5 Thoughts From My Latest Local Blogging Get Together
Wow, it’s been a long time since I got to go to a blogging get together with some of the local folks. Matter of fact, it was in February 2013, and I enjoyed it so much that I wrote two posts on it, one here talking about it, the other talking about random thoughts I had about it on my I’m Just Sharing blog, which was actually way better than the post I wrote here.
However, the post here listed all the people who showed up and their blogs. What’s intriguing is that most of the people who showed up for the other one didn’t show up at this one, which was disappointing. Out of that previous group, 4 people no longer have blogs, one switched to a different domain (but he’s still writing strong), and two haven’t written posts in a very long time. Thus, it prompts me to have some new thoughts culled from Wednesday night, this time writing it on the local blog.
1. It’s always good meeting people in person.
In this case I knew some of the names but not all of them, and a couple of names I didn’t know at all. Let’s get some of them out of the way.
First we had Joanna Giansanti of Giansanti Design, who I know will be writing something soon (because I kept picking on her lol). Then we had Chris Malone, who writes The Infinite Abyss(es). And of course Margaret McCormick, who writes Eat First. They were the only three from the original meetup.
Second we had the new people. First there’s Mark Britz, who writes Learning Zealot, who I’d met before but I think it was a Twitter thing. Next is Joe Cunningham, who put the event together and writes in so many places that I didn’t even think to ask him where his blog is; oy! However, he’s put a lot of his content that he posts in other spaces here. Then there was Ben Ingber, who writes Urban Geek CNY. Finally, there was Stef Noble, who writes stefnoble; that makes sense. I seem to end up in many of the same places she does often enough so one of these days I’m going to have to sit down and talk with her for real. lol
That’s it for the people I knew. Two new faces were Mark Bialczak, whose blog is the same as his name (turns out I’d been to his blog and even commented on a post once), and Michelle Kingman, whose blog isn’t up yet because she just bought the new domain, as she used to write elsewhere under her name before she got married.
There was a new guy as well who hadn’t started a blog yet. His name was Mark; that’s all I remember. However, he was part of my inspiration to write a post on my other blog answering blogging questions.
2. Many bloggers have questions, whether they’ve blogged or not.
It made sense for this to be my second thought since the last sentence above mentioned it. Both of the people I hadn’t met before had questions about blogging. One of the other folks asked some questions as well. This is a great time to try to answer questions bloggers have and for all of us to share our experiences and knowledge with each other.
I enjoyed that part as much as I think Mark Britz did. We both could bring some long time experiences with blogging and getting recognition into the mix. We showed other ways to make money blogging, something that most people think is done only by selling products or using advertising on their blogs. I hope that was fruitful for those who wanted those answers.
3. It’s always interesting discussing general topics regarding blogging.
In this case the biggest conversations we had regarded folks who couldn’t get the inspiration to write all that often and what constitutes a blog.
On the first, I realized there’s only so much encouragement you can give someone to get them blogging more. After all, we all have other work and blogging doesn’t come easy to everyone. I also tend to believe that many people are blogging but not getting much attention on their posts, which can be quite discouraging. Of course, those same folks maybe either don’t respond to any comments on their blogs or don’t visit other blogs to comment, the two biggest drivers of attaining consistent returning visitors to one’s blog.
I always visit every blog of every person I meet and, hopefully, leave a comment on a post if I can. I say it that way because, unfortunately, there are some subjects that even I can’t figure out what to write. lolOn the second, we talked about Seth Godin’s blog in general. He doesn’t take comments on his blog, and in my opinion it’s not a blog if there’s no possibility of interaction. After all, blogging should have as its intention sociability; otherwise, it’s just spouting opinion. The other point of view is if content offers value that it’s viable. I don’t disagree with that, but I disagree with calling it a blog. Probably just semantics but I’m someone who won’t visit something called a blog if, at the end of the post, I can’t comment if I want to.
4. It’s important to try to include everyone in the discussion at one time or another.
I was going to make it my intention that no one got to sit quietly for too long without offering something. In that regard, sometimes I felt like I was talking way more than I should have, which made me feel a little bit self conscious. I know there are some people who just like to listen, but if I had it to do all over again I’d have everyone go around, talk about their blog (or their thoughts about blogging) and make it a bit more balanced than it was.
Even with that there were some pretty good conversations going on, which made it really enjoyable. I even sat back a couple of times listening, so at least I didn’t totally dominate things. There are a lot of smart people who blog; that’s always nice to see.
5. The general format makes a big difference.
In this case, everyone fit into one space. Joe was a great host, as it was held at Syracuse Coworks, and he made sure everyone had some kind of seat so that we could all be in the same circle. We also had enough room to spread out so we weren’t on top of each other, which was pretty cool.
Of course, when you have something great you’re lacking something at the same time. What a general space lacks is the option for people to get something to drink and relax a bit. I don’t drink but I know some folks do. At the end there were only 4 of us instead of the majority staying, and it actually started to peter out pretty early. Maybe it should have only been 2 hours; I don’t know.
Still, I think this was the best space for holding an event like this and it was also a learning experience. Maybe Thursdays or Fridays are a better night to get more people to come and stick around longer, where they’re not worried about getting to work the next day as much. Hey, I don’t know. Overall the experience was really positive and I can’t wait until we get to do it again.