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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

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.

The Web 2.0 Expo experience

When I first found out that the entire Viddler team would be going to San Francisco for the Web 2.0 Expo – I wasn’t sure of what to expect from the Expo. Would it be a social (tshirt and jeans) or more a professional (suit and tie) type of conference? And really, it turned out to be a little bit of both.

The Expo

moscone_expo
The Web 2.0 Expo Floor

The expo floor was filled with companies of all types ranging from large companies like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to smaller more fun companies like Viddler, Zimki, and Piczo. Some people were being very professional and demonstrating some very high-level enterprise applications (which are typically found behind-the-scenes of more social software. ie. Analytics and monitoring systems for server grids). Others were demonstrating their next-generation web service that can take care of all your development needs from coding, to versioning, to deployment all in a social and collaborative way. Each had their pitch, each had something very interesting to offer, and each were trying to make their product/service stand out from the pack.

The sessions that I got to see (which weren’t many since I didn’t have a session pass so I had to sneak into any of the rooms by tossing Hershey Kisses on the floor in front of the badge-checker on the way in) were much more “professional” than the panels I got to see when I was at South by Southwest this year. This isn’t to say that those panels at SXSW were not done in a professional manner, but that the sessions at the Web 2.0 Expo were much less interactive and more a demonstration of some products/services/companies that stood out as doing good work in their various fields.

Web2Open

Chris Messina discusses hAtomic

The Web2Open Mashroom

Running adjacent to the Web 2.0 Expo keynotes and sessions was Web2Open which is a *Camp style event that run in the main corridors on the second floor. Various presentations and discussions given by people that attended and participated in Web2Open were very good. “Minutes” were taken by various people and left on the walls so that if you came late to a particular discussion, you were able to quickly catch up and be part of the conversation. If you didn’t like where the discussion was going you were able to change the topic yourself by suggesting a topic, or – you could literally get up and go into another room where maybe the topic suited you a little better.

The idea of doing Open conferences like this is still very much in beta – and the process is being refined by the attendees each and every time one of these events goes on – but they are definitely much more attractive than any other event that I’ve been to. Simply being able to steer the conversation by simply raising your hand and asking a question lends itself very well to building value for those that attend.

The Viddler team and version 2.0

Viddler had a massive push to finish Q&A and testing on the its latest version of the site and player and managed to fit in many hours of development in order to release version 2.0. There are still a few bugs being worked out as soon as the developers and managers get back home from this trip – but overall the release was a big success and was fairly well received. The roadmap for Viddler is still quite exciting and the entire team is looking forward to the next step. I’ll have some more information about this and will be asking for everyone’s feedback on some of our ideas shortly.

saratoga_cake

We celebrated version 2.0 a little bit early with some champagne and cake. The entire team was staying in Saratoga at our President’s relative’s house. We were so well taken care of that none of us wanted to leave (freshly squeezed orange juice right off the tree every morning makes a man wanna stick around).

Meeting the entire team for the first time was awesome. Working remotely with our team is really great and is actually conducive to getting very good work accomplished without the added expense and overhead of having everyone move to one location and setting up the proper digs for such an effort. However, it was nice to finally spend some time together to get to know each other even better and fit a real personality to the people that I have the privilege of working with everyday.

Harry and I got to work on our commercial together, which has caused a little bit of a stir with some members – which is always good to know that our users are reading our terms of use. We’re looking forward to updating our terms of use to fit more inline with what we really want to be able to do — promote really good video content and display it in an interactive and valuable way.

The Web 2 Party

The moment I got a feel for who was going to be at the Web 2 Expo; namely my friends from Citizen Agency, Ma.gnolia, etc. – I decided I really wanted to have a party with a few companies to help fit the bill to really pull off something nice. I mentioned this to Larry Halff and Chris Messina and I must say – they really took the ball and ran with it especially considering my inexperience in putting something like this together combined with the fact that I’m on the east coast far away from finding out about all of the venues that were available.

