ShellyBlog Shelly Brisbin's life consists of several long tails. She writes about them here.

December 19, 2008

Blog Bullets

Filed under: Politics and Public Affairs,Random Personal Nonsense — Shelly Brisbin @ 2:45 PM

Shorter, more frequent blog posts: New Year’s resolution, or crazy pipe dream? Dunno yet.

I’ve been thinking about several topics this week, and here’s my a quick roundup.

  • My dad continues to struggle. From rehab this week, where he had been struggling to get stronger and recover from both a stroke and a brain injury caused by a fall, he went to the hospital when an ulcer began to bleed. It’s really hard for him to be confined (and that’s the way he feels it) in hospitals. And my mom is sooooo tired.
  • Christmas is coming, yo. No one is expecting me to be filled with the Christmas spirit this year, so that’s good. Not angry, just not feelin it. I have been avoiding conversations about gift-giving and holiday preparations though. Some things for the kids in our family, and helping my mom work through dad’s illness is about all I really think is important. But our tree does look nice, thanks to Frank.
  • Perennial Austin City Council candidate Jennifer Gale passed away this week at the age of 47. For the most part, reaction from my fellow citizens has been kind and good. Even the City Council saw fit to honor her, which I thought showed tremendous class. Not every city would accept a homeless, transgendered singer of songs and runner for offices, and, to tell the truth, some folks in Austin did not always welcome Jennifer Gale. I didn’t know her or much of her story, but I did kick in $20 over at Burnt Orange Report’s House the Homeless donation page.
  • The Obama cabinet is complete, and he’s getting lots of points for picking a middle-of-the-road, ethnically diverse group of people. Um, how is it good to have so many legislators and politicians in the cabinet? I would actually like to see people who know something about running large bureaucracies in there. It’s cool with me that the president and vice president are senators, but I would prefer some managers in the cabinet.
  • Macworld Expo is coming right up. I won’t be there. Haven’t missed one since 1991. I would go, if only to keep the streak alive. But I really don’t have work reasons to go, and I’m feeling frugal, too. I’m sure that I’ll think about going two or three more times before the end of the year, as party and event announcements come my way, and friends ask about my plans. So far, I’m staying strong.
  • Dang, I really need to do some podcasting.

December 11, 2008

Can Podcasting Survive in BlogWorld? (part 2)

Filed under: New Media and Tech,Podcasting — Shelly Brisbin @ 9:29 AM

As promised, here’s part 2 of my prescription for the newly podcast-infused BlogWorld Expo. Check out part 1 here:

Thriving in spite of Vegas. Opinions about Las Vegas vary. For many, the bright lights and myriad attractions confer bigness and importance on a trade show. More people will come, the theory goes, to combine work with pleasure, and more people from all over the country will be able to find discounted travel options. But Vegas is not conducive to community-building. From the awkward layout of the LV Hilton/convention center, to the sheer size of the venues, Vegas tends to swallow people and communities up. That certainly happened at this year’s NME. and BlogWorld Expo, from my observations of the 2007 event, was far less focused on interactions between people and groups than it was on the content of its events, and its “name” speakers. Making recommendations on this topic is hardest, because you must essentially offer people compelling reasons not to wander away from the trade show. And that’s incredibly difficult.

BlogWorld-sponsored social events and BOF sessions, as I’ve already suggested, will help. and it may be that scheduling more informal events inside the cavernous convention center would keep people together. Finally, using the SXSW model of pre-expo meetups around the country could help attendees make connections in their own areas before they arrive in Vegas, giving them pre-made connections that stem from their commitment to supporting Blogworld Expo.

Loosen up and think outside the box. From my perspective, BlogWorld is a less welcoming and open environment than NME has been. There, I said it! Even in its first year, BlogWorld seemed burdened by the hierarchy of blogging’s A-list, and a set of relationships that existed long before the show began. It lacked the genuine enthusiasm and innovation of BlogHer, or the community focus of NME. It was, in short, a bit of an old boys’ club, that was also burdened by some procedural weirdness, such as onerous session signup and verification measures, and keynote sessions held in dark, echo-filled spaces. I also sensed a lack of participant diversity, despite the event’s heavy focus on political blogging. In a nutshell, I did not feel that BlogWorld Expo met my needs as a publisher who does not operate within the celebrity strata of the blogging world.

Spend some time at a BlogHer event. Even in an environment where I knew few attendees, the contagious enthusiasm of attendees, and willingness of organizers to engage all comers, whatever their blogging specialty or level of fame and expertise, came through. The show was efficiently run, but laid back.Use the addition of podcasters to broaden the speaker pool, focusing, as I suggested previously, on tech, content development and business topics.

Listen to passionate podcasters. If podcasting is to become a vital part of the BlogWorld experience, the event’s organizers need to integrate the collective wisdom of the podcasting world to build good conference programming and exhibit hall experiences. Besides the kinds of technical content I wrote about yesterday, I see great opportunity for podcasters to learn how blogging and other media tools and methods can be used to build their shows, their brands, and their world domination infrastructure.

