social media reviewsSetting aside the budget to go to a conference like BlogWorld and New Media Expo can be a big decision for a solo brand, a small business or a department head. It’s important to get a sense of where your money’s going, and more importantly, where the return on investment is.

I was tasked to write about this mega social media conference. Here are 6 specific things that I took away from BlogWorld 2010.

#1: I discovered geocaching

At one point or another we’re all victims of complacency, if we’re being honest. BlogWorld is where I discovered geocaching, via Julie Henning.

Geocaching is where people all over the world hide things (caches) and use a GPS app that lets searchers find them. Yes, you heard me right; it’s a WORLDWIDE never-ending scavenger hunt. And I uncovered a geocache in Las Vegas while attending the event. Had I not attended, I would have never even known about this craze that has 4 million participants. Watch this video for more info:

Quick and dirty Geocaching lesson…on the house!

#2: The sessions are great, but the networking is GOLD

Scott “The NameTag Guy” was my personal favorite session, and not because he let me videotape him pretending to be a pro-wrestler either (or that he gave me a free book).

Lewis Howes delivered in his panel discussion, as usual. Adria Richards gave great tips on how to use social media for your next job search, and the keynote by Scott Stratten was awesome.

With all that being said, I’ll never forget the post-BlogWorld party at Darren Rowse’s place, where Allison Boyer, Shannon Smith and Chris Ducker discussed the nuances of pronouncing the word “apricot.”

Or the lunch with Mike Stenger, Jordan Cooper, Allison Boyer, Jamie Tardy and Oleg MokHov, where we discussed the definition of viral and what true engagement is.

The first night with Amy Schmittauer, Sammy Hammons and Scott Robinson is going down in the history books as the most walking done by any human being ever, and Amy Schmittauer’s awkward introduction to both Scott Stratten and Jay Baer won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Social media will never replace the human experience. I got really close to about 6 people in the span of 72 hours and I don’t think any of us will forget each other. This is what we strive for when we’re tweeting back and forth. These are the conversations that we want to have when we comment on each other’s blogs. BlogWorld reminds us of the true purpose of social media, and that’s to eventually advance the conversation offline and build relationships.

#3: Connecting with people, not profiles

Scott Robinson and I might have spent 10 hours together over the course of the conference. We spent maybe 15 minutes actually talking about what we do—and that was at the closing party. Too often, we get caught in the act of engaging for a business purpose and forget that what we really want is to create “know, like and trust.”

nate riggs

Ask Nate about his karaoke skills…

Sitting at the Social Media Examiner breakfast, I got to have an amazing conversation about power and influence with Mike Stelzner that encouraged me to accelerate a project I’m working on. I had one of the most reckless conversations with Amy Porterfield, Gina Onativia, Katherine Salt and Rich Brooks about everything from stealing great ideas to the concept of a “play cousin.” No business, just people.

Again and again I got to learn about people, not business representatives, and for that reason I felt like I had the time of my life nonstop for 3 days straight. In the process of that I may have made some nice business contacts, but I definitely made some new friends, and that’ll take me much farther than business info in a CRM will ever do.

#4: Expanding your network quickly

I met people who hailed from Gainesville, Florida, to local folks right from Las Vegas itself. I met Katherine Salt, an awesome lingerie store owner from Jersey (a small island off the coast of England) and Chris Ducker, a man who disagrees with my pronunciation of the word “apricot,” who was about to travel to Columbia via a brand-new—and possibly dangerous—airline at 3 am.

It didn’t really hit me until I got back to my room on Monday morning. I just went global.

Forget the Internet; BlogWorld is a literal phrase. I was amazed at the range of people, countries and especially accents that I encountered. I’m pretty sure I now have a lunch date if I’m ever in 20 or so countries around the world. Something like this could take years to build, but one conference in Vegas created that in a weekend.

#5: Scott Stratten

unmarketing book

Memories: Worth the price of admission…

Yes, his keynote speech was amazing. His banter was consistently hilarious. And he made the phrase, “What happens in Vegas, stays on Twitter” a top tweet for 3 straight days on the #bwe10 hashtag. But my calling Scott “Steve” twice to his face within 5 minutes of each other was one of my best memories.

The “cool kids” of social media are regular people just like us. BlogWorld gives us a chance to make an impression on them the way they make an impression on us daily. You don’t get to just “meet people” at a place like BlogWorld. You get to have experiences and collect stories.

Imagine how much fun Amy Schmittauer is going to have telling the story of her Scott Stratten book cover, signed by “Scott Steve Stratten” over the next few weeks. Better than any blog post comment could ever do.

#6: Content avalanche

I’ve written down about 20 blog post ideas in 24 hours.

