Posts Tagged '2008'

Bloggers Assemble!

Bloggers Assembled

     It was a rainy Chicago afternoon and evening, on a Spring day in May.  They’d come from all over the United States and the World.  Views and opinions as diverse as their points of origin.  Powers of observation and writing never before brought together were no in one place, on one busy block.

     Who were they?  Superheroes? Power brokers? Yes! They were Bloggers! And they came to take Chicago!  Well, not actually that last part, but it sounds better yes?

     SOBCon08 had drawn bloggers of all types.  Bloggers of politics mixed with technology bloggers as well as mommy bloggers.  Each brought with them not just a desire to learn and be engaged for the weekend, but they came to share, to support, and to blog.  They came to take blogging up a notch.

     Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker assembled a crew of presenters for a human scale event and it was powerful.  Chris Brogan, Anita Bruzzese,  Chris Garret, David Bullock, Terry Starbucker, Brian Clark, Lorelle VanFossen, and Wendy Piersall talked and presented on blogging and business throughout the weekend.  More than that, they shared deeply about blogging and themselves.  Each poured out tips, tricks and heart during their presentations and off-stage as well.

     The SOBCon08 weekend was jam packed with business and blogging information, but also with fun and friends making.  Shashi Bellamkonda and I have been online friends for most of year but had never met.  Leave it to a blogging conference to us together.  Rick Mahn and I had also been online only contacts for quite a while, this weekend allowed us to share a great experience and become real friends. There was the boat ride, where I took this skyline shot, and enjoyed the music of Christine Kane, and the wonderful dinners with my blogger friends.

     Did I take anything away beyond that? More than I can absorb.  On the mental and supportive side, I realized I’m not alone out there, and these other bloggers, even the most successful ones, are only an email away.  I realized others, yes those big name ones too, struggle at times with their blogs and their businesses.  The support and encouragement doesn’t end with the weekend.  Becky McCray has organized some of us into a biz and blog support and mentoring circle.

     As part of the take away from the SOBCon08 conference, I’ll be changing up things on the blog.  It’ll be slow at first, but hopefully the improvements will be noticeable both to readers and to me.  Also, I’ll be formulating some business plans, goals and more.  Don’t think either that I’ll try to work in solitude.  You, the readers, and you, my fellow bloggers and biz folks, will be on the spot.  I’ll be asking you for guidance, reassurance, and support because of the respect and appreciation I have for you all.

     In summary, the weekend brought me more than I expected, and I can’t express enough in blog posts even how much so. While I make some attempts here though, I’d love to hear from you.

     How did SOBCon08 impact you, your blogging and your business? What will you change?  Or have you been to another conference recently that made a significant impact on your life?  Tell me about it!  I want you to share here, on your blog, or drop me a line.  Don’t blog? I’ll be happy to post your story here.

     Come, tell us about your experience.

SOBCon08 at The Summit Executive Center

SOBCon08 is of course being held in Chicago, and it’s new home there it top of the line.  The conference will be held at The Summit Executive Center.

The Summit Executive Center is  in the heart of downtown Chicago on N. Michigan.  Their site really makes the place sound exciting.  Can’t wait to get there.

Nearby hotels abound as well as being close to many attractions.  Most likely I’ll find time to visit one or two in the evenings.

If you want to find out more about the SOBCon bloggers conference, please check out their site.

SOBCon 2008 Marketing Contest – Day 20 Results

The results are in as of day 20. SOBCon 2008 Marketing Contest results that is.

And yes, yours truly is still in the lead.

Here’s the top two:
1) Todd Jordan – 113
2) Alex Shalman – 104

Here’s how it works.  I provide the links to SOBCon and you provide the clicks.  Yes, it’s that simple.  No registration. No leaving your email. No sign ups or ins. Nothing to click on the SOBCon conference site.  Just find any link here on my blog leading to the SOBCon conference site and it’s done.

SOBCon isn’t selling anything. This isn’t about some marketing things. SOBCon is a conference for bloggers about the business of blogging.

So I won’t be asking you to register or give me anything or buy anything or any of that silliness, it’s just all about supporting one of your favorite contacts, me.

Come on folks; let’s take this viral.  Can you make me the most requested blogger to send to SOBCon?  I challenge you to take me to the top.

Thanks you to all of you who’ve shown your support already and to those in the future who will help bring this home for me.

Best regards,


What I’m learning on the way to SOBCon08

If you haven’t heard, I’m going to SOBCon08. SOBCon08 is a three day blogger conference for bloggers about blogging by professional bloggers.  N’uff said.

So often folks talk about what they’ve learned at a conference or picked up in conversations while they were there.  Some people will talk about the social networking that happened on site or afterwards.  Finally, some will relate stories of the fun, including wild parties they had.  But few bloggers will blog about what they learned on the path to get there.  I’m here to tell you that I’m learning plenty already and I’ve not even made my hotel reservations.

Get your friends involved

 It’d be easy to sit on the sidelines and moan about how hard it is to be a better blogger, or pay the way to the convention. It’s most tempting to do that moaning to friends.  But what I’ve learned is it’s a far better tactic to bring them along side as partners.  Heck, I’ve got hundreds of contacts on my social networks, why not get some help.

