I got an e-mail from Bob Kodzis founder of Flight of Ideas about IZEAFest which is a a conference by bloggers about blogging. Bob went out of his way to get me a ticket to get in and I am eternally grateful. I found myself in a huge room full of people who love blogging as much and perhaps even more than I do. I felt a little out of place since I didn't have a laptop, just my paper, pen and watercolors. But when all was said and done I had to rush home in order to share the joy and excitement of the event thanks to the miracle of blogging!
During the presentations two screens had a constant stream of Tweets scrolling by in real time. This was at times distracting and yet very humerus since candid remarks have a tendency to sometimes get out of hand. Lets face it bloggers are a fun group to hang around with!
One concept thrown out that intrigued me was the need to write up and define a "Hedgehog Concept" this should be the one thing that you are the best at in the world. It is also important to know who you want to communicate with. A common theme throughout the day was to give before you expect anything in return.
At lunch time Sea World gave a presentation explaining how they market their theme parks. I didn't pay very close attention since I was sketching but near the end of the presentation I heard a trainer shouting out "Come on Clyde this is your chance to shine!" Down the side isle I saw a huge Sea Lion ambling his way up to the stage following his trainer. However when he got to the stage he decided he had had enough of the bright lights and crowded room and he turned and started heading back to the exit. The trainer tried to convince him to go on stage but the sea lion outweighed the trainer by at least 500 pounds so he got his way. He still got a standing ovation.
The final panel of the day was very insightful. Warren Whitlock pointed out that the main function of a blog is often to promote other people. This goes to the heart of what a blog is all about. Blogging is all about giving. It is only when you are truly giving that the tools become important. Chris Heuer tried to sum up blogging with this simple series of words... look, listen, learn, join, lead. Whereas Warren summed it up more concisely... listen, love. He said blogging is all about wanting to be a better person and caring. The next century is about listening. How can I help people and how do I connect them? As Sarah Evans said " Social Media is a conversation, maybe we should talk."
This inspiring conference suddenly made me feel like I am part of a much bigger online community and that blogging might be about much more that just sharing a sketch a day. On the drive home James Taylor was singing "Shower the people you love with love." I suddenly realized what blogging is all about.