Before we broke for lunch, I managed to run into Susan Mernit, who introduced me to Marc Brown of Buzznet--got alot of attention from the guys from Pluck.com and Jamie gave me a fairly good explaination of their Shadows product. I haven't had a chance to demo it yet for myself, but it looks like it might actually work for tracking Social Butterfly Syndrome in the blogosphere...(Social Butterfly Syndrome happens when you go around to a bunch of blogs and leave comments, then sometimes forget where you left them. It's awful fun and really tests the Social part of the term social media but trying to track it has been, up to now, gosh bloody awful-requiring copious bookmarks and sometimes just a handwritten dated list. man, what work!)
Also got to know two new terms: "thought leaders" and "influencer." Apparently, on some leve, I'm a "thought leader." Who knew? It was mentioned that "thought leaders" were better than "evangelists" because thought leaders will be critical--constructively critical--whereas an evangelist will be just singing the corporate praises ad nauseum
But who the corps really like, and who they will be willing to promote will all be contigent on the thickness of their skins--are corps more like oranges? or are they pretty little grapes in a bunch?
"Influencers" are the well-meaning marketing people who go around to blogs and are actually gracious to bloggers. I think Dave Sifry awhile back tried to be an influencer here when he left a couple of comments--but his followup was awful. Guess I'm not A-lister enough to get real attention.
Speaking of Technorati, Kevin Somebody took up part of the overcrowded lunchbreak with a rather razzle-dazzle presentation we could have done without. I was eating in the dark and not real happy (also spotted Stowe Boyd and Tony Pierce). The presentation was a bit too ha-ha for me--it highlighted a shoeshine guy who knew quite a bit about blogs and the internet. Well, doing manual labor and having a computer, let alone knowing how to use the Internet and Blogs are not all mutually exclusive. I'm sure you can find a business owner or two who knows diddly about blogs and blogging (just come to where I live and I can find you a few.) At any rate, the only highlight of this overblown bit of Technorati showmanship was that I popped up in their blogger-face montage at the end. Elisa and Jory turned and said "HEY! THAT'S YOU!" To which I said "HEY! THAT"S ME!"
But when I went up to Kevin after the show to say "hey! I'm one of the people in your montage!" (as a matter of fact, I'm the one in the police hat...) but I got blown off with a very "well, of course you are. we put the faces of bloggers up there..." oh? did he ever really expect to run into one of those bloggers??? maybe that's what got him. I could've probably said something about needing to get a release form to use my image, but just kept moving along...
The afternoon panel consisted of Steve Rubel, Shel Israel, Deb Schultz (from six apart) and Vicki Walker (V.P. of Marketing and Products, Sprint Business Solutions.) Shel made the point to say that "markets are conversations," and I got to thinking about my last four years in retail. Yes, they are. But it was fairly evident from the conversation going on that marketers aren't getting this message...and I would have loved the opportunity to tell all of them that it's the fear of people and the needs of corporations to control what is being said and done on their salesfloors that's killing Customer Service on the retail level. Yet here they are discussing what to do about blogs.
It's very simple. As Shel Israel sez: Markets are Conversations
Get it?? Better. Because you're going to have to live with it, deal with it, and develop thick skins. And if you can't handle it, don't interact with The Rabble until you can. But you'd better or start looking for a job in food service (according to Shel and Steve.)
Gil Schwartz from CBS was up next, and I had a small flashback to We Media (oh! no! another CBS guy!), who advised on how to deal with a crisis situation (Respond Quickly, Be Open, Be Truthful, and Be Aggressive.)
I managed to get up somewhere in all this, ran into Mary again, who introduced me to Stowe Boyd...who reminded me of a few gentlemen I met during one of my more colorful careers--the ones who were often addressed as "Sir" (I'll leave the speculation up to y'all...)
Then, the wonderful Judith Meskill (of The Social Software Weblog, part of Weblogs, Inc.) who had some jet lag I could very much relate to, managed to get Jason Calacanis up there with her. He believes that AOL will NOT censor/edit what bloggers on the Weblogs, Inc. blogs will do because they have "Lead Bloggers" who vette (or test) new bloggers, as much as they let the audience decide if they do or don't like a particular blogger. Jason also suggested that bloggers who are working for a blog network not get stuck on a "beat" (and there was something about Wonkette getting stale) and that bloggers need to flex their brains on other topics from time to time.
So, tired, cranky, full of too much coffee and pastry...with my ankles swelling and a head full of stuff, cocktail hour mercifully arrived. I went up with the rest of the folks, and didn't quite know what to do with myself. Getting some wine, I looked around, got my courage up and went over to Tony Pierce and had a great little conversation. Turns out he defended me on a Buzznet post (I think, against Jarvis) sometime back in August...my, what a small world blogging is at times! Got an invite to the party, and really wanted to go (unfortunately, that wouldn't happen)
Also briefly ran into Renee Blodgett, who actually *did* recognize me without my Hat; and Andy Bussey of Pluck who I shared airport horror stories with and who also promised to help me with *anything* that might go wrong with or give me trouble with Shadows once I get in and play around with it.
Ran into Mary one last time, and then those of us stragglers got thrown out of the Copa. Guess they had to get it ready for the evenings festivities, which did not include us. I ended up back at my hotel...seriously exhausted and seriously swollen...but it was a great experience nonetheless. I feel like I certainly know more about business blogging than alot of businesspeople do. And I got to meet some really cool people.
Sometimes these things are more about the people than they are about what's said there...all depends. But, seriously, where else could a girl from podunk meet both Jeff Jarvis *and* Tony Pierce in the same day? AND have actual conversations with both of them. Must've been a lucky one for me.
tags: BlogOn, BlogOn2005, social media, Blogging, Blog, Blogs