The conversations at BlogWorld don’t just build relationships, they build content. Discussing Jamie Tardy’s goals led to a blog idea about the evolution of a millionaire mindset. Debating the definition of viral with Jordan Cooper led to another post, as did our discussion about what engagement works and what doesn’t.

Amy Schmittauer and I shot videos of me having a complete #fail test-driving a new 2011 Ford Mustang (I hadn’t driven stickshift in a while…just imagine it). This led to a blog post about committing to learn something new and doing something that may scare you.

If you don’t have an editorial calendar before BlogWorld, you will afterwards. Discussing the lives, dreams, experiences and businesses of the top thought leaders can only lead to ingenuity and growth.

Like I posted recently, our content doesn’t only come from us. If you have writer’s block, then you haven’t talked to enough people; you haven’t read enough posts (thanks, Scott “The NameTag Guy”).

scott the name tag guy

Pictured: Dedication personified.

For me, BlogWorld started as a reckless spur-of-the-moment decision (Woo, Vegas!) and ended up being one of the turning points of my business. From Lucy Thompson validating the name of our new blog, “Super Villain Strategy”, to walking for a full fortnight on the floor of the Luxor and Mandalay Bay, to some of the most unexpectedly talented karaoke singers I’ve ever heard, BlogWorld is more than a conference, it’s an experience that can change everything.

In addition to those I mentioned, I want to thank Tanya Chadha (I know you rigged that contest for me), Michael Vallez (Crazy Mike!), the BlackBerry Team (People stared at my t-shirt all night long—I felt like a victim. New rule: no shirts with paragraphs on your chest… not one person looked me in the eye).

Naomi Trower and Kristi Hines (Thank you for having lunch with me, those playing cards are awesome!), Bill Rice (The smarter half of my discussion with Mike), Lori M. (One of the first quotes on my stream, thank you), Tiffany James (For making me get an IPad… eventually), Amber Osborne (Sorry I couldn’t be your back-up rapper, but you got your karaoke on; maybe next time).

Matt Simpson (Great pitch, even with all of the noise!), the Kodak Team (You’re awesome, next time we’ll do lunch on your break. I’d still love to win a Zi8…HINT!), Jason, AKA “Blog Luvr” (we’ll have to connect another time), and finally Cindy King (You are truly a sweetheart. I smile every time we speak). You all MADE BlogWorld no matter who put the event on. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.

Anybody up for a trip to South By Southwest? I wonder if Steve will be there.

Every person highlighted in this article was a delight to be around. In my opinion, you should connect with as many of them as possible. I promise you won’t be sorry.

What was your favorite BlogWorld moment? I know I wasn’t the only one who had fun! Share your comments in the box below.

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  • Networking is probably the most important thing I would did if I was there.because you have to be apart of the big crowd if you are looking to grow you own audience..meeting new people is allays the best thing to do.

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  • That’s an interesting thought, I find that I do much better with smaller crowds and one on one opportunity…I think my sarcastic tone fails epicly in large groups.

    Thanks for commenting Coleman!

  • Nice summary Elijah! Glad you enjoyed our breakfast chat

  • Isn’t great when someone could give exactly the reasons why we should go for that field? Blogging, is a one great place to express everything inside of you. And all reasons is in this post. It’s really great.

  • This makes me remember my old times when I was active in japanese animation groups and I regularly met others at conventions around Italy, always nice to put a face behind the names and hang out and share your interests on things that goes beyond the main topic.
    I really can see your point here.

  • For me it was a bit of a gamble going to Blogworld all the way from little Jersey in the UK. I’d just finished my job 2 weeks before and was a bit apprehensive. I had no need, Blogworld was a fantastic combination of realising I was doing the right thing, giving the tools to help me do it and introducing me to some great like minded people, an instant support network. I especially enjoyed the chat with Chris Baccus @cbaccus about seeing if I could become the mayor of the whole island of Jersey on Foursquare. Not started on that challenge yet!

  • the conference really sounds great and being present in such events helps a lot , i did like what you wrote and i found the points interesting so thank you

  • I ran into the “basement” syndrome alot when i was starting companies a few years back…you can’t understand how much value there is in just getting around new people in your industry.

    Thanks Gabriele, I appreciate your comment.

  • Thanks again, that project has already begun and is making headway.

  • Elijah,

    thanks for the shout out and it was a pleasure to meet you at blogworld. I have added you as a contact on Linkedin.

    Look forward to hearing from you again.



  • Abidramay

    love the Geocaching idea .. lolzz
    and i would agree … networking is gold

  • Crazy Mike! I’ll connect with you there definitely. Thank you for adding to the experience!

  • Great summary, and it was nice meeting you too at Blog World! The networking alone was definitely worth the trip, and the education was icing on the cake!

  • isn’t it cool, I’d like to take a national road trip and geocache all the way…that would be awesome!

