I woke up on Day two of the Mom 2.0 Summit with a lot of anticipation: The morning keynote was promising to be a pretty inspirational, informative one. And boy, did it deliver: The panelists, Stephanie Smirnov, Heather Armstrong, Maggie Mason and Gabrielle Blair are, almost without argument, the most financially successful women bloggers on the Internet.
They discussed where the marriage between marketing and blogging is going – all three believe intelligent, sensible partnerships between organizations who understand the artfulness of blogging and, well, artful blogs, is the wave of the future. (Gabby, in particular, showed some great examples of matching some well-known blogs with some major corporations, and some hilarious illustrations about how some seemingly-obvious partnerships could fail miserably without a bit of forethought.) Unlike previous keynote addresses, I found these superstars to be incredibly accessible and generous with their advice – it was like listening to good counsel from old friends.
After taking a break to photograph some good friends (including Heather Barmore, Mir Kamin and Loralee Choate), it was time to grab a bit of lunch – and also show off my brand new camera bag by Texan entrepreneur Maile Wilson: Her new line of Epiphanie bags, which are designed to look like designer handbags, were a huge hit at the conference. I predict a lot of success in her company’s future!
Finally, it was time for my panel to take the stage. I was honored to join Rob Morhaim of Deca TV, Rebecca Woolf, and our moderator, the fabulous Leah Peterson, to discuss how to enhance your Web site using video, photography and art online. We are all so passionate about what we do, and I think it showed: The audience came up with great questions, including the risks of losing a certain amount of privacy by publishing photographs of your family, some tips and tricks to enhancing photographs and videos, and even where to get good royalty-free background music for videography.
On a personal note, I found it the best kind of panel to participate on: One where I’m not just helping to teach and share my own experiences, but I’m also learning so much from my co-panelists and the audience members, as well. It was a great, lively discussion.
Immediately after my panel, I raced to the session on “Creating Experiences by Combining Online and Offline Campaigns for Maximum Impact and Results,” which was led by Rachael Herrscher, Jyl Johnson Pattee, Allison Cznarnecki and the inimitable Jenny Lawson. This session began with a bit of a surprise: The elegant mayor of Martindale, Texas, Lorain Harrison, warmly welcomed the attendees, and then preceded to proclaim Jenny Lawson Martindale's “Czar of Nothingness,” empowered to make “Something out of Nothing.”
After the conference of power (which, included, naturally, a tiara and a scepter), Jenny explained how this had come to be: She had errantly been entered into an online contest by one of her readers as a leader of “government,” and after receiving a majority of the votes in the contest by the public, the contest organizers realized their mistake, and summarily disqualified her from the contest.
Jenny, understandably miffed, decided to become a member of government: She contacted the mayor of Martindale (who happened to be the mother of one of her closest friends), and after short discussion, the Czarship was formed – thus also bringing a lot of fame and popularity to the small town of Martindale. It was a great illustration and introduction to the panel on how using an online voice can bring real-life results.
The panel continued by discussing the ways in which panelists (and, indeed, attendees) had used their voices to effect powerful benefits to charities and other organizations, and included informative tips on how we can all use our online presences to make the world a better place. And despite the undeniably adorable (but somewhat distracting) child of one of the attendees crawling around on the stage with the panelists as they spoke, it remained one of the most entertaining and informative panels of the Summit.
Soon after this, the Summit ended, and several of us stole up to the poolside bar to relax and share refreshments (and I grabbed a few more photographs of some more attendees, including Leah Peterson, Jon of Daddy Scratches and Susan Wagner). As the evening drew to a close, I couldn’t help but marvel at really how successful the Summit was: and how, from speaking with the conference-goers (and following the twitter stream), the message of “What we’re doing matters” was really driven home.
I can’t wait for Mom 2.0 Summit 2011.
Karen Walrond is a writer, photographer and the creative mind behind Chookooloonks.com. Her book, The Beauty of Different, will be published this fall by Bright Sky Press.