To say that I had been keeping a busy couple of weeks would be an understatement. Since the Sunday before last I had been occupying my time with both concert appearances and a number of conventions that were happening in the area. It’s obvious to the readers of the site and the official blog that the concert reports are one of the main things we do as a music journalist for your entertainment, but the conventions are still a relatively new territory that we are exploring in our quest to keep you enlightened and aware of what is out there in our fair metropolis. As an online provider of music overview and photography, I was immediately intrigued by the listing of the Blogworld & New Media Expo that was going to be running at the Javits Center this week.
The Expo seemed rife with seminars on a wide variety of topics but to be honest we just didn’t have the budget to attend any of them and instead opted for wandering the exhibition floor only to see what we could take away from it. This was okay to be honest with you as many of the seminars were being aimed at large corporations and how they use these various tools across their enterprises. PiercingMetal.com remains a DIY project and only a few core people are bringing you the content that you enjoy. Moving along, the convention like many of the other ones we have partook in was being held in a section of the Jacob Javits Center. Let’s begin.
You can see that they are still doing some work on the Javits Center and that never surprises me since the whole place seems like a constantly morphing business erector set. Walls appear where they once were not, and sometimes you arrive to vast open spaces. It’s always a surprise when I walk into these glassy walls but it is usually interesting so I will not argue.
I mentioned that this convention seemed primarily geared at seminars and I apologize for not having a list handy for you to examine. Since I was not attending any of them, this aspect escaped me, but the exhibition floor seemed to have a few dozen companies ready to discuss what makes them special to the Blogging world. The first one that I happened upon was the folks at Mycroburst.
Mycroburst was a company of designers who could help you with logos, graphical needs and I think even some website design. The premise was rather interesting as you put up an amount that you are willing to pay and the designers who are willing to work in that price range will go to work for you. You don’t pay for anything until you seal the deal and agree to use them. Next up. A show poster.
The next company that we came across was Infolinks and they are responsible for “In-Text Advertising”. If you don’t know what that is right off the bat, its those phrases you read on websites or blogs that have the lines under them and when you scroll your mouse pointer above it, you see advertising related to the term. A novel idea if it makes you some money for your enterprise but based on my own site design this would be too much work to employ. Perhaps on the official blog, but only time will tell if I shall look more into it.
WordPress is one of the most popular means of blogging available to those who would do it and it was great to see them with a booth of their own at the Blog Expo. Their setup was more akin to that of an Apple Genius Bar where folks would assist you with WordPress inquiries as opposed to selling you on the brand against that of Blogger or something like Tumblr. Readers of the PiercingMetal Blog know full well how we have been using WordPress for a number of years now and prefer its flow to that of Blogger.
They did have some cool takeaway stuff however and we snatched up a few buttons with the WordPress “W” logo and some stickers. I was not too sure what the other things on the table were and felt that perhaps a different vendor had decided to make use of a table that was in a well-trafficked area. Kind of like putting up your Judas Priest tribute band flyers near the posters for the Big Four mega-event.
I then stopped very briefly at the booth for Posterous and didn’t manage to get a clear gauge about them from their sole representative as she was talking to someone else and un-boxing shirts to give away. Perhaps I should have mentioned that I was a journalist who was attending the event. Oh well, my card said that so they will have to touch base on their own. Apparently, according to my own research, Posterous is a similar blogging tool to that of Tumblr. PiercingMetal currently uses Tumblr as a kind of “Catch All” and while I don’t update it manually have set it so it showcases our posts, tweets and Facebook Fan page activities.
Exacttarget was next on my adventuring and these fine folks are working with E-Mail marketing. I spoke to their representative Ashley who was very nice and said that despite some folks view about, e-mail is still a powerful tool for marketing ones business and brand name. For what we do on PiercingMetal this might not work out because broadcasting that new reviews are live might find too many “mark as spam” happening to the domain name and we don’t want to have this being the case. Another writer friend we know does a monthly announcement about her dotcom, and fans of her work sign up for said mailer so maybe I will give this a try for PiercingMetal as the year closes out.
The folks from Groupon.com were at the ready and looking for people to become affiliates. PiercingMetal.com has long been an Amazon.com affiliate and this has worked out well for us. In my opinion this is one of the best programs I’ve tried while others have failed. Simply put – if you purchase ANYTHING on Amazon.com via one of our site links you help the dotcom earn support funding. We encourage all our friends out there to do this so PiercingMetal.com can continue to provide you with articles you enjoy. The Groupon.com affiliate program bears looking into because its very focused and segmented. If I find a way to have it provide my readership with something awesome and generate PiercingMetal.com funding at the same time you will be the first to know about it.
