Minnesota Blogger Conference: Sept. 11, 2010

Do you blog? Want to blog? Read lots of blogs? Then whip out that calendar and mark down Saturday, September 11, 2010 as the first Minnesota Blogger Conference at CoCo in St. Paul.

The event is the brainchild of bloggers Arik Hanson and Missy Berggren who started the planning back in May. I’m excited to have been asked to help with a few things and spread the word.

The conference will be a great way to bring the blogging community of Minnesota together to meet and exchange ideas. The day is already stocked with a lineup of speakers talking on topics ranging from Blogging 101, to finding your voice, to SEO.

To read more information on the conference and find a list of scheduled speakers, make sure to check out posts by both Arik and Missy.

If you’re on Twitter, follow the #MNBlogConf hashtag and stay tuned for an official conference website.

Get excited!

Social media siesta


daydreamer 3

Originally uploaded by little_olenka

You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been a bit M.I.A. from the online social scene lately. There have been some corners where I’ve been intentionally absent (like Twitter) and others where I just have no excuse (ahem, this blog).

While I don’t have a reason for my negligence of this blog, I can explain (or at least try to explain) my holding back on Twitter and other sites.

For the past year and a half I’ve made a strong effort to be very present in the social media scene for means of connecting, learning, and building my personal brand. The time spent doing this has been a great experience. But it hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s taken a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how I could make social media really work for me professionally.

When I started this blog, I think that was my initial goal: to create a space for myself that helped me fit in the Twin Cities communications and social media communities. And since my first post, I’ve started to develop a focus, a (small) readership, and a better understanding of who I am as a professional as well as brand. I’ve started to find my groove.

So what do you do when you realize you don’t fit with the brand you created for yourself anymore?

I’m certainly not a changed woman, but like any other 20-something, I’m continually figuring out who I am and what my interests are. Which means I have to somehow figure out how to make my brand able to evolve with me.

This does not sit well with my uber Capricorn-like tendencies to plan everything out in advance. And I think that has strongly contributed to my step back from social media lately.

A lot has gone on personally and professionally for me in the past few months. I’ve made new friendships, developed new career interests, and rediscovered some passions I’ve put on hold for some time. All good things.

After being so active online for a while, and with all the things going on in real time, it got to be a little much. Being constantly submersed in all that chatter can be exhausting sometimes. I needed to take a short rest from it all.

Social media is great and can be a powerful tool. My stance on that has not changed. And I have no plans to walk away from it. (If I had any plans of advancing career-wise, that’d be a bad choice). But, I think like anything you become so immersed in and passionate about so quickly, it’s sometimes best to distance yourself from it a bit and reevaluate how it’s working with your overall plan.

So, as of now, I’m making an effort to be more of an observer of social media while exploring new avenues and opportunities for myself. You might start to see some changes around here, too. Hopefully it will just be another part of this constant learning experience.

Kapeesh? See ya out there!

Blog slacking and other good reads

I’ll admit it. I’ve been seriously slacking on my blog posts. Instead of giving a list of excuses why I haven’t had time to update, I’m going to send you straight to a blog I’ve discovered recently that is definitely worth checking out.

I’m ditching the “Blog of the Week” feature I started here a couple months ago. It just wasn’t working for me. But I am going to continue to highlight blogs I find particuarly full of awesome sauce.

So on this fine Friday, I give you Dennis Jansen.

www.dennis-jansen.com

He is a second year law student at the University of Minnesota living in Minneapolis. In his posts you’ll find a hilarious take on what it’s like to be a law student, live with two dogs, and experience everyday culture in the city. His writing is smart, entertaining, and a tad provocative.

I don’t think I could ever go to law school. The thought gives me anxiety, actually. Yet I can still find myself wrapped up in his posts about conversations with professors, library shenanigans, and his interest in tax law. Now, to me, that’s the sign of a good blogger.

I also can’t help but love hearing about his weekends. He’s usually up to something interesting. (Maybe this is a sign I should get out more?)

So go check out his blog or give him some love on Twitter. And let me know if you think his dogs are as cute as I think they are - even if they do destroy his cell phones…

Blogging buddies and looking ahead

It has been about 3 months since I started this blog. I can already say it’s been a great learning experience creatively, technically, and professionally. I can’t wait to keep going.

