I admit it, I have FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out. It started on Facebook when it looked like others were having fun and attending events that I couldn’t or chose not to. I know, it’s weird, I’d make a choice not to go then have all these feelings about not being there.
Now, my FOMO extends to my professional life as I see more and more blogs, posts, Tweets, and references about conferences and professional development others are attending that I’m not.
I’m envious of those who travel to, attend, and present at local, state, and national conferences more than I do. I know it’s not possible for me to attend more than one or two national conferences a year due to time, work schedule, budgets, and resources, but my FOMO still doesn’t go away.
As the ITSE 2017 conference draws near and more and more folks from my PLN share their excitement about attending, presenting, and meeting up, I have reflected on how to ease my FOMO from missing this, and other conferences, and still learn from others.
First, follow the hashtags. Most conferences and some professional development sessions have a hashtag to generate excitement and share the learning. Follow those. There is even a hashtag #NotAtISTE17 to stay connected from afar.
Second, follow members of your PLN. Follow the posts, Voxes and Tweets of your PLN members who may be attending a conference that you aren’t. Learn and live vicariously through them. Engage with them and ask them about their highlights and favorite parts.
Third, participate in Twitter chats. Sometimes before, after, and even during conferences, there will be Twitter chats around the general conference or specific speakers, presenters, or themes. Search those out and join in.
Next, expand your PLN. The more people you are connected with, the more you can read about and learn from their experiences. Even though I am unable to attend ITSE this year, I plan to follow the members of my PLN and will add others who are attending and sharing.
Start local. Attend local or regional EdCamps and conferences. Generally, those are closer, easier and cheaper to travel to, and you can make valuable connections with others who may be near you. Start small and it may lead you to bigger events!
Finally, give yourself permission and accept that you can’t do it all and sometimes you have to prioritize your own and your family’s needs. However, make sure you ARE attending conferences and professional development, even if it’s at the local level. The people you meet and connect with will have a lasting impact on you and they may be the impetus for you to attend more national conferences in the future which can help reduce your FOMO.