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I want to try to make this as live as possible. Today I am spending the day at Westfield State University for Podcamp Western MA. It is my first unconference and I am really excited about - great people, great sessions, learning how to podcast and I am even co-hosting a session. (Totally last minute). So this post combined with my Twitter feed is going to be my experience through the day with thoughts, feelings, and hopefully little things I pick up along the way. If you wanted to check out the Podcamp Western MA check out http://podcamp.westernma.biz/
10:23 - Just sat down in the SEO session and it's already a great conversation. Talking about really getting to the bottom of the key words you use to get to targeted leads and actual actionable business. Kate is an awesome presenter - really focusing on constant effort in your SEO optimization and not just one time projects. I am also realizing that I don't spend nearly enough time in Google and all of its free analytical awesomeness. Wow I need to focus on Financially Digital's theme optimization and how the site is actually organized. Just had a little conversation about the importance of social authority and making sure that Inbound linking is as authentic as possible and not trying to game the systems. First rule of SEO Fight Club is don't mess with Google and rule two is don't talk about SEO Fight Club.
11:07 - Just sat down in the podcasting session. I follow so many podcasts already and it's def been something I've been considering trying for a while. Watching the session leader set up all his hardware is a little intimidating but really cool - now I need to justify the "investment" of a proper mic and sound board, not just because I like tech gear. Wow there are a ton of sites and resources that allow for pod catchers and our session lead from http://www.voodoo radio.org really knows his stuff - and has been in this game for 6 years. I didn't realize it is actually a lot easier and can be relatively low cost to get your podcast off the ground. For non Mac iLife users I'm really liking how Audacity is sounding because it's free and had some great usability..and it's free. If there are any experienced podcasters out there feel free to leave your recommendations in comments about technique. Feel free to leave comments on what you would like to start hearing about on a Financially Digital Podcast.
11:32 - Just jumped out of the podcasting session and into the social media and pr session. I loved the tech tips from podcasting I just had to split the time for this round. @writerjax is a great speaker and there are a ton of tools up on display like HARO, Pitchengine, and grader.com. I use HARO and by use I mean watch it for trends - and not well but I can't believe I haven't heard of these other tools. I think I was just scolded for using some pretty common descriptive words in my copy - note to self use grader.com. @writerjax is so excited about pr I really dig it and am learning a ton about social media optimized press releases. PitchEngine is def going to be the next thing I investigate. There are really cool people doing the live blogging that I just found out about - go check out http://tinyurl.com/68jnkm6 for @MeghanLynnAllen's experience.
12:35 - Lunch! having a great lunch with some awesome folks. There is a live taping of Strictly Businews in the background and the low roar of people and keyboard chatter. I'm so pumped to be a part of this unconference! Now I just have mentally prep for the session that I am co-leading with Val Nelson. We are going to lead a conversation on small biz and social media and about matching mission with action.
1:12 - Lunch is over and I went straight to the YouTube session. I have a little bit of experience with making videos and posting but I am really curious to see what kind of tricks I can pick up. In case you haven't noticed a running theme I am trying to position myself for a multimedia blitz. My biggest concern is not sounding redundant - I really like all these sessions because they offer great foundations. One thing I am noticing is that there are a ton of iPads here, sorry for the randomness of that but I just had to make mention on the level of tech here.
1:39 - Just jumped into the tech talk. It's a little intense and technical but I always love to hear about this stuff especially regarding security. You never really give the security of the information that you collect when you transact online. Even contact databases need a certain level of security compliance. We are going over the actual Mass legislation that orders you to take security safeguards and how hard it is to deal with it in the real world and with your clients. Common theme of the day is making sure that you are using some kind of analytical platform to not only track results but to efficiently plan.
2:09 - Now it's time for me to work on my inner diva. Yeah no joke here I am starting this next round in the Embrace Your Inner Diva session. I love Kelley I think she does a great job in front of a group. Now I am the only guy in this session but I think that a little information on brand management couldn't hurt. Plus it is advertised as a coed event - thats my story and I'm sticking to it. Kelley is awesome she is spot on about staying positive and having confidence in everything you do. It's always great to hear or read this stuff over and over because even if you say you know this stuff life has this ability to push these little lessons to the bottom of the pile. So many of us take for granted our strengths and choose not to embrace the because we let our stress and perceived inadequacies slow us down. See I knew this was going to be a great session - strength of character is as much a factor for success as any social media plan.
3:15 - Val Nelson and I hosted a great session! It ran about an hour and we had everyone in our group contributing to help solve real problems. Our group came together and volunteered business hurdles that they were dealing with and the group came together to offer solutions. Some of the focus was around helping people drill down to find their missions and ideal clients and then how to actually implement all the new shiny social media tools and tricks they learned throughout the day. I'm a little biased here, since I was a co-host I am a little biased to think that it was a great experience. I welcome feed back from anyone that was at the session to chime in!
4:00 - Ending comments. I had a blast today! I met a ton of amazing people and had the opportunity to put some real faces and names with some Twitter avatars. It has to be good if Morris was a little choked up a bit in his final comments on the day. I can't wait for the next one!
I have a ton of pics and a bit of video that should show up all over Twitter as I refine it and post it so subscribe to make sure that you don't miss any of it. I encourage you to visit as many of the Podcamp Western MA goers blogs and twitter feeds because there is a ton of great info to be picked out. If you have any questions for me feel free to leave them in the comments or shoot me an email!