Top Ten Things Learned at Bloggy Boot Camp

Ten Tips For Blogging From Bloggy BootCamp

As you guys may have gathered from my Twitter feed’s #BBCSTL , I was in St. Louis over the weekend attending Bloggy Boot Camp. It was good to see old friends and meet new ones. As well as pick up some fresh insights for my blog! I wanted to share a few of those insights with you in case you are not able to make it to a bootcamp yourself. And check back tomorrow for some pics from the day!

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Snapshot : What’s in my Blog Conference Bag?

What to Carry at a Blog Conference

Blog conference season is in full swing. And even if you are a conference veteran (my trade show peeps, give me a holla), blog conferences are a whole different ballgame. And if you are a newbie, you are probably thinking what the hell did I get myself into.
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Blogger Seeks Wifi, Finds It at Best Buy Mobile

Disclosure: I will work for wifi. Proof? This post was sponsored by Best Buy.

Um, did you know BlogHer is this week? With all the craziness going on this summer I kind of forgot. Until I woke up in a blind panic this morning realizing I had DONE NOTHING TO PREPARE. Twitter and FB groups freaked me out even more with their talk of thank you tweets and brand meetings. So I did was any smart educated woman does: headed for the mall.

There I wandered around in a daze picking up random bits of clothing and essentials like dry shampoo (mama has got no time for showers at BlogHer.) The clothing shoping was depressing me, not only did nothing fit well at my “summer weight” but I also realized that I could afford none of it. Stupid summer, those twenty five cent ice pops at the pool add up.

Then like a beacon in the night I came across the BEST BUY MOBILE STORE.
BestBuyMobile

It looked all amazingly heavenly and shizznit.
(Sidenote: Have you seen This Is The End? If not, go see it now. AWESOMENESS.)

Anyway, back to Best Buy Mobile…
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Ten Things About Blissdom

Since I was so late to the party (hello TWO WEEKS after the conference), I was totally going to skip a Blissdom recap. But then I felt like, what kind of blogger am I?! I mean I can’t even blog about a blogging conference?!

That’s just sad.
So here it is, my recap…

10 Things You Might Want To Know About Blissdom
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How to Get The Most Out of a Blogging Conference

Getting The Most Out of a Blog Conference
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Marketing Done Well : Toyota at Wanderlust

About the series: Marketing Done Well highlights clever marketing ideas, especially those with a social media bent.

Last week I talked about the brilliant way Lucy marketed their brand at Wanderlust with one simple idea. This week I am going to talk about another great presence at Wanderlust, the Toyota Experience tent (I may be a bit biased since Toyota sent me there!)

This was Toyota’s first year sponsoring Wanderlust. It’s a natural fit since Toyota is the number one name in green technology for automobiles. Still, it was important to them that they not just show their product but showcase their commitment to the values of Wanderlust attendees. To do this, they brainstormed about what attendees at the festival needed and what would be a useful takeaway for them, keeping in mind that they wanted to stay true to Toyota’s mission of green living.


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Book Review : The Barefoot Executive

Hard to believe that SXSWi starts tomorrow! I feel like I have been anticipating it for weeks and now that we check into our hotel tomorrow, I am like a kid on Christmas eve. I only have one thing left to endure, my husband bitching about heavy my luggage is. The is the first time in years (including my honeymoon, a two week trip to Italy, and BlogHerx2) that I have checked a bag. And that bag is mainly filled with books and papers.

I tend to look at vacations, much to my family’s consternation, as a time to catch up on things. And since this is a working vacation, I brought double the stuff to catch up on. A big portion of that stuff is books I have been meaning to read. Most of them are new media specific but I made room for a few general business ones. And a stand out has been The Barefoot Executive: The Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial Freedom

Unlike most of the business books I have been reading lately, The Barefoot Executive offers practical advice that I can put into action immediately. I loved the exercises in the book; they really helped me clarify my thoughts.

But perhaps the best part of the book is the relatbaility of the author. Our paths to owning our own businesses are very similar, as our backgrounds. And I adore the fact that though she frequently mentions her family as a motivation for working for herself, it’s done in a matter of fact way not in a gushing “my children are my life” way which is the usual in books written by successful moms. Her business like tone really resonates with me. I feel like this is one of the few entrpuener books I have read that really approach owning your own business in a professional way. If you’re just starting out like me, or wanting to make the jump to working for yourself, I highly recommend picking up this books and/or checking out the Barefoot Executive website (which has a ton of great resources!)

You can find the author Carrie Wilkerson on Twitter and Facebook, as well as on her website.

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Barefoot Executive to review from Living The Moment. All thoughts on this post, and everything else written on this blog, are my own.

Taking a Tech Break

fall foliage

Last week I tweeted that I needed to get off the internet except that my job was working on the internet. There’s the rub isn’t it? Between my freelance jobs, maintaining my group blog, writing on this blog, tweeting, going through email, playing Words with Friends, working my way through Facebook, and checking into FourSquare I spend way too much time on the internet. It’s no wonder that my girls have started telling me “Shut the computer mommy!”

