The Growlers on Old Ballas was hopping Friday night. Not only where some local boys hooting it up there, but one of the best blogger get meet ups was happening as well. Bloggers of every stripe were then from food blogging to mommy bloggers, tech, and photo bloggers. A great mix if I do say so myself.
Arriving first, I was soon joined by Susan of SusanIsk.com; she is blogging about moving on up to her own place and life lessons. It wasn’t long before Crafty and Crap joined us along with her trusty friend Kara, aka Star Monkeybrass. And the conversation was off and going!
All in all, we had quite a good turn out. I’ll have to make sure to provide more links over the next couple of days. There were some new bloggers there and I want to make sure to get the URLs correct.
So what do a bunch of St. Louis bloggers talk about? Believe it or not, religion. Yes, and most pointedly about being Jewish in modern times in St. Louis. That’s right; I have Jewish blogger friends and I like it. Luckily so, since I was surrounded by them for a while. It was quite interesting to learn that there are at least three ‘types’ of Jewish practice here: Reformed, Conservative, and Orthodox. Color me ignorant. The conversation ranged from tithing to worship services, and what practices are in and out. We talked about memberships, attendance and ticket prices as well. All of it was educational and fun to hear about for me.
Social media and networking was another hot topic. Privacy and safety concerns were the biggest issues discussed. More than one blogger expressed concern about how children are affected or potentially brought into harm’s way through over exposure. Do you show pictures of your children? Do you share their names? What about your location? Personal information? Your feelings on day to day parenting struggles. Tough questions and topics, but one truth came out that practicing safe socneting was a must when younger children were involved.
The point of social networking was also discussed. Folks knowing me know I’m a fan, but there were a couple of the bloggers that didn’t see a purpose in participating. What’s to be gained versus the risks involved? We didn’t come to an especially good answer that everyone could agree on, however it did sidetrack into another aspect I rarely think about, friend screening. I’m going to devote an entire article to that discussion, but briefly, one blogger stated the they always screen potential contacts to see just who they are. This means checking that person’s contacts, affiliations, hobbies, interests and favorite groups. Bring your own opinions on that topic. It’s complex.
Of course no evening with a bunch of bloggers would be complete without talking about blogging itself. A quick survey turned up that most attendees are using WordPress as a blogging platform, with some using Blogger and Typepad. Inevitably we talked about tracking. Seveal favorites were turned up, including Google Analytics and Sitemeter. Both of those services are free and provide a variety of information.
RSS feeds were not to be a left out topic either. Most knew about Feedburner, with the other few quickly directed there and the benefits extolled. Tips and tricks were shared along with the virtues. Though interested in sharing our blogs, all of us were as interested in reading them. Each of us had a different approach too. I’m a proponent these days of Google Reader, where some were using iGoogle to read their favorite blogs. Other RSS readers get used, but one or two folks actually read blogs at the actual site. An agreed upon favorite was, kottke.org.
In summary, I learned and shared, ate good food and drank good beer, fellowshipped and had a mimosa cupcake. I’ll definitely be attending more St. Louis blogger meet ups.