I then passed by the folks at My Damn Channel and I joked with them about the aspect of their name saying “Damn” and my being a Metal head made this instantly caught my attention. So what is “My Damn Channel”? Well, it seems to be focused on comedy so if that is your thing then I suggest you check it out. Adam Corolla has a show and the same applies for Coolio who has a cooking program. They had shirts and a cool button with an “eyeball” on it, and they said I would get a shirt if I did a quick promo for them. My shyness found me telling their world of viewers that PiercingMetal was at the Expo and that they were watching My Damn Channel. I think a lot of my readers would enjoy this site and I recommend they look into them. Their staffers were very nice people.
It’s safe to say at this point in time that everyone knows what Yahoo! is in terms of being a search engine, a provider of Internet resources and email along with scores of other things. The booth that Yahoo! had set up at the Blog Expo was to encourage you to become a Yahoo! Contributor and this might be fantastic for you if you are a writer that wants to offer up content from time to time and not maintain a regular blog or website of your own like we do over on PiercingMetal.com – I took some of their literature to learn more about it because if its possible to extend the reach of my own work by contributing to a giant like Yahoo! perhaps I shall.
It was around this time that Skeleton Pete and I needed a breather and we smelled coffee at the end of the aisle. It was a nice surprise to find that the Blog Expo folks had set up a coffee and bagel station for the participants to enjoy and after walking around for a couple of hours this was a nice surprise. It was also nice to meet two visiting Finnish businesswomen who had been attending the Blog Expo seminars. That’s Anna on the left and Minna on the right. They were happy to learn that the Finnish bands are being supported by sites like my own over in this region. Minna also let me hear a new track by Lauri of the Pop sensation The Rasmus. We had covered an exclusive appearance of the band way back when and were unaware of his going solo. Check out that report HERE to feel like you were a part of the fun that we were. I hope they stay in touch as one can never have too many Finnish Ambassadors.
When I saw this next sign I just had to snap a photo of it. It seemed that Blogworld and the New Media Expo were providing power to those participants so they could work on their laptops or recharge their cell phones or Ipods. A wonderful thing because this was not found anywhere at events like the NY Comic Con or Photo Expo. Kudos to you event organizers for doing this. My Droid thanks you.
Now that the break time was over, it was back to business and exploring the rest of the corridors of the Blogworld Expo. This next booth caught my eye as we’ve long followed our friends on the “Talking Metal” podcast and Blog Talk Radio as well. There were microphones and a console and a very friendly hostess.
Betsy Smith was the hostess of this section and she was interviewing conventioneers and having them do their own podcast about the event or be interviewed by her. She found the fact that I had been a writer with a full on website and a companion blog for a number of years interesting and offered me the chance of being interviewed. How could I resist trying to reach a larger audience with the site so I readily complied and we talked for about ten minutes.
Skeleton Pete took a couple of shots of me on the microphone while Betsy shot questions at me. I did my best at being informative about my own brand and how different the world is in setting something like this up today. She also asked me what got me started and what are some of the trials in doing this. As soon as I find out where the podcast can be heard I will post a link. She also works with a company called Croncast.com so check them out.
I thank Betsy for her interest in my work and really enjoyed being able to do one of these podcasts. Fans of the site have asked if I would ever be hosting one and I must admit that the idea does interest me but the question remains about the time to do it properly. At this point Pete and I were finishing up the adventures in Blog World and we happened upon these two booths. One is Webgrrls and the other Girls In Tech.
Webgrrls is a business networking community for women but I was told by their representative that men were welcome as well. This reminded me a little of the Women In Music organization as they have the same premise but are focused on the music world. Girls In Tech is very similar in their practices and its great to see these kind of networks helping people out.
I mentioned snaring a few WordPress buttons a few paragraphs above but that was not the only booty that Skeleton Pete and I walked away from the Blog World Expo with. We got a number of cool shirts with the rundown being from WordPress, Yahoo, My Damn Channel and Mycroburst to name a few but Yahoo also had this awesome reference manual about Web and Social Networking things. If you are a webmaster, blogger or social networking maven this is a must have guide.
The folks at Mycroburst gave me this cool little knapsack case and inside it was a rain poncho. Those are always useful in the outdoor photographers world so I will likely keep this in my camera bag for good measure.
