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Another Twitter During Conference Opinion

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As I continue to hear about problems with Twitter and conferences I think I will make this something I will be asking all of our speakers about for 2010. I am thinking that Twitter will not be anywhere near our stages unless of course the speaker wants this to be a part of their presentation. Chris does a great job with his own conference in Seattle at Gnomedex.

Thanks for your opinion on this Chris. You can read Chris’ post and perhaps give him your thoughts as well. Should Twitter be banned at conferences on stage?

Too Much Conference Swag? Time to Get Charitable!

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If you're not wearing shirts you receive at conferences, consider donating to the needy.

If you're not wearing shirts you receive at conferences, consider donating to the needy.

Do you have to pack an extra tote bag in your luggage so you can carry home all your conference swag? If so, what happens to the swag when you get home? Be honest, now. Do you use half the stuff you grab from sponsors? Do you help yourself to hotel shampoos and soaps only to throw these goodies into a draw for “just in case?”.  Not to lecture, but to take stuff you’re never going to use only leads to more clutter and landfill. Moreover, there are some people who can put certain swaggy items to good use. Before accepting an item from a sponsor or vendor, consider whether or not this is something you’re really going to use. If you have a lot of conference swag you don’t know what to do with, consider getting charitble. There are plenty of people who can really use your swag.

Check it out:

  • Hotel toiletries: Donate to local homeless, senior citizen homes and battered women’s shelters. They’ll all put shampoos, sewing kits, soaps and cotton balls to very good use.
  • Clothing items: Donate to the homeless or needy.
  • Books, CDs and magazines: Donate to the library.
  • Toys: Really, do you use that gel yoyo? Donate it to Toys for Tots or a homeless shelter.
  • Business & stationery items: Donate to homeless shelters, schools and occupational learning centers.
  • Tote Bags: Use for your grocery shopping or donate to shelters.
  • Food and grocery items: Donate to the homeless shelter or food kitchen.

What do you do with YOUR conference swag?

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10 Tips for Attending Conferences

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blogworld

Every time I attend a conference, I learn a few more tricks. It took a few years of trial and error to get it all right – not that there’s a wrong way to attend a conference.  Now though, I know a little bit more about saving costs, remembering names and faces, making important connections and keeping myself healthy and safe.

I’d like to share some of my favorite tips for attending conferences.

1. Load up on vitamins and supplements before you go – By the end of the conference, you’re absolutely exhausted and you feel a bad cold coming on. Your throat is raw and raspy and you can’t wait to get on the plane so you can get some sleep. Sound familiar? Every time I attend a conference I return home feeling a wreck. There are no words to describe how bad I need sleep and some meds. So I got smart. This year, for about two weeks before SXSWi, I began taking extra Vitamin C and immunity boosters. These are easily found at the drugstore or supermarket and up your resistance so you don’t succumb to the Conference Flu. When I returned home from Austin, I was still tired, but I wasn’t sick. I think taking care of myself beforehand made all the difference.

2. Pack two pairs of your most comfortable shoes – Are you one of the people who teases me at conferences for walking around in Crocs? Maybe I got the last laugh at the end of the day when I didn’t feel any discomfort after being on my feet for 16 hours though. When I attend conferences I pack two pairs of very practical shoes – plus a pair that’s maybe not so practical for a night on the town. Heels and flip flops have no place on a conference floor. After an hour or two I’m wanting to head back to my hotel and change. Try sneakers or something equally as comfortable. Then if you do put on your strappy sandals or Sunday shoes at night, your feet won’t be as achy and swollen. Plus your feet will definitely thank you in the morning.

3.Save money by staying close to the conference center – Here’s my best money saving tip for conferences: stay close to the convention center. Sometimes folks balk at the price of the closest hotels and stay a mile or two away where rooms might be cheaper.  Are you really saving money if you have to pay $20 per cab ride? Before you book your hotel find out how far it is from the conference center and then research how much money it will cost by cab. The more expensive, closer hotel is probably a better option when you figure in your “getting around” costs.

4. Look for all-suite hotels – Here’s another money saving tip. If you can stay at a “suite” hotel such as the Residence Inn or Embassy Suites, by all means, do so. Usually they’re within walking distances to conference centers, plus they have kitchen set ups. Save money on food by keeping stuff in your room. The Residence Inn also offers a free breakfast buffet each morning, so you don’t even have to pay for a hot breakfast. By keeping water, coffee and snacks in your hotel room, you won’t have to pay a premium at the convention center, hotel shop or convenience store.

