Saturday, May 19, 2007

Report on SOBCon07: Link up – attend a blogging conference...

Guest post by Sheila Scarborough

Greetings to all Liz Lewis readers, and thanks for the opportunity to tell you a little about why you should attend a blogging conference, even if you’re still at 4 posts and 2 visitors.

I’ve just returned to Texas from Chicago, where I attended SOBCon 07. No, no, silly; SOB means “Successful and Outstanding Blogger.”

It’s a moniker dreamt up by one of the conference organizers, Liz Strauss, who writes Successful Blog. For a warm, inviting and always interesting blog, take your browser over to Liz. Her only rule is “be nice,” and she always says that “you’re only a stranger once.”

Her conference had the same vibe. Along with bloggy luminaries like Phil Gerbyshak of Make it Great! , Wendy Piersall of eMoms at Home and Terry Starbucker of Ramblings From a Glass Half Full, Liz Strauss led a room of over one hundred bloggers through a packed schedule of speakers and discussion sessions about building relationships through blogging.

We talked about fostering online communities, making readers feel welcome, extending the conversation through comments, blog marketing, designing a user-friendly blog and using podcasts and video. The audience was free to chime in and most definitely did so; nobody had to feel shy or dim-witted, no matter how new they were to blogging.

Liz Strauss reminded everyone that when you finish a post, you press a button labeled “Publish.” That’s pretty cool….

There were not that many travel bloggers there besides me, except for the WordPress Queen Lorelle VanFossen (who travel blogs at Taking Your Camera on the Road) and the redoubtable Wendy Perrin, who blogs for Condé Nast Traveler magazine on her Perrin Post. It didn’t matter – we all had subjects that we were passionate about, and more in common than we thought.

Blogging and writing are solitary activities (no matter how well you know your local coffee shop barista) so it’s wonderful to be in a room that is just thrumming with enthusiasm from people who all love the same thing – communicating. We practically tackled each other in the bathrooms to continue the conversations.

If this sounds good to you, consider another Chicago blogging conference in July run by BlogHer (and no, you don’t have to be a woman to go) and to really geek out, there’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive in Austin, Texas March 7-11 2008.

If you know of any other good blogging events across the globe, tell us about them here!

Sheila blogs about travel at Family Travel, Kid Trippin’ and the Perceptive Travel blog, and about motorsports at Fast Machines.


(note from Liz: Sheila, thanks for spending the time to let us know all about the SOBCon07 conference. It sounded like a great time. I don't know about anyone else, but I'll be spending the next week or two wandering through all the links you just provided to learn more about the art of blogging...maybe next year I might even head over for the conference...)

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Lorelle said...

"WordPress Queen" - oh, too funny, Shelia.

Great summary of the conference. It was amazing. I keep saying that but it was so different from the tons of conferences I've been to, I just don't have the words. And what fun to meet you!

alicia said...

I would definitely be interested in attending a blogging conference. I wonder if there's any universal "annoucment-type" site where you can find out about conferences in your area?

ME Strauss said...

Hi Sheila and Liz,
Getting to know each other any way that we can -- online, on the phone, via email and at conferences -- extending the relationships makes blogging more real and takes the conversations deeper, makes them more meaningful.

That's the longest sentence I've written in the longest time. Whew!



Lorelle, after having a look at your Word Press website, I think Sheila has it right - you are the 'Word Press Queen'
Alicia, I agree. A blogging conference would be fascinating. Not sure how you'd find out about any in your area. I'd start with a google search for 'blogging conference (your area)' and see what evolves.
me strauss, absolutely (my shortest sentence in the shortest time).


Aaron said...

Hi Sheila/Liz/Lorelle - I wish I could have been there at SOB!! It sounds pretty amazing.

There's another free conference in Vegas in November called
PostieCon where some other 'pros' will be sharing their tips and experiences with blogging.


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