The weekend was a good one. I gave up my old car ("gave up" makes it sound like it was a struggle to part with ... I "tossed out" my old car) and picked up my new Honda Civic, which I love, love, love and it is such an upgrade from my fickle Jetta GLS.
After nabbing the new ride, I went to Boston and attended the BlogHer Out Reach conference, along with several hundred other bloggers. This was my first adventure at a BlogHer conference, and I definitely learned a ton. It was an interesting experience, having "What's your blog about?" as a socially acceptable "getting to know you" query. Even more interesting was breaking outside of my normal comfort zone, as a patient blogger. I met women who wrote food blogs. Marketing blogs. Book blogs. Political blogs. Mommy blogs. Blogs about the environment. And blogs about ... well, blogging.
The first session I attended was about how Social Media Can Save Media. Moderated by Lisa Stone, the panel of Lisa Williams, Sarah Corbitt, Theresa Hanafin, and Colleen Kaman hit on hot topics like online communities, using social media to distribute knowledge, and the power of connecting through networks like HARO and Twitter. The main reiteration was "content is queen" (it was BlogHer, after all), and how the best blogs are those with original and engaging content. I agree - nothing stinks more than a recycled idea.
Lunch was brought to BlogHers by Shine, Yahoo's new community, and the session focused on building web traffic, optimizing search engine queries, building a loyal community base, and CONTENT. Again, content being the most important aspect of blogging was the focus of this discussion. On my Flickr site, I have shots of all the powerpoint slides, if you want to poke through and get some tips.
The first afternoon session I attended was about how Social Media Can Save Your Business. Susan Getgood, Laura Fitton, and Laura Tomasetti anchored this panel and the hot topic was definitely Twitter. Everyone in the damn room was Twittering, from the girl behind me to the woman on my left. Lisa Stone, who was in attendance at this session, was tweeting updates as we went along. We talked about the usual suspects - Facebook, Twitter, blogs - and how businesses can make use of these new media outlets. Bottom line appeared to be that good content goes the farthest. Theme of the day for sure. "Be genuine. Post frequently. Be original!"
The last session was about (this title made me laugh) How Social Media Can Save Dinner. This lively discussion was hosted by foodbloggers Sarah Caron, Kalyn Denny, Nika Boyce, and Lydia Walshin. As the only diabetes blogger in the room, I made sure I asked about where people can find nutritional information for online recipes - Lydia recommended SparkRecipes. (dLife also has a database with full nutritional information, FYI.) We also talked about food photography, which I thought was awesome. Those foodbloggers work hard - they cook, photograph, consume, and then blog it. One blog post can be a four or five hour adventure!
Closing keynote was with Elisa Camahort Page and included Dana Rudolph, Beth Kanter, and Isabel Walcott Hillborn. They talked about blogging success stories and unique experiences, and I offered up my story of how blogging brought me from a crappy job to a great job in new media marketing. After the keynote, there was an open bar (brave, brave BlogHer), where I had a chance to talk with Lisa at length about medical bloggers and our special place in the blogging community.
Blogging - it's the great uniter. (Hondas also appear to be a great uniter, but that's another digression I don't have time to make.) If you haven't attended a BlogHer event, see if there's one coming your way soon!