NEPA BlogCon 2014
On 11 October, I joined the indefatigable Mandy Boyle, Karla Porter, and Michelle Davies at Misericordia University for the third annual NEPA BlogCon, the regions premier – and to my knowledge, only – blogging and social media conference.
Approximately 170 people came out and spent their Saturday engaged with a wide range of local professionals, entrepreneurs, and successful bloggers who made presentations of topics ranging from social media engagement, to photography, to monetization. The common theme? Speakers sharing freely of their knowledge and experience to educated an audience that was clearly there to learn.
Having worked with the BlogCon ladies for since their first conference, I’ve had a unique perspective from which to watch not only each individual conference unfold, but also to watch the evolution of the event over the years. What I can tell you for sure is that NEPA BlogCon is most likely a one-of-a-kind event, and that each year it just keeps getting better!
In my opinion this year was their best yet, and the day ran like a well-oiled engine, with a constant, throaty hum. That was the energy in the conference hall, projected by enthusiastic speakers and channeled by a receptive audience who seemed to be doing everything they could to take notes and soak up the advice being passed to them.
The question & answer sessions were engaged and detailed. The discussions between sessions were excited and often technical. And speaking of technical, the Nerd Herd – a panel of volunteers from NEPA WordPress – were busy most of the day, an array of laptops setup before them, helping attendees with their website issues and questions.
Six hours flew by and at the end of it all, even I had a list of new sites to check out, new individuals to follow on social media, and a few new ideas to consider. Heck, I even tweeted! (Which is something I hadn’t done since the previous year’s BlogCon, save for the automated tweets that go out whenever I post here. I was, shamefully, probably the worst Twitter user at the conference.)
Now in full disclosure, one of the BlogCon founders, Mandy Boyle, is my fiancee. So yeah, I’m biased. But even so, I can honestly say that BlogCon provides an excellent service – both directly, through the conferences, and again through the beneficiary of their fundraising efforts. If you didn’t know, NEPA BlogCon doesn’t profit from their conferences, and the ladies who dedicate their time and effort to organizing it are unpaid.
Each year they select a local nonprofit to support, and that’s where the proceeds from the conference end up. Last year the beneficiary was Blue Chip Farms Animal Refuge. This year is a little different; all the proceeds are going towards starting a coding camp for teenage girls, tentatively scheduled for summer 2015. It’s an idea I can get behind, because in this day and age, knowing how to write and work with computer code is a highly marketable skill, and speaking as someone in the tech industry, I think it’s great to get more girls involved.
NEPA BlogCon will return next year; stay tuned to their site for the details, but the tentative date announced at the conference was 15 September 2015.