This year I had the opportunity to attend BWE09, better known as Blog World and New Media Expo 2009. This event took place from October 15-17 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Unlike many of the 2500 attendees this was my first year participating. And unlike many attendees I did not spend my days there blogging, tweeting, or otherwise updating my friends and followers. I just tried to take in the process, that is I tried to listen and learn. And hopefully, I will be able to care for and serve some, if not all, of Webconsuls' clients. I actually thought about writing this post as soon as I returned home or even while I waited in the Las Vegas Airport, but then it occurred to me that it would be better to really write about BWE09 looking in the rear view mirror. So here are some of my "bytes" on BWE09.
- While I have been participating in blogging for about two years and I am on Facebook and have a Twitter account, I would not rate myself as someone that knows everyone in the blogging and new media world; therefore, attending this event was not about hooking up with old friends, but meeting new people and learning from the "experts."
- The exhibitors were varied and engaging. I enjoyed talking to people from all over the world, like the Zemanta team from Slovania (and, yes, I intend to learn more about their product). The ArmyStrongStories.com team was engaging and they had a great display. And then of course, I enjoyed speaking to Robby Berthyme who was representing wheretogetengaged.com
- Brian Solis moderated a good keynote discussion about the "New Celebrity" with Anthony Edwards, Jermaine Dupri and Robin Antin. All of these participants made it very clear that if you are using Twitter, Facebook, etc...you need to be yourself, engage with people, and manage your own accounts (don't hire a staff to do this). Write about yourself or your cause, don't just keep re-tweeting!
- One "outtake" from this keynote discussion is that I found it incredible how rude 70% of the audience appeared to be behaving. This was an hour long presentation and it was beyond me why people could not just sit and "listen", as opposed to working on their laptops, running their fingers over their iPhones or thumbing it on their Blackberry. This behavior was annoying and to top it off, even though they were really not paying attention, they would join in the intermittent applause like robots or dummies.
- Dave Peck of LSF Interactive was interesting and provocative in his conference "How to Socialize Your Content". I just discovered that he posted many of his "rules" here for the small business owner. His advice I intend to try to incorporate into Webconsuls and to share with our clients.
- I really enjoyed the conference "How Twits Lay Golden Eggs - The Art of Social Engagement for Business"...Chris Brogan and Laura Fitten had a lot to offer and they did not make the audience feel inept, but offered real guidance.
- Dan attended this conference for Webconsuls also. It was interesting to watch Dan, who had not been to Las Vegas since he was 13! It was great to attend the conferences and then share what we had learned.
- Las Vegas is an aging city and I don't think it is aging gracefully. As we rode the marvelous monorail I noticed that many of the buildings look dated and dirty on the outside, almost as if the original architectural plan did not allow for majestic aging. Many strange and vacant lots can be seen as you ride "behind" the strip.
- I don't think I am the only BWE09 participant that questioned the parties that BWE09 sponsored. As one person said on Twitter: "bwe09 parties are a lot like Twitter - noisy, loud, dark, and ineffective at organizing communication". I couldn't agree more! Imagine being at the Mirages' Jet Night Club with many of the same people who could not put down their laptops and iPhones during the keynotes, only it was too dark to read their nametags and the music was too loud for introductions. Another person echoed these sentiments: "The parties at #bwe09 remind me of college. How old are we? Where are the real parties?"
- Flying Southwest Airlines will be a subject for another post.
- Finally, I would like to thank the three ladies that shared a Hilton Limo with Dan and me. We were attempting to get a taxi to go to the airport and we found ourselves sharing a limo with Kim Rowley and Joanne Dinslage of Key Internet Marketing and Maarika Neudorf of Enterprise Estonia. We had a fun ride and got to meet three more BWE09 attendees.
Ok, that is it for today. I am going to get busy learning how to apply all that I learned - stay tuned. In the meantime enjoy the photo of Dan with the BWE09 "Change Girl" as he wins the iPod Shuffle.