21 October 2008

BlogHer Boston: Session One

The brilliant people at BlogHer, in their infinite wisdom, had decided that this year, they would give more bloggers the opportunity to eat, blog, and be merry. The tour was originally scheduled for 6 locations, but alas, only DC and Boston survived.

The good news is that the location for THE BIG ONE in the summer is up for grabs now. Personally, I'm rooting for a location somewhere within driving distance of my house... I think I heard someone whisper *Philly* was in the running. Then again I think I also heard *Colorado* spoken about in hushed tones. We'll have to wait until the end of the month to see!

On to the good stuff.

The liveblogger's version of this can be found here. Worth the click. Ditto for DC's liveblogger.

Session One was aptly titled, "I blog, therefore I am."

Our esteemed panel took our questions and shared their own experiences with us. I have condensed my notes into what I found most poignant and relevant to my own blogging.

Boundaries & Identity

Blogger, know thyself! Whether we have come to blogging through chance or intention, it is important to decide now, if you have not already, what your personal blogging boundaries are.

Are you using your real name? If so, how could that affect you later? Are you using a pen name? If a potential employer Googled you, can you stand by what they will find? Will you be answering questions from irate in-laws over turkey?

Will your son survive junior high when his friends find the post you wrote about the time you had to crawl over the back seat of your station wagon after locking the two of you in there while executing an emergency poopy-diaper change in the grocery store parking lot?

(Yes, I did.)

As our speakers noted: Who you are writing for is not the only person reading. Be mindful of that and decide early on what your personal informational standards and boundaries will be.

Now that you know what you won't share, what will you write about?

This is my current dilemma. I left behind a blog of anonymity to share more of my creative self, but at what price? Will I censor myself in this new medium where the readers may occasionally be people I know IRL? (Hi Lil' Sis! Hi BFF!)

Um. No answer here. Yet. I'll let you know how that goes.

While we're talking about the what, it's important to think about the how too. We all have read at least one blog where after a few sentences - meh - and we click away. The blogger had no pull. No draw. No voice. When you write, write for somebody.

Be authentic. Be honest. Be you.

Site Metrics & Measuring Success

There have been times when I have wondered whether SiteMeter has a SiteMeter that tracks how often I track my blog. It's an addiction, I know.

Tracking can be useful. It lets you know people are reading, and where they're coming in from. Trackers like SiteMeter and Google Analytics seemed to be the most popular in the crowd.

Popular opinion held that the best gauge of whether your blog is a "success" is COMMENTS. Actually, after 12 hours and three sessions it is clear. It is all about the comments! COMMents COMMunity. Get it?

Here's where knowing why you're blogging in the first place is so important. If you know the why, you'll know the when. If you're only out for popularity, SiteMeter is your goal. If you're here to share, learn, create, inform, then it's all about the - say it with me - COMMENTS! Yay!

Blogging For Bucks

Are bloggers getting paid? The truth is yes, some are. Whether through ads, referrals, professional gigs, or Etsy (Hi Etsy!), some bloggers are getting paid in some fashion. Big bucks? It's a one in a million shot. (Another reason to know your intent.)

The prevailing sentiment on Pay Per Post and paid reviews was mixed at best. Are these bloggers being paid what their time and effort is worth? Not usually. And writing positive or neutral reviews only? Did not go over too well with the crowd.

If you're looking to monetize, they are looking for you too, but you need to be clear about what you're doing. Are you trading your influence and good (blog)name? Do you believe what you're writing? Do you have reasonable expectations? As long as you're willing, the opportunities exist, you just have to look for them. (Try Googling Problogger, monetizing my blog, Adsense, etc...)

Blogging & Life Transitions

I came to blogging as a direct result of a life transition. My own personal new mommy induced identity crisis. Some bloggers are posting away when their crisis hits. Either way, blogging can help when life kicks you to the curb.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well it takes a village to sustain a woman too. As we become less localized and clan-like, we lose our traditional support systems. Out among the pixels, you can find a new village. Your village.

Speaking of crisis - there also is the apparently inevitable blog crisis. Burn out. Peaking. Trolls.

Step back. Ask yourself why you are doing what you're doing here. Is this your preferred direction? Or in the case of a troll, is this person just angry at the world? The answer from the panel seems to be prioritizing. What is most important to you, what are your goals, and how will you achieve them? There was a whole session on this, and I will share that with you all another day.

Whew. That's a lot to take in. I will be back with more soon, and I even promise some less wordy eye candy tomorrow. My two week old WIP is FINALLY done!

So how about a handy-dandy Six Word Summary?

(I do so love Six Word-stuff!)









  1. I'll be one of the first to share a comment--THANK YOU!! What great info, and you did a fantastic job summarizing for the rest of us! You gave me some good stuff to think about.

  2. Oh, I had no idea that there were only two sessions that survived. That's too bad. Do you think that the national one will make it too?

    I have wondered what I would want to get out of going to the convention. Because it's not a business - though I'd love to make money. How was the networking end of it for you? Did you find other people like you? New blogs to read? Increase your traffic/comments?

    Thank you so much for posting this - and on the day it was supposed to happen in Atlanta.

  3. Thanks for all the tips and I love the new look :D


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