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#BlogHer12 — in the full swing of things

Mr. Beez and I flew in to NYC yesterday, and started our visit with a storytelling performance by his friend (and her storytelling class) at the 3 of Cups. The $4 happy hour sangria, bacala bruschetta, and portabello pesto/asiago pizza were delicious, but I was really blown away by the storytelling. The performance included tales both comedic and somber, and all deeply personal.

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The calm of the story performance has been contrasted by the complete insanity that has been the BlogHer conference. The conference opened with inspiring words from our Commander in Chief.

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Mr. Beez and I also had a few drinks and snacks, and even tossed around a bowling ball, at the BlogHer parties last night.

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Today has been jam-packed with panels. I’ve been blogging since 2004, so I think I have a pretty good handle on how to produce content. It’s the technical and strategic side I need a lot of help with. The iPhoneography panel was the one I’ve been looking forward to the most. I got my iPhone back in January, and I haven’t used my digital camera since (mostly because it’s 5 years old, and technically inferior to the iPhone). The panel didn’t have the time to go through all the details of photo editing apps with a fine toothed comb, but I did get a good footing on where to start for some quick and dirty lessons in photo editing.

I also attended a panel on pitching to publishers, which was very interesting and informative. A lot of the bloggers here blog for money or sponsorships. I’m in a different boat, because, although our professional responsibility rules lag behind in specifically addressing the intersection of blogging and legal practice, blogging for money is an ethical can of worms I don’t care to deal with. Despite this big difference, I have met a lot of very nice people, and received a lot of business cards for blogs I look forward to reading.

Martha Stewart spoke during today’s lunchtime keynote, but I was still so overstimulated from EVERYTHING GOING ON that I don’t remember in the slightest what on earth she talked about.

There are 3 large expo halls which, likewise, are looking to set up review relationships with bloggers, or to even garner favorable publicity on their webpages. I’ve spent a little time wandering through the exhibitor halls, and taking pictures with REE DRUMMOND, the Lorax, and the Jimmy Dean sun guy (yes, the one from the commercial), and a Jamba Juice bananaman.

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My most valuable takeaway today has been that I really need to work harder on engaging with readers. Commenting and retweets are the currency of social media, and if I want others to read my thoughts, I need to work harder at reading and responding to theirs. I’ve felt a bit lost over the last few months, not entirely sure where to go to find interesting blogs in the MASSIVE space of the internet, but now with the heap of blogger cards at my side, I’ve got a good place to start.

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A Giant Thank You :)

I just wanted to take a quick moment to say THANKS to everyone who has been reading! I’ve been posting steadily for about 10 months now.¬† Yesterday was my most successful blogging day, with 294 site views, and bringing me up to a total of 22,193 views on this site since it’s been live!

I recognize that there is a not insignificant chance that my total siteview number consists of 15,000 views from my mom, 5,000 views from random bots, and 2,193 views from actual readers, but whatevah! Hi Mom!

So thanks everyone (and Mom) for reading! I plan to keep on keeping on, and I hope you keep coming back for more ūüôā¬†

Completely gratuitious LOLCAT, because it makes me LOL

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My First Blogging Conference! #SoMePgh

I worked extra hard and extra fast this week to bill as much as possible, so that I could ditch the office today for Visit Pittsburgh’s Tweet, Like & Be Social conference at PNC Park.

I hoped it would be interesting and informative, but it totally surpassed my expectations!  I attended an interesting session about practical tips for being creative and social media content within limitsРespecially the delicate balance of writing thought-provoking pieces while simultaneously putting forward a good image for your organization.  I also attended a fantastic session led by WordWrite PR about content strategies for engaging your followers.  The day was a great networking day, and I met a ton of enthusiastic, intelligent people!

A lot of people in attendance work in marketing/PR, and although that is not my area of work, I learned a lot about how a variety of businesses use social media to attract clients, even though they are not the kind of business that you traditionally associate with social media.¬† For example, I attended a session where Coldwell Banker’s local social media maven discussed efforts they have made to engage followers through facebook, and how that has led to real business, even though people don’t really sign onto facebook for the purpose of buying a house.¬† It made me realized that I don’t have to write a sttictly-speaking “law blog” in order to develop relationships and engage with people online, with the potential of developing future business.¬† I have to do a better job of linking together my online content with my area of work, but I don’t have to let the subject matter of my work entirely overtake my online presence.

All conference attendees also got to participate in a really cool behind-the-scenes tour of PNC Park! We got to go to the Pirates Clubhouse and tour the locker rooms (we weren’t allowed to take pictures in there. And those baseball players have a RIDICULOUS quantity of hair care products. Why does a baseball player with a helmet on need Aussie hairspray, anyway?)

In the dugout!

I had such an amazing time today, and I’m so inspired to write, write, write! Today’s experience made me even more excited for BlogHer!

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Rejected.

I’ve been in a bummer mood this week.¬† To top it off, this morning I woke up with a form e-mail from BlogHer, announcing that my panel submission was not chosen.¬† I e-mailed the conference coordinator because I submitted two panel proposals (and assumed that I would get two response emails, even if both were rejected), and asked her to confirm that neither one was picked.¬† I’m sure that’s the case, because if they DID pick one of my proposals, I at least would have gotten¬†one e-mail saying that they liked whichever one they liked.