There was also a goodie bag handed to us as we walked in and this had a convention exhibit guide and a big ole piece of yummy chocolate. I guess this was to keep ones energy up during the expo. I will never refuse chocolate so liked this inclusion.
We also saw the folks at Raven Tools but neglected to snap a photo of their booth. They were one of the many kind folks who upgraded the wardrobe today by dishing out a cool shirt. Their’s was among the impressive ones snared today. Check out their services via the links below.
The Closing Thought Section – My Time To Be Jerry Springer
So here are my overall views on the Blogworld & New Media Expo as a whole. Since this is a relatively new convention I still think it has some fleshing out to do before they expect an exhibition floor to be something fantastic to the general public or those interested in its subject matter. Peter and I discussed how this particular event seemed to be very geared towards the seminars and we were not participating in those which made the exhibition floor leaving us a little more for want. There were some cool aspects to it, but I really didn’t need anyone to handle my email marketing, or maintain my Facebook or Twitter accounts since those are easily done by me at the spur of the moment and often via my smart phone. Of course, on the same token this is valuable for someone just getting started at these items who might need a helping hand and be willing to pay for it.
The Rant Section of the Narrative :p
I was a little disappointed at the absence of providers like Tumblr, Livejournal and even the mighty giants Google and Facebook who have all encouraged their users to being blogging and writing down their thoughts on a daily basis for all the world to see. Booths should have been set up by each of these providers to showcase just how their brand helps you make your own mark in the social networking world and how their companies can help you become greater at it. If WordPress can be there then there was no reason for Google not to be representing their Blogger medium since its such a widely used means of blogging. The other thing about this that needs some work is the angle of how one can make money by doing it or sell ones services as doing it for a person since blogging is free to use and is open source software that many developers contribute time and effort into making special. It might have been around for a few years by now, but it is only in the last couple that it has become more of a standard. Here is why I felt some of them should have been there in a little greater detail.
Facebook: Yes this medium has its ups and downs but nowadays if you have a business brand name or band or presence of some kind in the Internet ether then you MUST have a Facebook Fan Page or Group that directs the communities attention to it. PiercingMetal has been using a Fan Page for the site for a couple of years now (click HERE to see it) and a table with some ‘Book reps who could talk up such a practice would have been wonderful to see happening. Perhaps even a genius table with staff who could sit and help you create one on the spot.
Twitter: Even though I am still a marginal user of the Twitter medium for my musical adventures (click HERE to see it) I still do use it and have begun to see how its used in practical business settings and to increase the visibility of ones brand identity. People are interacting brand to brand via Twitter and you are lucky if someone of note “tweets” your views as more see it. A similar booth with some screens showcasing its use would have been fantastic.
Tumblr: In my travels around this exhibit hall I mentioned seeing a new competitor to Tumblr being present while they were not. Granted their staffer was not really showcasing the difference that they offered but they were there. Had Tumblr been on site they could have been like the car commercial that sings “you can do with this, or you can do with that” to make their point. PiercingMetal’s Tumblr is a “catch-all” but is HERE for the curious to see.
Google: The fact that no table represented Google’s Blog presence made me stunned. They are the Microsoft of the Blogging community and a genius table to spark peoples interest in setting up a blog of their own would have been fantastic to find. Yes WordPress only had a genius table, but I am sure those folks sung the praises of using the medium as an alternative. They also had buttons and shirts which I mentioned up above somewhere. Google’s absence from the convention hall left no argument as to the choice to go with in my humble opinion. There was nothing and no one to compare notes with. Shame, shame Google.
In terms of conventions this was a small exhibition floor in comparison to stuff like the NY Comic Con and Toy Fair but in its defense this is also vastly different from those particular functions. The Blogworld and New Media Expo made me want to remind readers of our somewhat extensive analysis of the myriad of Social Networking sites and mediums that we have experimented with since becoming a provider of journalistic entertainment. This originally was a single blog posting, but it was appended to focus on each site and how it was applied by me as a writer/photographer. You can enjoy those narratives by clicking THIS LINK. As always topical comments are welcome on any of these musings.
My Damned Channel: http://www.mydamnchannel.com/
Yahoo! Contributor: https://contributor.yahoo.com/signup.shtml
Raven Tools: http://www.raventools.com/
Digital Woman: http://digitalwoman.com
Girls In Tech: http://girlsintechnyc.com/