It’s just a week now since BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2008 (Twitter hashtag #bwe08) was in full swing at the Las Vegas Convention Center (and after hours at various parties and other gatherings around town).
With, as I understand, over 2,000 participants and a dizzying array of topics and speakers for the conference, not to mention the very lively expo, it was by the general consensus I picked up,a great success.
And I have picked up a whole lot of ideas and tips about blogging and new media generally which I plan to share here in the weeks ahead.
But right now, reflecting on how valuable and enjoyable the event was for me and for everyone I spoke to, and how the attendees seemed to come for the most part from the USA and Canada, I’m starting to think this event is the best-kept secret the US and Canadian bloggers, podcasters and their ilk have right now in the conferencing (and partying!) department.
I have to say that last year, for the first BlogWorld Expo, I was not really surprised to find that I was one of only about four Australian participants, one of whom lives in the USA so had not done the 14 hour flight to get there. The others were my partner Suzie Cheel of the Abundance Highway blog and Melbourne-based webpreneur Simon Chen who has forgotten more than most people have learned about Web 2.0. I met one Frenchman, the inimitable Francois Planque of b2evolution and Alex Huot, Webmaster at the International Olympic Committee. Off the top of my head, I can’t recall others from countries outside the USA and Canada, although no doubt there were some.
But when I heard this year that the numbers had gone from last year’s 1,200 or so to over 2,000, I thought there would be more people from Europe, Asia, Australasia, Latin America…
Not really. There was Nicole Simon of cruel to be kind from Germany, Francois Planque again from France and b5media co-owners and formidable bloggers Shai Coggins and Darren Rowse from Australia. There was also the delightfully enthusiastic Scott Lockhart from Australia but currently in Atlanta GA where he has a startup Web 2.0 venture, regator (of which more in a later post) – decidedly Aussie but only crossed the country, not the Pacific.
There was one woman from Brazil asking questions – whether she had come from Brazil for the event or lives in the US I don’t know.
All in all, slim pickin’s on the international front.
I suspect that once the word starts to filter out to the rest of the world there will be a lot more people around the world looking to make their way to Glitter City for the 2009 event. But I for one do not want to just hope about that.
So one of my goals for the time between now and the next event in the series is to see the lid lifted well and truly off that secret and to do what I can to promote a much bigger international participation in 2009. Given my own business interests in China and South East Asia, I’m particularly keen to see the China blogosphere represented and participation by other bloggers from the greater Asia region.
A related goal is to see substantial growth in international membership of the International Blogging and New Media Association (IBNMA), which had a stronger presence this year at Blogworld.
Incidentally, I met some fascinating and thoughtful people who run their businesses from a home base and I intend to be posting about some of them here in the weeks ahead.
If you have ideas or questions about how to encourage more international representation on the speaker schedule or in expo and how to encourage attendance from various countries, please share them in the comments here. You might want to know, for instance, how to submit a proposal for a panel presentation, or even practical issues about getting a decent but economical hotel room with free wifi near the Convention Center (we got an unbelievably good deal – not ritzy, but good), or where to get a healthy meal for a decent price.
Happy to share what we have learnt now in two trips to Vegas.