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May 7, 2008

SOBCon08 Biz School for Bloggers: Connections and Community

Photos from SOBCon by Wendy PiersallThe worst part of the Successful and Outstanding Bloggers Conference (SOBCon) is that I now have to add over a hundred feeds to my feed reader.

When you are in a room with over a hundred of the most powerful, exiting, socially aware and responsible, and enthusiastic bloggers, your feed reader count is going to grow. Not to mention your Twitter list. And Skype. And GTalk. And email list and all the other ways we stay in touch.

The most amazing part of SOBCon this year is the proof that lightening does strike twice. It struck twice in Chicago as and Terry Starbucker hosted the second annual SOBCon event, bringing together top notch bloggers for The Biz School for Bloggers, helping bloggers learn how the blog marketplace works and how to turn those blogging connections and decisions into money.

As both speaker and attendee, Anita Bruzzese wowed the audience on tips for being a blogging journalist and social responsibility for what you publish. She also admitted that she had no idea what people were talking about throughout the weekend (describing it as Klingon) and that she has a lot to learn about blogging.

Many were impressed with the presentation by David Bullock, especially when he blew the crowd away with:
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May 5, 2008

Blogging is Not About You

Wendy Piersall - SOBCon Conference PhotographOne of the loudest messages shouted from the rooftops in Chicago at Successful and Outstanding Bloggers Conference (SOBCon) was: It’s not about you.

This came through on many levels. Let’s examine a few.

Your blog is not about you.

Your blog is not about you. Sure, it starts out about being about what you want. About what messages you want to send. About how you want to frame and publish content. About who you want to reach and what you want to get out of your blog.

But once you hit the publish button, it no longer is about you and what you want. It’s about the readers. It’s about what they want. It’s about what they need. It’s about giving them what they want and need in order to keep them, and attract new readers.
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April 29, 2008

Tazzu WordPress Camp in Vancouver, Canada, April 30, 2008

WordPress fans associated with the Tazzu Networking community and The Vancouver Blogger Meetup Group have put together a WordPress Camp in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on April 30, 2008, from 5:30 to 8:30 PM at the The Network Hub.

This is not a WordCamp. They are calling this the Tazzu WordPress Camp.

Tazzu is a networking community covering specialists in online business, technology, and knowledge with an active Community Forum and Blog that supports live events as well as online events within British Columbia and the west coast.

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April 28, 2008

Choosing between Twitter, live blogging or fast publishing

I love it when bloggers write about conferences I cannot attend. Blogs and Twitter are my main resources to stay in touch with conferences such as the Web 2.0 Expo in San Fransisco last week. Bloggers take different approaches to cover conferences which all have their advantages and disadvantages. The main three approaches are using Twitter, live blogging tools or fast publishing.

Twitter

Twitter is a useful tool to stay in touch with both conference organizers and attendees. Stay up-to-date with schedule changes, keynote transcriptions and videos and people in the room. Twitter is used more and more often by speakers to answer questions from the audience or from people who are not attending the conference. The downside of such interaction is that there are always people out there to get their 140 characters of fame and add a lot of noise to the signal.

One of my favorite uses of Twitter during conferences is a backchannel people can send their posts to. During the Next Web conference in Amsterdam a few weeks ago a backchannel was created where all posts that included #nextweb were posted. By following the backchannel you can get information from everyone actively participating in providing content from the conference.

Live blogging

CoverIt Live is one of the most popular tools used for live blogging. It provides an easy and instant way to provide your blog readers with the latest news without having to refresh the page:

Your commentary publishes in real time like an instant message. Our ‘one-click’ publishing lets you drop polls, videos, pictures, ads and audio clips as soon as they come to mind. Comments and questions from your readers instantly appear but you control what gets published.

It is an excellent solution for blog visitors if you are “live reading” the blog. However, for archival (and SEO) purposes I am not too fond of using such tools. For example, I wanted to check out Mashable’s post on Matt Mullenweg Announces Related Posts and Themes for Photo Bloggers. If you use an external service such as CoverIt Live the content is not actually a part of your blog but it is embedded into your blog from their server. The fact that your content is embedded has consequences for indexing and finding the content. Be aware when using such tools that your live coverage will not be indexed nor be part of your blog’s archive.

Fast publishing

This is my personal preferred method of blogging conferences and keeping up with conferences. At the Next Web Conference we covered the whole conference with only two people and took turns in covering the keynotes. After a thirty minute keynote we would have another thirty minutes to turn our notes into a blog post and publish it online. While thirty minutes to edit your notes is not much it provides you with just enough time to turn them into a coherent blog post.

Why do I prefer fast publishing over Twitter or live blogging? Your blog is not as good as its latest post, it is the archive that counts. Which is your preferred method?

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Shutdown Day Returns. Will You Pull the Plug?

