Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blogworld & New Media Expo -- “Woodstock For Geeks”

"Turn out the lights ... the party's over" - BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2007 show banner at night after the show. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (Symblogogy)

Blogworld & New Media Expo -- “Woodstock For Geeks”

Attending a tradeshow usually becomes an exercise in real work. One attends conference modules headed up by well oiled presentations that are tightly scripted and thinly veiled attempts at a one hour advertisement of the product or service the presenter is tied to. Exhibits on the showfloor, generally, are laid out with the fortune 500 companies and/or industry leaders of the exposition's primary focus at the front of the hall, followed by dozens of “me too” offerings scattered throughout the hall. One has to turn over a lot of rocks in order to find a gem to write about or to find a new, unique approach that amazes.

Blogworld & New Media Expo was a tradeshow of a surprising and different stripe. First, this debut of a conference and exposition presented strong, established, and well defined names that operate successful media and world wide web communications platforms. Blogword then included newer technology players into the mix, and attracted an audience of over 1,500 focused and information-starved (this does not mean uninformed) weblog participants looking to become better at the craft they forge. The wealth of discovery and collaboration of this unique event was impressive.

Educational and reference resources were in abundance at the BlogWorld Bookstore. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (Symblogogy)

In the conferences, the offering of expert-presented topics was almost too much too absorb. Topics were broken down into focus tracks which helped but many of the topics overlapped, so it was impossible to get to all of the information available – kind of like one large supermarket of information. One small suggestion for future consideration --- have longer trade show visitation periods planned into the conference schedule and possibly offer the most heavily-attended sessions at more than one timeslot to allow access to more exhibitors and session topics.

Andy Beal presenting on "Integrating New Media into your Marketing Mix". Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (Symblogogy)

Track titles included Beginners, Advanced, Podcasting & New Media, Entrepreneur, Monetization, Executive, Sports Blogging, Milblogging, Political, and Special Interest Sessions. Each track offered four sessions on different topics per day and, to be honest, this was a little overwhelming. For example, if one were a writer on politics and wanted to learn how to subsidize his effort, he would have trouble choosing between sessions held at the same time titled “Smart Ways To Monetize Your Blog” and “The Power Of The Political Blogosphere.” Needless to say, many choices and so little time. Perhaps that's what made it such a great event.

Hugh Hewitt broadcasting his radio talkshow live from the tradeshow floor. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (Symblogogy)

On the exhibit floor, many new and innovative software, advertising, and web community companies populated the hall, all with a great story to tell. Due to the rapid interest and growth of the social media side of the internet (Technorati currently tracks 110 million weblogs), some company efforts were showing for the first time.

TALKSHOE tradeshow booth demonstration. Anyone can easily create, join, or listen to live interaction audioblogs, podcasts, discussions, and conversations (called Talkcasts). Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (Symblogogy)

Yahoo, AOL, Pajamas Media, The Truth Laid Bear, Technorati, Microsoft, Townhall.com, Blogger & Podcaster Magazine, SharedBook, ibnma – International Blogging & New Media Association, lingospot, podango, sphere, DOC’S Sports Service, Blog Talk Radio, PRWeb, and GodBlogCon were just a few of the exhibitors with strong solutions wanting to grow with this whole communications concept that has come to be known as BLOGGING.

With all the time spent absorbing information and solutions at the show one would think there would be little time to connect and network on a more human level – WRONG! On opening night, a pajama party sponsored by several industry leaders (Pajamas Media, Zune, Technorati come to mind) billed as the “World’s Largest Pajama Party” was held at “The Joint” inside the Hard Rock Hotel. Several people took the pajama challenge seriously and the crowd attitude was running high from physical community discovery. Both DJ-performed and Live Music played throughout the evening with an interruption for the 2007 Weblog Awards. Food, Fun, and Conversation were in plentiful supply as the night wound on with few people feeling pressed to end this time spent with like-minded people too early.

Weblog 2007 Video Category winner, Mary Katharine Ham. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (Symblogogy)

Yes, this first ever Blogworld & New Media Expo was a surprising success and it all goes off again next year in September 2008 right here in LA’s favorite suburb … Las Vegas.

Come one and come all to the second edition of a "Woodstock for Geeks” … all the like-minded people, music, no mud!

Congratulations to all the 2007 Weblog Awardees!

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