Last week I was at BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas. Lots of interesting stuff at the conference, and here are a few highlights.
There were apparently about 1500 people registered. I don’t think that many came, but it was busy. The crowd was an interesting mix; lots of bloggers, lots of business types, and then a whole cadre of political blogger (for one specific conference track), military bloggers, and Christian bloggers.
The sessions were... okay. One thing that became clear is that the knowledge level of attendees was all over the map; in one break, I spoke to a physician who just started blogging, an experienced podcaster who consults on building podcast audiences, and someone from an ad network. There were sessions where I thought I could have spoken and offered as much, and others where there were clearly knowledgeable people at the podium but things weren’t well organized. I did wish that the organizers had provided a little more detail on the sessions, so that it was clearer who the audience was; I was regretting some of my choices.
Here’s the question that I could tell people had, but no one seemed to have a crisp answer for: How do I do a social media marketing program? It’s clear that this is still somewhat uncharted territory, and there’s no accepted process for how this works - just best practices and mistakes to learn from. Which, in fact, makes it all more interesting and makes these types of conferences more valuable.
There was only one stinker of a session, and that’s pretty good.
The pay to promote people (Pay Per Post et al) were out in force, and I’m sure weren’t thrilled when a keynote speaker described their business as something that could cause the death of blogging. I have mixed feelings about that whole game, and really question whether opinions for cash is a good model or one that won’t just make people distrust bloggers the way they distrust everyone else.
One final note: the exhibitors seriously needed some basic training in how to staff booths. This is always an issue at shows, but I actually gave up on talking to a couple of vendors because the booth staff were deep in some internal conversation that I couldn't break into. Really, folks, aren't you there to talk to the people at the event?
But all in all, worthwhile, and I will think about going back next year.