Okay, this took me a while to get together but I realized I've attended alt for 3 years now and haven't even posted a follow-up about the panels so this year I am determined to get it up. I went to a few panels the first day but the 2nd day we had a baby shower for a friend so I wasn't able to make it to any sessions. So here you go: my full alt recap! :)
On Wednesday afternoon, Alt gave attendees the opportunity to attend Shift Summit. I figured why not take in all the opportunities to learn that I could, so I signed up and I am so glad I did. Here are some points I took from it that really stood out.
- There's never been a time that individuals have been so empowered to have influence on the community.
- Appeal to consumers motivation to connect with each other, not just with your brand.
- Sharing comes down to one thing - its about embedding your content in a message that others do want to share.
Regarding Social Media:
I thought one of the most interesting things said at this panel was by Kyle Snarr from StruckAxiom.
"You cannot just be on facebook and twitter anymore .. its not enough."
To some of us, this may seem really crazy because we can hardly keep up with twitter/facebook as it is. He went into talking about something called The HUB THEORY: It's this notion of picking a location, a place to point your social avenues to - i.e.: your main dot.com website or your blog. Kyle says finding out that right social media mix for you is critical - figure it out and then publish everywhere. Facebook / twitter / youtube / pinterest / tumblr / linked in / flickr.
So everything is at one central hub. For me, my "main hub" is my blog. What is yours? Kyle then says you need to be using Social Media as avenues to direct back to your main hub. Take your content and push it through instagram. or twitter. Everyone is on different communities, they are different groups of people. Personally, I am not on instagram because they don't make it for my phone. But thousands are. Take a photo, share it on instagram and direct that traffic back to your blog. I don't really use facebook but thousands of others do and I have it for my blog. It may seem like a lot but really, you're essentially managing one main community and using social media to direct impressions back to your site.
Adam Young from rcwilley.com pointed out to figure out where you want to focus your social media efforts - for their company - they chose to do it through Facebook and their email database.
While you can be in all the social media places, Adam points out it is most important to focus on branding. Be consistent with your brand. This is always essential. If you're all over the place and fall out from what you truly are, it does not give a true representation of who you are. Your brand IS your social strategy. They're not different, but they are one in the same. Brand brings definition.
Wrapping it up:
Focus on QUALITY, ORIGINAL CONTENT. This seemed to be a main theme at the conference. The speakers stress to focus on fresh original homemade homegrown content. Focus on quality. Take a quick class to become a decent photographer. Thats all it takes. Keep in mind the long term trend toward this usefulness. your posts - have them be useful.
This was a great panel featuring:
Balance is a state of flexibility that allows me to be creative. To stay balanced, you need to constantly be open to flexibility. It's not this picture perfect life. It's constantly changing on so many levels. The balance is in keeping perspective and always having what is important it in your mind.
They talked about focus and joked about having 17 windows open, then hopping over to twitter. then to pinterest. Isn't this all too familiar with so many of us? My brother came over one day and say all the windows and tabs I had open and said "Man, I'd be stressed out too if I had a desktop like this." haha. I've joked with friends about how crazy it is that we can have so many windows open at once. Maybe it's a way to make us feel like we're busy but we don't need to be inventing ways to feel busy. We can turn it off, just make a deliberate effort to do that. Make effort to CLOSE THE WINDOW and only have 1 window, 1 project going on at a time. When it is finished, then I can go focus on another thing.
Here are some notes I typed up that the panelists said:
"its okay for my blog not to grow the fastest or have the most traffic or make the most money. I am better creatively when I am stopping and taking care of myself. It makes my blog better. For me, its giving myself the permission to say "I'm going to stop here. I'm not going to keep going going going. make myself sick" -- This idea of consciously living - taking a long view of who you are. what matters to you. what's important. where you live is irrelevant. who am I, why am I here. What am I supposed to be doing. What do I feel when I wake up in the morning? Your blog/shop/whatever - doesn't have to be your only measure of success. Be authentic about the path you are choosing.
DO WHAT YOU DO BEST AND LET OTHERS DO THE REST
I am going to make a little less money but I will be so much more happy. I can do taxes and package orders but its not what I was made to do. Hire someone to package your orders and free up that time for you to do something else.
I was on a panel with some lovely ladies: Kal Barteski, Sarah Wert, Tracey Clark. Here are some points I touched on about regarding Blog Etiquette:
- Leaving Comments are really about showing support
There isn't one single rule about comments but generally, and I've realized this just recently: We really show support by leaving comments. If you used a recipe or found a great diy resource, leave a comment to let them know you appreciate them. Bloggers work hard to put together content. One blog I regularly frequent expressed she would put so much work into her posts and receive no comments, it was discouraging so she just disabled her comments entirely. I thought that was really interesting but also kind of sad too. Comments are just a nice way to support this special blog support community that we are a part of. I know I actually need to be more intentional about leaving more comments on blogs who I appreciate and clearly put a lot of work + effort into their posts. I think for me, I already feel like I don't have enough time in the day. But it's just about taking an extra 5 or 10 minutes to leave a comment. What do you think?
-Don't self promote in your comments
This pretty bad etiquette. Leaving a thoughtless comment to self-promote yourself like, "nice post. By the way, I'm doing a giveaway here! link." Use the "name/URL" box (or have the link attached to your blogger profile) and if someone wants to click to your site, they'll find it that way.
I talked a little about this because a couple years ago, I got my entire blog design copied. Not sure if you've ever been in a similar situation or experience yourself.. I've heard countless stories from other blog friends about this. Here are some points I talked about:
- Choose your battles.
Grace Bonney from Design Sponge actually said this in her panel last year and I've always remembered it because it's so true. Some things just aren't worth the time and effort.
- Don't air your dirty laundry.
It happened early on in my blogging years and my initial response was to do a post about it and let all the world know this girl was a big fat copycat. Thankfully I had some nice blog friends who I emailed and they advised me not to post about it, but deal with it privately and I did. It was definitely better to handle it that way in the long run.
- Copying / Being Inspired.
Take an idea and make it your own. Work off that idea to make a new idea. In our ever growing creative community, it is really hard to come up with something completely 100% original. It's a tough line because yes, we all gather inspiration from each other to some degree. But we also need to do this on a conscious level.
To be honest, and some of you may remember, I didn't always used to credit properly. It seems like this should be a given and common sense but I honestly just didn't know. I think so many people just don't realize. But it starts with us, we need to all set the example and others will hopefully follow.
- Give credit where credit is due.
If you see a decorating idea and use it on your own blog, just leave a comment to where you saw the idea first. People aren't going to think you're unoriginal or not creative.. I have a friend who gets copied all the time, for some reason the blogger copying her will just not leave her link crediting back. I really don't get it.
- Make effort to find the proper credit
Pinterest / weheartit / imgfave - are not proper credits. I posted a resource link list here the other day with tineye + google image search (which a reader actually told me about) If I want to use a photo that doesn't have the right credit, I'll take that extra time to search for it and try to find the original source. If I can't find it, I won't use the image.
- Put a disclaimer on your blog.
If you don't want people to use your stuff, post it somewhere on your site. Now and days you see copyrights and messages on blogs like, "all content the right of so and so" .. I personally don't mind if people use my photos but someone else may. I put a little button on my site that says "use my photos, just credit" - so if you are posting your own photos and everything, make it clear about your preferences.
If you want to read even more, check the Alt Blog for lots of recaps. You can also go through the thousands of #altsummit tweets for great quotes from bloggers tweeting during the event. Anyway, here are some images from the fabulous Friday night parties they had.