I recently attended a small (200+ attendees) gathering of people who curate and publish via a blogging platform.
Today I am talking about general aspects of writing conferences in light of the existence of blogging. So yes, this was a blogging conference, but it was also a writing conference, but it was not like the writing conferences I once attended. Those 20th Century conferences are now anachronisms in my book. At least most of them anyway.
Writing Conferences were usually formal and stuffy events at which we all hoped to meet and wow the one person who could make my publishing dreams come true.
It did not really take all that long to learn that such conferences are mostly a waste of time in the sessions upon sessions where individual “published” authors shared their secrets of getting published, and that it is damn hard and most often unrewarding work. The pointers were fine, but they seemed to always condense to this:
Then in recent years they added:
- Develop social media presence and brand yourself.
Basically there are variations of this model in the “network” segment that might be contact agents, talk to editors, join writers group, and so on.
Online writing and marketing (and, “Yes, marketing yourself and your work is now integral to the writing process.”) are part of every publication process unless you were so successful last century that can hire someone to be your social media person.
I have attended blogging conferences throughout the last ten years. Some are huge, national and international affairs such as BlogHer, and some are smaller and regionally or demographically focused, such as Blended. Nationally-focused small blogging conferences are another beast entirely. I attended the Bloggers at Midlife Conference, aka BAM or #BAMC or #BAMC16, a blogging conference aimed at an age- or stage- separated group of women who are beyond the Mommy Blogger demographic.
By the way, my use of the phrase mommy blogger is not pejorative. Young mothers with children have a need to communicate. Communicating through a blog is as natural today as a telephone conversation was to the mother’s of the 1960s.
There are other contemporary groups that have figured out how to meet communication needs through serial online publishing, which is how most blogs (web logs) are best described. Serial online publishing is really the niche that blogs fill what was once the niche of print periodicals, newspapers, magazines, and journals as in academic journals. Blogs also fill the niche of personal journals and letters. Things evolve and change, and we are watching women’s communication blossom and cross-pollinate old and new technologies with met and unmet needs.
In the next installment on this topic, we go beyond the recognition that writing, online writing, and blogging are morphing into an all encompassing form of communication. This form is less segmented by the chasm that divided writing from publishing. Our current focus is less fixed on how you create content, as there are many ways to create, all the way from legal pad with pencil to tablet video creation. The writer or creator now has more more access to and influence over what we once would have called publishing and distribution.