The Type A Conference was my third blogging conference.
It was fun and I got to meet and talk to awesome people. There were parties. There was swag. However, unlike other conferences I’ve attended, none of that was the focus.
(If you’re looking for a post about the fun side of Type A, well, this isn’t the one, though I’m happy to tell people about how I laughed so much I got a headache at the Time To Play after party and kicked ass at Tetris Jenga. That was definitely fun.If you’re looking for more posts about my kids or my weight or how I’m allergic to cats, this isn’t that post either.)
In terms of being an event where I learned stuff I can actually use, Type A goes down in the record books as the first and best conference about blogging I’ve attended to date.
The various tracks at Type A made it so that this was really a conference for everybody. If you’re just starting out, there were sessions for that. If you were looking for more technical, behind the blog knowledge, there were sessions for that. If what you needed was a kick in the pants to write your fingers off, then yep. There were sessions for that, too.
What I learned is that I have a lot to learn. But you know what’s awesome about that? Now I have things to work on. “Actionable takeaways” as it were.
Here they are:
- Conquer Facebook: David Griner‘s session on Facebook was stuffed to the brim with information on how to get the most out of that platform. We write for ourselves and also so that others can read it. Facebook is a platform for sharing, but it only works if people see us. Griner’s session covered open graphs, image sizing, and yes, paying to advertise and why bloggers should consider it.
- Write. Then write some more: Denene Milner said that she pays herself by writing. She is a writer, so she writes. Something, somewhere, every day. If I want to consider myself a writer, if I want others to consider me a writer, I have to write. Writing every day, even if it’s not published or shared or posted here, is an investment.
- Find your voice and use it: You know when there are things that you know but you need to be reminded periodically that you know them? Katherine Stone and Roo Ciambriello did that. I’ve developed a voice in the past five years of writing here and it is uniquely mine and for my audience. When you’re writing for yourself in your own space, if someone doesn’t like your voice, that person isn’t your audience. Own your voice.
- More than words: Yes, blogging is ultimately about writing, but it’s also growing increasingly visual thanks to our rapidly shortening attention spans. Terrence Gaines discussed the ease of using smartphones and tablets for blogging on the go or making notes when we have ideas instead of hoping we remember them later. (This only helps if you have your ideas NOT in the shower which is where I have mine.) The idea is to get the content out there. If you wait, the moment passes and then it’s probably irrelevant.
- Learn the camera: I started working on this one a year ago when I flipped the camera to manual and didn’t look back, but I know I still have a long way to go. Sharing great pictures is great, but first we have to be able to take great pictures. I don’t write a lot of tutorials or recipes, but I do share them occasionally, and if I’m going to share them, it’s important to know how best to do that.
And probably the most important reminder of all, which I realized not from a session but from my interactions with other attendees:
- The Google reader death is no excuse: The number of blogs on the Internet is innumerable. (I mean, I’m sure Google has numbered them, but I’m just not that good with numbers.) To be a better blogger, I should start by reading more blogs. Reading is where ideas come from, and I don’t mean that in the sense that in reading other blogs we should steal ideas from them. I mean that by reading other blogs, discussions are generated. Our own thoughts are sparked. Share and attribute and link back and talk about things. It’s okay to do that.
There were also some things in there about Google+, but to be honest, I’m not sure I’ll ever completely understand that and so I’m giving myself permission to continue to ignore it.
So, that’s my takeaway from Type A. If you haven’t been to a blog conference, I highly recommend this one as a place where you will learn stuff and have fun. It’s small enough not to be overwhelming, and the smaller size doesn’t negatively influence its impact.
There were several sessions I wasn’t able to attend because I can only be in so many places at once (one, actually), but I know great things were said. If you were at Type A, I’d love to hear your takeaways.