Category Archives: blogorlando

blogorlando 2007: I hope I can sneak in…

blogorlandoOK, so after talking up blogorlando 2007 to every blogger (and some sponsors) I could find in the area, I find myself locked out of registration. My bad for waiting too long to make my attendance official. It’s scheduled for this Thu-Sat, Sept. 27-29, at Rollins College (with bookend social events at Universal CityWalk and Disney/EPCOT). Well, I’m coming anyway and hope to just blend in like the zombie kid at a turtle-lovers convention.

I attended blogorlando 2006 and came away impressed by its “unconference” feel — very free-wheeling and in-the-trenches informative. This year’s schedule is even better with a keynote from Shel Israel and jam-packed session tracks for PR/Marketing, Media, Technical and Life/Local.

Kudos to blogorlando organizer Josh Hallett (Hyku) and I’m really pumped that one of my portfolio companies (PayPerPost) is sponsoring such a great event. If you already knew about and registered for blogorlando, I hope to see you there. If you’re interested but not registered, maybe we can storm the gates together — assuming there are no tazers around…

Related images: blogorlando, rollins college, shel israel, josh hallett, universal citywalk, disney epcot

blogorlando — Partial Recap

I was asked by some to summarize my experiences at blogorlando. Unfortunately, I was closing an investment the same day so my observations are limited. I’d welcome and appreciate sharing from others.

I will start with some kudos for blogorlando sponsors:
Hyku organized, co-hosted the event;
Rollins College for helping host the event;
Blogzerk for providing the domain name (and schwag); and
Jeremy Harrington for the logo design.

The three sessions that didn’t lose me to urgent deal-closing items were Legal Issues, Off the Record and Media Blogs.

The Legal Issues session, led by Andrea Weckerle highlighted a number of questions facing bloggers, from copyright infringement, to parodies, to even Polk county, FL enforcers going after web publishers regardless of geography. My key takeaway is that few issues are black-and-white. Whether something is infringement or fair use has a lot to do with the context of that use. A claim of parody can shield many questionable references, but some obvious flameblogs have taken that excuse too far.

A nuance I haven’t face yet is how comments play into liability. This seemed particularly important to the corporate bloggers in the room, but it applies to everyone. The basic question is “if a comment creates liability, is the blog publisher liable?” As with most of these questions, I heard a bunch of “it depends”. However, there did seem to be a bright line between purely arms-length third-party comments versus those that are prompted, endorsed and/or embellished by the publisher. For example, saying “I agree with commenter X, Sponge Bob Squarepants does purposely promote devil-worship and the creator did steal the entire show from my grandmother” probably gets closer to the publisher-liable line. Comment moderation adds a twist of complexity because allowing a comment to publish could have implications as it relates to DMCA safe-harbors for service providers that are not editors.

The Off the Record session, led by Josh Hallett went better than expected, with plenty of lively conversation. Anytime you start a session with “let’s talk about the things nobody likes to talk about”, there is a risk the whole session will be a dud. I shouldn’t share too much here, but I think one discussion is worth relaying without attribution: the stalker discussion. It was an eye-opener for any blogger who has wondered about how much/little to share their family/kids via their blogs. At least one blogger in attendance had to be careful about stalking ex-husbands, while others shared an open-book policy regarding their family. This is a very personal decision, based upon style, trust, paranoia and audience. One thing that is clear is that public blog posts are NOT a private conversation with a small circle of readers — they become the very fabric of the web, found by plenty of people you don’t know and may not want to know.

The Media Blog session, led by John Cutter of the Orlando Sentinel was pretty interesting, because John wears the hats of both professional journalist and blogger. He shared that the Orlando Sentinel now has 26 blogs, including tips, political, crime and entertainment topics to name a few. Although they launched blogs as an attempt to get more involved with their readers, they’re surprised at how few comments they get. The traffic impact has been substantial, resulting in 70% growth in uniques to their site since launching blogs. I asked about how they measure success (and/or justify additional expense/marketing for blogs) and it sounded like there isn’t a lot of science behind their efforts yet. They focus on enjoyment (bloggers and audience), news tips, story ideas and customer loyalty. On the whole, it was an informative session and blogging (and participating in conferences like this) really does present a more friendly, cooperative face from the newsroom.