5. Try a variety of discounts – Most conference attendees receive a hotel discount with their admission. This may not always be the best deal, however. If your favorite hotel or credit card offer points good for a discount, take advantage. I generally use my AAA discount instead of the convention discount because,  I can save $50 – $100 per night.

6. Bring an extra carry on bag – I like to travel light. I check my suitcase and only carry my laptop on the plane. On the return trip it’s a little different. Since I leave conferences with a bag filled with freebies. I always come home with books, tshirts and other items that don’t fit into my suitcase. Even if you may not use it, pack an extra bag just in case. This way you don’t have to leave anything behind.

7. You make more connections at dinners and over coffee rather than loud parties – Parties at conferences are the norm but that’s not my scene. They’re loud and you can’t really hold a conversation. If I’m really interested in networking or making a connection with certain people I make plans for dinner, to meet over a cup of coffee or even for a beer in a quieter lounge. By all mean, party if that’s your thing, but you make a better impression when you’re sober in a quieter atmosphere.

8. Don’t forget the sessions – Yes the trade floor is fun. Yes the parties are fun. For me, the best reason to attend a conference is to sit in on the classes, workshops and sessions. Conference sessions are an amazing opportunity to learn from the best gurus in a field or genre. If you really want to be inspired sit in on a session led by your favorite thought leader. You’ll want to head straight to your blog afterward.

9. Write notes on the back of business cards – Here’s where I get lost. I come home from a conference and I have hundreds of business cards. Who gave me what? What did this person look like again? Was I interested in continuing the conversation with this person? When you look at a stack of business cards it can be confusing. So at the last conference I got smart. Whenever I had five spare minutes or when I got back to my hotel room each night I wrote notes on the back of each business card. I jotted down where I met the person, what we talked about and why I’d like to connect again. After the conference it was easy to connect with the folks who interested me the most.

10. Juice up all your toys at the end of each day– Before you go to bed each night, charge up cell phones, laptops, iPods and anything else you want to carry with you. The last thing you want is for the charge to run out of your batteries – and no outlets to spare. I’m also notorious for forgetting to empty out my camera’s memory stick each evening and can’t take pictures the next day. Taking care of these things in the evening before you go to bed, will allow you to waste less time in the morning and will also ensure you don’t miss out on memories or communicating the next day.

What are your favorite tips for attending conferences?

"Why Am I The Only Woman Speaker?"

Author:

This was a great impromptu type presentation.  Kristina Halvorson was on stage and gave a talk on Web Content.  Then ended her talk and everyone clapped.  I thought wow 15 mninutes that was short. Then she walked back on stage, and said I want to talk about something else.

The title of this post is what the slide said as she told us what she wants to talk about.  This is a great eye opener.  Chris Messina and Ryan Carson are joining her onstage to discus not just the fact that all men are speaking , but they are also talking about diversity.  They are talking now about the "White Boy’s Club".

This is a talk that I want to talk about more and certainly something we are tuned into at Blog World Expo and what we can do about it.  I’m hoping we can get Kristina to agree to talk to us on our radio show.  I will try to flag her down to discuss this very issue.

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“Why Am I The Only Woman Speaker?”

Author:

This was a great impromptu type presentation.  Kristina Halvorson was on stage and gave a talk on Web Content.  Then ended her talk and everyone clapped.  I thought wow 15 mninutes that was short. Then she walked back on stage, and said I want to talk about something else.

The title of this post is what the slide said as she told us what she wants to talk about.  This is a great eye opener.  Chris Messina and Ryan Carson are joining her onstage to discus not just the fact that all men are speaking , but they are also talking about diversity.  They are talking now about the "White Boy’s Club".

This is a talk that I want to talk about more and certainly something we are tuned into at Blog World Expo and what we can do about it.  I’m hoping we can get Kristina to agree to talk to us on our radio show.  I will try to flag her down to discuss this very issue.

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MacWorld isn't A Trade Show!

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Excuse me but I have to rant for a moment. First Robert Scoble posts that Apple pulling out of Mac World is a sign that Social Media is killing trade shows. Which was bad enough but in Robert’s defense he is a tech blogger not a trade show expert.  But then Expo Magazine posts this:

Why does a trade show have to have a grid of booth spaces? Why can’t a trade show also be a film festival?

