Musings About Blog World Expo '08


Networking on iPhones and Blackberries. Networking in-person. Tweets on screens. Tweets on cells. Parties and People. An industry finding its way. New companies. New technology. New bloggers. Conference Word: Vulnerability

Last week I joined social media friends and colleagues at the seBusiness_growthcond Blog World Expo conference. Lots of thoughts swirling through my mind. One is that this industry continues to grow. Susan Getgood reminds us in her BWE post that challenges often accompany. My hopes are that the newly formed International Blogger and New Media Association (I'm on the board) will bring direction, cohesion, credibility .. and ease a bit of the pain that Susan identified.

Friday night Elisa Camahort, BlogHer, and Jen Openshaw, WeSeed, coordinated a girlfriends in Las Vegas dinner. What a great way to kick of the weekend. And what a treat to be among amazing women who are pioneers in social media. Girlfriend, I've the perfect excuse for you to visit Hawaii -- Hawaii Podcamp .. the diva making this one happen is Roxanne Darling, Beach Walks With Rox.

Last year some of my greatest learnings came from sessions outside of my comfort zone - military and sports blogging. This year I sat in on a God Blog session and listened intently to the Andrew Jones, Tall Skinny Kiwi, tell his story about faith blogs. He begin with a light hearted joke .. You might be a faith blogger if .. My favorite .. You're a faith blogger if your prayers are 140 characters or less because that's all Twitter allows.

My big take away from Andrew's talk (slides) was ~

A blog should not be a well. It should be a spring. ~

Although Andrew put it into a religious context, his concept makes perfect sense to me not only for blogs but for social media in general. Think about it .. a well contains stagnant waters. Stagnation occurs when there is no new flow of water. Blogs, social networks, wikis and all the other tools/tactics allow for and encourage fresh water or new ideas to flow.

Sidebar: I often say that the blogopshere/social media is comprised of many, many villages. There is the business blog village where Diva Marketing resides and then the mommy blog, golf blog, healthcare blog, beauty blog, race horse blog "villages" and more. The God blog/faith blog village is one of the most active. Skip over to the interview I did with Lead Pastor of the National Community Church - David Mark Batterson - for some insights into this most interesting "village."

Caught the end of a session based on enterprise case studies. Rohit Bhargava, Influential Marketing Blog, offered lessons learned from the Ogilvy Ford Taurus blogger outreach program.

1. Know your product. 2. Tap into something they (bloggers/customers) know they can do. 3. Search visibility is a valid KPT 4. Provides valid opinions from real people

Rockstarmedal It was Anne Plese's great story about how she turned a team of Cisco engineers into blogging rock stars and went from a focus on tradition marketing to social marketing that caught my interest. Goals were to grow wallet share and relevancy for a new product. The bloggers were positioned as "assets."  Wow! the light bulb went on. Although I have thought of bloggers as a value-add component to a marketing strategy, I never went as far as to use the term "asset." Brilliant.

In addition to writing their own posts the bloggers continued to actively participated in relevant conversations. Actually that's how they initially began as commenters on other people's blogs. It was Anne's vision to give them a platform (their own blogs) where they could also move the discussion into Cisco's world. In addition, the blogger relations program bloggers were given direct access to the engineers who built the product.  Results - at least $250,000 in cost savings. Watch for an in depth interview with Anne on Diva Marketing coming soon!

Jennifer Openshaw, WeSeed, and Spike Jones, Brains on Fire, spoke about reaching and connecting with women by building long-term movements not short-term campaigns. Jen and Spike reminded the (mostly women) audience that credibility comes from being vulnerable. Spike shared the case behind the successful Fisk-A-Teers ..or how an orange pair of scissors created a community of crafters. Jen reinforced that the way to a women's heart is: to make life easier, your product relevant, the experience fun. Looking forward to the innovative investment site she's about to launch targeted to women which includes her tips: easy, relevant, fun. Lesson Learned: A person with passion can be more "influential" than an "influencer."

Pink_boa Toss a pink boa to Becky Carroll, Customers Rock and Des Walsh, Thinking Home Business who invited me to share the stage with them and the talented people on their panels. Tweets of Becky's panel - Creating Customer Loyalty with Social Media (with Brian Solis, and "brand tweeters": Frank Eliason, Comcast, Tony Hsieh, Zappos)- from @pblackshaw, @dbrazeal, @beckylicious721. Tweets of Des' panel - Getting Customer Buy-in & Managing Client Relationships (with Rich Brooks and Robyn Tippins)- from @trishussey, @dbrazeal, @waderockett. Be sure to catch Becky's blog series on Customers Rock about using social media for customer service.

