This past weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the first ever BlogPaws conference. I knew it would be great; it exceeded my expectations. During the first event on Friday night, I meandered around trying to look like I was enjoying the booths and exhibits, when in reality I was concentrating on NOT being my usual socially-awkward self because, just that morning, John had mentioned he was a little worried I’d just stand around grinning like an idiot not talking to anyone. Because that’s what I do.
Instead, I met the nicest girl! And we talked about our dogs! And blogging! Two things I love and can talk about for hours!
Then I met tons more super nice people who loved talking about their dogs and their blogs and wanted to learn about my dogs and my blog. I wish I could link to them all in this post, but I’m afraid I’ll miss someone. So instead I’m going to build out my blogroll this week, and please check out the amazing sites I add! They’re inspiring and cute and informative, and I’m so glad I got to meet such talented folks.
When I thought about how I wanted to recap the incredible BlogPaws experience, I first wanted to detail every talk, seminar, and keynote because they were all amazing – every single one of them. But that would be a long post. Plus, I’m a total dweeb and forgot to take any pictures, despite having both my camera and Blackberry with me. And no one wants to read a 1,200-word post without any pictures, right?
So, instead, I’m going to summarize the few key points I took away from the conference and illustrate them with representative pictures of Emmett and Lucas (and cousin Lucy).
Andrea Arden called it an Intentional Community during her inspiring keynote. In the more business-oriented sessions, it was called a niche. But it all means the same thing: a group of like-minded people who come together with a purpose. Nothing illustrates this key concept better than the conference itself as 250 people converged on the Westin in Columbus, Ohio, to trade notes and tips, to give advice, to learn from each other, and to expand our own networks of animal lovers.
Some speakers called it transparency, others referred to it as honesty, Elisa Camahort spoke of it as storytelling, but the message was the same: Be Authentic. If you’re not being you, if you’re not being true to your message, if you’re not being open with your audience, they’ll figure it out pretty quickly and go somewhere else. I think this holds true for both blogs and for members of our Intentional Community.
The best session I attended all weekend was the “Be the Change” session. It was powerful, and it was inspiring. But the concept was so incredibly simple: Everyone can make a positive impact in the lives of animals. Absolutely anyone can help a shelter, a rescue, a stray. Our blogs offer us an amazing platform to talk about animal welfare issues, and to figure out ways to fix the problems we see. As Jane Harrell from Petfinder.com said in her opening comments, “You just gotta do it.”
Those were my main takeaways from the panels and sessions. I’m excited to evolve my blog with those three core concepts in mind. How can I ensure that my blog contributes to the community, is authentic, and advocates for animal welfare?
My only regret was that the weekend was too short to meet absolutely everyone! (And next year, I promise to take some real pictures!)
Did you go to BlogPaws? I’d love to hear what you took away from the conference!
Also, don’t forget to enter to win a 60-day supply of Teddy’s Pride. The contest was inspired by the “Be the Change” session, so give a little link love to your favorite shelter or rescue on THIS POST to be entered to win!