Now I have to decide whether I still want to attend.¬† I often feel like the redheaded stepchild in the blogosphere– BlogHer is bound to be overwhelmed by Mommybloggers, and I definitely do not identify with them.¬† True I talk about my family a lot on this blog, but a significant part of my identity is shaped¬†by my work life and professional activities and accomplishments.¬† There is a “Career” section of BlogHer, but that seems to be overwhelmed by women who blog for a living, and my perception is that¬†there are very few women represented there who are in “traditional” full time careers, like law, engineering, pharmacy, or medicine.¬† I wonder whether BlogHer is not the right conference for me.¬† I’m looking into attending Corporate Counsel’s Social Media forum, because that might be a better fit for my specific interest.¬† However, attending BlogHer still remains a possibility.

I ¬†am going to continue to focus on my writing¬†¬† I have been working on putting a “Law Corner” into this site to showcase my legal publications (for anyone who is interested,¬†I recently wrote about the Business Judgment Rule and¬†Ownership Rights to Marcellus Shale Gas).¬† My firm has been very supportive of both my interest in social media and my interest in writing, and has given me numerous opportunities to pursue both.¬† I’ll be doing a practice group presentation in a few weeks on managed care issues, and have been doing a significant amount of research and writing about managed care litigation, so I’ll likely have a few publications on those issues soon.¬†¬†

I do spend all day reading and writing for clients, and then I write about these additional issues in my free time.¬† Between that, and two book clubs, I spend a lot of time with the written word.¬† I really do like these extracurricular reading and writing activities, though, so it’s really not a chore.

For today, I need to gather up my bruised pride, and get back to it.  I find that a fancy coffee is a solid cure for a sour mood, so I treated myself to a huge delicious cafe au lait for breakfast.

And here is a completely gratuitious picture of Baby Beez and I saying “CHEEZ!” last night. Just to make me feel less mopey.

Update:¬† BlogHer’s been posting the agenda online.¬† It looks like the whole focus is how to make your blog into a job/moneymaker.¬† That’s not my area or interest.¬† Oh well.

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Shameless self promotion, and time for blogging

BlogHer featured my piece on Multitasking and Working Moms on their website this weekend! It was featured both on the main page, as well as the Careers page! They’ve featured a million different articles and a million different writers, so it isn’t a huge deal, but I did think it was exciting.

My friend Viki asked me yesterday “how do you find time for reading and blogging and working and mom-ing and everything else you do?”¬† I don’t have any grand plan with time management.¬† I make sure to get my work done, and coordinate things with Mr. Beez to coordinate spending time with the little one, networking events, and happy hours…and everything else sort of falls in between.¬† My time management skills are probably “satisfactory.”¬† I am guilty of sometimes forgetting to put things in my calendar, or double (or triple) booking myself, or flat out forgetting things…but I manage to take care of all the important stuff, and even some not as important stuff, and it all turns out ok.

As far as blogging, I fit it into my life as a hobby.¬† Every time I’ve heard “It’s not about having time, it’s making time,” I’ve cringed… but it has some truth to it.¬† In participating in NaBloPoMo, I came across a number of blog posts where people complained about blogging being hard or too time consuming.¬† I’m a big believer that hobbies should be fun, and although challenges are sometimes fun, a hobby shouldn’t be so challenging that it sucks the fun out of the hobby.¬† I gave up crocheting for this very reason– it took forever for me to crochet anything, my skills were wanting (and everything turned out crooked and uneven), and the effort and time it would take for me to get good at would have killed all the fun, so I quit it.

At a Loss for Words

To the misfortune of the internet, blogging comes easily to me.¬† I always have a lot of ideas whirring around in my head.¬† They’re not ideas in terms of a storyline– I don’t think I’d make a good fiction writer.¬† They’re thoughts about things I’ve read, or seen, or heard.¬† I listen to NPR in the morning, and try to generally keep up with news and pop culture.¬† I’ll come across something that catches my interest, and I’ll roll it around in my mind for a few days or weeks.¬† Sometimes I’ll start a post on an idea, and save just a few sentences or bullet points.¬† Then I usually hit a point where my thoughts on the topic all come together, and I know what I want to say.¬† At that point, I can usually throw together a blog post on my idea in about 15 to 20 minutes.¬† It’s easy for me to find those 15 to 20 minutes in my day, because even if you’re very busy, you can often find 15 or 20 minutes to squeeze in a hobby you enjoy.¬† I often write at night right before bed, or after dinner while Baby Beez plays.¬† I will often write up an entry and save it for the next day to review and post.¬† It is important to me that I don’t sound foolish, and a break in between writing and posting gives me an opportunity to reflect and revise.

I’ve considered trying to write a topic-specific blog.¬† However, that would be much more time intensive– I’d have to spend more time reading and doing things specific to that topic.¬† That’s more of a time commitment than I’m able or willing to invest, so that’s not going to happen.¬† Writing about whatever miscellaneous topic comes to mind is easier, faster, and (for me at least) more fun.

If you’re interested in blogging but don’t know what to talk about, questions are a good jumping-off point.¬† I look through writing prompts when I feel like writing, but don’t know what I want to talk about.¬† My general approach for blogging, though, is to write about whatever I’m thinking about.¬† I tend to think about a lot of things, which is why I tend to have a lot to say.