Posts Tagged 'May'

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.

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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,

Todd