Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Arrington Controversy--and Why I Didn't Go to the BlogWorld Expo

Since yesterday, I've been following the ensuing kerfuffle over Mike Arrington not showing up at at the BlogWorldExpo that just finished in Las Vegas...

And, quite honestly, I thought it was a little weird when I first saw Mike's name on the roster--given his dislike of PayPerPost and PPP holding its first PostieCon right *after* BWE....(thus leveraging BWE...)

I had my own misgivings about BWE when I first heard about it--and got an "invitation" in my Facebook email from someone involved with organizing the conference...

I thought "cool! wonder what panel I'll be on"--because I usually don't get "invitations" unless it's to be on a panel. I always figured that's what an "invitation" was about. Turns out that's not what this "invitation" was about. Just something (some might call spam) telling me about the conference. Which I'd already heard about anyway. My ear's never too far from the conference ground...

So, I thought about the roster--and sessions--and it was a whole lot of stuff I'd heard before at so many other conferences. Some of it was even stuff I wrote non-blog articles about. So I felt it'd be better to spend my limited pennies somewhere else.

Besides, I wasn't really looking forward to talking with people who would say "oh! I'm a blogger too!" and then hand me a business card with a URL to nowhere, or use my business card as an excuse to spam me with their newsletters, or just talk about how their blog was going to make them money without even thinking about their blog's impact on other things than their pocketbook....

It then hit me what was bugging me about the whole BWE--the emphasis on monetization. Yes, there seemed to be some lipservice to ethics and such, but the overall sense seemed to be about how to make scads of money from blogging and how to turn yourself into a blog superstar.

Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting to make money from blogging--but it's *how* one wants to make that money. Money from blogging doesn't come easily. It takes a lot of hard--very, very hard--work.

Which brings me back to Mike...I read thru his Crunchnotes post, and honestly, I got where he was coming from. Maybe there was a miscommunication--it looks right now as if the right answer to the question of whether or not there was a mix up in communication will be contingent on who's side the reader wants to take on the matter.

But just maybe he is fed up with the whole conference thing....

Personally, I'd rather NOT see him at a conference then find myself seeing him AGAIN and smacking myself in the head and saying to the guy next to me "geeze, why doesn't that blowhard sit down and give someone else a shot at the podium..." ;-)

Yes, I can hear you saying "well, maybe blog conferences aren't for you any m ore." Maybe so. Which is another reason why I didn't go to BWE. It wasn't for me.

All bloggers are not created equal--even if they all use the same tools...

That all depends on where--and whom--we want to be in This Space...

So, in some way maybe BWE wasn't for Mike either. But his at least his "invitation" was a real one...

Further reading: Another interesting take on BWE from Chris Brogan--read the comments. There's good thinking going on there....

Update Rick Calvert, one of BWE's organizers explains the miscommunication that lead to Mike not showing up.

I just wish Rick would have advised his people not to have used the word "invitation" when they sent out their notification spam. Seriously. That's just insulting and, well, mean.

Update 11/21.07 Spoke this afternoon with Rick Calvert, who I seem to see eye to eye with on a number of issues...discussed the "invite" thing, and found out it was not from someone in his organization. So, it was simply someone using the word "invite" when he should have said "thought you might be interested in this." Yes, some might see this as a semantic argument, but, honestly, it makes a difference--how are we supposed to know if we're actually "invited?"

If you're sending off a conference announcement to a friend because you think that person might like to go, please say that you're just passing along the info, or "thought you might be interested"--don't "invite" or anything like that. Save the word "invite" for the folks sending out the stuff for speakers, thankyouverymuch.

Overall, I get what Rick's trying to do, and we'll hopefully have some productive conversations in the near future.

5 comments:

agahran said...

Hey Tish -- Yeah, they were laying on the "monetization" stuff pretty thick. But when the video of my blogging ethics panel gets posted, check it out. It was only one panel, but it definitely wasn't "lipservice."

:-)

- Amy Gahran

Anonymous said...

Just to clear something up Tish, the only way you should have received an invitation via facebook would have been if you had some facebook friend who sent it to you.

Check the invitation vs. your friends list and let me know if I am mistaken please.

Blog on!
Rick Calvert
CEO & Co-founder
BlogWorld & New Media Expo

Tish Grier said...

Amy--yeah, your panel looked as if it would be one of the better ones. so, I'm glad you were there :-)

Although I remain troubled by the lack of serious philosophical conversation at blog conferences that are not for the hoi-polloi...

and Rick, will be glad to speak w/you about that invitation...and, quite frankly, I've since learned that some "friends" on Facebook are kind of like the ones you meet at an Amway recruitment meeting....

dean guadagni said...

Tish,

I just found your blog which must appear to other bloggers, and yourself, as if I have been on the planet Pluto.

I am very happy to see your comment regarding a "lack of philosophical conversations" at blogging conferences.

I value the writing and content contribution factors in blogging. I love providing information with purpose.

As for the Amway recruitment meeting shot all I can add to that is "Picture what your life would be like if you did not have to worry about money. . . what would you do?" That was the first and last pitch I encountered via a 1982 Amway meeting I was "kidnapped" into attending.

Be well and Happy Thanksgiving

dean of deansguide

Tish Grier said...

Hi Dean, and thanks for stopping by! I'm hoping that we can start to get more of the philosophical conversations going in the future. IMO, blogging conferences shouldn't be about showing people how to blog, but more for people who are already blogging, want to meet other active bloggers, and want to talk about our world. Perhaps that's something that will happen in the future.