Well because that’s what makes it a trade show. According to Websters:

: a large exposition to promote awareness and sales of especially new products within an industry <a computer trade show>
Now a trade show can be lots of other things as well including a film festival but having booths, or tables, or exhibits of some sort is what makes it a trade show by definition.
That point aside MacWorld isn’t a trade show, it’s a consumer show with a trade element to it. Which is exactly why the end of the article mentions this:
Apple’s decision to pull out of Macworld is part of a larger corporate strategy de-emphasizing trade shows in favor of reaching customers directly through its retail outlets.
You see consumers visit retail stores to buy things. Wholesale distributors and retailers attend trade shows to select products to sell in their retail outlets. Most trade shows do not let consumers in (officially) they sneak in (in big numbers at events like NAMM, CES and the now defunct E3). Exhibitors at trade shows do not build their booths to see consumers, in fact they hate dealing with them because that is not their purpose for exhibiting.
/rant off

MacWorld isn’t A Trade Show!

Author:

Excuse me but I have to rant for a moment. First Robert Scoble posts that Apple pulling out of Mac World is a sign that Social Media is killing trade shows. Which was bad enough but in Robert’s defense he is a tech blogger not a trade show expert.  But then Expo Magazine posts this:

Why does a trade show have to have a grid of booth spaces? Why can’t a trade show also be a film festival?

Well because that’s what makes it a trade show. According to Websters:

: a large exposition to promote awareness and sales of especially new products within an industry <a computer trade show>
Now a trade show can be lots of other things as well including a film festival but having booths, or tables, or exhibits of some sort is what makes it a trade show by definition.
That point aside MacWorld isn’t a trade show, it’s a consumer show with a trade element to it. Which is exactly why the end of the article mentions this:
Apple’s decision to pull out of Macworld is part of a larger corporate strategy de-emphasizing trade shows in favor of reaching customers directly through its retail outlets.
You see consumers visit retail stores to buy things. Wholesale distributors and retailers attend trade shows to select products to sell in their retail outlets. Most trade shows do not let consumers in (officially) they sneak in (in big numbers at events like NAMM, CES and the now defunct E3). Exhibitors at trade shows do not build their booths to see consumers, in fact they hate dealing with them because that is not their purpose for exhibiting.
/rant off

Blogworld Speaker Interviews: Patrick O'Keefe

Author:

Yeah, I know, I’m a bit late with this one. Somehow Patrick’s interview fell through the cracks but he’s an interesting chap and I wanted to get this out. So let’s just secretly agree we’ll pretend this was posted just before the Expo, not afterwards, okay? 🙂

Q: In two sentences, highlight your background and professional experience to date. One bonus sentence: how’d you get started blogging?

I own the iFroggy Network, a network of websites, and I’m the author of “Managing Online Forums“, a practical guide to managing online communities and social spaces. I’ve been developing websites for about 10 years and managing online communities for around 8. For me, blogging is an extension of what we’ve been doing for a very, very long time – creating content – but as far as calling it “blogging” specifically; 2004, I guess.

Q: How often do you blog?  What platform do you use?  Why?

Patrick O'Keefe

Patrick O'Keefe

I blog multiple times per day. I blog at YanksBlog.com, ManagingCommunities.com, Bad Boy Blog, my personal blog and elsewhere. Right now, I use Nucleus CMS and WordPress and I am very slowly converting my Nucleus CMS sites to WordPress. I like WordPress due to it’s ease of use, reliability and excellent plugin community.

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?

Post #1: “Five Things Bad Boy Needs to Do to Improve it’s Online Strategy” on Bad Boy Blog

In this post, I took a good strong look at what Bad Boy Entertainment, a record label and company that I’m a big fan of, could do online to improve it’s strategy and, as such, make more money. This post is the result of my years of watching the company and how it operates, as well as the network of contacts that I have made within it. My writing process was rather straight forward, as I have a great deal of knowledge about this subject. I came up with the topic randomly while working and the article itself took me probably 4-5 hours to write and tweak.

Post #2: “Has Anyone Called You Hitler, Stalin or Gestapo? (or “How I Know Iím Doing My Job”)” on ManagingCommunities.com

I like this post just because it’s so true. The topic came to me randomly and it took me an hour or two to write it up. The writing process pulled upon my experience managing communities and being the one that people direct their anger at, when they are told that they are unable to do something.

Q: How often do you leave comments on other people’s blogs?  How do you find their entries in the first place?

