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BlogNashville: Seen & Heard

Going to this conference called BlogNashville was very much like going to a high school reunion to me.

I hadn’t seen these people in years (I mean ever!… aside from a 2×2 square headshot on the websites of some). Yet we had this one unique thing in common: Blogging.

The craziest thing is the fact that I felt like I had to go on crash diet to lose 20 lbs. before spending an evening with these people (just like at a reunion). Of course, I didn’t. And of course, I should have ( after seeing myself in the background of everyone else’s photos that have been posted about the Conference all over the Internet).

Still, I must say, that the conference was a blast. And we are honored to be included in this circle of prestigious locals and nationally-recognized Bloggers.


The Future Of Blogging

More than ever it is evident that, as a group, Bloggers are actively changing the social structure of towns across America, and Internet media as a whole.

It’s true. You would not believe the impact that Bloggers have on their local communities via their words typed daily and their actions lived nightly.

And many Bloggers, who really have their act together, are taking this whole Blogging thing very seriously and using their “power of influence” to affect change in how the news is reported on a day-to-day basis.

Done right, this group has the power to make a huge impact on the direction that “mainstream media” is headed! (…You mark my words.)

I realize that I’m probably the very last person on Earth left to comment on this past weekend’s national Blogging conference held on the Belmont campus in Nashville, Tennessee.

Our nametags from BlogNashville. But, in keeping with our style here at The FUN Times Guide, here is my FUN perspective of the Nashville Blogger conference

A delightfully refreshing view of Blog Nashville and the many people that were there…


Things Seen And Heard At Blog Nashville

Belmont University logo from the cover of the folders we were handed out.

Amidst the photos that we took at the conference, the following phrases were overheard at (or in writings about) Blog Nashville.


There Were Distinguished Guests…

Distinguished panelists from L to R: J.D. Lasica of San Francisco's Our Media is photographing Glenn Reynolds, nationally-known as the Instapundit blogger from Knoxville, TN, and Linda Seebach of Denver Colorodo's Rocky Mountain News. “…Bloggers are “content producers” and “web producers.” (as opposed to “writers” and “webmasters”)
— overheard at Friday’s Blogging/Journalism Panel in reference to the fact that blogging is becoming a respected form of journalism)

Distinguished panelists from L to R: Mike Cutler of News Channel 5, Liz Garrigan of The Nashville Scene, and Bill Hobbs, long-time blogger and co-organizer of this event.


“…The old media are in trouble. They have the demographics of Matlock.”
— overheard at the conference by Andy Wibbels

Mike Cutler Channel 5 news director in Nashville, Tennessee. As a representative of 'the mainstream media' he ended up getting bashed by many bloggers. Which was unfortunate, because he admitted that he was there to LEARN about blogging and the role that Channel 5 could play in this new form of media.


“…Bloggers are leading the personal media revolution.”
— overheard at Friday’s Blogging/Journalism Panel


Glenn Reynolds being filmed by Tara Sue Grubb in a session on 'Making Money with your Blog'. You can almost see him typing this quote at the very moment that this photo was taken!


“…So far it’s a success — but I’ll start talking soon, and then things will probably go downhill.”
Glenn Reynolds

Liz Garrigan represents the liberal media. She is editor of The Nashville Scene, and she also oversees the Scene's popular 'Pith In The Wind' blog.


“…Blogging IS journalism… it is “informed opinion”, not just commentary… it has been researched and has links to referenced support material.”
— overheard at Friday’s Blogging/Journalism Panel



There Were Bloggers…

“…The place was bustling with bloggers of all types.”
Jill Presley

A common sight at the conference was this: bloggers blogging... rather than listening to what the session host and fellow bloggers actually had to say. Most were in a 'race' to see who could post the best summary of each session AS it happened, or immediately after.


