5 Things About Dad 2.0

Real quick, HUGE shout out to the sponsors of Dad 2.0 who made the event I’m about to break down possible. They are: Johnson & JohnsonKinect for Xbox 360HondaLGZatarain’sCLRDoveLegoPhilips NorelcoScottsMiracle GrowShot@life.orgSpareOne, and Tide.

So, about that conference… Here are the five things I learned at Dad 2.0:

1. Peer pressure is alive and well

I know. Pathetic, right? And the key culprit was a guy who was celebrating a birthday. His name is… oh never mind. His name isn’t important.

By the way, quick birthday shout out to my boy Whit Honea. (You bastard.)

2. A common thread

The breakout sessions proved to be my favorite part of the entire conference. Topics included the evolution of stereotypes, understanding your audience, writing well, masculinity, and pitching dads to brands. If you took everything that was said in each of these panel discussions and poured it into a huge cauldron, then boiled it until it all evaporated, the residue left would be the following:

“This shit’s brand new and it’s changing by the hour, so stay tuned, remain plugged in, and let’s see how it all pans out.”

Which is not to say that the panels were a waste of time. Quite the contrary. They were very insightful, extremely beneficial. It’s just to say that each of the panels I attended (as well as the one I moderated), acknowledged at some point the relative infancy of not only dad blogging, but also of the monetizing of blogs, the union of brands with any bloggers (be they moms, dads, Martians…) and even the infancy of the Internet, itself, for crying out loud. And just as it is with real infants, it’s difficult to imagine how it will all play out.

3. Maybe we should do what babies do

How apropos, I thought after each such reference. There we were at a dad blogging conference, and the one thing every parent can relate to is the beginning of life. It’s the part that’s filled with mystery and uncertainty, even frustration, but also fueled by hopes, dreams, aspirations and perhaps most notably, faith that the future will be bright.

Which got me thinking about the triplets and the beginning of their lives, specifically the exciting time when each began to walk. Sam was the first. Sometimes he had a destination, like the exersaucer or the toy bus, but more often than not, he had no destination at all. He just walked.

He didn’t always look particularly skilled while doing it, but he did it anyway, like he was supposed to, like it was his mandate. He walked with dignity, he walked with pride and even when he stumbled, he walked with grace. And though the exact reason for each and every successive step remained a mystery, Sam didn’t mind. He had faith he was doing something good – something worthwhile – and he was right.

Is it so different for us, the curators of all these infants we corralled in Texas? Aren’t we all, even the most established of us, prone to wondering, at least occasionally, what in the world we’re doing in this space and maybe even why we’re doing it?

I know I am.

It seems to me that the best thing to do in the wake of such uncertainty is to continue to put one foot in front of the other and trust whatever it is inside that compels us to take these steps in the first place. To honor that thing. To nurture it. To have faith that it’s leading to significance regardless of how, exactly, that significance manifests itself.

4. Dads aren’t going anywhere

Which is exactly where Dad 2.0 came in this weekend. To bolster that faith and lend direction. To celebrate those first steps. To encourage more just like them. And ponder the possibilities, plot them even, in hopes of finding a future that’s as bright as possible. Could that future be similar to what we’re seeing the moms experience? Might we see more and more dads monetize their blogs, work with brands and leverage social media for social good?

Maybe.

But maybe not. I don’t know too many things that men and women do that are experienced in the exact same way, so I don’t know why I would automatically assume blogging to be one of them. It might be that our experience is a much different one, that our “successes” will be achieved / defined in far different ways, ways that might even better suit us than the ways in which the moms are succeeding.

Regardless of what the future looks like, one thing’s for sure. There most certainly is one. Because Dad 2.0’s successful showing in Austin proves that dad bloggers aren’t going anywhere. But not only that, the conference also proves that Dad 2.0 will play a pivotal role in defining what our future winds up being. Here’s to being a small part of it.

It’s for those reasons and many more that I want to thank the driving forces behind Dad 2.0 — Doug French and John Pacini — for putting on one hell of a conference this past weekend. From start to finish, it was a top-notch affair. I look forward to many, many more.

