Another in our series of Blogworld Expo speaker interviews: this is with Roxanne Darling, who blogs from the beautiful state of Hawai’i.
Q: In two sentences, highlight your background and professional experience to date. One bonus sentence: how’d you get started blogging?
I have had several careers ranging from marine biologist to motivational speaker to health coach and working the past 12 years as an internet developer and consultant. Our company, Bare Feet Studios, thrives on the possibilities inherent in the internet, and we live out in the forward edge looking for and testing new trends. My first blog? Something on eWorld or that very early Apple community platform back
in 1995, long since gone.
Q: How often do you blog? What platform do you use? Why?
Daily across numerous platforms. I share a video blog, Beach Walks with Rox, with my Secret Cameraman, business partner, and boyfriend, Shane Robinson; I talk and he walks backwards capturing the beautiful scenery of Hawaii and our dog Lexi chasing her ball into the water. This is truly where my voice resides. I cover all sorts of topics, it is unscripted, and I love the freedom it affords me I love the power and impact that video conveys, and having the backdrop of this beauty is breathtaking even for me who sees it daily! I never knew what an impact we could have on people’s lives. The loyalty and appreciation of our viewers is
astounding, and the opportunities this show has created for us also amazing. We do our very best work here, technically, and allow our heart energy to be the director. It is a winning combination.
You can see some of our favorite episodes here: beachwalks.tv/favorite-episodes. This is a WordPress blog.
I also text/audio/video blog on our company site, www.barefeetstudios.com, about once a week. I have way more ideas than time on this one! We do cross post our Beach Walks episodes here, as I often talk business and technology on that show. Our blog is not so much for the choir but for companies and entrepreneurs who want to learn how to use these social web tools smartly. We are big on testing and training, and we love sharing our experiences to help others be more efficient. It is also a WordPress blog.
If you consider Twitter a microblog, yes I am there, and post frequently since mid 2007. I’m @RoxanneDarling. I love Twitter for being able to have a real-time, energetic connection with people around the world. We are so geographically isolated here in Hawaii. And having said that? Twitter has enabled me to meet people in my own back yard who I love dearly and am doing deals with. (Try twitterlocal.net or Twinkle on the iPhone.)
Ditto for FriendFeed. When I am doing low intensity work, I like to keep a small window open on my desktop and drop into conversations there. I’m roxanne on friendfeed.
I have a personal blog, www.inthetransition.com, where I put things I want to get out but that don’t fit elsewhere. I do exploratory writing over there and it is very erratic. It too is a WordPress blog. I have a Tumbler microblog account, roxannedarling, also for posting snippets of ideas, pics, links, etc. I also have accounts at dozens of other services that cross-post for me.
Can you tell we love WordPress? Plug-ins we use religiously are Akismet and Textile 2.
Q: Point us to one or two recent postings on your blog that you think were superb, and tell us a bit about your writing process. How long did it take for you to come up with the topic? How long to write?
On Bare Feet Studios: Using Social Media to Promote Your Event: Step 2
We try to leverage as much as we can in terms of being aware of our process and work flow so we can share it with others. We continually discover that the things we do “automatically” do not come naturally to others. By taking the time to reflect in that way, we get to both fine tune and archive things for ourselves while sharing really useful information with others. We are currently planning Podcamp Hawaii. Part of the agreement with the Podcamp Foundation is that no one gets paid = we are all volunteers. So I am using whatever I can to build value for ourselves and others out of our (extensive!) labors.
This is a series I am creating documenting how we are building the event, and then showing how others can use these tricks to build *any* event, not just a podcamp or unconference. Fortunately, I pretty much can’t help but think in step-by-step fashion, having been a formal trainer for much of my life. That skill comes in handy for this type of posting. This post took about 1.5 hours to write, grabbing the graphic and all the links (essential to a good post IMO).
On Beach Walks with Rox: Beach Walk 669 – Bikini Madness!
