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BlogWorld & New Media Expo Wrap Up

I know it’s been a week since I was at BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2009, but I needed time to digest all that I experienced while there, and formulate an opinion to share with you.

A number of travel bloggers wrote to me asking this burning question: Is it worth the time, effort, and expense to attend BlogWorld Expo [1]?

The only answer I can give is “that depends”……I know that sounds like a cop-out, but really it does depend on what/how much you already know going in to it, and what you expect to get out of it.

BWE consists of three days of four educational sessions per day, in ten different but concurrently run tracks, lasting roughly an hour and 15 minutes each, along with keynote addresses and a break for lunch. So twice each morning and twice each afternoon you choose which session to attend from ten that are scheduled. The ten tracks were varied but primarily focused on a specific blogging niche, as well as social networking and blog monetization.

If you blog in a niche that was represented in the educational sessions (Mommy blogging, Sports blogging, Military blogging, Real Estate blogging, and Medical blogging), then you would have definitely found something of value in some of those sessions.

If you manage a non-profit, those sessions were highly valuable as well (in my spare time I serve as webmaster for a non-profit environmental group, so I attended those sessions).

If you’re new to using social media networks to connect with others and build an audience, then you would likely have gotten something of value from those social media sessions. However, if you’re already very experienced with social media, you might have been interested in some of the opinions of the panelists, but it’s unlikely that you would have learned anything new.

BWE09 Session - The Future of Travel Blogging [2]

Sadly the travel bloggers track was skimpy, with just a few sessions presented only on the last day, and although the panelists in those sessions did a great job, there just wasn’t enough time to really do more than brush the surface of what is one of the fastest growing blog segments – travel blogging. My favorite session was “The Future of Travel Blogging – 2009 and Beyond” (see photo and panelists at right).

Although I was pleased to see that there was some information presented by PR folks on what criteria they use to choose travel bloggers for media trips, there was no formal discussion concerning the ongoing controversy over both the ethics of accepting free trips and the soon-to-be-in-effect FTC disclosure rules concerning any material compensation, which would include media trips. However, I did greatly enjoy chatting informally with the few other travel bloggers in attendance on those subjects and hearing their opinions.

I’m hoping that next year they’ll present many more sessions for the travel blog niche on all three days.

What I didn’t like about BlogWorld Expo:

What I DID like about BlogWorld Expo

A few suggestions for the BWE organizers (for next year)

Last piece of advice if you decide to go next year: I was very UNhappy staying at the Hilton Las Vegas Convention Center. Although they had a good room rate for BWE attendees, they do NOT offer free wi-fi (as the Courtyard Marriott does), and they are quite a fair hike from the conference, being on the opposite side of the convention center (sure you can ride the monorail, for an additional $10/day expense). The Renaissance is the closest, but the Courtyard offers the best deal.


Did you attend BlogWorld Expo? Please share your experience and advice!