Working in the performing arts and social media means that I travel a lot and goto a lot of events. As such I have to have a well stocked, functional purse at the ready for me. Next week I am headed to NYC for Blogher conference. A perfect time for me to clean out the purse and get ready to be social! Here are the 10 most important things that I carry with me.
1. Business cards and or promo cards.
The first word in Social Media is social. To be successful in this arena you have to network and get to know people. And if you want the connection to last beyond the immediate moment you have to give people away to contact you in the future. Hence the business cards and promo cards. I carry both because some people want an autograph and others are business contacts that just need my email address. (Although many have children many of those people have children and end up wanting an autograph card anyway. which is why my autograph cards have all of my contact information on them too. Wen creating your cards I strongly advise adding a picture. I don’ know about you, but I meet sooooo may people, especially at a conference like Blogher. It is really hard to keep everyone straight n my mind. Of course we all think we are memorable, but lets face it faces get garbled in our memories. If your business card has your face on it you make it easier for the person to remember who you are and why they wanted to connect with you in the first place. Just saying.
The other way I am social is by signing those social promo cards. To do that properly I always carry a Sharpie. Sharpie! I never leave home without it as Miss Lori and as Mommy. As Miss Lori I often need to sign autograph cards, t-shirts, CDs and DVDs. (I draw the line at body parts). As a Mom there is always something that needs to be labeled before taken to school on the playground etc… I would rather buy a sharpie than a new soccer ball.
3. Pen and Notebook
Though many of us are tethered to our computers they aren’t always practical to take along with us to events. Yes you have your cellphone, but I am old fashioned. I like to take notes with a pen and paper. I carry a pen, because there is always a check that needs to be signed, (or endorsed if you are really lucky). Paper, well I always seem to have to write notes to teachers for lost permission slips and such. But at conferences I like to take notes in a notebook to refer back to later when I am creating posts or want to look up sites that have been recommended to me. I say a notebook, because whenever I use a pad of paper pages inevitably get torn off jumbling around in my giant satchel. No, a notebook is more viable and reliable. Plus it looks nicer in my desk once it’s filled up.
The second word in Social Media is Media. You have to have yours with you to be in the game. I always have my digital camera and my mini video camera with me. (Currently I am carrying models that I received from Kodak to cover the Oscars in March!) Blogging is great, but we are a very visually oriented society. A picture is worth a thousand words as the saying goes, (or in today’s vernacular “a thoooousand hits.”) But to be prepared to document you need to make sure your media is charged up. That’s why I also travel with a extra batteries and extra SD cards, because I do a lot of documenting, both as Miss Lori and Mommy. Since becoming a Social Media Maven I have captured more moments of my children’s youthful excellence because I am prepared. Although there was that time at Disney when the CAMP Rock stars spontaneously started beat boxing while my daughter sang one of her original tunes acapella. I had the video camera in my hand, but I was too enthralled and forgot to turn it on. (I will never live that one down.) But I digress. So until you have a motion activated camera attached to your head I do encourage you to remember to turn your media on so you don’t miss a key moment.
5. Internet Connected Cellphone
I simply cannot exist without my cellphone. Especially when traveling. I have to be reachable for my business and even more importantly for my kids. With all of my travels I can feel removed from my children’s lives. Being able to text them periodically throughout my day is AWESOME. That way I can be there when the need me. (Need me to tell them where there socks are. You know.) It’s also very important that my phone have a data package so that I can keep my finger on the pulse of my business and social media contacts. I am in big trouble right now because my cellphone is on the fritz. It’s not holding a charge well. I happen to be in a very unique position, I am a cell phone wireless plan free agent. So in the next week I have to wade through all of the available wireless plans out there and find a new home for my business and a new phone to rule my life. But that’s another post.
Full disclosure, I received one of these as a gift at the SV Moms party in Chicago this year. It has been such a lifesaver for me. I send so much of my day away form home. And eventhough I have an invertor in my car it can’t always plug my phone in because so many other things are vying for electrical attention. The other half of my life is spent out doing things on the go. Being able to charge my phone mid event without being tethered to an outlet gives me wings! (of course it would help if my cell phone battery wasn’t dying so fast which is why I am desperately searching for a new cell phone plane and cellphone as a new free agent. but that’s another post.)
7. Ziploc Bags.
You didn’t see that coming did you? I use ziploc bags for so many things. I keep a Ziploc of loose change. I use one to put the business cards that I collect at and event and then I label the bag so I can refer back to it when I am contacting individuals for networking. Most importantly I use the Ziploc bag to collect my receipts on trips. I have to itemize my taxes ans a self employed person. Since I travel so much receipts can be a huge problem. I have learned to put all of my trip accounting into labeled bags. So come tax time I am more organized. It has been such a time saver. Lastly, I use Ziploc bags to collect snacks at event. Sometimes there is something that is being served that is so tasty, but which I don’t want to stuff myself to enjoy. So I put it in a ziploc bag to enjoy later. (Yes, I am secretly a little old lady pocketing fried chicken.) Why Ziploc? because they are reusable and they are see-thru. Makes paging through my dark bag a lot easier. Also inevitably my children will dump something in my purse that will leak or spill or get gooey. I have learned the hard way the benefit of having water proof bags in my purse. It’s self preservation.
When I am just manuevering at home I use a BPA free hard reusable water bottle that I got in several colors form Wal-Mart. But when traveling space is a premium so I use my Vapur water bottle that I got last year fat a Kathy Kaehler event. It is such an ingenious product. It holds your water securely when you are you are moving about, and it rolls up nicely when you are done. No bulk to compete with your 6000 other things in your bag. It’s really important to carry water with you, especially when traveling. it is very easy to get dehydrated on a plane in a hotel etc, with all of the repurposed air. You need to keep replenishing your fluids. It keeps your more fresh and alert. It can also stave off a headache or a sore throat that is environmentally induced.
I shake a lot of hands, especially little ones. With that I carry a package of wet ones with me all of the time. Why not hand sanitizer? Well, when I am traveling I don’t like to check my bags, so I can only bring along a quart size bag of 3 ounce liquids. That real estate is at a premium in my bag. I’m not willing to give up my make-up for hand sanitizer. Plus the wipes are more versatile. I can clean up a runny nose, wipe off caked lip glass, as well as wipe off my hands. Can’t do that with hand sanitizer.
10. A Medicine Bottle
I am not a doctor and I am definitely not prescribing anything. But for me, I always carry a little medicine bottle in my bag with Mucinex, a pain reliever such as Tylenol, Aleve or Advil, and allergy pills. Mucinex because I am prone to congestion, especially when traveling. I take some before bed so that everything keeps moving in my sinuses when I am sleeping. Pain reliever because at conferences such as Blogher you are putting in long hours in confined spaces with lots of stimulation. A tension headache breeding ground. (Also, if I get too loose on the dance floor at the Sparklecorn Party I may need some Aleve in the morning to counter act the aftereffects!). Allergy pill because I am easily effected by dust and pollutants. Nothing worse than having to pay crazy mark up at the hotel store when you could have just as easily brought your pills from home.
Now of course you will find some other things in my bag; stray fruit snacks, a child’s toy, a safety pin, tweezers and occasionally some cash, but mostly these 10 things will prevail. What’s in your bag?
Miss Lori can be found Musing from her Minivan at MissLori.TV , Wearetherealdeal.com , YoungChicagonista , ChicagoMomsBlog , and ChicagoMoms.com. She is the Chicago Family Entertainment Blogger for Examiner.com and a Discussion Leader for MomsLikeMeChicago. You can also see her Activating to Be Great at Miss Lori’s CAMPUS on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.