A new blogger navigates day one of the biggest blogging convention in the country.
TUESDAY, JUNE 5, 2012
630 am: Awaken! On my friend’s couch. I don’t care that my back is a little wonky, it’s Day One of Blog World Expo!
715 am: Choose to wear heels. So sue me, I want to feel taller today!
730 am: Double check that I have my registration confirmation (the one that a friend in San Diego had to scan and email to me because I forgot it beautifully pinned to my vision board over my desk).
745 am: C train to Port Authority!
830 am: Find the Javits Center. I swear it was on 43rd Street, not 38th Street. Refuse to regret the heels.
845 am: Check in. Smile broadly as I am handed my 3 Day Blogger/Podcaster/Web TV pass. Wander downstairs to discover a multitude of round tables strapped with giant power strips in front of the exhibit hall. Nice amenities for a blogging conference.
850 am: Meet nice people from Social Media Examiner and Atlanta-based Organ Wise Guys. Asked what I “do.” Respond with “I write.” Asked what I “blog about.” Respond with “Uh…writing.” Make a mental note to come up with wittier repartee.
855 am: Get a tip that Scott Stratten is verbal caffeine. I’m there!
859 am: Find a seat in Scott Stratten’s crowded opening session, “Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media.” Spot a guy sitting up on stage in a black t-shirt making snarky commentary as people filter in. Wonder briefly if he has combed his hair. Realize I’ve seen this behavior before. (I’ve lived in LA, for Pete’s sake.) Search for confirmation that there is such thing as a blogging celebrity.
902 am: The room quiets as he speaks. I’m pretty sure he’s insulting us a little bit here and there. No one cares.
931 am: I think I love this man.
946 am: Some good stuff from Scott Stratten on social media:
* You don’t have to be everywhere, but be present where you are. Stop pushing your tweets to your FB and vice versa. Stop automating. It makes you look dumb.
* Be there to engage, not announce. You can’t automate authenticity.
* Passion drives social media. People recognize passion.
* The clincher: To be great at social media, you only have to be average. Because everyone else sucks.
954 am: Feel slightly inferior about my red moleskin notebook in this sea of iPads.
1008 am: Stare at the Twitter icon on my iPhone. Acutely aware of my lack of Twitter etiquette, I tweet a thank you to Scott Stratten. I have no idea if I did that right.
1015 am: Wander into a few sessions about publishing, including a knock-down, drag out fight between Stratten and Jim Kukral about the merits of traditional versus self-publishing. My takeaway:
* Self-publishing is appropriate for highly-focused, specified content, especially when it relates thematically to a blog and especially if it is built for that blog’s followers.
* People still like to buy real books. They aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
* Also, my own mental note: Do NOT try to win an argument with Scott Stratten while drunk in a bar.
1235 pm: Slightly overwhelmed, I duck out of the Javits Center and head ten blocks north (no, wait, 14 blocks) to catch a friend at Ensemble Studio Theatre for lunch. Feel slightly guilty about not sticking around to network during the lunch break.
100 pm: So happy to be eating lamb sliders at Il Baretto: an amazing find with attentive servers and tasty food. Cute bistro atmosphere adds to the charm. Yum!!
240 pm: Late for the afternoon session. Duck into Jay Baer‘s “12 Imperative Must-Dos for the Serious Blogger.”
241 pm: It’s super crowded. A woman in argyle pants motions to me that there is a free seat next to her. Gratefully, I take it. Compliment her on her argyle pants. Laugh when she says the name of her company is Argyle Social.
314 pm: Briefly wonder what a “tribe” is.
330 pm: Blogging tips from Jay Baer:
* Be specific. Because of this blog, [this specific audience] will have [this specific benefit].
* Create a backstory for your target reader.
* Value PERSPIRATION over inspiration. More posts = more traffic.
* Share the burden. Gather new voices.
* A blog is a magazine: incorporate a variety of media.
* Self-validate: your community is not your validation.
* Write great headlines.
* Be a great sharer (my favorite).
335 pm: Contemplate a few things from Jay Baer, namely, the idea of self-validation, the fact that some people might not like my blog, or that they may one day comment negatively. For some reason, this thought has never occurred to me.
340 pm: Have minor anxiety attack. What am I doing here?? Feel momentarily heartened by the fact that passion is seemingly a driving force behind a blog’s success. Resolve to keep writing, even if my parents are my only followers.
345 pm: Afternoon coffee in hand, dutifully take notes about monetization with David Risley. David is lovely but this money stuff is depressing! Ad sales and banners and brand boasting…this doesn’t sound magical at all! Cut to current balance of bank statement. Continue taking notes dutifully.
412 pm: Notice that my left foot seems a little puffy. Wonder if maybe I should have opted for flats today. Shake my head vehemently at such a thought.
500 pm: Keynote with Gary Hoover who riddles us with the entire history of broadcasting and publishing in a mere matter of minutes. Astounding.
530 pm: Gary Hoover’s applause is cut short by the arrival of the naked paparazzo. Twitter is aflame within seconds.
615 pm: Decide to be a good girl and stay for the networking party.
700 pm: Opening party at Club Amnesia on 29th Street. (Really, Guys? 29th Street?? You know that’s like ten blocks away, right? No, I’m not taking a cab. I used to live here. I walk. Damn it.)
714 pm: Enter crazy dark techno music laser light show club. Find a place to plug in my iPhone. Say hello to three other people sharing the same outlet to charge their iPhones.
726 pm: Acknowledging the awkwardness of networking, share a timid hello with a representative from Emailvision. I know he said a lot of useful things during that conversation, but I really don’t remember anything after “my company headquarters is in Paris.”
737 pm: Representative from Social Chorus: “What do you do?” Me: “I’m a writer.” SC: “Do you have a blog?” Me: “Yes, I do.” SC: “Oh, then you’re an influencer.” Me: (pause) “I’m pretty sure I’m just a writer.” SC: (to nearby co-worker) “She’s an influencer.” Me: “Um.”
752 pm: Really, really, I mean really awkward conversation with a woman who blogs about cats. I can’t even talk about that anymore.
802 pm: Meet nice fellow from LA-based WP Power Guide while hiding out from crazy cat lady near the restrooms.
826 pm: Abandon networking party. Hightail it to Hayden Planetarium.
1100 pm: Prop puffy monster feet up on friend’s couch and stare at them in disgust. Ask friend why I have puffy monster feet. Lean over puffy monster feet and demand they GET IT TOGETHER.
1146 pm: Fall asleep to the transiting Venus and dream sweet dreams about Day TWO of Blog World Expo.