A thousand women in one place. Even some men. It was loud. It was friendly. It was intense. It was fun.
I can only talk about the panels and events I attended, but I hit all I could. I caught the last few minutes of a panel about content syndication. Photo of panel is Anne-Marie Nichols, Gwen Bell, and Esther Brady.
I attended Amy Gahran’s writing workshop. She’s full of creative ideas and interesting ways to make her point. Amy got my writing mojo going. She tossed out a few tools for writers that I think may be really interesting.
Wordtracker, for finding the right words to use in headlines and story titles to make sure you get found by search engines.
co.mments.com, for tracking comments you leave all around the blogosphere. I’m giving it a try, meaning I signed up but haven’t actually bookmarked a comment yet.
Lijit, for searching and tracking all the things you post in blogs, on social network sites, bookmarking sites, video sites and making it searching in a widgit on your blog. I’ve added a Lijit Wijit to the sidebar and will try it out for a while to see what I think of it.
Friday evening keynote
The Friday keynote was a brilliant concept. Outstanding blog posts in several categories were read aloud by the writers. From belly laughs to tears: the posts were about everything and anything. Mainly they were well-written, heartfelt, and powerful. None of the women (and one man) who read their posts write for blogs that I regularly read, which made the process shine for me. I was dazzled by the quality of the writing from every single blogger. It was inspiring and impressive. Congratulations to all those who read a post. Photo is Eden Kennedy, who helped select the winning posts, and Elisa Camahort Page, BlogHer co-founder. See Eden’s list of all the keynote posts.
There was a party at a bar called Ruby Skye in the evening. It was sponsored by TNT and some cast members from Saving Grace and The Closer were there. No Holly Hunter that I could see. Shucks. I couldn’t take much of the party—too noisy for me—but I think it was, like, totally hip and happenin’. Yeah.
Saturday morning keynote
Lisa Stone with Redbook editor-in-chief Stacy Morrison, Essence Communications Director of Digital Development, Lesley Pinckney and Bravo TV’s Senior VP of New Media and Digital, Lisa Hsia. The discussion was about converging media.
They all spoke about how interactive relationships with their readers and viewers has exploded and changed how they do business. They said you have to be free with content; the best solutions are open.
Building Traffic to Your Blog
Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes gave this talk in a very crowded room. She asked, “Do you really want traffic?” If your goal for your blog doesn’t need high traffic, don’t worry about getting traffic.
Think about Content, Community and Technology. In terms of content, she said you have to focus on either being useful, timely, or entertaining. If you take photos, get a DSLR camera with a 50mm lens, and either Photoshop or Lightroom. In terms of building community, the advice was to be generous about linking out and to leave thoughtful comments on sites that share your focus. In other words, participate in your community.
In the technology recommendations, she said to be sure the site was easy to load, easy to find, and easy for PC and Mac. She said to study stats sites, syndicate, and optimize for search engines.
Me Ra Koh lead this session. She talked about ten essentials. 1) To choose between black and white: define the emotion. (Kubota sells good actions for Photoshop, one called Black and White snap.) 2) Fill the frame with the story. Use the principle of thirds. 3) Less is more. 4) Use a low f-stop to get a blurry background. Buy a camera that goes down to an f-stop of at least 2.8. 5) How low can you go in your ISO? Find out the best ISO for your camera to get best color saturation. For my Sony, it’s 100. 6) AI servo. An autofocus that locks on motion coming toward you or moving away from you. Find the way to do this in your manual. 7) Get an external flash. Then you can bounce the light off the ceiling or point it to where the wall and the ceiling meet or turn it to flash behind you. Buy a lightsphere from Gary Fong for point and shoot cameras. 8 Shutter speed can be slowed down to remove a background from a photo. 9) Three things in post process: add contrast, decide about black and white, use vignettes. 10) work on learning one thing at a time.
Boomers and Beyond
I moderated this very enthusiastic group. Lots of interesting viewpoints on being a boomer or beyond. Here’s a list of URLs collected from the women attending. I misspelled a couple so badly I can’t find them, so if you were there and don’t see your blog, please add it.