“…A great many people (myself included) travelled to be at BlogNashville, and they spent the time looking at their screens, rather than the people around them.”
Adam Shostack

An example of the many hi-tech wi-fi gadgets see in and around the Bloggers conference this weekend. Many were actively blogging on their laptops WHILE snapping photos with their camera phones or digital cameras WHILE tapping into the 'live' stream of other sessions that were going on at the same time. Some were even podcasting - audio recording - the entire thing to post on their blog later.


“…There was a complex feedback system while the conference was happening that extended from “near real-time” to the following day and later.”
— Tim Schmoyer

There were Cowboys... After all, it took place in Nashville!


“…The attendance is dominated by middle-aged white guys. Maybe I can make it to BlogHerCon.”
— Andy Wibbels


A very connected solo blogger. And see... there were girls!


“…Single Girls Plz.”
— Mr. Roboto


Rex Hammock soaking it all in at the Blogger conference in Nashville.


“…A lot of light bulbs went off when 300-plus bloggers met up in Tennessee.”
Mark Glaser


In the early (heyday) of blogging, I built websites and consulted on marketing and editorial strategy for bloggers and entrepreneurs. During this time, I designed the original brand and website for Media Bloggers Association, the world’s largest advocacy organization for bloggers. I also helped to plan the organization’s highly-successful BlogNashville conference, including the development of a web-based aggregation tool that garnered national media attention from PBS and others. —Jason Clarke


There Were Parties…

Wolfy's Den inside the GEC - Gaylord Entertainment Center - was the site of the Welcome Party for BlogNashville.“…People were antsy to get to The Official BlogNashville Welcome Party.”
— Brittney

The 'She Said What' girls with Mr. Roboto at the Welcome Party.


“…Who knew that blogging about nightlife and entertainment would become to our culture what polyester was to the ’70’s?”
Jill Presley

MMMikey and Tall Paul put on a GREAT show at Wolfy's Den inside the GEC. Thanks guys!


“…Bloggers are the garage bands of the Internet.”
— overheard at Henry Copeland’s session by Glenn Reynolds


A note to Nashville bloggers: The Friday night party is open to you and your friends, as well as those A-List bloggers coming from out-of-town. If you’re a blogger from Nashville or Tennessee or anywhere you can read this, we’re trying to make the non-sessions as unserious and fun as possible. In fact, if you’re a blogger and you don’t want to go to the sessions, but still want an excuse to come to Nashville during the most beautiful time of year, here’s your chance, look no further. Be there. This is one party you won’t just want to read about on blogs later.
Rex Hammock

Candace Corrigan talking to Joe Lance at the happy hour party at PM's in Nashville. In the background: Dave Winer and his table filled with fellow hosts, panelists, and otherwise 'connected' bloggers.


There Were Famous People…

“…He’s a larger-than-life guy. (in reference to John Jay Hooker)
Les Jones

Glenn Reynolds, arguably the most famous blogger in the world, known as the Instapundit.


“…Now, meet your leader. Glenn Reynolds is, as the New York Post’s John Podhoretz wrote last month, the ‘acknowledged king of the bloggers.'”
— Roger Abramson

Dave Winer invented the technology behind RSS feeds. No, not in the same way that Al Gore invented the Internet...


“…BlogNashville sessions are modeled after Dave Winer‘s popular and influential BloggerCon series of events held in recent years.”
— B.L. Ochman


“…It was a rather surreal moment that I was able to catch on camera — John Jay Hooker reading the U.S. Constitution to a couple of bloggers inside a gay bar.”
— Eric Janssen

Tara Sue Grubb filming Brendan Greeley, host of the audio blogging and podcasting session.


“…apparently she’s a web-celeb!”
— Tim Schmoyer



There Was Friendly Discussion…

Evan Erwin discussing his personal dilemma regarding Herb Newton Nissan. “…I’m sitting in Dan Gilmore‘s Citizen Media session, where we’ve thoroughly discussed my Herb Newton Nissan issue. We had a lot of great discussions about what is and is not acceptable, and most said I’m just waiting to get sued.”
— Evan Erwin

Henry Copeland and Mike Kelley in the 'How to Make Money with Your Blog' session, led by Henry.


