Blog Business Summit - highlights
These notes are late. Mostly because I've spent too much of my weekend working to catchup on what I missed while at the blog summit. And also, as mentioned below, I'm not working hard enough to become an A lister. :)
Well, the first thing to note I was apprised of was: I Suck.
That's right - Jason Calacanis told all of us, if we were not A-listers, we were just not working hard enough or, our content sucked. So for the rest of the conference I went round and explained cheerily - "Hi, I'm Betsy and I'm a B-list blogger."
I actually don't think my content sucks that bad, but since Jason's comment has already stirred the pot, and the blogosphere, I figured I'd admit I'm not famous and move on. I'm not sure Jason has a fan club, and I do, so nyah nyah.
There were a couple of themes that kept coming up - authenticity and purity and reciprocity. Also search. Authenticity - to be writing what you care and know about. Purity in that if you take money for your blogging, disclose it (sorta like newspapers do when they are owned by a media company they have to cover in the news). Reciprocity - you have to give link love to get link love. You have to put a bajillion comments into the blogosphere to be getting comments back. Also, there's an element of patience and craft; making your blog posts precise and targeting keywords that make search engines understand you. Your kindness toward search engines in turn makes them give you higher relevance ranking.
The attendees were a mix of Silicon Valley hipsters, business people from Seattle, PR/marketing types learning what this blogging thing is all about, and writers who hoped to make it big as bloggers. I met a guy who used to work for Lego! And sat next to the IBM blogging guy Ben Edwards who is an ex journalist like myself (he fled the Economist to go to IBM). I gave bath bombs/fizzes to everyone but Ben, who left his behind, and to Sharepoint community guru Lawrence Liu, who I didn't realize was on my panel til last minute. Lawrence at least I can go to his bldg since he works for Microsoft.
Maryam Scoble and Robert Scoble doubleteamed me for a woman-in-tech interview. I was pretty freaky tired by that point since it was Friday morning so hopefully it came out ok. Video is not my milieu; Robert's $4k camera is like a big black nose you can't ignore.
Maryam is really a poised person and such energy! I was carried through this conference on Maryam's energy, I have to tell you. The session she did with Robert about how to have a killer blog was hilarious. He urged her to blog, she resisted, finally she did it and he's like HEY! you blogged about ME! Stop that! :)
(Maryam is more of a personal blogger and video blogger; Robert is geek. The cartoons were from gapingvoid.com and I wish I had a copy of the deck )
Robert called out the fact that one of the top search terms on Yahoo is Google and for Google is Yahoo. Search is navigational for most people.... The basic concepts to having a killer blog are:
- Link to everything relevant to your blog, be generous
- Blog what you know and care about, become an expert
- Write great headlines (again search engine love comes up)
- Admit mistakes
- Put a blog URL on your business card
- Amp up your biz card to be memorable (they gave example of Braille cards)
- Engage with comments
- Teach other people to blog (it’s what Dave Winer did)
They admit that blogging naked WILL up your traffic but remind everyone that the Internet is forever. :P
My favorite of my three panels was Building Online Communities with Tara Hunt of Citizen Agency (http://www.citizenagency.com) and Elisa Camahort of Blogher (http://www.blogher.org). We never rehearsed together. I had no idea what these community divas were going to say and they didn't know either. But we CLICKED. If I was speaking, and someone could find a site to display (Lord help us) Steve Ballmer changing "developers, developers" they did. Each of us were talking about how businesses could make use of community and how you grow one (I used my favorite metaphor is the party: while you can never engineer a good party, if you don't do the prepwork, the guests will all leave). Anyway, it rocked the free world. I'm hunting for someone who took notes because when stuff is inspired like that, the memory for the speaker isn't going to be clearest.
Mary Hodder showed us one of the most important music (workout?) videos of all time: (https://youtube.com/watch?v=pv5zWaTEVkI).
Her site Dabble.com does a lot of finding these gems. :)
There was a moment of inadvertent irony where the Yahoo blog maven Nicky Dugan (she was from corporate communications/PR background) showed everyone the Yahoo Blogging guidelines, and Ben Edwards talked about IBMs internal stuff, and they got to me and I said: Microsoft tells us to blog smart. I didn't realize I was so deadpan but Josh Ledgard was in the audience and said it was humorously succinct. Yahoo apparently went through a huge soul searching exercise where at first they wanted to control their employee blogs and then realized it was futile. I don't know what it says about Microsoft but from where I sat, the ground level employees controlled blogging from the beginning and then it received higher up support. Something to be said for being grassroots...or just a bunch of tech dorks at a tech company?
I got to chat with Liz Lawley and Halley Suitt (Halley's Comment - http://halleyscomment.blogspot.com/) . Halley I sent the bath bombs recipe since I wasn't able to give her any. She wrote the famous "how to be an alpha male posts." I recommend them highly both if you do and don't want the distinction. :)
I went mostly as a blog maven but I did get to talk about Live QnA (http://qna.live.com) a little bit. The cod of conduct was a hit. :)
Live it vivid!