Months of brainstorming, organizing and rejigging what was organized came to a head this afternoon when the first Bloggin’ Okanagan mini conference unfolded at the Kelowna Art Gallery.
Some 65 bloggers and aspiring bloggers gathered together, surrounded by colourful works of art, to explore the phenomenon of blogging, its value and how to make it mean something to them and to their readers.
Our all-girl panel (we’ll see if we can mix it up a bit next year) was made up of Kerry Taylor, Susan Knight, Lisa Redl, Lori Welbourne and Cherie Hanson, whose experience varies from blogging instructor to social media guru to multimedia bloggers to landing a book deal the first year running (click on their names to visit their respective blogs and find out who’s who).
Topics of discussion ran the gamut from why blogging is becoming so popular – we especially loved Kerry’s answer that it makes her feel like she’s not living in the middle of no where surrounded by organically reared cows – to what kind of businesses can benefit (any can, as long as they’re consistent with posting) and tips for gathering a following of readers.
But perhaps the best part of the two-hour session was the networking portion that followed the hour-and-a-quarter panel discussion. Those who stayed exchanged names and cards, asked some excellent questions and sipped on coffee from giObean Esspresso.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I left the event feeling inspired and motivated, and excited that there are at least 64 other bloggers out there interested in stepping away from the computer for a little bit to mingle in real time.
And so, plans for Bloggin’ Okanagan 2011 are already under way. Watch this space (and/or @BlogginOkanagan on Twitter) for more information. And if you have ideas you’d like to see for our second year, don’t be shy about emailing, or leaving a comment below.
In the mean time, we collected a small list of blogger addresses to put into a data bank. Check them out below. If we missed you, feel free to add yours in the comment section. Down the road, we’ll make a page for them.
– Words by Lori-Anne Poirier, photos by Kyle Poirier