Bloggercon (takes) off

Feb 13, 2005

Don’t take my word on the apparent success of the Triangle Bloggers Conferenceread what the participants say (Bora’s got a more comprehensive list). When critical, remarks are constructive. I like that.

As for me, I’m awed and honored and satisfied. One hundred and twenty smart, driven, expressive individuals gathered and conversed for a few hours, eager to share their experiences and knowledge and willing to listen to other voices.

I’m not sure that the conference, with so many people and so little time, dug too deeply into the issues; this was more of a broad sweep of the topics and trends. But a lot of people expressed their gratitude for the gathering, and what I observed was that they were happy to see, and hear, and meet writers and bloggers and media subjects that they’ve been paying attention to through the years. Dave Winer and Rafe Colburn finally meeting is just one example, and I’m sure we’ll be able to point to other examples as more bloggers post their estimations of the conference. For me, the same: my mentor John Ettorre was there, and my college buddy Mark Schreiner, my teachers Paul Jones and Phil Meyer, and many bloggers I admire, including Justin Watt, Ed Cone, Eric Muller, Ruby Sinreich and Henry Copeland. Certainly it was nice to meet Dave Winer and Dan Gillmor, as well as a hundred other interesting and intelligent people. If you’re reading this and you were one of them, thank you. It was a pleasure meeting you.

Damn. What a day.

I joked in my welcome remarks that people should silence their cell phones, else my mom would be calling them to check up on me. I made sure to call my mom soon after the conference to tell her how well the day had gone, because I knew she’d be proud of me. She taught me a valuable lesson one day during my freshman year of high school. I was moping in my loneliness, and mom told me the best way to remedy waiting by the phone for some friend to call was to pick up the phone (my great fear) and call a friend with an invitation to get together. Just do it, as Nike would suggest. That’s what I did in an e-mail message on December 23rd, and that’s why I found myself before 120 people this morning.

Let me do it again.

I promised the crowd I’d coordinate a regular bloggers meeting. No sense waiting, so I’ll put out the plan now: starting next Wednesday, let’s gather each Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Caffe Driade on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. An open meeting. Come talk about whatever’s on your mind and in your blog.

I’m also mulling on an idea for a follow-up conference (inspired by a conversation with Cathy Resmer, who traveled 1000 miles to join us today, and by conference feedback by Ruby) that would turn the tables and accomplish some of the community building conversation we didn’t get to today: a Triangle Community Organizing Conference (that’s a mouthful; need better name) for community activists, non-profit organization program managers and civic leaders to learn how to use online tools such as blogs and wikis to attract supporters and spark action. Post your suggestions in the comments, please.

More tomorrow, surely …

AFTERTHOUGHT: Erin was just joking with John about my past suggestions that, should I suddenly die, Erin should post a simple message to my blog to let my online community know of my passing and how they might respond. This isn’t meant to be morbid, but we have been talking about buying life insurance since I’ll be the sole income-generator in our family when Erin starts law school this fall. That got me to thinking about the end of mistersugar. Let me be clear – there are no plans for that to come soon. I’ll continue my blog for as long as I can.

One of the more commented-on statements of the bloggercon was Dave Winer’s rhetorical “Why do you care how many people are reading your blog?” More than a few bloggers seem to agree with that sentiment, which seems disingenous or naive to me. If you truly write a blog for yourself, password protect it and don’t let me see it. I write The Coconut Wireless mainly to express myself and sharpen my writing skills, and I see it as a personal journal that I leave open on the coffee table for anyone to read – I do care about how you connect to my weblog.

Is it wrong for me to want this weblog to have a legacy?

Anton Zuiker

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