See that gorgeous view I posted above? It’s out my living room window but I never see it. Because my back is to it while I stare at my laptop. It’s a shame. So when Hallmark contacted me about their “blogout” movement encouraging bloggers (and anyone one a little too plugged in) to push the “pause” button, I figured what could it hurt.

Their words: “Our Life is a Special Occasion encourages us to pause and recognize those unplanned, perfectly imperfect moments we share with our loved ones — the moments that take place in between life’s big milestones. We are not suggesting a retirement of your smart phones, televisions or computers. We are asking you to turn off technology for a moment, an afternoon or even a day to give you time to celebrate the unplanned, perfectly imperfect moments you share with those who mean the most to you. Turn off technology and turn up the relationships with those around you.”

I mean, how can you turn that down?

I couldn’t give it up entirely but I did make an effort over the weekend (and Halloween) to put the phone now, close the laptop, and enjoy life. I stayed at my daughter’s Halloween party instead of rushing home to check to see what I “missed” on Twitter and Facebook. Instead of snapping pics with my iPhone and uploading them to share when we raked leaves, I broke out the camera and took some high quality shots. I found that when my girls heard less of me saying “one more minute” they were actually more patient. We were actually able to record the recordable storybook Hallmark sent us without a twin fight.

So though I won’t be giving up the internets any time soon; I will be making more of an effort to make them an addition to my day instead of my focus. Moments are just as memorable without Instagraming them.

Figuring Out What To Do When I Grow Up

Last year I heard about a conference called #140 and knew I had to go. Because I had fallen hard for the Twitter. So I hit up a Twitter friend to talk with me and dragged him and my husband to Hutchinson.  There I was struck by the number of stories I heard and the number of hugs I got instead of cards. I felt like I was talking to people just like me. However these people were living their dreams, taking a chance, and doing what they loved. And I wondered why I wasn’t doing the same.

 

I came home determined to find a way to turn my hobby of social media into more than just a blog. And in many ways I did. I took my enthusiasm for connecting people and started Social Media Club Mid-Missouri. Instead of just adding my voice to the local blogging community, I created a space for collaborative blogging about Columbia Missouri. If you read this today you can head more about how I did this at 4:10CST on the #140conf Livestream.

 

So here I am at #140conf again and this year I am thinking about what the next step is. How do I turn what I love into what I do for a living? I am planning to attend Startup Weekend to see what’s like to grow a business from the ground up and hopefully soak up some of the creativity and drive of the attendees. I am looking at local companies to see where I would want to work and figuring out if I could make working full time work for our family.

 

Here is where I ask for your help… what helped you find your path? Was there something that pointed you in right direction? What resources should I be checking out?

 

Ten Reasons I Hate Google Plus

 

Oh Google, I’ve been a fan for a long time. Gmail makes me happy, Picassa makes me sing. But Google Plus just makes me mad. Here’s why:

1. Google Hangouts: Hangouts have validated video as a normal form of communication. Um Google, I am on the ineternet because I don’t like interacting with people in real life. Now you want to me to see and talk to them just like they are across the table from me. Thanks for nothing.

2. Chris Brogan: I met him in person and he seems like a nice guy even if he seemed to think it was odd that I asked him where he lived. What can I say? I suck at small talk, especially over cocktails. And yes, he seems to have a lot of interesting things to say. But Google Plus could be renamed Chris Brogan Plus. This could be remedied by the whole Facebook technique of hiding but there’s not a one click way to do that on Google Plus

3. Design: Wait is this secretly a Microsoft product? Because it seems overly complex (see above complaint). Now Google can get a too treasure hunt like at times. And by that I mean that (see my tips on Gmail hacking here) you often have to spend some time finding out the best ways to use Google products. But overall they seem to work the way people think without being overly designy (I am looking at you Apple.)  But Google plus is clunky and lacks the intuitiveness of their other products. I think the programmers of Google are messing with our minds.

4. Time Suck: much like the rabbit hole Google Plus leads me into endless amounts of clicking. And it’s just one more thing I have to do social media wise. That I can’t manage from a third party app.

5. Spammers: it took them about a week and a half to catch on. And now they won’t stop

6. The Home Icon: It’s ugly. Seriously no one could come up with something besides that sad little house?

7. Being Added to Circles: In theory this is good because who doesn’t like to be popular even if it’s with random eastern european spammers. I’ve even seen several blogs with Google + icons saying how many circles they are in. But in reality being added to circles drives me insane because I can’t see what circles I am in. Um, Google how am I supposed to know what people think of me if I can’t get all obsessive about the names of the circles.

8. Circles: Why we are on the subject, I both loathe and hate circles. Love them because they allow me to talk to a targeted audience. I loathe them because they take away one of the things I love most about social media, the random interactions that happen. Google has un-randomized social media. They are fun thieves.

9. It’s Facebook: Sometimes I feel like I am the child in The Emperor’s New Clothes. Am I the only one who sees that Google Plus is just a cooler version of Facebook. There’s nothing you can do on Google Plus that you can’t do in some form on Facebook (nothing is probably way overstating it, feel free to prove me wrong in the comments.)

10. They Hooked Me: In spite of everything above, I still use Google Plus. Because it’s Google and Social Media. And it’s two of my very favorite things. Damn you Google!