  • Was so awesome meeting you Elijah. Funny how you can go from connecting with someone on Twitter a week before an event, then meeting them for the first time at 2AM at a McDonald’s inside of a hotel 🙂

    The story about Amy getting UnMarketing signed is hilarious! Also, I’ll be at SXSW so will see you there

  • I +1 that wholeheartedly

  • as ridiculous as that sounds…it turned out well. Glad to have met you, and glad you do video, you’re already ready for what I’m planning…

  • You know where to find me.

  • That Guy Deuce

    Thanks for the mentions, E. Definitely, much deeper value in a fully engaged experience than just the surface level business-only approach… couldn’t agree more. Great write-up! Shout-outs to the Cbus crew

  • Hey Man!!!Thanks for the mention… Was awesome meeting you there, too!Hey – my Twitter ID is actually chriscducker – middle initial missing in one linked above. Just a quick FYI.Lets hook up on Skype sometime and chat. Also, have a great idea on a Guest Post for your blog, too.Let me know if you’re open to the idea…Cheers,C

  • Elijah,
    I enjoyed reading your post and am disappointed we did not meet. NOW I know you from your post. I am still posting about the magic of Blogworld myself – even in traveling around the country this year, it was THE best use of time and most awesome people all together in one place. I recommend it to everyone who blogs or plans to. I agree with you about your point #2, about the Scotts (Stratten and Nametag Guy) and was thrilled to finally meet Mike Stelzner, Cindy King, and others in person.

  • Sounds like a great event! I’m now considering events like this, so it’s great to read how much you got out of it.

  • I’m really disappointed about missing this BlogWorld, I have every intention of going to the next big blog expo the next chance I get. I’ve learned from previous expos that the networking alone is worth it, all of it.

  • KK

    Sounds like y’all had a great weekend! This is the second time I’ve seen a photo of someone’s UnMarketing Book signed by Scott (or is it Steve?) Stratton. (The other was on Cori “Big Girl Branding” Padgett’s blog.) He must really be an impressionable person~ … how do you say “apricot”?

  • I had the best time at BWE!! Loads of familiar names there, I’m sure I’ll be running into them again soon 🙂

  • Hi Elijah! Putting names, faces and VOICES to everyone that I’ve interacted with on social media was truly the best part for me. I also enjoyed meeting you and Kristi Hines at the SME breakfast as well as lunch later that day. It was so hard choosing between different sessions. I’m so glad that I have the opportunity to listen to various recorded sessions. 🙂

  • Apparently, the word is pronounced with a hard “a” , like Amen, not a soft “a”, like apple. I disagree, of course 🙂

  • the great thing is that there are about 50 good social media events around the country every year, don’t just focus on one, go to them all if you can!

  • Sorry for the mistake, I’m sure we’ll get it fixed. On another note, if you keep correcting me it’s gonna be a problem, lol. Sure, let’s chat, I’m always open to new ideas.

  • Hey, I have to show love to Michigan, I had a blast at the #140 conference as well, you guys held it down and I saw hope in a city where I didn’t expect any. Next conference we meet at, I’ll make sure I bring my walking shoes…

  • That sounds like a powerful event. In the end it is about building a solid relationship; not just networking.

  • Likewise it was great to finally meet you Lori!

  • Marla Levie

    The event sounds amazing. I hope I can attend next year!
    Marla Levie, Chicago

  • I would love to do nothing but go to shows all year, who knows very soon maybe 🙂

  • Julie Henning

    Hey Elijah!

    Well, if you can’t dance, you certainly can write! Flippin sweet! Thanks for the #1 spot. You rule! You know what, it didn’t dawn on me until maybe three days back from Blog World what Social Media Examiner was. Really, this is an honor!

    For me (and this was my first blog world), I wanted to network, learn more about pod casting, and really focus on the educational content. Everyone was open, engaging, and friendly and I feel like I’ve made business connections I can respect and trust.

    Next year, breakfast is on me!

  • Lori P.

    Hi Elijah,
    Great post! Thank you for sharing. I had never heard of BlogWorld until now and your description makes me want to go. I am new to the social marketing world, just starting a new strategic marketing company in South Florida. I am very glad I am connected to Social Media Examiner and look forward to meeting you and the other wonderful people you described in your post someday! Thanks again!

  • Thanks for reading this post Lori, I look forward to meeting you at a future conference 🙂


  • Thanks Julie, I look forward to it 🙂

  • Sat here in Manchester UK, it seems a world away. Awesome write up, really sells it to me. The organisers should be signing you up to manage online promotion for the next one…!

  • Wow, I didn’t even have to pay for that one! Thanks Rene. Be sure to address all suggestions to @blogworld on Twitter, lol

    Thanks for reading, come out next year!