5. For whom the bell tolls

But as great as it was, and as much as I wouldn’t trade it for anything, I was ready for my time in Austin to conclude for the same reason all y’all were. I wanted to come back to my people. To my place. To my essence. And once the kids were down, it was time for Caroline and me to prepare a feast worthy of celebrating not only my people and my homecoming, but also the incredible event I had just experienced.

Which meant it was time to fire up the Big Green Egg, bitches. (Note the Miler Lite. Papa had an edge. It needed to be taken off.)

Remembering, of course, that homecoming meals are best enjoyed by savoring each and every bite.

See y’all next year. Except for you, Whit. I’m steering clear of your ass.

For more posts about the Dad 2.0 experience, please visit the Dad 2.0 Facebook page where you’ll find more links.

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About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Beta-Dadblog/100001872756315 Beta Dadblog

    Wait. We’re blaming Whit for all the unspeakable things that happened at Dad 2.0?  Why didn’t somebody tell me that earlier.  I feel so much less ashamed!  Thanks for the tip!

    Great to see you again, buddy!  Hope we can do it again soon.  

    • john cave osborne

      yes. blaming whit is clearly the honorable thing to do. same here, BD. great stuff…

  • stacy @bklynstacy @blogher

    John, loved meeting you. Nothing bonds people like sharing a shuttle after a long weekend full of conversation, alcohol and looking for a cab. ; ) Good luck with grand finale. I think you and your wife must be superheroes to go for a fifth after triplets. I’m rooting for y’all! 

    • http://johncaveosborne.com John Cave Osborne

      it was great to meet you, too. and keep rooting…we need all the encouragement we can get. till next time…

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    How do we know that the Big Green Egg is yours and not stock photo footage you took from somewhere else. Maybe this is the big JCO yes/no all over again. 😉

    • http://johncaveosborne.com John Cave Osborne

      oh it’s mine, alright. not sure how to prove it, but it’s mine. was wondering if you’d be in Austin, was sorry that you weren’t…

      • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

        I figure you could take it on a tour of Southern California. A Tales With The Trips tour sounds kind of nice. 😉

        Had planned on being in Austin and had this little cash flow problem- damn private school tuition.  Education, shmeducation. Next time maybe.

  • http://twitter.com/dwescott1 David Wescott

    It was great to meet you and bask in your brilliance – looking forward to many more meetings…

    • http://johncaveosborne.com John Cave Osborne

      david, not sure about basking my brilliance, but you certainly did hang out in my hangover. it was awesome meeting you, too. really felt like we connected. keep up your great work, and let’s stay in touch.

  • http://www.whithonea.com/ Whit

    I’ll accept the blame if it makes you feel better. Great recap and great times! Already counting the minutes until the next time! And one more of these things: !

    • http://johncaveosborne.com John Cave Osborne

      it was awesome, bro. such a blast. i, too, look fwd to next time.

  • http://fathermuskrat.com/ muskrat

    Where’s the ham?  Don’t you know how to accompany green eggs by now, big boy? 

    Glad you came to Austin.  Also glad you were in the car with Whit Thursday night (instead of me)!

  • http://www.blogonkevin.blogspot.com Always Home and Uncool

    I don’t blame Whit only because I blame myself for calling it a night early. My head and liver thank me.

    • http://johncaveosborne.com John Cave Osborne

      your head and liver have good reason to be thankful. really glad we finally got to meet IRL, buddy.

  • Chadn

    John, remember when i said we should go to dinner when I’m in Knoxville? Scratch that. We should eat from your big green egg instead. Looks great! Kidding. We’ll go to dinner. I don’t you to have to cook for my brood. Great meeting you in Austin. 

    • http://johncaveosborne.com John Cave Osborne

      you, my friend, as well as your brood, would be welcome dinner guests at mi casa anytime. assuming you like perfectly cooked meat and rock-star sides, that is. C and i take our dinner deal very seriously, and we’re not afraid to rock a really good one…

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