Dad 2.0 Summit Recap

Am I a Dad Blogger? Clearly not.

No dad blogger worth a rat’s ass would take a week to write a wrap-up post about an event as significant as the Dad 2.0 Summit, which took place right here in Austin last weekend. I may suck, but this conference did not. So I’ll plow ahead with some random thoughts.

It was nice to finally see Doug French onstage, under the banner of Dad 2.0, kicking off the conference. Proud papa. Add “Summit Impresario” to his list of accomplishments. A relief to him, and to all of us working to create online parenting content. It was an important moment for “our space.” So, self-interest notwithstanding, I’m declaring the Dad 2.0 Summit an unmitigated success — well attended, crisply run, stocked with thoughtful programming and good, clean fun to boot.  A good show.

I think what made the Dad 2.0 conference such a success was the blend of the pragmatic and the philosophical. There was not only plenty of talk about how to intelligently monetize a blog or how to match brands with dads, but also insightful discussions of how the role of fathers and the definition of manhood has changed. And sometimes, these conversations merged in a way that caused me to disrupt panel discussions with loud outbursts and bulging neck veins.

One of Brad’s hillbilly cousins was leading an otherwise intelligent panel featuring Babble’s Director of Community and Social Good (and Bad Mother) Catherine Connors  and public affairs expert David Westcott about pitching brands on Dad generated content — something Babble has long done. The problem of attracting a large male audience for parenting material surfaced, as it always does, and Westcott asserted that dad bloggers needed to spend time online in places where guys hang out online — sites dedicated to sports, tech, and politics (he left out porn).

I fretted aloud that until dads greeted each other with news of the kids instead of bracketology, we would struggle. In my comment I named a team and that’s all it took — the room exploded into sports chatter and irony. I screamed and stamped my feet. Beta Dad and Jason Sperber talked me down, assuring me that in some communities, things had already changed.

I was somewhat more in control of myself during my own panel, though I was pretty nervous to be moderating a session on tech and families with rockstars Ken Denmead from Geek Dad and Kristen Chase from Cool Mom Tech. The turnout was light,  which I attributed to some folks bailing out to cross over to the SXSWi fest happening at the same time. Like most Austinites, I have slightly mixed feelings about SXSW — amazing event, but traffic, jammed bbq joints. And who needs SXSWi when Dad 2 is in town? I felt no temptation to be anywhere else.
Until a suggestion arose that we should offer the panel at SXSWi ’13 — My heart fluttered and I knew I was a slut.  A conference slut.

Other highlights:

  • That Huggies brand reps arrived to make amends or their ill-conceived campaign was a sign that the conference had weight and represented significant influence.
  • Lost Pines Resort staff rolls with the punches when drought-besieged Central Texas served up a weekend-long deluge.
  • As usual, I lame out of extended hours revelry.
  • Zatarain’s build-your-own Jambalaya inspires me — awesome party idea.
  • Non-profits shot@life and Safe Kids give us great content ideas. Stand by for videos to come.
  • Dai Manuel dropped by courtesy of Dove + For Men and offered a cool Crossfit style workout — glad to have the tabata technique in my quiver.
  • Lego, LG and XBOX proved that they get it when it comes to dads in so many ways. Their support was duly noted.
  • I should get linky here with all the amazing dad bloggers that showed up, but we’ve already established my liabilities in the blogging area. Getting to finally meet Jeremy Adam Smith and to spend some time with Vincent from NFI were highlights.
Categories: DadLabs, Fatherhood, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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