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Women, Business and Blogging 2007

Posted on Friday 8th June 2007 at 00:00
Well, this is my 200th post and what better way to celebrate than by reporting live from the Women, Business and Blogging Conference 2007 in Leicester! Right now we are part way through the welcome session, and not surprisingly, everyone is sat here with laptops, taking advantage of the wireless network that has been kindly laid on for us.

Throughout the day I shall be regularly updating this post, trying to let you know what is happening at every opportunity. I won't have a lot of time to write here though, so please forgive any spelling mistakes I make, as I might not have time to correct them all!

The hosts of the conference have kindly thought to issue each of us with a list of delegates, complete with email addresses and blog URLs, which should make networking a lot easier. More later...

13:19 - So it is lunch time and I'm back to writing the blog. The morning was absolutely amazing. The first speaker was Meg Pickard, who gave a well delivered talk on the nature of blogging. Very inspiring. I'm sitting on the next table along from her now as I type this. Freaky huh? I wrote about two sides of notes as she spoke. If I get time I might write up what she was saying later, but the gist was that the rules of who provides content and who consumes it has changed since the arrival of the blog. Now it is users interacting with each other on platforms like YouTube and blogger that provide the content within various contexts.

Meg


Next was Eileen Brown from Microsoft. She talked about how Microsoft had asked her to write a blog and how she is able to keep her work professional. She doesn't use it as a PR exercise for the company, but by being open with its customers and allowing its workers to be open with their blogs, the company has developed a more human face.

Eileen


The last session in the morning was small groups working out questions to ask a panel later. Our group was very enthusiastic and covered many different topics that I may talk about later, overrunning by a full 15 minutes without realising. More later...

The Next Day - So here we are back home, a full day after the conference. Well rested I am and ready to reflect on the conference in a little more detail, now that I have the time. In the afternoon - immediately after I'd finished the last update in fact - we returned to the main lecture theatre and prepared for Jory Des Jardins to give the final key note speech. Unfortunately my laptop battery had given up the ghost by now, and I was fortunate to find the only mains outlet in the whole room, hidden away at the back and off to one side. Of the three, this is the talk I had the most difficulty connecting with at first. It all seemed very America orientated and was of a rallying nature. At some points I wondered whether I was hearing a talk outlining the role of women in the blogosphere or a self help guide for members of some new age American Suffragette movement.

Once I cut through all of that though, I found the underlying message to be rather interesting. Jory was right to be excited by the role of women on the US blog scene. They are already making up a huge part of the millions and millions of active blogs to be found State-side, and what is more, they make up an even bigger percentage of the over all consumer spending figures, a fact which won't surprise anyone with a girl who likes to shop.

This means that female bloggers have enormous sway over marketing departments and companies, all of whom are practically begging bloggers to provide good reviews of their products. The lovely ladies of the web seem to have done quite well out of the stupid sods, acquiring anything from free lipsticks to test, to free cars to keep, if only they can mention the product in question briefly on their blog. Let's face it, if I were given a free car, I think I'd blog about it!

Jory


After the talk came a question and answer session, where the three key noters were sat down at the front and asked some of the questions that we'd prepared before lunch during the small group sessions. It would have been really nice to have a whole day just for this part, as the answers were really interesting. Eileen talked about how search engines tend to prefer newer search results, which means if you are being searched for by a potential employer, it is fairly unlikely that they will immediately find an old post you'd rather leave buried. Obviously someone looking for that sort of thing will be able to find it, but that is a different matter entirely.

Question


Following the Q&A session was half an hour of coffee and networking. This break allowed me time to pack up my laptop and its assortment of cables carefully once everyone else had left the room. I was still there when Meg came up to me, having worked out who I am online, and we spent five or ten minutes chatting about the conference and some of the topics that had been brought up. It seems that in order to allow a degree of consistency in the rate that she posts, Meg, and presumably others, often has a number of posts on the go at any one time, in various stages of development which can be pulled together and posted at short notice, in order to fill in gaps in the inspiration.

Apparently it is also possible on some blogs to use cronjobs to create time delayed posts, that you can write when you have time and which will then appear at times which you have prearranged. I can imagine this to have many uses when one is on holiday, or will be away from the computer for sometime. I can't deny that the idea has captured my imagination, and I'm therefore compelled to add such a feature to my site this very evening, in order to cater for the awful irregularity of my posting in recent weeks.

At the end of the conference, we broke off into small groups again, in order to brain storm specific ideas about blogging. Myself and a few people I knew joined a session on voices, and how they can be used within your blog. The group seemed to be a good mix of people, and hopefully we were able to encourage the few non-bloggers in the room to take up this brilliant hobby.

So, that was that, and I am now safely back home. But what about you? Did anyone here also go? If so, what did you think? I'd love to hear what you made of the day in the comments section :)

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