Tag Archives: Blog World Expo

A Newbie at Blog World Expo NYC: DAY ONE

A new blogger navigates day one of the biggest blogging convention in the country.

Day One at the Javits Center
(which is NOT on 43rd Street)

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!

800 am:  Have a Rachel Berry moment as I pop out of the subway station on 42nd street.  Stop in Starbucks to blog about it.  COFFEE.

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.

614 pm:  The transit of Venus has started and  I am bereft of proper viewing equipment.  Secretly long to hightail it to the Hayden Planetarium to commune with astronerds like me.

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.

Hayden Planetarium
my happy place

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No New Bees!

photo: thewatermeloninc.com

How focusing on one task at a time can improve our writing and decrease our frustration with life in general.

When I was a kid, (and yes, even today) I had a weird eating habit.  I would eat in what my mother calls “courses,” meaning I would start with the vegetable and finish it entirely before turning to the protein, then to the potatoes, then to the bread.  It was even rare that I would even interrupt this process to imbibe beverages until they were up in the  rotation.

I also had this thing about food with different flavor profiles touching each other (please do not put the applesauce next to the spinach, for the love of Pete), but that’s an entirely different blog post.

The reason this is relevant, and I promise there’s a point here, is that I have come to realize that this is reflective of most aspects of my life, and maybe yours, too.  It’s very difficult for me to fully consume – or get good at – one thing while I am taking bites out of three or four other things. 

This is true in big and small ways.  Reading, for example.  Some people can read three or four books at a time.  Not me.  I read slowly and deliberately, soaking in every word, every nuance, every sentence construction.  I explore every elicited emotion I experience while I’m reading, and I can only do this with one book at a time.  Full immersion.  No distractions.

I won’t even talk about how this relates to my love life.

The point is that I can’t expect to get good at writing a blog or a book or a series of short stories if I can’t give these activities the proper focus they deserve.

I was talking with my friend, Lisa, while I was staying at her apartment in New York this past week (Blog Expo debriefing post on the way, I promise!).  She, of course, is going through the same thing in her life, because we are the same person, after all.  We are both very helpful, supportive people, with a lot of heart to offer to activities and organizations that make us happy.  This is an admirable quality.  However, we are also both people who have singular goals in mind that are wrapped around very specific passions which also require our time.  So, what happens?  At the end of these days full of helpfulness, we find ourselves completely pissed at the world.  Why?  We desperately would like to focus on “A,” but instead, we find ourselves splitting our time amongst a handful of “B”s.  Our “A” is sitting at home, waiting for our attention, but by the time we get there, all we want to do is crawl into bed mad because we haven’t had the time to focus on it.  Rargh!

So, we made a pact.  No New “B”s!  No New BEES!!  I joked that I would draw a picture of a giant bumblebee with a line through it and send it to her for her bathroom mirror.  We both knew it was a joke because I can’t draw.  (Thank you, The Watermelon, for creating an image representing your satirical rant on banning bee pollination!)

No new bees!!  Focus on “A.”  I stare at my dinner plate and think about how it all makes sense.  Commitment to our passions and to the goals we want to accomplish with our passions requires a giant scaling down of the activities and concerns that do not directly support this cause.  It seems so obvious now.  Eat your fracking spinach, Tiffany, I tell myself.

Stephen King calls this “writing with the door closed.”  To me, this now means turning off the phone, saying NO, and prioritizing the 10% when I can’t say no.  It’s not easy.  When someone calls to ask me to organize something or participate in something or volunteer, my heart aches to be useful.  But I exercise restraint, at least just for now.  For now, I eat my spinach.  For now, I write.

So, my message this morning:  Pick A.  Pick your spinach.  Eat it.  Love it.  Don’t feel bad about saying no to the bees until you’ve fully consumed the spinach.  It’s your time.  There’s nothing worse than feeling pissed at the world because you didn’t get to do A today.  Do A today.  Find a way.

That is all.

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Live From Blog World Expo New York

Full debriefing on the way…as soon as I stop dreaming in tweets.

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And Away We Go

Gentle Reader,

I am feeling a little bit like Rachel Berry as I leave my friend’s apartment this morning on the Upper West Side and head for Blog World Expo. Despite the threat of wellie-weather all week, it is a PERFECT day in New York. (I may even go so far as to say it is a San Diego day in New York…) All signs point to this conference being a very auspicious venture for me…the transit of Venus, the rainbow I saw from the plane on the flight in, the appearance of Bernadette Peters singing “Unexpected Song” at Musical Mondays… I might as well stick a gold star on my forehead and bust into a show tune as I walk into the Javits Center. It will be so cool to see how this day unfolds. But first…coffee.

Until later, Gentle Reader.

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My [Lousy] Poem

New York
It rains
Seven years ago
I lived here for seven years
The subway map etched
on the back of my brain
Like the mole on the back of my neck
I can always feel
but never see
I reach for it now
Still there
But the rain washes away
the old story
Replacing it with new skin
I read too much Derrick Brown on the flight over here
And nothing rhymes with Blog World Expo

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T-23 Hours till Go Time

So, I leave for NYC tomorrow morning at the (insert inappropriate language here) crack of dawn and here is an assessment of my Yet-To-Do-List (further recommendations welcome from other attendees):

1. Finish grading papers (Shoot me now).

2.  Pack umbrella.

3.  Do more research on speakers and narrow down my list of Must-Attends (Be quiet, Kevin Six.  I am NOT type A.).

4.  Follow Blog World Expo coordinators on Twitter (Check!)

5.  Make business cards.

6.  Confirm dinner with my former a la Sex and the City brunch crew (Check!).

7.  (Do I really need that scarf I saw in that shop last week?  It’s super cute and would match like every outfit I’m bringing.)

8.  Download BWE mobile app on the recommendation of my new Blog World Expo Twitter friend and local San Diegan @mattsurfs  (Check!  Thanks for the tip!).

9.  Make sure I can run my online classes entirely from my smartphone.  This is a huge step into the advances of technology for me.  A little nervous.

10.  Corollary thought to #9:  My computer is a dinosaur from 2005 which is why it is staying in San Diego.  Maybe the giveaway gods will be good to me at the conference and bestow upon me a confirmation-of-my-new-direction gift from the universe in the form of a slick laptop.  Just putting it out there.

11.  Make a blog friend pre-conference.  I so do not want to be the new kid roaming the halls wondering where all of the popular people are hanging out.  If only I could find a cool blogger like me and make a conference lunch date pre-NYC…  (All of a sudden I feel like the Anne of Green Gables version of the blogworld.  Will someone be my bosom blog friend?)

12.  Deep breath.  Game face.  Smile.

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