshops caught my A.D.D. in the best kind of way. Travelling from exhibitor booth to exhibitor booth I was able to share my witty banter with more industry professionals and win even more business. Score for the Katers.

Surrounded by new friends and peers at the DIG After Party, I wound down and buckled in for my wild ride into fun-town, I had a non-refundable one way ticket to party-ville with a purpose: to Connect on a personal level with all these geniuses I just heard speak. I ran out of business cards and left feeling pretty special.

Here we are, going into another year of DIG and a familiar feeling is stirring inside of me. Now I am helping to spread the word about DIG and working with the amazing group of people who put this thing together. I have never been a bigger fan than right now of this conference and know that I still have a lot to learn and a lot of hands to shake.

Young and seasoned professionals alike, trust me when I say that you are going to “DIG” this year’s conference on November 14, 2012. Too much? Maybe I can improve my stand-up act this year... J

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Katie Wilhelm is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the London Economic Development Corporation. She enjoys gold nail polish, graffiti art and a good RSS feed.
Connect with her on twitter? @KatieWilhelm
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