One of the biggest benefits of attending a conference like RootsTech 2014 is the chance to see people from all over the world that you otherwise would probably never see in person. I have a lot of people to talk to every day, all day long, but most all of them are online and when you get as old as some of us are you appreciate every time you get a chance to talk to anyone in person or otherwise. There is nothing like the invisibility of old age.
Now seriously, RootsTech 2014 and other conferences are mostly about meeting and greeting. If you go to the Conference and do not interact with the vendors, the bloggers and the presenters, that is your loss. You really need to use the time at RootsTech to connect. Genealogy is a very personal and solitary pursuit and if you lose the brief opportunities we have to interact in person there is no way to make up that time lost.
There are a couple of things to remember however. First, most of the vendors are there to promote their product or products. They may be anxious to talk to you but feel compelled to assist paying customers or to provide support for products already sold. Be careful not to overstay your welcome. Next, realize that the FamilySearch employees and staff are there to do their job and they always have more things to do than time to do them. You can always find them at a less frantic moment but be sure to allow them to break off any conversation and go where they have to go or do what they have to do.
Bloggers are in a little different category. Most of us are there to talk. We may have presentations to present or watch, but otherwise we are usually fair game for comments. Just be aware if you are talking to me, some comment you make might just show up in a post. I will always respect privacy. I will never mention anyone by name unless they don't care or ask me to quote them. I say the same thing at conferences that I say every time I go to the Mesa FamilySearch Library, if I am there, I am ready to talk and answer questions.
We wear badges at conferences but don't expect me (or anyone else of my generation) to remember names readily. I usually remember everyone I have ever met because I am very visually oriented. I do not remember names or numbers. For example, I can walk a trail in the mountains and ten years later go back and remember almost every turn and rock. But I can hear a name and it is gone in two seconds. To remember a name I have to associate it with an image. So just remind me of your name when you walk up to talk to me.
While I am at it, I might mention that I am deaf. I do a good job in hearing almost everything, but speak up and I will hear you.
A couple of more suggestions. It is going to be very cold in Utah this next week. If you are coming from most of the country you will not be surprised and it may even be warmer than what you have at home. But if you come from the desert like me, you might be prepared for the inversion and cold. If you don't know what an inversion in Salt Lake City is like then you will probably find out.
While you are there in Salt Lake City take some time to see the city (even if it is in the middle of an inversion). It is one of the most beautiful natural settings of any city in the United States and it has a huge number of attractions. My skiing days are long gone, but I used to spend a lot of time at Alta, Brighten and the other ski resorts. You could spend your whole time in the downtown area and see and work in the famous Family History Library, but it would be nice also so hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and see some of the other sights on Temple Square. And last, Salt Lake is a walking city. Be prepared to walk and remember, as I have said before, it is almost at 5000 feet above sea level.