One more adventure in my 31 before 31 to-do crossed off my list today: I participated in this year’s Podcamp Pittsburgh. At this point I’ve been pretty involved in the “social media scene” for a while (i.e. that same large group of people who dashes to sign up for any event that involves some kind of social media component), and it’s nice to attend a conference where some of the faces have now become familiar. I’ve got a long way to go before I really know a lot of the people well, but it was really nice to walk into an event and have a few people I already know to talk to, and then they went on to introduce me to other people. (Nice to meet you @aolivex and nice to meet you in person @yinzrreadin !) Yes, I spend an irrational amount of time on the social anxiety that goes along with attending events like this, but once I get comfortable with people and conversation, it’s smooth sailing.
The session options had a nice mix of topics. Despite all the ominous forecasts for the future of print media, there were a significant number of sessions dealing with books– book reviewer/author relationships, book-to-blog, etc. I think that the sessions cater to all skill levels, and are equally accessible to the new and veteran blogger.
Since by this point I have attended several social media conferences, I think that a number of the topics were ones I am generally familiar with. Yet every conference presents different perspectives, and I never fail to bring home a new takeaway from each experience. Today, Emily Levenson reshaped my perspective on what it means to tell a “personal story.” With that term, I always think about sharing some sort of highly-private, soul baring episode. But she demonstrated how “private” and “personal” are not really the same thing, and suggested a framework for writing personal stories that drive engagement.
The theme of the day was Creativity & Inspiration, and I was inspired by the day’s events. I thought a lot about how I struggle to make that computer-to-conversation transition. I lunched with @yinzrreadin and @alexanderfiv and talked about what’s the proper course of action when you see someone in real life who you’ve been following on social media for a while. You feel like you know them, but at the same time you don’t know them, you could be standing right in front of them and they have no idea who you are. Part of Emily’s talk was about how interviews an be a productive way to bring in personal stories, without having to make it all about yourself. I have been meaning to introduce an interview component into this blog, and I think a good theme would be “Lurk No More”– interviewing folks I’ve been following on social media, but whom I don’t know in real life. It certainly would serve to eliminate that awkwardness when I see someone at a social media event who I’ve been following, but I have no idea if they have any clue who I am, and I don’t want to be like “HELLO THERE I READ YOUR BLOG LETS BE FRIENDS” and they think I’m all a big creeper. I mean, maybe it will have some creeper factor for me to message people and say “Hello there, I read your blog and like it, and would like to interview you on my blog, so let’s meet in some public non-creepy place and have a coffee!” I mean, that’s at least a little less creepy, right? And if you can help me think of any better name for this initiative than “Lurk No More” I’d be grateful. I mean, the name kind of sucks, but it’s all I’ve got for now.
Did you attend PodCamp Pittsburgh this year? Were you inspired to pursue any new projects?