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Last March the Internet went dark as Shutdown Day arrived. OK, not really. But about 50,000 people opted to leave technology behind to pursue other endeavors.

This year, the event is back, this time on Saturday, May 3.

It is obvious that without computers we would find our life extremely difficult, maybe even impossible. If they disappeared for just one day, would we be able to cope?

Be part of one of the biggest global experiments ever to take place on the Internet. The idea behind Shutdown Day is to find out how many people can go without a computer for one whole day, and what will happen if we all participate!

I know what will happen…my blog traffic will drop. But the founders of the non-profit organization are thinking bigger than that.

Shutdown Day was founded with the sole purpose of spreading awareness about the pitfalls and dangers that lie in the excessive use of television, computers, and computing equipment like game boxes, cell phones, music players, online social websites, etc. that impinge on social space and interaction amongst our communities.

Want to take part in the second annual event? Pledge your allegiance to pulling the plug – at least for a day.

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April 18, 2008

Groundbreaking Blog Viral Marketing: Obsidian Blackout Event

JC Hutchins, 7th Son Obsidian podiobook anthologyJC Hutchins has been breaking rules even before he started his blog in an attempt to give away his science fiction novel, 7th Son, which publishers didn’t want, as a free podiobook, one of the first audio books published as a weekly series of podcasts. He has come up with a variety of interesting viral campaigns to promote his book, blog, podcasts, and writings, turning his unpublished book into the most popular podiobook series in history, and becoming a specialist in the true sense of social networking and marketing. His innovative online self-marketing techniques attracted St. Martin’s Press, and his book will finally be published in 2009.

Tapping the creativity of his fan-base, Hutchins is breaking rules again by asking people to become victims and make history.
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April 10, 2008

WordCamp Dallas 2008: Celebrating WordPress

in Frisco, Texas, rocked the house – or should I say City Hall? Organizers Charles Stricklin and John Pozadzides worked with the city of Frisco so WordCamp could be held in the brand new, state-of-the-art chambers, a beautiful and acoustically fabulous hall.

Videos are now out and include:

Much thanks goes to the Frisco City Hall facility staff and John Pozadzides for the fantastic videos of the presentations.

To track WordCamp Dallas 2008 blog coverage, see the Technorati tags for WordCampDallas2008, WordCampDallas, and WordCamp tags.
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April 7, 2008

Business School for Bloggers: How to Make Money With Your Blog

I am frequently asked about how to make money on the web, especially how to make money with your blog. I find a wide variety of answers around the web, some of them get rich quick schemes, PageRank games, and SEO illusions, but there is only one answer that I want to shout to the roofs, but few people listen.

Blogging as a business is business. It takes business training and skills to make money with your blog.

That’s it. That’s the secret. John Chow, Guy Kawawasaki, Darren Rowse, Seth Godin, these princes of blogging didn’t get rich with their blogs by just having blogs. They used their business sense and know how to make their blogs work for them. They understood that a blog is just another tool in the business arsenal, a business card and resume all wrapped up in one, offering a business a powerful communications tool. In order to make your blog work for you, you have to understand how business works.

To have a “successful” blog and to make your blog work for you, you have to have skills and training in advertising, marketing, economics, finance, writing ability and language skills, public relations, networking, everything any business needs. These are the skills you bring it to your blog to make it a success, earning the money you deserve.
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March 21, 2008

What Do You Bring to a Blog Conference?

I’m getting ready to speak at three conferences in a row about blogging and WordPress, and something Rachelle Chase said at a conference we spoke at recently keeps popping up in my head. She spoke about techniques for making yourself memorable that she uses when she meets people who can help her with her business and blog.

Rachelle Chase JewelryShe contracted with a local artist to create autographed unique artwork in the form of a necklace and travel mirror. Decorated with text from her books and quotes about her books and blog, she sells them on her blog, but also gives them away to journalists and interview subjects as “reminders” of who she is and what she does. They are unusual and memorable, and say a lot about her, her work, and her blog.
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February 11, 2008

Blogging the Olympic Games

Olympic Games Rings and torchWhen the international Olympic Games begin, everyone has an opinion on who will win, who should have won, and anything and everything Olympic. As the Olympic Games get closer, I thought I’d research some information to help you blog about the upcoming games in China.

There are a lot of stories and angles to be found on the Olympic Games, from historical perspectives and comparisons to personal interest stories such as the impact of the games on the communities in which they are held, and how the infrastructure and changes brought about by the games help or hinder the community years later. If you are looking for Olympic material for your blog, think about local human interest stories such as a community member who was in the Olympics or traveled to see the Olympics and get their inside story. The Olympics impacts everyone everywhere, so there is an Olympic story around every corner.

The official sites for the upcoming Olympic Games include:
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