Wow people can really get their shorts in a twist really quickly in the Blogosphere or in this case the Twittersphere.
Tonight Twitter and the tech blogs were buzzing with talk about Ashton Kutcher’s little challenge to CNN to see who could be the first to get to one million followers on Twitter. Larry King Responded. Many of the “real Tweeple” were put off with the entire event.
Then our Social Media Director Jim Turner Tweeted this:
So how hard would it be to have Oprah keynote blogworld on the “New Media”?
Several people were immediately up in arms. Here is a sampling of the replies:
Kencamp: @blogworld 2 cents worth – BWE is a maybe for us, but Oprah speaking would blow credibility of it all and lead me to opt out I think.
LisaHoffman: @Genuine Guess it depends on who you’re trying to attract. I thought BlogWorld was aimed at SM fans and practitioners, not celeb groupies.
adamkmiec: @blogworld you’ve got to be kidding me
CathyWebSavvyPR: @LisaHoffmann Probably not a good choice for Blogworld. Fun, entertaining, zany, smart? but not keynot. if celeb MCHammer takes it seriously
DougMeacham: @MackCollier Having Oprah speak as an “expert” could damage blogworld expo’s cred w/practitioners but mayB they’re looking 4 a new customer
BethHarte: @Genuine If Oprah Keynotes BlogWorld, I am staying home… Because if she’s a SM expert that means I don’t have enough coin to ever be one.
I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. Social Media insiders tend to be a little clubby and insular but I sincerely hope the folks above and others who might have a similar knee jerk reaction reconsider their opinion.
I will come back to that but I think we need to start at the beginning. Which is how did BlogWorld & New Media Expo get started in the first place?
Most of you probably don’t know I was a political blogger. Blogging was a hobby for me but very quickly it became an addiction. As I started building a readership and getting links from top political blogs on both sides of the aisle I was becoming more and more passionate about the power of blogging and not just a politics junkie.
As my understanding evolved I thought it would be great to go to the blogging tradeshow and meet all of my blogger friends and maybe even make some money off of this really cool hobby. But you see in the beginning I was just as guilty as many of you. I thought BlogWorld would just be a bunch of political bloggers because that was my universe.
Honestly, when I first had the idea for BlogWorld I had never heard of Robert Scoble, or Dave Winer, or TechCrunch. I checked Memeorandum several times a day but never even thought to click on the link to its sister site Techmeme.
I was really clueless to just how vast the Blogosphere really was. But at least I had an excuse I wasn’t a techy or a “social media expert” and I’m still not.
So I go on the hunt for “the blogging tradeshow” and what I found instead were several insular techcentric events with the same 200 white guys talking to each other about the long tail and how it was going to change the world.
I did learn a lot and it opened my eyes to how big the blogosphere was but I have to say I was a little stunned at how these very smart people didn’t seem to notice I was the long tail sitting right there in the room and they were doing very little to advance the new media revolution sitting around talking to each other.
Over a very short amount of time it all sunk in. This might be the single biggest revolution to occur in our lifetimes and I had a chance at a front row seat.
Magazines, TV, radio, newspapers, books and movies were all being reinvented simultaneously. Thousands of years of human communication was being stood on its head and again these very smart people didn’t seem to realize just how early on it still was. It was like the web 1.0 bubble all over again.
So I knew that these little community centric conferences were not what I was looking for or what most bloggers I knew were looking for. In fact, none of the bloggers I knew were attending or had ever heard of these events.
So BlogWorld was born. This would be an all inclusive event. Every blogger, podcaster, internet radio and TV broadcaster in the world would be invited, welcomed and part of this huge community. By gathering all of us together in one place at one time we would all be stronger and better for it.
