Menu

Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

Recollecting BlogPhiladelphia

If I had a dime for everytime someone asked me why I lived in Pennsylvania, instead of somewhere not so “behind the times” like Silicon Valley, I’d probably have a free cup of coffee. But this past week’s BlogPhiladelphia unconference flies in the face of the misnomer that Pennsylvania is indeed “behind the times”.

The main problem is; we’re all hiding. In general the entire east coast is overridden by old-world companies that are closed, non-communicative, and local. With more events like BlogPhiladelphia – I think we could start to see some real change in Pennsylvania. I think we’ll start seeing some of these companies start to reach for the open, community-driven successes of their west coast “competitors”.

BlogPhiladelphia was thoroughly enjoyable. Unless you knew it, you’d never guess that this was the first event of its kind (that I know of) that has been held in the Philadephia area. The unconference was well organized, well attended, and properly represented outside of its venue walls.

The sessions of BlogPhiladelphia

Every session on the BlogPhiladelphia schedule seemed to have just the right balance between education and discussion. Each seemed to also hold enough value that it made me wish that I could have attended them all instead of needing to choose between two conflicting sessions.

Each session had a “leader” who acted as the moderator for the discussion topic rather than a lecturer. This worked very nicely for the majority of the topics and each moderator seemed to do a very good job at involving the attendees into the discussion topic. My favorite sessions ended up being those where the leader of them didn’t end up saying a whole lot, but rather steered the conversation in a way that kept with its topic. I think the vast majority of the session leaders did a fantastic job!

The food of BlogPhiladelphia

Pleasantly surprised. That is how I would describe my reaction to the food that was served at BlogPhiladelphia. Breakfast and lunch, for each day, was provided by uwishunu.com, ziddio, and philly.com. Thanks to each of those organizations, and whomever picked the menu, for providing good food rather than what is typically given at some of these types of events which would eventually have you going home holding your stomach.

The after parties!

When I arrived in Philadelphia on Wednesday night I drove straight from my home to the studio offices of P’unk Ave for a pre-party hosted by my new friends Geoff, Alex, and Rick. The P’unk Ave guys are excellent hosts! The pre-party was great and I can’t wait to get back to Philadelphia sometime to spend more time with the P’unk Ave team.

After Thursday’s sessions we were invited by the Radisson-Warwick hotel to the bar in the lobby ( I think it was called Tavern 17? ) for free finger-foods and wine. The wine was actually fairly good (I’d venture a guess that it was some type of Australian Shiraz. Can anyone confirm?) and I wish there was someone there to thank for everything before we headed to the next location.

 

PHOTO ALT

Alex Hillman

 

PHOTO ALT

Marisa and Roz

 

PHOTO ALT

Crazy people!

 

PHOTO ALT

Owen Winkler

 

The party at Triumph Brewing Company. All photos credit Roz.

 

The party moved to the Triumph Brewing Company where, and I think I can speak for everyone that attended, we all had a very good time chatting, playing games, taking photos, and just generally enjoying the company of our fellow attendees. Thanks to Indepedents Hall (Alex Hillman) and anyone else that helped pick up the tab for us all to enjoy ourselves until Triumph closed. If it wasn’t for you I may have remembered Geoff Dimasi of P’unk Ave picking on me all night.

I was unable to attend the final after party on Friday night due to my long drive home. In retrospect I should have stayed for a few hours because all I ended up doing is sitting in traffic. Ugh.

The value of BlogPhiladelphia

Photo descriptionScott McNulty and I

Photo credit: Marisa McClellan

As Chris Conley pointed out in his recap of BlogPhiladelphia, there is much more value than meets the eye with BlogPhildelphia in the relationships and conversations you hold during offtimes of the event and after the event has come and gone. This is something that is true for nearly every event I’ve attended over the last half year with Viddler. The value of these events is in the relationships you build while attending them.

Not that there was not any value in the sessions or discussions that took place during BlogPhiladelphia. To loosely quote several attendees that commented about their experiences: “I’ve learned more in the last 48-hours than I have in the last few years.”.

BlogPhiladelphia was a huge success and was very meaningful for everyone that attended. I’m very happy to have attended and I look forward for the next event in Philadelphia.

BlogPhiladelphia – Day 1

9:00am – Free breakfast always tastes better doesn’t it? I’m sitting at the front most table at BlogPhiladelphia in the Grand Ballroom at the Radisson-Warwick Plaza hotel. Call me the teacher’s pet, but I wanted a good seat.

You can watch my twitter and my flickr for updates throughout the day as well.

Update: Dave Parmet pointed out that there is an official BlogPhiladelphia flickr group so please add all of your photos there.

