The BlogWorld and New Media Expo, recently held in New York City, was packed with panels and content based on a series of different “tracks.” Content creation, publicity, mobile, branding, media, and monetization were just a few of the offerings. Sharing the huge west side Javits Convention Center with Bookexpo America (their attendees were the people with bags of free books), the location offered too much air conditioning and not enough bandwidth. The most oft-repeated interaction I heard was, “Are you able to get on the wifi?”
I was able to live tweet several sessions, but despite the fact that I had my computer in tow every day, I eventually gave up and took a lot of notes. Some presentations were very casual. Others were chock full of information. Chris Penn’s “Facebook Analytics” talk fell into the latter. Phil Hollows energetic “List Building for Bloggers” was a rat-tat-tat explanation of why an e-mail list is your greatest asset. Michael Margolis captured the room’s attention with his take on how individuals can get their true story out by bypassing the traditional approach.
As in any culture, there are buzzwords, and this “space” has plenty. Community, conversation, influence, networks, and tribes were repeated with regularity. There were numerous funny moments and some great one-liners.
In a discussion about trolls and cliques in community management, I heard about how one person had to ban the whole IP for the country of Brazil for a short period. Jodee Rich related the story of his young son explaining that the typewriter was “what they used in the old days to write e-mails.” On a more serious note was the pronouncement that “every 25 years, forms of entertainment change.” Chris Heur stated, “We’re living now between two worlds.”
On Thursday, I sat in on “Speak Up: Empowering Women to Find Their Voices.” The description addressed the stats reflecting the “dearth of female speakers at business, tech and venture conferences, particularly keynotes.” Aliza Sherman and Jill Foster started their presentation with the standard clichés that women have internalized. “Be polite. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Don’t be so aggressive. Don’t be self-promoting.” And the ultimate biggie, “You’re not good enough.” Before getting interactive with the audience, Sherman, with the determination of a drill sergeant, told the women (and a few men), “Banish the negative talk! It’s not about perfect. Identify your passion. Own your power!” She asked everyone to write down three topics they could speak on currently. She then told them to “title it, bullet point it,” and determine when they were the one to deliver the goods. On how to be accepted at a conference, she suggested seeing what kind of presentations were being featured. She pointed out that they needed to take into consideration two audiences: the organizers of the event and the conference attendees. Her top advice was, “Don’t hide your powerful accomplishments.”
One session I made a point not to miss was Jeremy Caplan’s talk on “How Journalists Can Overcome Information Overload.” Thrilled to learn that I wasn’t the only one who could benefit from “36 Tools, Tips and Sites for Digital Efficiency,” Caplan didn’t disappoint. I was already on target with some of my own strategies, but he broke it down into digestible components. With many people getting 3,000 e-mails per month, Caplan’s mantra of, “do, delete, defer” made plenty of sense. The goal of doing a weekly sweep to get “back to zero” resonated. Keeping it simple, emptying your mind (so you don’t have to go over stuff when it is time to go to sleep) and “taking time to be unplugged” were powerful reminders on how not to be overtaken by technology.
I referred to his handouts repeatedly over the following days, as I tried to navigate through all the correspondence that had accumulated while I was immersed in the conference.
I’m still catching up.