Saturday, March 31, 2012

Blog Fest Spring 2012 report, part 1

The Spring 2012 edition of Blog Fest was held at Rooney's in Pittston last night, and it was a great time. We did some things differently this time around, and they worked out well. Although we've had "Hello My Name Is" tags in the past, this time we made special "BLOGGER" tags to help identify the bloggers in the crowd more quickly. We also had a blogger sign-in sheet at the door. The idea was that this would help us to say who was there when we started doing the post-fest reports and tagging the photos, but it also worked to let us know who had just walked in through the door. I met several bloggers I might not have otherwise recognized, just by seeing that they had signed in as they arrived.

A photographer from the Times-Leader and a writer from the Citizens' Voice were there. Neither was wearing anything identifying them as press, so we had to judge by the fact that one was carrying a large camera and the other was carrying a pad. (I didn't realize reporters still took notes on pads!) Maybe next time we'll make up special "PRESS" badges.

Citizens' Voice: NEPA Blog Fest draws candidates' attention

Most of the politicians didn't need badges because they were wearing their own campaign buttons. (We tried to get a picture of Matt Cartwright in front of a TV that was showing one of his ads, but we weren't fast enough.) Gene Stilp's people took the regular name badges and marked their own names, followed by "for Gene Stilp" - a very effective way of identifying their association. As far as I could tell, Gene Stilp had the largest and most enthusiastic crowd with him. Plus he had a giant inflatable pig.

In addition to  the bloggers and the politicians and the candidates, there were several people who stopped by to see if Blog Fest lived up to the hype. Several people from the Wilkes-Barre CareerLink's Job Club came to visit, and I was able to help connect them with both politicians who might speak to the group in the future and people who could benefit from taking part in the Job Club. A member of my writing group (who is herself a blogger) also stopped by with her husband, as did several other friends.

Unfortunately my persuasive speaking skills were not adequate to convince the coffee shop owner next door to stay open a few extra hours - during which time he might have doubled his revenue for the week. As the night wore on people became more and more tired of standing and straining to hear and be heard, and many would have appreciated having a quiet place to sit down and talk over coffee. This became especially obvious once the band took the stage around 9:00 and began blasting the hits of the 60's and 70's, making it almost impossible to have a conversation without shouting, even with a person sitting across from you at a table. I'm thinking for next time maybe we could arrange for a quiet acoustic act to play, something that would be more in keeping with what is essentially a mixer and networking event. (Or we could go in another direction entirely and introduce...BLOG FEST KARAOKE! Thrill to NEPA's bloggers belting out their favorite tunes! Judge political candidates based on their singing skills! See competing candidates square off in rap battles! ...hey, it could work!)

All in all it was a very successful event. I was very pleased with the number of non-political bloggers who came out, as well as with the turnout of candidates. The dynamic, as always, was very relaxed and upbeat, and I think as a mixer and networking event Blog Fest was extremely successful. As a bonus, Gort has announced the date of the Fall 2012 Blog Fest: September 21! (Though it's technically the last day of Summer...) So now everybody has nearly six months to plan around this event!

1 comment:

Karla said...

Loved it! I have comments but they are rather long so I posted them on It's Personal. Looking forward to September 21.