February 11, 2007

SoCon - we came, we spoke, we hugged

What could be better than walking around a university campus at a blogging unconference with a badge on your chest reading: jeneane sessum, Kat Herding Media. ;-).

Yesterday was SoCon07, in chilly but sunny Kennesaw, Georgia. There were lots of great moments for me, including connecting/reconnecting with online friends I love, like jbrotherlove (who's getting his socon links together--lemme know when they're up, j.), karsh, Toby Bloomberg, and others.

Josh Hallett, who I finally got the chance to hug in realtime, has some beyond-the-call-of-duty live blogging posts from the conference (socon dinner, blogging socon, how web2.o will affect you, trends that will change your profession (and life), (getting back to the core).

I got to finally meet and squeeze Jonas Luster, who I've followed online since the early days of whatever it is we're doing here. What a treat it was for George and I to hang out with Jonas.

Toby Bloomberg and I led a discussion on Women and Social Media, in a breakout group of about a dozen or so people. One of the group members was podcasting, so if I get a link, I'll come back and add it.

A couple of participants had their laptops open and were taking notes--I hope I can find posts and provide the links. [[Update: here are amber's live blogging notes--she was ready to climb out of her seat at our session, apparently. I think she's right about the need for a feminist-blogging session. Ours definitely was not that. Other issues: an hour's too short; 3 days to plan is too short. Challenges: the guy who couldn't stop commenting; diverse experience/interest levels (from non-bloggers to long-time onliners; from 'business' bloggers to personal bloggers). Of course, for me, all of those things also made the whole experience more interesting too. I responded at Amber's place.]]

I thought it was a good, lively discussion. I can't tell you how much I enjoy doing things like this with Toby. She's a pro.

It was sort of a suprise to me that there were half men in the room at one point. Not surprisingly, both men and women were interested in the risks, reasons for, and reasons for not, getting personal online.

We talked about the differences of writing personally and writing about the personal, and how they are very different. We talked about what we get out of blogging and participating online. We touched on the HOWs of getting included in online discussions--how do new bloggers get into the mix. I made a call for bringing back the blogroll--something that many of the influential have done away with (and too many of us who have them--me too--have stopped updating). The blogroll has always been one of the most powerful tools for endorsement, for inclusion, for raising the profile of those new to blogging. We talked about tagging your posts, reading a lot, linking into conversations you care about.

I liked the unconference breakout format. We pulled our desks into a circleish formation and talked about what felt right. I hope everyone took away something.

I didn't get to see the first part of the conference since Jenna had her final basketball game, and I do have priorities. ;-)

I came in during Chris Klaus's talk. Chris heads up atlanta-based Kaneva, an online social platform/world/playground that I've blogged about here before. George came for the second breakout session, and we sat in Jonas Luster's community building breakout, which I thought was really interesting. It is always good for Atlantans to hear from someone outside of our domed metroplex.

Props to all who pulled this together and participated. It was fun, and above all reminded me why I like my crocs better than my pumps.