Milbloggers could meet Mommybloggers, and Godbloggers could meet SportsBloggers, and they could all meet the Techbloggers who invented and pioneered these amazing powerful wonderful tools we were all using in our own ways. We could all learn from each other and – wait for it……
Let everyone else in the world know what we were doing and get them passionate about it and convert them to this revolution too! Because in 2006 when we announced BlogWorld and in 2007 when the first BlogWorld came and went and in 2008 when the second annual BlogWorld grew by leaps and bounds and had so much buzz; most of the world still had no clue what a Blog was. Most people in the world had only heard of FaceBook and Myspace but didn’t really understand them and Twitter was a freak show that was only understood by a few thousand people at SXSW.
From day one our goal has been to help content creators improve their craft, increase their reach and influence and monetize their content if that’s what they want to do.
To achieve that goal we welcomed PR folks and marketers, Fortune 100 brands and traditional media companies with open arms to help them understand what New Media was and how to interact with us bloggers. Because at the end of the day we as bloggers need them to grow and reach our full potential and make no mistake about it they need us if they are going to survive.
So why would we ask Oprah Winfrey to give a keynote at BlogWorld?
Because she is the single largest individual media brand in the world. She has a whole network of blogs, message boards, email newsletters, a print magazine and one of the most successful and long running TV shows in the world.
Her perspective on new media is important and relevant to every single one of us. I would love to hear what she has to say about it on our home turf, where we control the conversation, not a TV producer. Where bloggers can ask as many questions as they like. If she is clueless about new media that would be instructive for both her and us. If she knows a lot more than many of you think she does that would be very illuminating for the blogosphere and draw an enormous amount of attention to the blogosphere. As I see it either way having folks like Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore and Pdiddy and Shaq on Twitter is a great thing for every new media content creator.
If you think New Media is or should be a private club I think you are dead wrong and fighting an inevitable tide and maybe you don’t realize how big this revolution really is.
Now I would love to hear why I am dead wrong and you are right so please comment or post on your own blog and link back. We are going to discuss this very issue on our show today at Noon Pacific and 3 :00 p.m. EST
This whole argument is academic btw as we have a snowballs chance in you know where of ever reaching Oprah or being able to afford her speaking fee but if that chance came along we would take it in a heart beat. The same goes for Ashton Kutcher, Shaq and Pdiddy.
For the record I think Shaq is every bit as authentic on Twitter as any A-list social media type if not more so, Ashton seems like a pretty decent guy, raised a heck of a lot of money for charity doing this and seemed genuinely excited about the whole thing and had a pretty good understanding of new media. While I disagree with Diddy’s use of Twitter I would welcome him with open arms to BlogWorld if he ever considered joining a bunch of Bloggers in Las Vegas.
BTW who the hell are we to tell any of these folks how they should be using social media tools? For a great conversation on this check out this excellent post by Ken Camp.
Lastly based on the intense reactions I have to assume the nay sayers really love Twitter and want them to succeed. But maybe just not be too successful right? Do you think Twitter is happy Oprah started tweeting today?
Do you root for limited success for everyone you love?
A couple of folks have posted their opinons on their blogs about this. Here are some links:
Beth Harte says Celebs should be held to the same standard as Businesses who play in the blogosphere. I agree btw.
Ken Camp says if Oprah shows up for Keynote he isn’t coming to BlogWorld.
I was recently virtually introduced to Ken and his wonderful wife Sheryl via Ken’s excellent less is more post that I have already linked to above. That started a conversation between the three of us via Twitter and Skype and I quickly realized these were two amazing and really smart people.
Ken recently said some very nice things about BlogWorld here but I simply can’t relate to his stand on this issue. I would actually like to formally and publicly invite Ken and Sheryl to speak at BlogWorld this year even in the unlikely event Oprah decides to bless us with her presence. Ken and Sheryl both have valuable and interesting views to share on New Media that aren’t always inline with status quo. I think that is valuable to our audience.
Ironically I find someone like Oprah’s perspective valuable to our attendees for very similar reasons. I can’t understand why Ken doesn’t get that.