“…When you have a room full of people who are bloggers, basically people who want their opinion out there, you really can’t get a word in edgewise.”
Mike Kelley

Hoder led an interesting discussion on creating new blogospheres.


“…A blogger has ALWAYS got something to say… but give him a microphone and all you hear is blah, blah, blah, blah!”
— overheard between sessions on Saturday

Brendan Greeley leading a session on audio blogging and podcasting.


“…Blogging is a form of branded entertainment.”
— overheard at Friday’s Blogging/Journalism Panel


J.D. Lasica discussing the future of audio and video blogging.


“…I think that within a year or so we’ll see videobloggers beginning to compete with television news operations — especially local television news operations — in quite a few places.”
— J.D. Lasica

A man with many questions...


Personal note: I can’t remember who this guy is, but he asked some of the most in-depth questions in each and every session he attended.


There Was Controversy…

“…It was like Jerry Springer except everyone had their teeth.” (a reference to the session entitled, “A Respectful Disagreement” which was moderated by Dave Winer)
— Brittney

Stan Brown dialoguing with the panelists about the credibility of bloggers and blogging as a valid form of media at Friday night's session.


“…I just wanted to roll my eyes, throw up my hands in surrender and have this ‘train wreck’ come to a quick and merciful end.”
Stan Brown


“…You can’t call a son of a bitch a son of a bitch without calling a man a son of a bitch.”
— John Jay Hooker as quoted by B.L. Ochman


“…Dave did exactly what I had hoped when I invited him to lead the session. I expected that Dave would provoke the most exciting, memorable session of the entire weekend and he delivered – in spades.”
— Bob Cox


It Made The Local News…
Every action, and reaction, was being recorded and documented on film.


There was a Tennessean article entitled “Bloggers: We Can Help Media”.


It Made The National News…

An independent film crew wasn on hand filming their documentary about blogging. The Associated Press ran an article entitled “Pajama Party? Bloggers Meet in National Confab”.

Film crew working on a documentary about bloggers. There was even a Documentary on Blogging that came out of BlogNashville!


I Couldn’t Have Said It Better…
We liked this guy's t-shirt which said: 'I'm blogging this'. Ours are on order from ThinkGeek.com

“…It was a hoot, or a waste of time.”
— Joe Lance


“…Two recurring themes of BlogNashville were making money, and video.”
Glenn Reynolds (via Rex Hammock)

Michael Kelley continuing the blog discussion at PM's for happy hour.


“…I’m also wondering why none of the “big” blogging companies didn’t attend?” (in reference to SixApart, WordPress, and Blogger)
Mike Kelley


“…Re-fueled and ready to raise the bar.”
— Joe Lance

Mr. Roboto photographing the band, Tall Paul and MMMikey.


“…Nothing I learned at BlogNashville was as good as this: ‘How to Blog,’ by Tony Pierce.
— Mr. Roboto


Blog Nashville… Summarized

Bob Cox talking with Jim at the Welcome Party Friday night. Thanks to Bob Cox and Bill Hobbs, who organized this whole conference!

Bill Hobbs, one of the distinguished members of the panel on Journaling and Blogging -- Friday night.

These are my favorite photos from Blog Nashville.


A Word About Bloggers As Reporters…

Lately I’ve been noticing more of this… and I have to say that I appreciate it when today’s Bloggers get some respect for their candid and uncensored writing of the “facts” (as they know them to be) and their ability to “call it as they see it” — without the restraint of corporate higher-ups or current-slash-potential advertisers swaying their opinions and ultimately the words they write.

Here’s a great article from Slate about this subject. It’s titled, “What Can Bloggers Do That Reporters Can’t?… And Vice Versa“.

And another, from the same author — Slate‘s editor in charge — called, “Don’t Fear The Blogger” which was in response to David Shaw of the Los Angeles Times’ article: “Do Bloggers Deserve Basic Journalistic Protections?