Monday, June 28, 2010

Travelogue: Blogging While Brown - recap #2 - the People and Sessions

I met some amazing people at the Blogging While Brown Conference and I would be remiss if I did not tell you all about them or at least link to their blogs.  But first, a highlight video of the Blogging While Brown.

Ananda Leeke – just a sweet spirit and person, started the conference off on the right note – with yoga.  Yes.  She led all of us early birds on a Yoga and Stress Relief for Social Media Users session.  I had to sit behind the table for the hip-opening exercise because I was wearing a skirt, but it was a great set – learning to live in the moment of right now.  Breathing in and out.

The Technology Review Session with Media 2.0 Leaders and Innovators Cheryl Contee of Jack & Jill Politics, Angela Benton of Black Web 2.0 and Politic 365, and Adam Conner, Facebook – yes, FB itself was a great session. I halted live tweeted and took physical notes.

A few things I learned:
(AC) 300 million of the 400 million Facebook users are non-English Speakers meaning careers in language translation and outreach to non-English global markets is the wave.
(AC) Mobile users are twice as engaged as in Facebook and social media, in general.  They can use text messaging to ask people to join Facebook Fan pages and Causes
(AC) Facebook is now one of the top referrals to websites and is a perfect way to engage people in blogs more.
(AC) A click is not just a click anymore. Thanks to Facebook’s set up you can now install a
(AC) Put a FB Like button on your blog.  I’m still trying to install this (Help!); it’s not showing up.  I really think readers would respond to this. And Facebook can be used to moderate comments.  If I keep getting spam comments, I might resort to this.
(AB) If you’re inclined to make a business of blogging, then consider building a network of websites with each one being a type of forum space around special topics.
(CC) SEO is still important but explore the many options available and utilize all the tools available, e.g. Google tools provides keyword search and popular keyword analytics, and don’t neglect up and coming Search Engines Bing and MINT
(CC) If you have a large blog and lots of traffic, consider Wordpress because it is a more sustainable platform for growing.
(CC) Email is going the way of the Dodo. Tweeting, Facebook, and texting are more popular ways for people to stay in touch, especially for younger people.
(CC) The future of Social media is Mobile.  There is no digital divide in the Mobile Tech World. Becoming more mobile friendly will be key for bloggers who want to stay ahead of the curve.  That’s the new frontier for me, too.
(CC) 25% of the people on Twitter are African-American. Wow! I didn’t realize that.
(CC) Creating more engaging blogs are the future. Recommended tools include Linkwithin – it suggests other related blog posts for readers to read.  Also, video is a great way to enhance a blog and it’s always a hit with readers.  I really like both of these ideas.  I’ll be adding both soon.  In fact, I’ve been getting a lot of encouragement to do video and I’ve been testing some out on the Facebook Fan Page. Would love your feedback.

FTC Blog Advertising Guidelines with Stacey Ferguson, Federal Trade Commission, Division of
Advertising Practices was quite informative.  Basically, all incidences of sponsorship – money, gifts, free services, anything – must be fully disclosed with a blogger is writing about or even tweeting about something. Incidentally, Stacey is also with Blogalicious – A 3-day conference Celebrating Diversity in Social Media this October in Miami, Florida.

Scott Hanselman – we played Scrabble together and finally got a chance to meet in real life.  At the opening reception on Friday he walked right up me and asked me about the Blog Your Way to Antarctica contest. He rocks for an unlimited list of reasons.  He presented an AWESOME presentation – 32 Ways to Make Your Blog Suck Less. I’m still working on adding some of the bells and whistles he suggested. 

The Business of Blogging: BEYOND Ad Networks was also a great session featuring Donna Maria Coles Johnson and The Nichelle Stephens of Pepsi Inspire.  But we end up using Nichelle’s Cupcake Blog as an example to explain business principles that every felt hungry and wanted desperately taste one of her cupcakes…I’m still Jonesing.

I was honored to be a part of session featuring kick butt bloggers/activists Luvvie and Latoya Peterson.  These ladies are amazing. Luvvie outlined how much the Red Pump Project has grown in a little over a year, including birthing an HIV/AIDS Awareness program for the gents called Red Tie Project.  Rock the Red, everyone. Latoya Peterson just blew me away. Racialicious isn’t just a blog about the intersection of pop culture, race, and sexism. No! It is a thesis.

The Town Hall meeting moderated by Shawn P. Williams, featuring Shirley Franklin – former mayor of Atlanta, Chris Rabb and Jioni Palmer - Communications Director for the Congressional Black Caucus, was an interesting forum indeed.  You notice I have no link for Mr. Palmer.  He was the recipient of much ire in the room and on Twitter because of his less than eager acceptance of Social Media as a viable tool of engagement with the public for the CBC.  Yeah, I was hurling a few tomatoes (symbolic tweets) at him as well.  But overall the session was very engaging and informative. The take home message: Social media is a movement and a very important tool for engaging (minority) audiences in the political process.

And no doubt the highlight of the entire meeting was the panel of Break Through Bloggers featuring Baratunde Thurston (he tweet that he liked my talk and I’ve been floating ever since), my Doppelganger Patrice Yursik (you all already know how much I heart her), and Anil Dash (a science policy social media guru who works with AAAS).  The panel was moderated by Lola Adesioye.  I loved all of what they said!

Some more AMAZING people I met at Blogging While Brown 2010 included:
The Danielles:  Wordyless, The Cubicle Chick, and of course the Black Snob (the former 2 ladies plus me made the infamous Danielle’s from STL Trio)
The Danielles from STL (l-r) Me, The Cublicle Chick, and The Black Snob

Another St. Louis Blogger – Glamazini – rocks some amazing natural hair dos and her blog provides hair care insights and book reviews (a recent one of the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – a book about science and society. I keep feeling like blogging genres keep intersecting and I Love it).

Hometown bloggers (straight from the M or Memphis Tennessee) Notorious Spinks and Mesha who asked the most provocative question at the conference.

Anjuan Mance – Technology Translator and Minority Advocacy – and just an all-round nice gentleman
Adria - another fab person and Tech Guru.
Adria and Scott Hanselman

And I had a great time hanging out with DC area bloggers: Lola, Leon, my Cyberboo 2000 SkuzeMeWoods, and Fly Black Chick.
 (l-r) Luvvie, Fly Black Chick, and Afrobella

More Blogging While Brown 2010 pictures can be browsed at the official online Photo Album on Flickr. Please check them out.


Nichelle said...

Thanks for mentioning "the Business of Blogging" panel in your recap. I meant to tell that recently I met Mae Jemison and she was speaking at a luncheon about getting women involved in STEM. Very cool.

Arvind said...

Looks like there's more than one awesome Danielle from STL :-)

Tiffany said...

Everyone looks like they had a stellar time at the conference.

Peace, Love and Chocolate

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