Some people are introverts. Some are extroverts. I, apparently, am a boothtrovert. Last week, I attended the All Things Open conference in Raleigh. As part of the Opensource.com Community Moderator team, I took a few shifts in the site’s booth. And wow did I enjoy it!
I’m an equal mix of introvert and extrovert, depending on the day, but something about working the booth really got me going. It helped that I had nothing to sell. All I had to do was talk to people about the site: what they like about it (if they read it), and how maybe they should consider contributing. I’m not sure any of them actually will, but there were definitely a few people who began to light up when I explained that I went from thinking “I have nothing to contribute” to having submitted 20 articles in the space of just a few months.
But my favorite part happened during one of the book signing sessions. We were giving away signed copies of Jason van Gumster’s Blender for Dummies, and the stock we had was quickly exhausted. One guy came up to the table and looked pretty sad when he found out there were none left. So I asked his name and then brought him over to where Jason was standing. I introduced him to Jason and stepped out of the way to let them talk. They conversed for probably ten minutes or so. It wasn’t the same as getting a free and autographed book, but he certainly seemed less sad.
I’m not sure I could ever give sales pitches, but I certainly enjoy the interaction and conversation of booth work (interestingly, I mostly don’t like visiting booths at conferences, in part because I know it will result in having to ignore sales solicitations for the next three months). It looks like I’ll have another opportunity soon, but this time for work. I’ll be interested to see how booth-for-work compares to booth-for-volunteer.