I’ve sought them out and they’ve responded. Daily reminders both in person, on the blog, and through the network have allowed them them to directly respond with helping me get the lead in the contest but also get my blogging fingers working. They’ve encouraged me with great feedback about the blog posts themselves, and the contest.

What’s amazing is that several of these people I’ve yet to even talk to live, yet they’ve reached out to help me push along.  Cheers to you guys and gals.

Supporters will show up to help

So I started off with this wild idea to improve my blogging by attending this conference.  Then I realized how crazy it seemed. What makes me think I have something to contribute? Am I really blogger material? Woah.

Of course I blogged and talked about it; sent it out to the either I did.  To my surprise, not only did my existing buddies come on board, but folks not even on my attention list did too.  The folks over at SOBCon08, Liz and Terry, have both stepped into my life and begun providing encouragement.  They’ve taken time to visit my blog and leave comments, and send me personal messages.  Liz even took time out of her hectic schedule for a one on one pep talk. WOW!

To sum that up, if you ask for help and speak boldly, others will join your cause.

Blog better now

Signing up for the conference made me step back and evaluate where my blogging is at today.  Talk about a sanity check. Not only was I hardly posting a few times each week, but most of the posts were one paragraph or less.  There was no multimedia except on rare occasions, and not enough link love.  You get the picture right?

Of the few things I’m mentioning here, this lesson hit me the hardest. I realized that what’s to gain from a conference if I wasn’t going to put my best foot forward.  This has led me to some changes you might have noticed.

Longer posts, more conversational posts, cartoons (courtesy of Toonlet), commentary on other blogs are just a few of the changes and directions I’ve taken.   More work to come.

The results?  I’m having some 100 hit days on this current blog.  The toons are a big hit.  Comments are happening.

In Summary

Those those three lessons might not seem like much, but trust me they are.  They’ve resulted not only in the practical things, such as leading the contest, and a better blog, but in a less tangible way.  My confidence has been boosted too.  I’ve come to realize that success isn’t some far off concept, only available to other lucky folks. It’s about what you do and about moving forward boldly and bringing your friends along.

It’s not about the belief that I’ll be successful, only time will tell that.  It’s about losing the worry over the end results and focusing on the process.  Focusing on the doing and not getting lost in frustrating second guessing.

As a fellow blogger put it, I’m going forward and let a higher power tell me no if they want. But barring that, I’m making a run for the little ring.

Your fellow blogger,


SXSW Showcasing Music Torrents

Get your 2008 SXSW and previous years music torrents here.

As of this post, I’m seeding at 20k Up!

It’s 3+ gigs; get started now.

Social Media Club St. Louis – 1st Meeting – Round Up

I walked in to Kaldi’s in Kirkwood and immediately found the group of clubbies. They were right inside the door and already chatting. Tables had been rounded up, chairs brought around and folks where already exchanging emails and blog links. My kind of people.

Soon a group of five turned to ten and then over a dozen were on hand. Relocating was not an option. As an aside, you could tell the regular coffee drinkers; they were quick to visit the counter and get seated back with their steaming cups.

Everyone there was involved in blogging in some way. I’ve linked there here, courtesy of Brandstorming. Note that only one blog link is provided for each person, though several of us have more than one blog.

Jim Durbin:
Franki Durbin: Life In A Venti Cup
Tanner Hobin: TannerHobin
Andrew Nagy:
Kurt Greenbaum –
Kristen Munson –
Justin Schmidt –
Lisa Young –
Melody Cissell –
Reem Abeidoh –
Don Krutewicz – donkrutewicz
Angeline Soon –
Ryan Suther
Howard McAuliffe-

A couple of these folks are becoming more than just acquaintances by now, but there rest were all new faces to me. Unfamiliar faces didn’t put a damper on the conversation though. It was nonstop talking from minute one and out to the cars. We did the typical go around the room bit, but that is not to discount it as of no value. Introducing ourselves really lead to more conversations and connections, and talks of investing in each other.

I mentioned in a post earlier today that I wasn’t sure what my take away for new contacts would be, but let me assure you, this group was all worthy of my attention. Each brought a different perspective and attitude to the table. (tables – 8 of them) It will be difficult to pass up adding all of these new faces and inputs to my daily feeds.

I don’t have my pictures up yet, but when I do, they’ll be at my Flickr account and tagged with smcstl.

Please check out the blogs above and give them some love. Also, let us know about your local social media club meetups.



St. Louis Bloggers February Meet Up – A Writeup

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; 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!

More folks just kept showing up, eventually including the two ladies who organized this particular get together, News Bitch and Marriage 101. These two brought along their male companions as well.

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,

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.

St. Louis Bloggers Rocking Growlers

Bloggers share a drink

and there were sweet hearts

Mimosa Cupcake

Social Media Club of St. Louis

Good news, a Social Media Club of St. Louis is forming up.  The new site is here. Please go visit and sign up.

There is a vote up for when the first meeting should be.  So far Feb 9th is leading the pack. As a reminder, Feb 8th is the St. Louis Bloggers Meetup.

Let’s get social!