Tara (unknown last name) (aka Tara 2.0) came through in a very big way and secured our venue and setup everything we needed go pull off a successful event. Having an “event planner” is really key when you are trying to do one of these events with multiple companies and tons of logistics involved. If you are thinking of doing something like we did – I definitely recommend assigning one experienced person to get everything setup properly.

varnish_party
The party attendees

The party, in my opinion, was a huge success and it seemed like everyone had a really great time. People were lined up outside to get in, we were “at capacity” for the entire duration of the party, and people had to be escorted out of the gallery when the place closed. I had been to a few events at South by Southwest where people leaved early, the bar tab ran out quickly, or where generally not many people showed up. Such was not the scene for the Web 2 Party and we had a great time meeting everyone who came, shooting some video, and had some great discussions.

We’ve been talking about doing something in New York in the Fall so be sure to keep your ear to the ground. We don’t want to let all the west coast peeps have all the fun!

I know I’m speaking for the entire Viddler team when I say that w
e’d like to thank Citizen Agency for helping to coordinate the entire event, and thanks to Ma.gnolia, Scrapblog, JanRain, faberNovel, Facebook, Plasq, and WineLibraryTVfor helping us in throwing the best party during the Web 2.0 Expo. We hope you had as much fun as we all did.

The photos

Here is just a small collection of photos that I took over the course of the week. I didn’t have a lot of time to shoot many photos as I always seemed to be busy recording video, talking at our booth, chatting with friends or just generally preoccupied with other things. I recommend you look at the Viddler Group on Flickr for more photos (oh, if you have photos please put them in the Viddler group) and also watch the Viddler tag on Viddler to see any video that may pop up over the next few days from the Expo.

santaclara_viddler2
Version 2.0 development

Chris Tingom
Chris Tingom

saratoga_house
Viddler Palace

saratoga_lucaszkasper
Lucasz and Kasper

saratoga_oranges
Oranges from Saratoga

saratoga_breakfast
Breakfast meeting

moscone_booth
Viddler booth

Blake Burris
Blake Burris and I

D. Keith Robinson at Varnish

Crazy Keith

Dustin Diaz at Varnish
“Naked” Dustin

Gina Bolton at Varnish
Joyful Jina

The Viddler gang at Ritual Coffee Roasters
The Viddler gang at Ritual Coffee Roasters

Harry Snodgrass
Firecracker Harry

Again I wish that I had more time to take more photos than I did but I’m thankful that friends like Chris Tingom were able to take a bunch of photos during our trip.

So the next time you hear that Viddler is coming to your town or throwing a party in your neighborhood – be sure to give us a shout and come out and drink some of our beerz…

Philadelphia Weblogger Meetup – February 17th

Though this event is split into two parts, the Philadelphia WordPress Meetup and the Philadelphia Webloggers Meetup to me it is all just about blogging and so I sign up for both.

chris-philly-meetup-1457703015249
Chris at Ten Stone Bar – April 15, 2006

This Saturday (February 17th from 2:30pm till about 4pm) I’ll be attending the Philadelphia Webloggers Meetup at Ten Stone Bar & Restaurant. Will you be there?

 

So far Eliza, Mike, and Chris are coming with me. It looks like Rob, Tom, and Marisa are definitely going. Andrea and Jason might be going. And sadly Tony G. can’t make it. Update: Happily Tony G. is able to make it!

And, it appears we’re going to have a fairly full house.

If you are in the Philadelphia area (heck I’m 2 1/2 hours away and I’m still going) and you’d like to meetup with some great people to discuss WordPress, blogging, Viddler, or just sit back and enjoy a beer – sign up to the meetup and we’ll see you there.

Note: You can add this event to your calendar program of choice since this post is marked up using hCalendar. Enjoy.

Note addendum: It appears that the above link won’t work for Outlook users? Not sure why – probably because Outlook sucks? 😉