6 Things I Learned from WordCamp Dallas



WordCamp 2009 is officially in the books. With two and a half days of some of the best community, speakers and information, it was an incredible event. Over the course of the weekend, I saw some of the best blogging-related presentations, met many of the most wonderful people in the blogging world and observed some of the worst bowling ever witnessed by man (though most of that was my own).

The event was a smashing success with over 300 attendees. Organized by John Pozadzides and sponsored prominently by his company, Woopra, it was, according to those in attendance, the second-largest WordCamp in the world.

But while the best part of these WordCamps is always the community and getting to meet all of the people who share your passion, there were also a slew of great speakers, 16 in total, plus a panel discussion. Even for a veteran blogger, there was a great deal to learn.

So, as I try to digest and take in everything I saw and learned at WordCamp Dallas, a more complete recap is forthcoming on my site, here are five things I’m holding onto dearly as WordCamp Dallas closes up for the year (in no particular order). [Read more…]

Pirate Bay SOLD, goes the social media route

News as it is, the blogosphere has reported the sale of Pirate Bay, controversial for being a haven for multimedia torrents shared by the world. In a blog post written today, the founders expressed how thoughts about bringing new people into the “organization” was something they’d been hoping to do for some time. More importantly, they are pretty much aware of the ramifications of going into this partnership:

[Read more…]

Lucozade Energy Challenge picks James Whatley as Social Media Reporter

Last month I wrote about Lucozade Energy’s search for a creative journalist to report on various extreme challenges taking place this summer.

The results are in, and James Whatley is the lucky man who’ll be jetting off to Namibia on Saturday.

James will need to film, photograph, tweet and blog every aspect of each trip, including capturing footage and interviewing the participants. [Read more…]

Reviewing the Reviewers: The Blog is Alive and Kicking

The New Yorker’s Malcolm Gladwell reviewed Chris Anderson’s most recent book, Free!, and it is an interesting read (with commentary across the web). Just like Anderson’s response on his own blog.

Welcome to the era of blogs, where reviews can be applauded, questioned, and picked apart not only by the masses (aka the readers), but also by the publishers and producers.

It used to be a straight forward thing, reviewing a product. Not anymore, because when anyone can publish a commentary on their own ground (aka the blog), it also means that reviewers suddenly find themselves being constantly reviewed. [Read more…]

Become a Blogger course reopens for five days only

Yaro Starak and Gideon Shalwick’s premium “Become a Blogger” course has reopened to new signups for five days only (less at time of writing).

When the course launched, it was selling at $77 per month and sold out very quickly.

Now the monthly price has been reduced to $47 per month, which you pay for the six months course duration. [Read more…]

Movable Type Monday: Melody, Installation, and Edit Links

Happy Monday, folks! The big news this week is the launch of Melody, an open source fork of Movable Type. Several long-time MT developers are contributing to the project, and a 1.0 release is expected this year.

It’s unclear at this point how this project will differ from the existing open source version of MT. Certainly, a different leadership is going to have different priorities. The Melody folks seem to be bending over backward to show this is not a break from MT, but just a separate development branch. And, similarly, Six Apart has welcomed the new project. So I doubt we’ll see any of the commercial MT features rewritten as open source modules, at least in the near term. It’s more likely we’ll see features that are useful to independent developers (and, consequently, small to medium size businesses) instead of the enterprise-level development that seems to be 6A’s focus. [Read more…]

Steve Rubel Quits Blogging

Notable blogger Steve Rubel is quitting blogging, and is all about the lifestreaming now. He’s apparently blown away by Posterous, but looking at his new site it is all very much a blog to me. Then again the platform he has chosen is a lot less tightened than his old blog (being Micro Persuasion, still online), so I while I think he’s just playing with words here, this probably sums it up better than anything else:

A blog is more structured. It’s posts. This is freestyle.

Related: Louis Gray’s post on blogging still being the foundation to build upon.

Back to Basics: 4 Forehead-Slapping Blog Promotion Methods

Forehead Slap

Forehead SlapEver feel frustrated by the difficulty of promoting your blog and getting more people to discover and enjoy it?

Well, here are four of the simplest – but, wouldn’t you know it, also hardest – ways to promote your blog. See if one or more of these makes you slap your forehead and say, “Snap! I totally forgot about that.”

And then of course all you’ve got to do is do something about it. :)

In increasing order of forehead slappiness:

4. Pick up the phone. You’ve got one of those nearby, don’t you? Hey, you’ve probably got one in your pocket right now. Dial somebody’s number, wait till they answer, and say, “Hey, what’s up? Have you checked out my blog? It’s really cool, you might like it.” Embellish as desired. But seriously, nothing beats direct mouth-to-ear communication for spreading the word about a blog.

3. Put some pants on. And get out the door and go somewhere where you can apply the “hey, I can talk to people” concept from #4 above in a physical, offline setting. Repeat after me: “I need to tell that guy on the street corner with the sweet trumpet skills about my blog.” That, or the group of suits at your next business conference.

2. Blog about … your blog. This one is like, “ouch.” So easy to do, and yet so many bloggers fail to do it. For heaven’s sake, just put out a blog post every now and then (but not much more often than that) saying hi to your readers and letting them know what’s up. What you’ve been working on writing or recording or assembling for them, what that shiny new widget bling in the sidebar means to them, why you think they ought to subscribe to your blog updates by email or RSS, and especially, why they should pretty please (with sugar on top) tell their friends about your blog.

1. Be more valuable. Maybe — just maybe — your blog is tough to promote because it’s not really all that special. Don’t get me wrong – you as an individual are plenty special. But what do people really think when they see your blog and partake of its content? Does it jar them awake at 3 AM because they can’t shake the sweet awesomeness? Or does it fade within a tenth of a second into the rest of the ginormous ocean of constantly churning content in their brains? When was the last time you sat and just meditated for a few minutes on what you could do to make your blog more irresistible, more addictive, more magical, more incredible – in short, more promotable?

Hope these get your bloggity brain going. Any other forehead-slapping ideas on how to get your blog out there more prominently?

image credit: Russell D Egan

Blogging in the Classroom

Today marks the final day of school here in New York. That means as you read this, thousands of kids, ages 5 – 17, are jumping for joy.

As you would image, computers – and blogs – have crept their way into the classroom. One of the cooler sites is 21Classes. Designed to get your “classroom” blogging, the publishing platform enables teachers, with any level of technology know-how, to set up a portal for their classes. [Read more…]