I would say on a virtual daily basis. I do most of my blog reading through my feedreader, Bloglines. So, that is how I find the entries.

Q: Tell us a bit about your talk at Blogworld Expo. Topic, key points you’ll cover, etc?

I have a book signing and two panels, all on Sunday, September 21. The book signing is at 10:00 AM PT. After that, the first panel is at 12:15 PM PT and it’s called “How to Deal with Trolls, Spammers and Sock Puppets.” I’ll be joined by Rick Calvert, the founder of Blog World Expo, John Chow of JohnChowDotCom (http://www.johnchow.com) and Jeremy Schoemaker of ShoeMoney (http://www.shoemoney.com). We’ll talk about how to deal with these difficult types of visitors and members. How to view their comments and how to manage them.

The second panel is at 3:00 PM PT and it’s called “Avoiding Disaster: How Not to Use Social Media.” On this one, I’ll be joined by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger (http://www.problogger.net) and b5media (http://www.b5media.com), Lee LeFever of Common Craft (http://www.commoncraft.com) and Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer (http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com) and Doe-Anderson (http://www.doeanderson.com).

I really feel that you learn as much from what not to do and who you don’t want to be, as you do about best practices and examples. So, that’s what this panel will focus on. We’ll talk about ways that you can damage your brand through your actions on social media outlets, such as communities, forums, blogs, social networking sites, social bookmarking and everything in between.

Q: How do you recommend new folk best experience a major conference and expo like Blogworld Expo?

This sounds funny, I guess, since I have a signing and two panels, but don’t get overly caught up in following a schedule and going to panels and being here and there. Mark your must haves and get to them, but for me, the best part of these conferences has been in networking and meeting people. And some of the best networking you do is in the hallways, at the parties, etc. Panels are great, but you don’t want to be running from place to place and forget to actually meet people and network.

I admit that I’m not the most experienced conference attendee, though. This will be just the second tech conference I’ve been to, following this year’s South by Southwest. I attended 1 panel, 1 core conversation and a handful of book readings or portions of them (mainly so that I could see what they were about before I gave mine). And yet, I don’t regret it. I had a great time and I met a lot of people. It was great. I’m looking forward to Blog World Expo being similar.

Q: Easy ones: Mac or PC?  Ipod or Zune?  Iphone or Blackberry?

I use PCs. I use Windows Vista Ultimate on both my desktop and laptop. My MP3 player is actually a Creative Zen Xtra, but I do have an iPod Nano that I received for free, in a giveaway, that I keep plugged into a speaker next to my bed. Cell phone wise, I don’t use one! *gasp*


Thanks for playing our game, Patrick. Hope you had a great experience at Blogworld Expo 2008.

Blogworld Speaker Interviews: Patrick O’Keefe

Author:

Yeah, I know, I’m a bit late with this one. Somehow Patrick’s interview fell through the cracks but he’s an interesting chap and I wanted to get this out. So let’s just secretly agree we’ll pretend this was posted just before the Expo, not afterwards, okay? 🙂

Q: In two sentences, highlight your background and professional experience to date. One bonus sentence: how’d you get started blogging?

I own the iFroggy Network, a network of websites, and I’m the author of “Managing Online Forums“, a practical guide to managing online communities and social spaces. I’ve been developing websites for about 10 years and managing online communities for around 8. For me, blogging is an extension of what we’ve been doing for a very, very long time – creating content – but as far as calling it “blogging” specifically; 2004, I guess.

Q: How often do you blog?  What platform do you use?  Why?

Patrick O'Keefe

Patrick O'Keefe

I blog multiple times per day. I blog at YanksBlog.com, ManagingCommunities.com, Bad Boy Blog, my personal blog and elsewhere. Right now, I use Nucleus CMS and WordPress and I am very slowly converting my Nucleus CMS sites to WordPress. I like WordPress due to it’s ease of use, reliability and excellent plugin community.

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?

Post #1: “Five Things Bad Boy Needs to Do to Improve it’s Online Strategy” on Bad Boy Blog

In this post, I took a good strong look at what Bad Boy Entertainment, a record label and company that I’m a big fan of, could do online to improve it’s strategy and, as such, make more money. This post is the result of my years of watching the company and how it operates, as well as the network of contacts that I have made within it. My writing process was rather straight forward, as I have a great deal of knowledge about this subject. I came up with the topic randomly while working and the article itself took me probably 4-5 hours to write and tweak.