Yesterday I came across Tim Bursch’s post, Blog Accountability for 2010, which talks about having a partner to hold you accountable for updating your blog. It’s a great idea. How many people have blogs out there that haven’t posted in months? Tons. There are probably so many brilliant ideas just sitting in a draft file waiting to be edited and published but never are because of an excuse to continue putting it off. People have workout partners to help get motivated to hit the gym. This is the blogging version of that. I love blogging, but sometimes I just need a little burst of motivation or help with an idea to get going. Blogging partners help with this by holding you accountable for when you don’t post and encourage you to achieve your goals.

My goal is to end the slacking with my blog. This is why I’ve followed Tim’s lead and rounded up Sydney and Doniree to hold me accountable for when I don’t reach my weekly blog goals. And vice versa. As blogging partners, we’ll act not only as the Post Police, but also as a source for ideas and feedback. I’m very lucky because they are both blog rockstars and I could learn a lot from them. We’ll see how this system works out. I can say that just telling them I want them to keep my blogging butt in gear has already given me a focus for what I want to get done. Hopefully it sticks!

I’ve been reading a lot of goals that people have for their own blogs this year. If you’re one of those people, I wish you all the best in your blogging endeavors. Maybe consider finding a blog buddy of your own? It could make a big difference. We’ll see if it does for me.

Happy 2010 everyone!

Blog of the Week – Sydney Owen: Unfiltered

Sydney OwenThis week I decided to talk about the girl who really got me turned on to blogging in the first place. Though she’s not from Minnesota, she is a close neighbor living in Chicago. And her blog is too good not to share – regardless of where she’s from!

Sydney Owen is the author of Sydney Owen: Unfiltered which I have read religiously for a number of months now. I think what has made her so intriguing to me is that we have a lot of basic things in common. She’s my age, she works in public relations, she loves to network and integrate social media into her personal and professional life.

I first started reading her blog when it was called Sydney Owen: On New Media. Her focus was her documenting her progress towards landing an internship (and then full-time job) in public relations. She was basically doing everything I was trying to do – except better.

Along the way, she wrote about the risks she took, the people she met, and the things she learned that would ultimately lead her to accomplish what she set out to do. It has been really fun to watch her learn and grow through her blog.

After reading her posts for so long, it got to a point where I thought, “Okay, this girl is smart. Why am I not following in her footsteps?” And that’s when I decided I might want to take a stab at blogging myself.

Now that Sydney is working in the big leagues as an Assistant Account Executive at Weber Shandwick in Chicago, her blogging has taken a slightly different focus as well as a whole new name.

On Sydney Owen: Unfiltered, she still writes about some of her original topics (I mean, they’re all still an integral part of her life!), but now she’s taken a more personal approach to her writing. While slightly different, I still love her writing style and getting to know a different side of Sydney.

Sydney is definitely one of those people I can expect to make it big in this industry. I mean, she’s already found herself on a speaking panel at 2010’s SXSW convention in Texas. Not to mention her blog is wildly popular and generates about 500 comments per post (okay maybe not that many – but a lot!). And she’s only 24. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

Her writing is smart, sassy, and innovative. She is full of great insight that someone just starting out can really relate to. That’s why I’d encourage any college student or young professional to follow her blog.

Great posts:

SXSW – My trip to self-discovery – part one

How to: Find a Mentor

From A to B: Part Four – network your face off

Guest post on Pokenology

Me? A guest blogger? Yep, it’s true!

Have you heard of Poken? It’s a small device that captures all of your social sites and contact information. When you want to exchange information with someone, you simply tap your Pokens together and your profiles transfer to each other’s devices. It’s a really nifty tool to have for anyone involved in networking. Check out this video for a demonstration on how it works.

The very fabulous public relations and blogger extraordinaire, Sarah Evans, even listed it as one her must-have tech accessories and products for holiday 2009.

So how does this relate to me?

Well, Poken has started a new blog focused on networking topics called Pokenology. They were in search of people to contribute ideas and when I heard about it I happily volunteered.

My blog post: “Using Social Media as a Starting Point for Networking”

Special thanks to Heather Whaling for giving me the opportunity to participate!