AAJA’s #V3con was an experience I will cherish forever

The Japanese American National Museum was my weekly home for almost two months. It’s a great place.

During the time between my departure from the NFL Network and my arrival at Yahoo, I was looking for something to do to occupy my time. I think that for me, I just wanted to stay connected. I wanted to stay fresh. I needed to really make myself useful.

Thanks to a suggestion of a friend, I got connected with the Asian American Journalists Association. This was a group that I had always known about. But because their meetings were far away and I was a poor college student back then, I never gave it much thought. I always thought that I would learn my way through my field in journalism without them. And so far, I was right.

But now that I am in Los Angeles and they have an LA chapter, I felt that it would be a good opportunity to see if I can help them with anything. It so happened that they were already in the final stages of getting their annual V3con conference. I had never heard of it before. But after checking their website, I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of during this down time.

I was so lucky to have been accepted into this already tight-knit group of amazing journalists. What I would quickly learn is that these journalists who were building this amazing conference together showed a passion that I wish I saw more in journalism. They understood the power they had in their voice. They knew how much they can influence other journalists.

For the next month or so, I would sit in with the team once a week as they held meetings to go over every single detail that needed to be addressed to make sure the convention was a success. I told them that I was up to help out in any way possible. Knowing that I have a background in writing and social media, that’s what I helped out with.

For the very first few weeks, I followed up with a few sponsors for the convention. With them, I would just write up small blurbs for the site. In essence, these little bits helped promote the sponsors and get the word out about the different companies that would be present at V3con. My first assignment was to write a story about one of the opening ceremony’s performers. I think the story turned out well.

As we neared closer to V3con weekend, this is where I started to really crack down. I was writing and now I was helping plan the social media aspect of it. One of our focuses for this conference was to make our #V3bingo sheets more fun. It was essentially a regular bingo sheet, except all of the squares must be filled in by tweets. Check out some of the entries with #V3bingo.

And my social media team was amazing. We would prepare ourselves to run around the entire conference, tweeting, retweeting and doing everything social media. It was exactly what I needed to keep me sharp. Plus, I love social media and this was perfect for me.

But let’s get to the actual good stuff.

I missed most of Friday’s awards ceremony. Too bad. It was an amazing night capturing the vision of V3con and the awards ceremony was amazing.

The next day, that’s when it got real. My assignments as one of the social media gurus was to attend as many of the different panels and tweet pictures or tweet out key nuggets from panels. Since there were multiple panels going on simultaneously, I had to stick around for maybe 15 minutes at each one and share a nugget or two.

But it was great because the two panels that really stuck out to me were the ones that fit right into my strength: writing and social media.

During the writing panel, the attendees were told these three keys to effective writing, I had to tweet that out:

As a writer, it’s always a learning experience. I am always finding better ways to tell my story. That’s the most important part of anything I write: my story. What am I telling? I can’t worry so much about being super fancy. I have to make sure that my writing tells the story that I want to tell.

The other panel that stood out to me was the one on social media. Actually, to be really specific, it was about how to take good pictures with your cell phone. I have seen so many people who share pictures they have taken on social media and they are terrible. Whether it’s just bad angles, bad lighting, bad filters or all of the above, this panel was enlightening.

I never knew about apps that could filter and brighten images in ways that Instagram wishes they could do. I also got a chance to find new ways to re-imagine how to photograph my subject. Each photo can tell a story. These portraits can be powerful.

Even though I was working behind the scenes and I knew how most of the things were assembled, I could still imagine how important the information I was receiving would be for me five years ago. The tips on how to find a job, the advice on how to stand out and be a candidate that’s more than just an ethnic face are invaluable. I will never forget any of that. Especially as an Asian trying to make my mark in journalism, every bit of advice was gold.

The day started to wind down and the social media team started to collect the #V3bingo cards and check each submission. It was fun seeing how creative people are with their tweets and see if they can follow the instructions. It was a fun game to play during the conference and the grand prize was pretty neat too.

I could go into so much more detail about all the other things that went on this weekend. But after the one month of planning while I was in employment purgatory to the fruition of an amazing event on Saturday, I am so proud of the people I got to work with and the result we achieved. This was way more than what I expected. Everything exceeded my expectations and much more. I was part of something important. Something beautiful. I am honored to have been a part of this.

I’m already excited about next year’s conference. You know I’ll be there.



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