This past Saturday, I had the privilege and the pleasure to attend Bloggy Boot Camp in San Francisco at the Westin St. Francis in Union Square. I have to say the SITS Girls sure do know how to put on a blogging conference. This was my first blogging conference, I had no clue what to expect, I didn't know anyone. I kinda felt like the new kid at school - much to my surprise there were a lot us new kids.
The conference was held up on the 32nd floor, the views were amazing. The elevator reminded me of the Tower of Terror though, have I told you how much that ride scares the crap out of me. Waiting in line to check in two ladies who rode up the elevator with me, Jenn and Holly , and I started talking. It was great to spend a few minutes connecting with someone before "the bell rang".
One of the things that I absolutely loved at this conference was the assigned seating and changing tables for each presentation. It forced us to sit with different people and network. It would have been all to easy for people to cling to their friends, whether they traveled together or just met on the elevator. I even got to sit next to Sugar Jones , she was rocking some gorgeous shoes and a beautiful dress. She hooked me up with some info about a Twitter chat for Latinas in Social Media within two minutes of meeting her. This was the type of environment that was created, we were all there together, to learn, to share, to support, to laugh, and we sure did laugh a lot.
The conference was casual and we were allowed to be relaxed, there wasn't anyone walking around making sure we were paying attention; laptops, netbooks, iPads were out at the ready to take notes, tweet out key bits of information, follow everyone else at the table. Clap once if you can hear me, clap twice if you can hear me, clap three times if you can hear me. Tiffany did a great job facilitating the day, using her skills to bring us to attention and adding important information to speakers' presentations. And, did I mention that Tiffany is SO pretty?
I'll give a quick synopsis of each presentation and then sum it up into what I think is the key to everything I learned.
Jessica talked about vlogging - video blogging. She gave us some important tips on doing it well. She's a very funny woman and I loved her presentation. Oh, in case you're wondering, please don't hold your breath on seeing a vlog here anytime soon.
Julie talked about privacy and your blog. The link will take you to her post with the outline of the presentation. She gave us great information in a down-to-earth no b.s. kind of way that was fun and entertaining, she tells a good story. In a nutshell, make informed decisions about what you share on your blog, there are some very savvy people out there. Ultimately, it's up to each one of us to decide what we're comfortable with.
Ciaran talked to us about creating our own brand and how to feel good about working with PR folks and other brands. In essence, if you're authentic and transparent it's cool, if it feels icky don't do it. Reviews are not evil, they just have to be done well.
Jennifer had us pondering all the ways in which to use social media. There are so many sites and applications that you can use to connect with people. Very popular to talk about was Twitter, of course. Twitter is useful in so many ways but ultimately you've got to engage with people for it to be of some benefit. This was a great way to get everyone chatting again after lunch, this was a very involved discussion with people showing each other their laptop screens sharing their favorite Twitter applications. Twitter, LinkedIn, Four Square, Whrrl, Facebook, and the list keeps growing.
Linsey had us look at the legal and professional aspects of blogging, especially when someone starts to make money from it. We talked about everything from incorporating, buying domain names, taxes, income, reviews. This presentation was filled with a ton of information.
Ted talked to us about the OpenSky Project and the trend to "Relationship Commerce." I think most of us would be happy to purchase items based on the recommendations of our friends than to go blindly into a purchase. The main point for me was about establishing, maintaining and taking care of our relationships.
Kristy talked to us about the actual writing part about blogging. This was a great way to wrap up the day. The point is that it all needs to match - voice, tone and personality. There's things to do when we get writer's block and sometimes we've got to just write.
We had a great after-party too. It was fun to talk to more people and just relax. I made a lot of new friends this past Saturday, I hope to continue growing those relationships. I can't imagine how much longer this post would be if I named everyone.
I've still got a lot of information in my head that I need to process. There will definitely be changes to the way I continue on this blogging path but I'm not 100% sure of what those will be.
This was the one sentence take-home foundation for the conference: Be yourself, be consistent, and most of all, take care of those relationships.