So I’ve been thinking about what I want out of Bloghercon and things that have bothered me about past conferences I’ve attended. So here’s my 2 cents on potential potholes on the road to greatness for Bloghercon.
- Focus on a theme – Look at this as the first conference in a series of many. You don’t have to tackle all the possible topics this time. Nine months from now you can have another one.
- Have a goal - Ties in with #1. What do you want people to walk away with? For this year, what do you want to solve or at least start a substantial discussion that continues in the blogosphere after the conference?
- Get relevant people to speak – The worst thing at conferences that I’ve been to is that a big name speaks, but they don’t have a direct relationship to what the conference is about or only have a minimal idea of what it’s about.
- Tracks – Have various tracks related to the overall theme that people can follow. Might also be a good idea to have people sign up ahead of time for which seminars or workshops they’ll be attending so you know you have enough room.
- Seminars v. workshops - While I’m thinking about it, seminars are where you’d have a panel discussion and workshops are where you’d actually have people working in groups or doing exercises that relate to blogging. Some conferences don’t understand this – or maybe it’s the speakers.
- Keep it small – 250-300 – Faces become familiar at this size and you might just be able to meet half the people. Next year you can open it up to more people.
- Two days – To create meaningful connections you need more than just a day, and it’s easy for people to give up just the weekend. Maybe throw an event the Friday night to get people geared up for the next day. Also it’s easier for people to take a day or two off of work on either side if they need to fly in. And one more for good luck.
- Don’t be stereotypically girly – Super political correctness, everyone must feel included, hippie-dippiness leads to violations of #1 – way too many tangents form. Don’t get me wrong, everyone should be able to contribute. Whether it’s by Q&A, a back channel or a social event. And I’ve been known to participate in hippie-dippy Phishhead chanting drum circles where everyone spouts their feelings, but this is not the conference for that. But don’t overcompensate for being “not a man” either. (Yes I have issues. Four years at a women’s college and then being in tech may do that do you.)
My web hosting service has locked me out of my cgi-bin so you can’t make comments on my site yet, but hopefully this weekend I’ll get it up and running. (Elisa had said she wanted to make a comment on my last Bloghercon entry – sorry- soon!)