On Saturday night I got back from BlogWorld 2011 Expo – a blogging conference that took place in Los Angeles.
Though a little over-priced ($1200) I must say it’s probably the best training, networking and industry resource available to bloggers anywhere. (By the way in the interest of disclosure, I did have a press-pass).
My personal expectations were met and surpassed but there were also some cool things about Blogworld, that I wouldn’t have known had I not been there:
It’s the connections not the sessions
Good connections are hard to find. At Blogworld, I was blown away by the caliber of talent that I rubbed shoulders with. Truth be told, I had always thought of BlogWorld as a hang-out for bloggers without a serious agenda.
But then I met folks like Chris Karazin (who’s doing some amazing things over at beyondblackwhite.com ) and Brian Parsons who doesn’t have his own platform yet, but he should. Brian knows everything about sound technology.
At one podcasting session it became clear that he was the expert, when everyone started asking him questions about the technical side of podcasting. I won’t be surprised if he speaks next year.
Some crazy smart teachers
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income and Chris Garrett of authorityblogger.com are pure and priceless gems. You’ve heard the saying, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’? Well for me, these were the two guys who pointed out what I didn’t know, and made me wonder how I’ve managed this far without knowing it.
All I can say is that I’ll soon be taking some bold new steps after having listened to them. Steps that involve getting very uncomfortable, launching new platforms that seemed impossible (until now) and embracing technologies that intimidate me.
The company you keep
I was at BlogWorld as part of the Social Media Examiner team, where I am a contributing book review writer. By virtue of hanging out with Mike Stelzner, I got to wine and dine with A-listers such as Mari Smith, Jason Falls, and Denise Wakeman.
That was an eye-opener.
Too often we think of ‘big-name’ bloggers as being detached and disinterested. I’ve always heard nice things about Mari Smith, but what I didn’t realize is how humble and selfless she is.
Similarly Jason Falls was delightful to talk to. He greeted me like an old friend when I met him for the first time at his book party. I liked him instantly – and not because (as I discovered) we share common views on some hot-button social media issues.
At BlogWorld the company you keep is crucial. That alone can make or break the entire experience.
Windows of opportunity at the exhibition
The only reason I went to the exhibition was to eat – someone told me they had good Chinese food.
But I stayed for different reasons. At the exhibition hall is where I met some amazing book authors such as Jesse Stay (Google+ for Dummies) – A couple of months ago I wrote a review of his previous book – Facebook Application Development for Dummies, so it was nice to meet the man behind the book.
At the exhibition hall is also where I discovered a potential business opportunity with Barnes & Noble, and a new networking group called the socialmediaclub.com (I’ll be jumping aboard their Baltimore Chapter).
Bumping into my friend Shashi Bellamkonda (a.k.a the Social Media Swami), was awesome as always. Shashi knows just about everyone in the industry and is ‘the perfect networker’ – through him I met some key people in social media.
At the end of the day…
…I had a wonderful experience at BlogWorld L.A. One of the key takeaways for me was that BlogWorld is NOT a hangout for hobbyist bloggers.
On the contrary, when Shani Higgins (CEO of Technorati) unveiled the State of the Blogosphere 2011, it was clear to me that we – as professional bloggers – are emerging as a force to reckon with, in the global marketing environment.
Over to you: What are your thoughts (informed or otherwise) about BlogWorld conferences?