More pink boa tosses .. Average Jane for walking the trade show floor with me. Smiles from Glenda Watson Hyatt, whose thumbs .. right and left .. are in amazingly great shape. Dinner with Paul Chaney and his diva wife Aime while watch Las Vegas from the skies. Jay Berkowitz's "quiet" dinner which was a great chance to actually sit down & hear people talk. Geoff Livingston for including me in his video series with uber cool peeps. Finally! meeting James Andrews and Ellen Marden who is picture perfect. Liz Strauss (slides from her presentation), David Berkowitz (great A-Z wrap post of the event!) Tish Grier, Tris Hussey, Nicole Simon and Matt Dickman and well you know who you are .. but more important I do too. Thanks for a great weekend.

Oh .. the next time you see me walking through an airport I'll be reading on my new Kindle_new_york_times Kindle I won from Newstex. Sweet!

Thanks to Mike Elgan for the Kindle image.


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Great to Tweetup with you at #BWE08. Looking forward to the next one.

thanks for the post.. I missed most of the sessions and you did a nice job summarizing

Posted by: Warren Whitlock on Sep 24, 2008 5:13:26 PM

congrats on the kindle. thrilled to have you in my session.

Posted by: andrew jones (tallskinnykiwi) on Sep 24, 2008 6:02:58 PM

Nice to meet you, Toby!
Joel Libava

Posted by: Joel Libava on Sep 24, 2008 6:24:47 PM

Thanks, Toby, for being part of that great panel and for all of your encouragement. It was wonderful to see you again in person - and I can't wait to share my Flip of you talking about customer loyalty. You rock!

Posted by: Becky Carroll on Sep 25, 2008 1:50:47 AM

Toby - I was so happy to hang out with you. I do notice though you did not mention your own new project - my lips are sealed until you say the word.

Your wrap-up is extraordinary and making me wish I had worked a little harder to get to a couple of those sessions.

So sorry you won't be at Podcamp Hawaii but we do hope to live stream, so maybe I'll see you in a chat room!

Love, Rox

Posted by: Roxanne Darling on Sep 25, 2008 1:53:58 AM

It was such a privilege to have you, Robyn Tippins and Rich Brooks join the panel on getting customer buy-in etc. And of course it is always great to see you and have a chance, however brief, for a face-to-face chat. Thanks for being an inspiration!

Posted by: Des Walsh on Sep 25, 2008 2:10:33 AM

It was such a privilege to have you, Robyn Tippins and Rich Brooks join the panel on getting customer buy-in etc. And of course it is always great to see you and have a chance, however brief, for a face-to-face chat. Thanks for being an inspiration!

Posted by: Des Walsh on Sep 25, 2008 2:10:54 AM


Thanks for mentioning Andrew Jones aka Tallskinnykiwi above.

He is one of the leading figures in blogging, not only in church circles, but his authority/ranking reflect the wide interest in his thinking.

I've been involved with GodblogCon for 4 years and I've recently been trying to get out of my village as well and extend my comfort zone...

I love the many villages at Blogworld Expo. put Mark Batteron's name in the post above as David. Just thought I would tell you. Mark is great and does an awesome job of leveraging technology in his church community. He admits to not being tech savvy, but he is smart enough to get it and allow those who do to use their gifts.


Posted by: Rhett Smith on Sep 25, 2008 12:38:31 PM

Thanks for your kind words. It was such fun to meet up with y'all!

@rhett - often stepping into a new "village" clears away cobwebs and encourages creativity.

Posted by: Toby on Sep 25, 2008 2:12:57 PM

Thanks so much Toby! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed meeting (and hugging) you in person. Excellent summary of some of the incredible insights from BWE08.

Oh, and you can bet I'll choose the Hawaii podcamp over Pop!tech next year. Hmmmm, Hawaii or Maine in Oct...tough choice. NOT!

Have fun there. Can't wait to hear about it. :)

Posted by: Ellen Marden on Sep 25, 2008 5:03:29 PM

Was great sharing the stage with you. Cheers!

Posted by: Robyn Tippins on Sep 26, 2008 6:16:49 PM

It was fantastic to see you again Toby! I had a great time catching up and I hope that our paths cross soon.

Posted by: Matt Dickman on Sep 29, 2008 11:33:59 AM

Love the spring and well concept - very strong.

Posted by: Dan Wilt on Oct 1, 2008 12:32:57 PM

so now i know ..
i believe on that..
good post for marketing strategy..
good job..

Posted by: Busby SEO Test on Oct 3, 2008 5:44:46 AM

Thanks for the great summary and links!

Posted by: Stop Smoking on Nov 11, 2008 6:22:38 PM

you all did an amazing job i am beyond impressed thank you so much for sharing

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