9:30am – The introductions are complete. We had an introduction to “what an unconference is” for those in the room that have not been to one. And now the first session is beginning. For session information, see this page.

Update: The video of this session is now available.

Update: “I think being too serious can actually drive away readers.” — Joey Sweeney.

Caroline Marks says that Ziddio sees users that end up getting tons of views on Ziddio but not on their own sites. I’m beginning to wonder if there will ever be a market for an open platform for video sharing that does not have a portal site attached to it? Would someone pay for something like that to subsidize that portal? Oh, and Ziddio has cats on their frontpage – must be that Web 3.0 thing.

@BlogPhiladelphia attendee: Students “practice medicine” in SecondLife. Awesome. Would you try to advertise, or network, for your company/blog in SecondLife? Have you? Personally I’m not against it because I’ve read many success stories involving the use of Second Life. I think you go to where the people are, you don’t decide where the people should be.

Request: Anyone in the room have an advil or aspirin or something? Please bring it up to the front table to the guy in the marroon Viddler shirt. I’ll buy ya an open source beer.

Emily King: (quoted loosely) “It takes about a week to get a post out.” — Intelligent Travel. Is this “blogging” if it takes so long and is such a process? She says that she’s working hard to make that much quicker though, so keep pushing Emily!

The backchannels (blogs, twitter, etc) for BlogPhiladelphia must be working – because nearby bloggers are beginning to flock to BlogPhiladelphia. Come on down, and bring Aspirin.

Marisa, of ForkYouTV, hooked me up with some pills! Thanks so much Marisa!

Break time.

11:30am – In the Crystal Ballroom. About 60 people are in here, so far, to listen to the COO Dina Kaplan from Blip.tv. I’ll fill in the details as I have them.

She asked for a few examples of video blogs, one is called PhilaStories. Sounds interesting. She’s giving an overview of Blip and says the number one tip to building an audience is doing “regularly updated content”.

Dina: “The average video blog length is 3-5 minutes.” Setting a specific period of time for each show, and trying to live within that for each episode, will set the bar with viewers to expect a certain amount of time they’ll need to devote to watching it.

“You set the rate” regarding how much you should be able to get for sponsorship of your show. I thought it was amazing that she didn’t know ForkYou when they were mentioned when ForkYou uses Blip to host its raw video files while using Viddler’s flash player. I know Scott and Marisa. I heart ForkYou!

Attendee: “How do you address the questions of the media buyers like: How many rolls of toilet paper will we sell by sponsoring a video blog?” Trial and error. Faith. Instead of going gangbusters, do a trial period. If the results do not pan out, move on.

1:45pm – Lunch was very good. Cheese steaks! Looking forward to the afternoon’s sessions as well as my opportunity to demo Viddler!

Side note: Tonight there will be a sponsored event at a bar (Alex can you give details)? Please see Alex if you, or your company, can donate a few extra dollars towards the open bar. Thanks!

Update: Additional coverage of BlogPhiladelphia can be found everywhere. In podcast form at PhillyTip.com, and John Suder’s blog are two examples. Any others? Put them in the comments please. Oh, and of course – pay close attention to the blogphiladelphia tag on Viddler for video coverage of some of the sessions.

2:30pm – Don Bain from Electric Rain compares the 2d browsing experience with the 3d experience of Second Life. Tens of thousands of people are looking at the same page (Amazon.com) and you wouldn’t know it. In Second Life, you can be with other people looking at the same thing. The avatar is the “personalization”. The person is the cursor. “Navigation” is actual movement. Excellent points.

Thomas Taylor told me that there is now a BlogPhiladelphia wiki so if you can help to document this conference, and don’t have a blog or would rather use this wiki, please do so!

Updating the next day: I was without my laptop for the last 6 hours or so, long story. So I am going to edit this entry even though its already Friday.

Scott McNulty lead a session at the end of the day talking about negative, or bad, comments left on a blog. Opinions about moderation ranged from “delete immediately” to “never delete” comments that are felt as being negative. What are your thoughts on negative comments? Keep them? Ditch them? Ignore them?

At the end of the day we had an OpenGrid where Allen Stern, of the tech blog CenterNetworks, was able to present PreRollr. PreRollr allows you to add ad overlays to videos on your site. Then I was able to do a presentation on Viddler which, went, not so well considering that I didn’t bring the right cabling to hook into the projector here. My boy John Billota came to the rescue with his computer though (thanks John!).

Afterwards the hotel Radisson’s Tavern 17 (I think) invited us down for free wine and food which was a great precursor to an after party at Triumph Brewing Company. Thanks to all that chipped in (I’ll get a full list from Alex and update) and letting us
eat and drink for free until the bar closed.