This is not one of our special episodes but one of our every day, typical episodes. I get an idea on the way to the beach (7-minute drive), we shoot it in one take, then edit, encode, and post it on the site. It’s an example of how I take an idea out there in the “group mind” and attempt to shoot some holes in it with the goal of creating less stress, more freedom and light-heartedness for us all. We rely on good equipment and skills, our beautiful scenery and adorable dog, and one of my quirky ideas with a little science thrown in, to deliver a short, 4-5 minute tonic to the stress of daily life.
Each episode takes us about 15 minutes to film; setting up the gear, shooting, and putting the gear away, so we can then go swimming! It takes about 45-60 minutes to import, edit, add effects, and encode. Then about 30 minutes to upload and create the post. The more complex the show, the longer all of this takes. An episode like Island Adventure was filmed over an hour and a half experience, and took nearly 6 hours to edit, as we had thre cameras on that shoot and lots of cuts.
Q: How often do you leave comments on other people’s blogs? How do you find their entries in the first place?
I leave comments for others at least once or twice a week, in bulk. Meaning, I like to do my reading on spurts, and leave many comments at the same time. I subscribe to blogs, and if I am on the page, I will almost always leave a comment. I believe in supporting the work of others, and I understand that letting someone know you were there and appreciating their work is meaningful. I am not a huge fan of the piling on style of comments, so I do my best to add something relevant or meaningful, if not always agreeing.
The main obstacle I find is using my feed reader on my phone. I am often lazy about doing the typing on my phone…
Q: Tell us a bit about your talk at Blogworld Expo. Topic, key points you’ll cover, etc?
My title is “Finding Your New Media Voice.” I will cover both the right brain and left brain aspects of answering this question. I have found that there are actually relevant connections between your personality type and your preferred style of communication – writing, talking, or being on camera. There are also many options technically for using each of these methods, so we will look at out how to actually figure out which modality suits you best, and then what tools will make it easiest for you. I love these type of talks because we can discus things that are usually isolated from each other in one place.
There are the gear heads right? and then there are the “communicators.” I will attempt to merge wisdom from both sectors so people can leave here knowing what to do next – even if they have already been doing a form of communicating but not really loving it. They may just want to switch the tool they use, from keyboard to microphone to camera, to better suit their web DNA.
Of course I will address the pros and cons of each type of communication too, as that certainly weighs in to the discussion for a business considering how to use new media/social web communication
While at Blog World, I will also be announcing a new business community site we are building, Know How Cafe. It will be the place where we take all of this stuff we have learned as web leaders, business consultants, and experimenters and share it with others. Most of the effective and engaging social media tools are free, but knowing how to use them is confusing for many. It will be a fee-based membership site. Your readers can sign up for the early release and get a 30% discount by using coupon code “dave.” We are so excited about this! The site will let us walk our talk, and provide how to information in many different forms – text, screen casts, videos, tele-seminars, discussion forums, etc. We will have multiple tracks based on topics. And unlike a lot of training/coaching sites, we will be home there, engaging with our members frequently while also enabling them to “self-service” at their own pace.
Q: How do you recommend new folk best experience a major conference and expo like Blogworld Expo?
Have a plan and then go with the flow.
One of my Twitter friends, Tawny Press, just compiled a great post on
this topic: Getting Ready for Blogworld Expo in Vegas
I am often amazed at the number of people in a given industry who do not attend conferences…though they can be overwhelming and are virtually always done before I am even half started (!) they are one of the most efficient ways to ramp your personal brand to the next level and to make valuable personal and business connections. I video’d my odd take on my first SXSW conference last spring – in the end the best way to do a conference IMO is to start with a plan and then follow your instincts. The little monkey mind will always be pushing for more or different, but sometimes, it really is just one person who is going to make the big difference in your life. No need to get distracted trying to be everywhere.
Q: Easy ones: Mac or PC? Ipod or Zune? Iphone or Blackberry?
Mac. iPod. iPhone.
Awesome, thanks, Rox! Hopefully you’ll bring some of that glorious Hawaiian weather to Vegas with you, so we don’t melt in the desert heat!
Interview by Blogworld Expo co-host Dave Taylor, who is connected to Rox on just about every network online. He can also be found on Twitter as @DaveTaylor and if you’re into film and the movie industry, you should also check out @FilmBuzz, an experimental news feed he’s building.