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BY ROBIN GINER

OWAA has found a home and a following on three of the fastest-moving online social networks: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Using these new-fangled meeting places allows headquarters to reach out to members in a more timely way, sharing breaking news before the next issue of OU is published. Aside from simply sharing OWAA news, these networks keep HQs in the loop with what members are up to.

With the Internet taking a more permanent place in our everyday communications, it’s
easy to forget the importance of face-to-face relationships that were the precursors to today’s
online social networking. OWAA’s annual conference was one of the first “social networks” for outdoor writers, dating back to our first meeting in 1927 in Chicago. OWAAers have been meeting nearly every year since, building social networks with other members, editors, publishers, industry supporters and guests. Over the years, and without need for a computer, you “friended” people, found out about their interests, built business relationships and created your own “network” to refer back to when you were looking to sell that fishing story from that one trip to Lake Woebegone – oh, you remember the one.

Registration for this year’s social networking event of the season, OWAA’s 84th Annual Conference, opened on Feb. 1. Be sure to join those have taken advantage of early bird registration pricing and are already signing up for pre- and post-conference trips. I know it’s hard to envision summer at Snowbird when all you see are snowflakes as you look out the window. But the time to start making plans is now.

The social networking opportunities abound! As do the occa- sions to improve your skills, learn the newest methods and explore the issues that you’ll be writing about in the coming months. The Ask-the-Editors session, followed by a meet-and-greet reception on Sunday evening, will be a fantastic opportunity to build that net- work and fill that contact list with editors interested in purchasing your work. We’re working on bringing editors to conference who have never attended before, and with them come the opportunities to break into their publications. Hospitality suites will once again be offered by OWAA industry supporters, offering you the chance to meet and mingle with organizations and companies that provide you with fodder for another year’s worth of articles and photo- graphs. Scheduled meals at Conference are a great place to network and meet new friends, as are impromptu meetings at coffee break stations, or between sessions as you lounge in the many comfy couches that line the Cliff Lodge’s halls. Remember to attend the OWAA membership meeting so you can let the Board and other members hear what you have to say about your organization.

While you’ll definitely want to bring your laptop to conference, don’t forget to pack a pile of business cards, a hearty handshake and a warm smile … and maybe a tear sheet or two. We’re gearing up for this year’s social networking event for outdoor communicators, and we can’t wait to see you there!

Oh, and while you’re at it, why don’t you hook up with OWAA on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. See you on the Web! ♦

— OWAA Executive Director Robin Giner, rginer@owaa.org
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