I’d never been invited to anything before as a result of my participation in the DOC. So when the Direct Message came early in December, after over a month of silence on this blog, I was a bit intrigued.
“Hi Scott – what is your preferred email address? I’d like to invite you to an event Medtronic is having,” it read, signed by one of the company’s PR folks whose name we see around the web. Naturally, a bunch of thoughts filled my head.
- Why me?
- Is this one of those things that other bloggers write disclosures about, where they pay for travel, food, and lodging, but not for the words expressed in a blog?
- Who declined and opened up a spot for me?
- Is his for real?
- Will I be able/willing to take time off of work?
- What’s in it for them?
- How do I explain it to my family? (“Honey, I’m flying to California to meet somebody I met online”)
Another company – a respectable one, I might add – once sent a similar DM, but the email that followed was more of an advertisement which led me feeling as if I’d been the victim of a timeshare-presentation scam. So you can understand how I tried to restrain my enthusiasm over a simple Tweet.
But yes – it was real. And yes, they did fly me from frigid, wintry New Jersey to sunny, warm California.
I’m getting ahead of myself a bit. There were no directions given to us regarding what we could say about the invitation to the Diabetes Advocates Forum on social media beforehand, so I had just decided to keep quiet and take cues from others. On the Wednesday before we were due to fly out, a few DOC-folks began to reveal that they had been invited. I subtly acknowledged in comments here and there, but never put up a declaration post myself.
For some time, there had been a couple of people in the DOC that I really wanted to meet, so when they announced that they were also traveling west, I was getting excited. (I contemplate putting their names here. But upon meeting them, the feeling indeed seemed mutual, so I’m sure they can figure it out). Of course, there were others who were not invited, so that excitement was tempered a bit with sadness and even guilt. I know what it’s like to be left behind.
Anyway, I still had no idea what to expect. But after the plane landed and I arrived and checked-in to the hotel, I headed downstairs to the hotel bar to see if I might recognize a few faces that I’d recognized from profile pictures.
Scott K. Johnson approached me and gave me a big hug.
And the whirlwind Forum had begun…
More to come in the next post …
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And now my first ever disclosure (whee!):