Blogher08 – In the rearview mirror

Posted by jerry on July 24th, 2008 — Posted in Journal, New media, Writing

Blogher08 has come and gone and the pixels are settling, and the blogseeds are sprouting.

The weirdness of the final session has stayed with me – the exchange between Jenny the Bloggess and Dooce – which has been well blogged here and elsewhere.

But from that session was a real gem that came straight afterward in the shape of a question from the audience on how Dooce manages her time. How does a professional blogger structure her day – is it in one or two hour chunks, or is it in marathon writing sessions, or is it squeezed into the interstices of the day?

Heather: Depending on what product I have going on inside of my blog, it can reach 10-12 hours a day. I’ve worked harder at this blog than any other blog in my life. Are you dedicated to working your ass off? It is way more than a full time job.

– you can read the full transcript here

And like any conference the main game can be in the margins – and that’s where Weber Shandwick’s Screengrab interviews work really well. Check them out on YouTube. I particularly liked the one with Susan Getgood – a marketer, social media consultant and blogger.

I really liked her take on the four P’s of marketing. There’s the traditional ones of Product, Placement, Promotion and Price. But she has four more for bloggers and it works this way:

  • Prepare – read blogs, find out what the market is – and do so over time. It is not something you can pick up in five minutes, or with a google search. Remember, blogs are about people;
  • Participate – leave comments – but don’t spam. Leave comments that are relevant to what is being blogged about. Big companies love ‘mommybloggers’ because it is a good broad demographic;
  • Pitch – Identify how you fit in the community, and if you’ve done the three Ps above, then;
  • Publish – get out there and do it

This all seems like very sound advice – and is a spin-off from the biz breakout session at BlogHer08.

Here’s the Weber Shandwick interview:

Blogher is still the world’s biggest blogging conference (bigger than the blokes’ ones) with over 1000 participants in San Francisco, and a whole host in SecondLife and on the web.

I enjoyed Erin Kotecki Vest’s vlogs – she know how to interview people, and was one of the organisers of BlogHer08.

I would like to see three things next year:

  • Better bandwidth allocated to streaming video into SecondLife – along with camera on proper low light settings etc so we can see it in SL and hear it without (so much) choppiness;
  • transcripts of sessions put up online – during or soon after the conference – especially the keynotes and key points from the breakout sessions – especially those that didn’t make it into SL – that way you get a global audience; and
  • more micro vlogs – like the screenshot interviews – three to four questions across a lot of the participants.

And finally – I know it’s a political thing not to have prepared papers and it’s great to have discussion-style panels, but I would like to see the keynotes at least do a structured ten minutes on their key themes rather than just ‘riffing’ on the audience questions/comments.

But these are minor things in what is obviously an incredible, wonderful experience for those who participate – and even for those of us who participate through the smaller bandwidth version via SecondLife. Blogging is about the conversation – whether you are a Mommyblogger or a Tech blogger the great thing about it is that it is open to everyone.


Blogher08 – A roundup

Posted by jerry on July 21st, 2008 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

Despite being plagued by the tyranny of timezones (Australia) and some technical hitches with the vid feeds and audio, I really enjoyed what I was able to experience of this great conference from within SecondLife. However, for much of the content – especially the breakout sessions, which were not streamed into SecondLife – I am largely reliant on the summaries put up by those who were there in person.

BlogerHer08 in SecondLife

Happykatie put up a good summary of the breakout session on:
DIY content syndication and promotion.

The panelists were:
* Moderator Krista Neher;
* Gwen Bell;
* Anne-Marie Nichols; and
* Esther Brady (aka faintstarlite)

BlogerHer08 in SecondLife

For her it was about the way the interwebs make it easy to create, post and promote content across video, audio and blog posts.

Social bookmarking is a key to this. Social bookmarking is a bit like the Devil’s tea party where you have a sumptuous banquet and the cutlery is two metres long, so you have to feed each other across the table. Social bookmarking promotes your work by you promoting that of others, whether they are bloggers, twitters, or social aggregation sites like facebook, myspace or bebo. One way is to use StumbleUpon to show your approval of other’s content – and maybe they’ll do the same for you. It’s a ‘pay it forward’ philosophy that seems to work for web 2.0.

Others do video content. And although there are many vid sites out there, YouTube seems to be a constant. If you put vids out there, they should also be in YouTube.

Twitter is made for people to jump in – it suits those who want to just join the global conversation like they’ve just walked into a room and after a little bit, just start throwing out their own part of the conversation. It is not a space made for didactic types who want to show off their knowledge. Collaboration is a good way to get going – working with other bloggers. And leave thoughtful comments on blogs that share your conversation, and use that to participate in and build your community.

Happykatie recommends using “…Friendfeed to search for your company and product name to track what people are saying about you. It gives you an opportunity to engage another blogger and grow your community…” And there’s a heap more on Happykate’s site!

Thanks for a great writeup Happykatie 🙂

Kribaby also gave a great writeup – summarising five tips from BlogHer08 DIY content Syndication – a session she moderated.

