PRbeta and Timișoara, Basically.
Last week, I flew to Romania to speak at the second edition of PRbeta, which took place in Timişoara. Headed by Romanian bloggers and PR practitioners Cristina Putan and Oltea Zambori, the annual conference focuses on online public relations and social media.
Prior to the event, I have never set foot in Romania so it was great to finally do so. It was a real privilege to be among the speakers and stand alongside some of Romania’s influential bloggers and social media pioneers. They provided very useful insights, interesting case studies and loads of practical advice.
Sharing my ‘P2P accommodation’ experience in New York City. Photographed by Alina Ghenciu.
My topic, The Culture of Collaboration, looked into the emergence of collaborative economy, a concept that is still relatively new in Romania (with its fair share of skeptics). I was also scheduled to speak immediately after lunch, and knowing how food coma usually attacks around this time, it only made sense to present something light and digestible.
I had several opportunities to speak with the audience after my talk, and their responses were generally good. I was particularly touched when a girl from a local cancer support organization handed me a yellow ‘live strong’ bracelet and told me that the talk gave her ideas that may very well benefit the non-profit she works for. But of course, I was also open to hear some critical comments and it took one tipsy girl at the after party to honestly tell me that I used basically too much. Although my talk was deliberately conversational in tone, I do agree that basically is a word I could go easy on. The same goes with my hand gestures. A friend who was not present at the event asked me if I was beatboxing, upon seeing the pictures. Although that would be a rather interesting way to convey a message, I do not think I will ever be able to pull beatboxing off. So for now, I will stick to talking, albeit with fewer basicallys.
I have spoken in several university-related engagements before, but PRbeta was my first international talk and I am very thankful to the organizers for flying me there and letting me experience Romanian hospitality (except the guys at the immigration, they seem to rarely come across a Netherlands-based Filipino in Timișoara…). Big thanks to Bogdan Albulescu, too, the head honcho at The 4th Floor, who lobbied that I be brought in as a speaker.
Although I was in Timișoara from May 1st to 3rd, I was really only there for a total of 39 hours, so sightseeing was not a priority. I did make sure to walk around the historic town center after the conference though, and snapped a few photographs while the sun was still shining.