Saturday, October 14, 2006

N.H. Blog-Con
“Blog Free or Die” was the theme at the first New Hampshire Bloggers Convention, held this afternoon at the Common Man Restaurant in Concord. The event was organized by TJ of Better Living through Chemistry [Terry Connor], with some help from Joanie from Grain of Salt, although she denies it. More than 25 bloggers from around the state attended.
I decided to go for a couple of hours and also interviewed TJ for some audio for the news department at WKXL 1450 [I will post the audio story after I get done putting it together tonight or tomorrow].
The group had collected in the lounge of the Common Man because no one really knew how many people were going to show up. Why spend money on a room or hall if no one was going to show, the logic would go? Next year, I hope it will be bigger and better, possibly an all-day event, with seminars and talks, especially with the primary rolling around. Maybe I'm jumping the gun and thinking too hard about it but I don't think so. However, it was a good first meeting.
The crowd was diverse and interesting, with a mix of political bloggers, parents doing blogs, some folks from Area603, and some political bloggers. There was talk of how to juggle life, family, and blogging, how to increase traffic, and different kinds of technology used. No one seemed to mind that I was a blogger and a member of the media - I guess we are all members of the media in our own way. Because it was so loud in the lounge and I knew I wasn't going to remember everyone’s name or sites, I started to pass around my steno pad to collect as many blog names as I could [the names and links are below].
A few thoughts: While New Hampshire is a small state, this was a good first meeting and a pretty good turn out. I sense that the blogs will remain healthy because there seems to be a lot of interest and energy from this crowd. I was surprised that I had probably been blogging longer than anyone else in the crowd. Some had just started their blogs, which was cool. Granted, I've been writing columns, music articles, and other things for more than two decades, just not on the Web that long.
After making the rounds, I finally found where the political bloggers were hanging out and began to throw myself into their conversations. One of them, Jen Wrobleski, who works for a company Netvocates.com, used to be my media contact at the state GOP. I was also surprised to find out that not all Republicans in this state are gun owners. I was surprised not to see any exclusively liberal political bloggers. I was also surprised not to see any of the most recent political blogs to spring up, like Blue Granite and NH-02 Progressive nor others like NHPolitics.com, PoliticsNH.com, or any of the other more established political Web sites. There was enough press about the event - The Hippo had a piece and lots of people linked comments about it, promoting the event - but whatever. Oh well. I was also surprised that I was the only member of the media attending the event to find out who these people were and what they are about. No Monitor reporter; No UL reporter; although there were some folks from the Nashua Telegraph, which seems forward-thinking in their approach to blogs, having created Area603 and also posting blog links on its own Web site. The lack of media presence may be the lack of understanding about the blogging process or the lack of acknowledgement that this is the wave of the future.

Here are some of the bloggers in attendance and their sites:

Better Living through Chemistry: http://blog.virtualdominion.net/
Grain of Salt: http://blog.grain-of-salt.com/
Wizbang!: http://wizbangblog.com/
Pun Salad: http://okoboji.unh.edu/punsalad/
Chasing Grace: http://grace.asilgrif.org/
Spina Bifida Moms - Sweetie & Me: http://spinabifidamoms.blogspot.com/
Southern New Hampshire Parents: http://www.snhparents.com/
Off Campus: http://offcampus.blogspot.com/
Someone's in the kitchen with daddy: http://daddywhatareyoudoing.wordpress.com/
Blanchard Creative Woodworking: http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/
A Dog-Eared Dog: http://gryffynz.asilgrif.org/blog/
American Barbarian: http://americanbarbarian.blogspot.com/
Dujour.us: http://www.dujour.us/
Dispatches from Blogblivion: http://blogblivion.com/
Weekend Pundit: http://weekendpundit.blogmosis.com/
Methuselah's Daughter: http://www.3500years.com/
Margaret Evans Porter: http://www.margaretevansporter.com/
Ernesto Burden: http://ernesto.burdenfamily.net/
Contratimes: http://contratimes.blogspot.com/
The Pop Diner: http://blogs.nashuatelegraph.com/the_pop_diner

Thanks again for the invite and the best to all of you. Long live New Hampshire bloggers!
Crossposted at Area603 and The Concord Journal, a new blog I'm doing for NewHampshire.com.

2 comments:

contratimes said...

Thank you for this fine write up on what was, as you said, a surprising event. The turn-out had to be bigger than anyone could have reasonably expected.

Indeed, it was a very civil and decent affair. It was far less a political event than I feared; these sorts of things can become rather quickly contentious, as you know. So it was a relief to leave knowing that I made a few friends; better that than to leave blustering on about how I had won a few arguments or, far worse, worrying that I had said the wrong thing.

Blessings,

Bill Gnade

TJ said...

Thanks for the great write-up, and thanks for taking names and websites. I was very happy with the turnout, and it was great meeting you and all of the other bloggers.