Observations From BlogWorld Expo

Just back from BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas, and I have a few observations:

  • A little history: three years ago, I attended the Podcast and New Media Expo in Ontario, California, which has since merged with BlogWorld. It took place right after the very first PodCamp in Boston, and it seemed that the social media world was growing at a crazy rate around me. Chris Brogan, for example, had just come off of co-leading that first PodCamp, and was already in his new job working for Jeff Pulver.  He was on his way on a trajectory that now sees his co-authored book, “Trust Agents,” doing very well and Chris is a much sought-after speaker.  It has only been three years.  It’s not just Chris, there are so many others I met then (CC Chapman comes tom mind) who have done incredible things in the last three years. The current BlogWorld seems a lot bigger than that Podcast Expo was, but the community feeling remains.
  • Back then, there was quite a bit of excitement about the possibilities of podcasting. Perhaps now podcasting as a medium has become all that it will be (which is not “dead” by the way), and the excitement is now moving towards newer shiny objects such as Twitter and Facebook (we weren’t on Twitter yet at the 2006 Podcast Expo, hard as it is to picture), or maybe even trying to figure out what the next big thing is. I didn’t get a sense of what that will be (lifestreaming? nah).
More Boston Posse @ Blogworld

With Ex-Bostonians Aaron strout, Scott Monty, and Bryan Person

  • I have written before about how meeting face-to-face is still the best way to cement relationships. After BlogWorld, I can clarify further; events like this are no time to spend a lot of in-depth time with people. I did spend a good deal of time with a few people, but the majority of the time was spent saying hello to people I hadn’t met yet or hadn’t seen in some time. Even a quick wave or hug in the hallway is enough to give the online continuation of those relationships a lot more relevance. It’s a connection we can fill out better over time and distance using the new tools of social media.
The room wasn't empty, I promise! Photo by Tac Anderson

The room wasn't empty, I promise! Photo by Tac Anderson

  • Did I say relationships? I led a short session on the last day of BlogWorld called “Digital Symbiosis: How Bloggers Can Benefit from PR and Vice-Versa.” I was happy that the audience, an even mix of PR and bloggers, was fully engaged and participating. I learned , as I had hoped, something valuable about what bloggers want in a relationship with PR, as one blogger in the audience led me away from talking about “relevant” pitches to talking more about how ongoing relationships provide value. Essentially, bloggers don’t care how much is on a PR person’s plate or how many different types of clients there are to pitch, and how many bloggers there are out there to try and find and know inside and out. A blogger only cares about their relationship with you, a thought that coincided nicely with something Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group said about business communications with customers via social media in a previous session.
  • It was nice to get back in a live podcasting environment, as I was an impromptu guest on Aaron Strout and Jennifer Leggio’s “Quick-n-Dirty” podcast. I really need to get back into regular podcasting, simply because I enjoy doing it.

In all, a whirlwind of a conference, and now I must get to work solidifying all those relationships, new and renewed, that were sparked at BlogWorld.

15 Comments

  1. Donna– thanks! I have a wrapup about my session itself ready to go soon. I’ll let y’all know when it’s up (and where- it may go up on the SHIFT blog first).

  2. I agree with you about the value of face to face contacts, but after you go to a certain number of conferences, they get old (or at least they do for me). And I don’t think all bloggers go to find out–at least I don’t. After ten years of blogging, I find that the best way I can serve my readers, who are not geeks, is to read what the geek blogger are talking about, try the products myself, and recommend the good ones to my audience.

    I am the real world’s delegate to TechCrunch, Scobleizer, RWW, Mashable, The Gillmor Gang, TWIT, and so forth. My readers wouldn’t know these people in crowd, nor do they worship them the way I (sort of) do for their incredible tenacity and devoation.

  3. Francine– great points- and the need for “real world delegates” is keen right now.

    My main point here was that one shouldn’t expect much from actual face-to-face meetings at events- but you can at least make a visual/physical impression, that creates what I sometimes call harmonics that enhance our continued online interactions.

  4. Doug,

    Yes, yes and yes. Great observations and all true. BTW, it was great to get you “out in the field.” There’s no substitute for meeting people in real life so it was nice to know that you had the opportunity to do just that.

    Regarding podcasts, people tease me about knowing everyone in the social space (A-lister, D-lister, famous and not so much) and it’s because I’ve taken the time to do a million podcasts. Not only is this another great way to get to know people but to your point about pitching bloggers, it’s amazing how much more access I’ve found that I’ve been able to gain when I’ve started off by making them look good in a podcast.

    Best,
    Aaron | @aaronstrout

  5. To add to what you say, Aaron– most so-called “A-Listers” are pretty approachable. Within our marketing/social media circle, that is certainly true. The ones who aren’t either need an ego burst (e.g., are being jackasses) or have some sort of bewildering personality disorder. Just my opinion.

    And yes, I was glad to have the opportunity as well.

    Next stop: Miami in November, where I will be among a more general marketing group (“outside the fishbowl”), though I know I will see Jay “10 Golden Rules” Berkowitz.

  6. Doug, it was great to finally meet you! And yes, it’s true, there’s never enough time to have a meaningful conversation at these things. So, I’m going to pick up the phone and call you! ;-)

    BTW, I don’t think podcasting is dead…I think companies are just starting to recognize the value (you all were just heading the pack in the right direction).

    Talk to you soon,
    Beth

    Beth Harte
    Community Manager, MarketingProfs
    @bethharte

  7. If podcasting is dead, then what exactly is all that audio–FIR, Inside PR, This Week in Travel, etc.–I’m listening to during my air and auto travels?

    BlogWorld was one of the best conferences I attended this year–it seemed just the right mix of good panel/presentation content and face-to-face conversations with friends/colleagues old and new. Other than not bumping into Plain Wayne (inside joke), it was just about perfect!

    And finally … one of the reasons I’m now an ex-Bostonian? In my new neck of woods (Austin, TX), it doesn’t snow in October.

    Bryan | @BryanPerson

  8. How did I miss you? Wish we could’ve met in person.

    A little clarity – Tim’s podcast expo took place first in Ontario, CA in 2005. The very first Podcamp took place in Boston in September 2006. In your 1st paragraph, I know you were referring to your own experience of attending Podcamp first then the Podcast Expo, but from a historical standpoint, Tim’s expo was first, Podcamp followed.

    What I liked about BWE is that the “community” is now much larger. When we were podcasters attending the show in Ontario, CA, the community was much more intimate. Now that podcasters are part of BWE, the intimacy has been replaced by a desire to know all the new faces from the blogging, Facebook and Twitter worlds. I found that BWE was a refreshing change.

  9. Doug,

    It was awesome to finally meet you – and I am sure you kicked ass after we FINALLY cleared off your podium.

    Like I said, you are a class act.

    So when is #bwe10??

    Mark

  10. Bryan– the snow made for great football viewing- and I snuck in via airplane before the flight delays piled up (ask CC Chapman about that). I think you’re right about the mix, though as usual I did not attend enough sessions…

    …like Leesa’s, though Leesa I did point some folks in your direction- I hope they made it. And as for 2005, I know– but I attended in 2006- where I first met you (Podcast Expo may have started in 2004 actually?). Sorry I didn’t get to see you — you were on the “Doh!” list of people I knew were there but I missed.

    And Mark- takes one to know one (either you are a class act as well, or you are, like me, full of it ;P).

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