Seek out formal and informal advisors from within podcasting; people who can enhance conference content, exhibit hall programs, and after-hours social opportunities. These advisors should represent monetizers, hobbyists, techies, advertising brokers; the widest possible range of podcasters and podcast businesspeople. Survey Tim Bourquin’s mailing list to find out what past NME attendees want and don’t want. Use social media tools to facilitate open discussions between now and next year’s expo.

I wish Rick Calvert and BlogWorld Expo a lot of success. I also recognize that Rick is first and foremost trying to run a business. I sincerely believe that excellent content and attendee experiences are the first requirements for a successful event.

December 10, 2008

Can Podcasting Survive in BlogWorld? (part 1)

Filed under: New Media and Tech,Podcasting — Shelly Brisbin @ 11:23 AM

In a move that was first rumored back in 2007, Tim Bourquin has sold the trade show he created, New Media Expo, to BlogWorld, producers of BlogWorld Expo (link currently not working).

The 2008 New Media Expo, the fourth annual event that was aimed primarily at podcasters, did not quite live up to expectations, and Bourquin had not announced a 2009 event, leading to speculation that the show would either disappear or be moved from Las Vegas to a more conducive venue.

I’ll be honest with you here. I’m fighting the temptation to rain on the BlogWorld Expo parade, even before I hear what organizers might have planned. It’s not that I begrudge Bourquin’s desire to cut his losses, or to recognize that the NME cannot continue in its present form. Under the circumstances, Tim did the right thing. He ran a good event that earned the support of podcasters, ranging from the most committed monetizers to the strong contingent of community-oriented folk, both business-focused, and hobbyists. He listened to the suggestions of many podcasters and would-be podcasters and worked hard to weave socializing, technical and corporate-focused sessions, and exhibits into a trade show and conference that worked on many levels, and for many budgets.

The parade-raining part comes in as I consider the difference between NME and BlogWorld’s content and zeitgeist. I firmly believe that if BlogWorld is to truly embrace the podcasting side of new media, its producers will need to learn from Tim, and from those of us who supported and benefitted from New Media Expo.

Here’s the first of a two-part to-do list for integrating the best of NME into BlogWorld Expo.

Community, community, community. I’ve argued among friends that podcasting isn’t really an example of social media. But it is true that from the very beginning of the medium, producers were creating and participating in communities, building things collaboratively, creating meetup groups, attending PodCamps, and referring to themselves collectively as “the community”. The social aspect of podcasting, I would argue, earned the first Podcast Expo (later to become NME) more broad acceptance than it otherwise would have had, giving the show the push it needed.

BlogWorld Expo should develop or encourage more social events, both on and off the exhibit floor, and encourage show sponsors to get involved, too. Conference sessions should feature speakers with roots in podcasting; people whose names and reputations were built by working actively with other audio and video producers.

Strong podcasting-specific content. Like many trade shows, BlogWorld Expo organizes its conference into tracks. Many of these are focused on content genres; politics, military blogging, mommy blogging, etc. Of course, there are also plenty of sessions about blog advertising and other business strategies. Podcasters will certainly gain from the expertise of bloggers, but their needs diverge in some key areas. Podcasting has a strong technical component, for one thing, and the BlogWorld folks will need to incorporate these topics into their session tracks. To this point, podcasters have been less likely than bloggers to organize themselves around the content genres they work in. The exception to this rule are the sci-fi/spec fiction producers, who have not only built podcasting tracks at Dragon*Con and Balticon, but have even gone so far as to hand out awards within their ranks.

BlogWorld organizers should do two things with regard to genre-focused producers: rely on the leaders of the spec fiction podcasting community for advice, and develop Birds of a Feather, or SIG sessions where genre podcasters can meet informally and exchange meaningful advice and information.

Continued technical focus. I’m a geek. I like to sit in sessions where the slides or live demos feature waveforms, or where a presenter does “show and tell” with a table full of podcast gear. Both new and experienced podcasters need outlets for their technical questions and discoveries. As podcasting has matured, the number of opportunities for tech talk aimed at wannabe producers have diminished. Even the PodCamp movement, where larger discussions of social media and marketing have, to some extent, smothered discussion of podcasting, has de-emphasized the tech.

BlogWorld has an opportunity not only to help NME refugees get their tech on, but to empower its blogger base to begin podcasting. Tech sessins at the begining and advanced level, led by experienced podcasters and audio/video producers, should occupy their own conference track.

Coming next, loosen up, listen, and ignore Vegas.

December 3, 2008

Tag, I’m It…Again

Filed under: Random Personal Nonsense — Shelly Brisbin @ 1:49 PM

I have been tagged yet again, this time by Daryl. At least I don’t have to do much work. This is called the Sixth Photo Meme. If you’re a Flickr user, go to the sixth page of your photostream, choose the sixth photo and post to your site.


We ran across this unusual sight one morning while eating at the Taco Shack, here in Austin. The dog’s owner sat nearby while everyone in the pace made a fuss.

I tag Tim & Nanette, Charles, Matt, Dan & CJ, and the other Matt.

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