So there you have it, only a few sessions for me, but well worth the time. It sounds like I missed some really fun debates earlier in the day — read some other recaps here. I look forward to similar events across the state and comments from others in attendance.

[NOTE: please join the FVB Community and leave comments so we can all start putting some faces to names…thx!]

blogorlando — I’ll Be There!

I’m attending the blogorlando “unconference” tomorrow afternoon and hope to see ya there. They’ve got a nice schedule , blog and multiple sessions planned:

Corporate Blogging

LeadersDave Coustan

Can a corporation blog? Each day more corporations are entering the blogosphere, some get it right, others get it way wrong. As users/consumers/bloggers what do you want to hear from corporations? Session leader Dave Coustan is the corporate blogger for Earthlink. It’s his job to represent a company in the blog world, so he can provide the perspective of the suits (although Dave doesn’t wear suits).


LeadersTommy Duncan & Joey Marchy

Can bloggers cover communities more effectively than traditional media? Two Florida bloggers that run local blogs will lead the discussion. Tommy Duncan, of Sticks of Fire, is ‘the’ Tampa blog maestro. Tommy has scooped both local papers in the market and has a number of local bloggers contributing to the site. In Jacksonville, Joey Marchy runs Urban Jacksonville, a blog the focuses only on a few neighborhoods, providing content that might otherwise be overlooked.

Legal Issues

LeaderAndrea Weckerle

Libel, slander…..what are the legal issues facing bloggers? We’ll discuss a variety of topics.

Media Blogs

LeaderJohn Cutter

John is a Senior Editor at the Orlando Sentinel and oversees the Crime Blog, as well as posting frequently on the Hurricane Blog and Space Blog during shuttle launches. Using an overused phrase, John is a reporter that ‘Get’s It’ when it comes to blogs. John will talk briefly about how the Sentinel approaches blogging and then engage the audience. What do you want from a newspaper blog? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong?


LeaderBob O’Malley

There is a hotly contested Florida gubernatorial race and a number of critical local races…which candidates are blogging (or being blogged about). How have blogs impacted local and national politics? Working in public affairs and running a popular personal blog allows Bob to bridge the gap between politics and blogs.

Public Relations and Blogs

LeaderDavid Parmet

How can public relations practitioners work with the blogosphere? Those that are doing it right have found a tremendous benefit in communicating directly with their customers via blogs. Unfortunately though, some in the industry have not done it right and we all live with the consequences. PR/social media good-guy, David Parmet, will lead this discussion. It might just be PR people in the room, or perhaps we’ll have a mixture of bloggers & PR folks and have a conversation about the relationship between PR and blogs.

Off the Record

LeaderJosh Hallett

This session will be an experiment. We’ll turn off our laptops and other recording devices and talk off the record about things we can’t blog about. For example have you ever started a post and then said, “I can’t post this”. Sometimes it’s emotional, other times it’s job security. You know you’ve been dying to get it off your chest. Now is your chance. This might be the best session, or the worst…we’ll see.


LeadersAndrew Odom & Mark Jaquith

What blogging platform do you use? Why? What other tools help you blog? Flickr, Evoca, Qumana? This sharing session well expose best practices and tips & tricks that can benefit everyone.

Video Blogging

LeaderVlad Mazek

How hard is it to create a video blog? What are the strengths and limitations of the medium? We’ll look to discuss all these issues.

Where Is This All Going?

LeadersChris Heuer and Josh Hallett

Simple question, difficult answer. We’ll conclude the day by looking forward. What impact will social media have on society. How can it be used to for benefit?

Women Blogging

Leader – TBD

Silent minority or vocal majority? Blogs have empowered women to connect and speak about issues in powreful new way. Just look at BlogHer as an example. We’ll be posting more details about this session shortly.
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