Here tips were:

  • Depth over breadth
  • Leverage other blogs
  • Find niche sites
  • Analyse your current traffic; and
  • Not all traffic is created equal

You’ll have to click over to her site for the expansion on these excellent tips.

Thanks for sharing these Kribaby/Krista

The panelists were

Writing Workshop
Web Teacher blogged about the writing workshop, and loved the discussion about tools for writers, including:

  • Wordtracker – for finding the right word
  • – for tracking comments you leave around the web; and
  • Lijit – for searching and tracking all the things you post in blogs, social between working sites and bookmarking sites, in a searchable format.

The Friday night keynote was a sampler of blog posts from a wide range of bloghers – and the odd bloghim 😉

Web Teacher summarised the session on building traffic to your blog, led by Elise Bauer, who spoke about thinking about Content, Community and Technology. Content referred, not just to the words, but whether you use photography, video, words or all the above. For photography, Bauer recommends a good DSLR camera and good editing tools like photoshop or lightroom. On community it’s about linking out and sharing comments. And for technology she proposes making your site easy to use, easy to find and platform independent.

The photography session led by Me Rah Koh gave ten excellent steps in using photography – go to Web Teacher’s blog post for the list – it’s great!

And Web Teacher herself moderated the session on Boomers and Beyond.

It’s a pity we didn’t see these in BlogHer08 in SecondLife.

Again thank you Web Teacher for providing your writeup.

Monetizing Your Blog provided a great summary of the session on monetizing blogs. In essence click ads are only one way to go, and not necessarily the best way. Like any business the key is to be strategic, know your audience, and think broadly – including selling directly, whether tee-shirts or some product, either tangible (things/stuff) or intangible (plans, software, tutorials).

There are a number of click models for advertising, and you will need to consider which might work best for you:
CPM – cost per thousand impressions
CPC – cost per click; or
CPA – cost per action, such as completing a form or purchase

Others work with affiliate programs, like Amazon.

Again, a great summary Christine – many thanks.

BlogerHer08 in SecondLife

Tomorrow I’ll post on the one session that I was able to see and hear clearly from SecondLife – and that made the 3.00AM schedule worthwhile – the final keynote session.


BlogHer08 – Opening session

Posted by jerry on July 19th, 2008 — Posted in Journal, New media

Despite the tyranny of timezones, I managed to catch the opening session and icebreaker event at BlogHer08 – one of the world’s biggest conference events on the topic of blogging. At it has a great lineup of speakers and topics, from Security in SecondLife to business and politics in the blogosphere.


Teal and I were among the first to arrive and chatted briefly with Grace McDunnough and Quean Turead – aka Erin Kotecki Vest – who many will know from her streaming video shows.

We settled in on the quiet side of the sim – working from laptops on a wireless – to reduce lag and increase the chance of a relatively stable connection once the avatars started arriving in force.

The amphitheatre was very accessible and the two video screens for live streaming of video from the real world event in San Francisco enabled a good view – albeit a very dark one.


When Elisa Camahort accompanied by Lisa and another whose name I didn’t catch came on I zoomed into the projection screen for the opening remarks and admin stuff which mainly related to admin for the real-life event, but foreshadowed the great conference that lay ahead.

With only a few glitches in the audio-visual feed the event got underway with intros and an ice-breaker event ‘speed dating’ where people attending in real life got to talk with someone for two minutes before moving on. At that point the live feed was closed, and we held our own speed dating event in SecondLife.

And the chat text went crazy – everyone was out there putting up blog URLs and helping newbies orient themselves. I met several wonderful people – who seemed a bit startled when I said it was 3.00AM here… for them the day was just starting!

But I’ll be logging in in throughout the weekend to catch as many sessions as I can – and if you are in the SanFrancisco area and you’re not at BlogHer08 – you’re really missing something special.


Douglas Adams’ typewriter up for sale

Posted by jerry on July 18th, 2008 — Posted in Journal, Writing

It’s the typewriter Douglas Adams used to write the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and it’s been offered for sale for £12,250. The typewriter is signed by the author.

Douglas Adams' typewriter

BoingBoing’s article
notes the particular wear on the letter X and wonders about its significance. It was almost certainly used to black out deleted paragraphs. But it did prompt a commenter to provide a statistical breakdown of letter usage in that book. Some people have way too much time on their hands! But it’s a nice touch. As for the X – it’s kinda nice to know that Adams worked and reworked his manuscripts to get the phrasing just right.

The typewriter was offered along with a first edition of the Guide. Was? Yes it appears to have been sold as it is no longer on AbeBooks website. The original news was posted on The Steampunk Workshop.

BlogHer08 is on this weekend!

Posted by jerry on July 17th, 2008 — Posted in Journal, New media

Yes I was there last year via SecondLife and intend doing the same again – this is a great conference.

I'm Geeking Out at BlogHer 08

So yeah, I’ll be geeking out this weekend 🙂

And good luck to all those who will be in San Francisco for the live events!