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Navigating Your Conference Experience -There's an App For That!

The Los Angeles Religious Education Congress kickoff is just week away!

If you've attended this event it is an awesome experience and you feel the connection to the universal church amidst the volume of people, workshops and overall environment. For some it will be super overwhelming as tens of thousands from all over the world will descend on the Anaheim Convention center to connect as Catholics celebrating our faith through liturgy, learning about our faith through educational workshops and connecting with colleagues.

There were nearly 38-thousand attendees at last year's Congress!

As a social media strategist who just spoke at the Meeting Professionals International Education Conference, #IslandWECon2018 my first tip to them was how important it is to have an app for your event. Attendees are expecting conference organizers to provide tools for making their conference experience convenient, engaging and fun!

Apps cover all the bases and more because, there is nothing more convenient than having all access in the palm of your hand. This year's #RECongress2018 has an app to make many of your routine experiences easier and more convenient. So to put the power of app technology in the palm of your hand download the app to your personal smartphone. To download the Congress app to your phone just visit the app store for your smartphone then type in the search field Religious Education Congress. You will be offered two options for download the Youth Day or Religious Education Congress. Select the appropriate selection(s) for you by clicking the “+” next to each option. Once the app is downloaded you are ready to create a personal profile.

Most of us will bring business cards to exchange, but with the volumes of people that you will encounter over the weekend it is simply overwhelming to keep track of them and remember why you took the card in the first place. When you create your profile your contact information is uploaded and accessible to everyone who downloads the app. The profile information includes: Name, Title, Diocese, Parish or Company Name, Phone Number, Email Address and a Short Bio to outline who you are and what you do! Just make sure to set all your privacy settings to allow others to see the information you would like available. So imagine going to one place and all your connections are in one place. Not everyone will download the app and that discussion would be another article, but this will lower the number of physical pieces of paper to keep track of.

More than 180 speakers are scheduled at this year's Congress including luminaries like Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop Jose' Gomez, Bishop Robert Barron, Fr. Mike Schmitz, Fr. James Martin and one of the new lights of New Evangelization for the next generation Katie Prejean McGrady. There is a tab labeled speakers that allows you to scroll alphabetically each speaker and when you tap the speaker it opens up to details about the speaker and which workshops they are presenting. It also allows you to give them a thumbs up and make a comment or even submit a question to them before, during and after the session and links to their social media accounts.

There are two ways to add workshops to your personal calendar. The first is if you are in the speaker tab and tap a workshop listed in their details then in the top right corner tap the star icon and then the calendar icon next to it. Tap Save and it will be added to your personal calendar associated with your phone. The other option is to go to the schedule tab and tap the schedule at a glance option for English or Spanish. Here you can toggle between the days by taping the date you are interested in and again tap the option you are interested in and tap the star icon and calendar icon to add it to your personal calendar. It even allows you to write notes attached to the session, like the session and leave a comment or question. I am going to be serving as an emcee for two session on social media. The first one happens on Saturday at 3PM and it's titled "Rise and Shine:Social Media and the Missionary Disciple" presented by the founder Lisa M. Hendey. The second will be on Sunday at 1PM and it's titled "Finding Courage to Embrace the New Evangelization", presented by Fr. Michael White and Tom Corcoran. So if you selected these sessions be sure to hello!

Another important tab labeled exhibitors on the app allows you to find companies or business contacts for various aspects of religious education who will be exhibiting at Congress. You may scroll the list that will be in alphabetic order to quickly find the booth assignment number or tap the search icon and type in the entity you are looking for. When you find the entity you are looking for tap it and detailed contact information will be provided and also allows you to endorse them with a thumbs up!

You can easily post to your social media via the app directly to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages and don’t forget to use the official hashtags #RECongress #RiseUp #DaretoBelieve #LAYouthDay to generate positive posts about our Catholic family, friends and FAITH.

Those are just six of the 17 tabs available in the app to help you navigate your Congress experience. I am already in the app and be sure to connect with me via the app or on my Church Social Tips pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see my posts from the Congress!

Hope to see some of my Catholic connections next week.

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