Fabtech is the largest welding and metalworking show in North America.
I attended Fabtech2017 and it was nothing short of awesome.
Because events like fabtech are changing.
This show is way different now than it was before social media.
Social media can be such a 2 edged sword and definitely has its negative side.
But Instagram, Youtube and other platforms have provided a conduit for like minded trades people to have real community online.
While some aspects of social media are a complete turn off and waste of time....My experience with Instagram has been very rewarding.
The community of welders, fabricators, wood workers, makers, and other trades people on instagram is for me both inspiring and humbling at the same time.
Pictures of awesome welds are great...but instagram is more than just picutures.
Welders like my friend Alex Brown (@cavemanwelder on instgram) frequently post settings and tips along with the photo of the completed weld.....that is very helpful.
Settings dont make a good welder out of a bad welder but they sure help as a good starting point when you need to weld a strange project you have never done before.
My point is that for the most part, welders on instagram tend to be very helpful and are willing to answer questions.
And so what does that have to do with making Fabtech a better experience?
We communicate before the event and arrange meet & greets at bars and restaurants...and we connect with vendors on instagram prior to the event and often even arrange a meeting beforehand.
So when we all arrive at the venue, we are almost never at a loss for what to do.
I recognized familiar faces before the show even started.I even ran into some vendors I work with in the hotel bar the night before the event started. Business started happening right away.
That didnt happen back in 1990 when I attended my first Welding expo.
Back then, it was more about supervisors, engineers, purchasers, and AWS committee members.
It was fun even back then but things have changed for the better and now its much more of a community.