DAD2SUMMIT_swag

A swag bag of toys, clothing, and roasted jalapeno Kind granola bars

I started blogging in 2005 when I started writing about Knowledge Management. It was a fairly obscure blog that I used as a way to increase my professional profile. I have no idea whether 1 person or a 1,000 people read it since there was no Google Analytics. I ended that blog when I left the pharma industry in 2007.

A year later, I started a blog I did for five years that still lives today, but is dormant. Again my focus was professional with the Auto Marketing Blog that analyzed marketing efforts from automotive brands.  It was a fulfilling experience as my writing led to many opportunities including getting quoted in AdAge and ClickZ, even if AdAge did misspell my name.

I have three active blogs today.  One covers my love of Gas Station Tacos and another just started last month, The Digital Strategy Quarterly is where I write quarterly diving deep into a chosen digital marketing topic.  The third active blog is the one I got to think about a lot the last four days: Sustainable Dad.

There were a couple iterations of this blog. It started briefly as a restaurant review blog called Detroit Eats that quickly modified to the Considered Cook. I did the blog mostly to keep track of recipes I made and wanted to have viewable on my mobile phone, in case I was wondering what ingredients I needed.

Sustainable Dad came about in 2011 when I rebranded the site and started writing a few things about being a parent.  Even to this day the blog is 90% my adventures in home cooking and only about 10% parenting.  So I don’t fully identify with what I went to last week – my first dad blogger conference, Dad 2.0 Summit.

I had wanted to attend last year, but came down with the flu. Fortunately, this year’s conference was close by in San Francisco and sickness was not overtaking our home.  Plus I had multiple reasons to go: a desire to improve my blogging, but also my day job leading influencer programs for some of our clients.

The Summit was different from what I expected.

This was my first dad blogger conference, but not my first blogger or social media conference. I have spoken at BlogWorld (now called New Media Expo), SxSW, Social Media Explorer, to name a few. I have also attended SheStreams, Type-A Blogger, and BlogHer.  So I have a lot of reference points to pull from.

Blogger conferences are mostly about two things:

  1. Being a better content creator
  2. Making money from blogging

Most of what I saw at Dad 2.0 Summit wasn’t any of that.  There was more of a cultural/political agenda at foot and it shows with some of the articles I’ve seen pop-up since the event, especially these two: Fed Up With the ‘Clueless Father’ Stereotype, One Man Is Speaking Out in Defense of Dads and The Dad 2.0 Summit: Making the Case for a New Kind of Manhood.

The talks in the main room every morning centered more around public policy, employment law, and what it means to be dad in today’s culture.  I’m a dad and never really thought that much about it.  I provide for my family, try to be a good husband, and hopefully raise our boys to be respectful, kind and intelligent.  I don’t really care if I get credit for being a dad; how dads are portrayed in the media; or if moms get more cultural respect as parents.

DAD2SUMMIT_LucasFilm_Buffet

We even ate at LucasFilm thanks to Lego

I’m by no means a traditional dad/husband. I take the boys to school, cook the meals in our house and help with cleaning.  I also try to help out with some schools stuff, but my wife is a stay at home mom and does a good chunk of the parenting, since I am the sole income in our household.

I don’t look down at stay-at-home dads nor do I expect women to be stay-at-home moms.  And while not popular with most of the attendees at the conference, I personally would be running for the door to find a job if I had to stay home every day. It’s just not me. I love my kids; I just enjoy my work and career. If being home raising kids is your thing, more power to you.

And that’s what most of Dad 2.0 Summit was: Power to the Dads.

There were some roundtables in the afternoons that did talk about content and monetization, but they were a much smaller piece of the conference.  It would’ve been fascinating to learn more from the mom community, which has built such an impressive presence online, and how blogger networks are transforming.  The topic of video and influence is massive with a ton of changes as blogs wane and social sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube gain traction with brands.  How can dads get their messages out better and how can they stay ahead of content trends online to impart their stories?

Blogging is a rich topic as is parenting.  It was fantastic hearing the stories dads shared and what academics are learning about the changing role of dads in American society.  We also had an amazing group of sponsors who engaged the attendees including Hot Wheels (client though I wasn’t involved in this effort), Kia, Dove Men’s Care, PicMonkey, Stok grills, Best Buy, Nerf, and Ryobi tools just to name a few. Oh and thanks to Lego for bringing us out to Lucas Films. The 10 year old me was blown away with that experience!

DAD2SUMMIT-Ryobi

Power tools. We got to use a lot of power tools.

Unfortunately, I left without much to take back to be a better blogger and likely that wasn’t the point, because I did come away with what it means to be a better dad.  I met some amazing dads who are making a difference and breaking down stereotypes.  These are great men who are moving the shift from mom as the sole caregiver to it being a joint parental effort.  That change was very clear at Dad 2.0 Summit and was THE takeaway from the event.

My personal thought as I left Saturday was that I’m definitely more a food blogger than a dad blogger and while I too have been breaking down stereotypes for over 18 years of marriage,  I just don’t have the passion most of these guys have; rather, I do but it’s around making the perfect veal masala or Bolognese sauce.