Post #2: “Has Anyone Called You Hitler, Stalin or Gestapo? (or “How I Know Iím Doing My Job”)” on ManagingCommunities.com

I like this post just because it’s so true. The topic came to me randomly and it took me an hour or two to write it up. The writing process pulled upon my experience managing communities and being the one that people direct their anger at, when they are told that they are unable to do something.

Q: How often do you leave comments on other people’s blogs?  How do you find their entries in the first place?

I would say on a virtual daily basis. I do most of my blog reading through my feedreader, Bloglines. So, that is how I find the entries.

Q: Tell us a bit about your talk at Blogworld Expo. Topic, key points you’ll cover, etc?

I have a book signing and two panels, all on Sunday, September 21. The book signing is at 10:00 AM PT. After that, the first panel is at 12:15 PM PT and it’s called “How to Deal with Trolls, Spammers and Sock Puppets.” I’ll be joined by Rick Calvert, the founder of Blog World Expo, John Chow of JohnChowDotCom (http://www.johnchow.com) and Jeremy Schoemaker of ShoeMoney (http://www.shoemoney.com). We’ll talk about how to deal with these difficult types of visitors and members. How to view their comments and how to manage them.

The second panel is at 3:00 PM PT and it’s called “Avoiding Disaster: How Not to Use Social Media.” On this one, I’ll be joined by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger (http://www.problogger.net) and b5media (http://www.b5media.com), Lee LeFever of Common Craft (http://www.commoncraft.com) and Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer (http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com) and Doe-Anderson (http://www.doeanderson.com).

I really feel that you learn as much from what not to do and who you don’t want to be, as you do about best practices and examples. So, that’s what this panel will focus on. We’ll talk about ways that you can damage your brand through your actions on social media outlets, such as communities, forums, blogs, social networking sites, social bookmarking and everything in between.

Q: How do you recommend new folk best experience a major conference and expo like Blogworld Expo?

This sounds funny, I guess, since I have a signing and two panels, but don’t get overly caught up in following a schedule and going to panels and being here and there. Mark your must haves and get to them, but for me, the best part of these conferences has been in networking and meeting people. And some of the best networking you do is in the hallways, at the parties, etc. Panels are great, but you don’t want to be running from place to place and forget to actually meet people and network.

I admit that I’m not the most experienced conference attendee, though. This will be just the second tech conference I’ve been to, following this year’s South by Southwest. I attended 1 panel, 1 core conversation and a handful of book readings or portions of them (mainly so that I could see what they were about before I gave mine). And yet, I don’t regret it. I had a great time and I met a lot of people. It was great. I’m looking forward to Blog World Expo being similar.

Q: Easy ones: Mac or PC?  Ipod or Zune?  Iphone or Blackberry?

I use PCs. I use Windows Vista Ultimate on both my desktop and laptop. My MP3 player is actually a Creative Zen Xtra, but I do have an iPod Nano that I received for free, in a giveaway, that I keep plugged into a speaker next to my bed. Cell phone wise, I don’t use one! *gasp*


Thanks for playing our game, Patrick. Hope you had a great experience at Blogworld Expo 2008.

Use Twitter to Keep Track of Parties and Events @ Blogworld

Author:

You’re coming to Blogworld and New Media Expo 2008 here in Las Vegas. In fact, you might already be here. But how do you keep track of what’s going on, who is meeting up at what bars or nightclubs, what parties are happening, and even which talks at the conference are worth joining and which aren’t?

I’m glad you asked!

If you’re technologically adept, one smart strategy you could use is to utilize Twitter Search (aka Summize) and have a bookmarked search for “blogworld”, “blog world”, “#bwe” and “#bwe08”. That’ll catch all the public tweets that are related to the show, even from people you don’t follow.  Very useful!

For major geek points, if you’re on an iPhone you can just “Add to Home Screen” your saved search and now you’ll have a handy little icon for this search, making it even easier to keep track of what’s happening.

In addition, some of us seem to be magnets for activities, so it’d probably also be smart to follow Rick Calvert, our fearless leader, at @Blogworld and you might also follow me @DaveTaylor – too.

Are you also someone who is going to be twittering about the activities and events here at Blogworld Expo?  If so, please leave your Twitter handle in the comments below this message.

If you aren’t here, well, you can enjoy this amazing event vicariously through our twitterstream but if I were you, I’d beg, borrow or steal and get here to Las Vegas instead!

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