I’ve been to quite a few meetups and conferences in the past year and a half, but had never been to Vegas and never to a conference of this magnitude. We tend to be a little sheltered here in our small island city of Victoria even if our clients are all across the world. Seeing and meeting some of the people that I follow daily was a very cool experience. The keynote speeches were excellent and BlogWorld organizers did an amazing job with setting up the parties and just running an awesome show in general.
There was a general theme to the speeches and panels that appears to be the talk of the community these days. The people at the top who have put in the time to build up a successful Social Media presence are becoming increasingly frustrated at the community at large for either being not active, sending robots to do their posting, not being responsive, or looking to gain a following by being snarky, rude, or untruthful. Every industry goes through growing pains and it appears that the lack of time and effort and the goal to exploit these channels simply for quick profit is becoming a huge problem. The more junk there is floating around the more a site like Twitter loses it’s value to those who are using it properly. A strong plea from speakers for the good of everyone to be present and engage correctly using Social Networks rang through many of the speeches.
Engage, Entertain, Enlighten
Another common theme was emphasis on creating awesome content. Not for search engine, not to one-up your competitors, and not to drive advertising dollars, but because you are passionate about a subject and that you enjoy providing something useful for your readers. While this may be obvious to most people, as with the SEO industry before, many web marketers are looking for a quick way to make a buck. Flooding the web with garbage content aimed directly at making them some cash with no real value to the people. "Tell the world something important" was the advice on one bloggers 5 year old son.
It’s an Exciting Time
With the evolution of web TV and applications, we are right on the tipping point of one of the most interesting evolutions in the web since it began. The release of Google TV and similar devices is the next step of the internets destruction of tradition television much the way it has crippled the print industry. Is the death of the web browser also imminent? Adapt and evolve or die, move forward or move over, crush or be crushed.
Highlights of the Presentations
I attended presentation on Friday and Saturday, below I have listed some of the highlights from the speeches and panels I was lucky enough to see.
"With all due respect, I don’t think either of you know a crap about Social Media and just use it as a tool to push your propaganda" – First comment from the floor in the Q&A at the "How Social Media Affects Politics" Keynote.
The 24 hour news cycle is no a 1440 minute news cycle.
Anonymity on the internet has a dehumanizing effect, don’t say things you can’t put your name to.
Don’t feed the trolls – it is important to respond to negative comments, but gauge who is worth your time and who is just stirring the pot.
Social Media is just a tool, we’ve been creating relationships for business or pleasure in the exact same manner forever.
80/20 rule – 80% helpful, 20% sales pitch.
Apps provide better ad revenue that web based content (approx. 2:1 possibly 3:1).
Sentiment analysis – the next big thing in analytics.
The bikini concept – show 90% for free and people will pay to see the remaining 10%.
I will definitely be heading back to Blogworld and Las Vegas in 2011. It was a great experience and is a fantastic city to spend a few days in (for obvious health and financial reasons I don’t recommend much longer!)