“Why are you not rich?” was a question posed at the opening session of the #BWBNYC, Blogging While Brown’s two-day conference held inside the American Negro Theater and Langston Hughes Auditorium, June 21-22 at Harlem’s Schomburg Center. Clearly, this year’s theme was about business.
With that opening remark, presenter Lamar Tyler (Tyler New Media & BlackAndMarriedWithKids.com) paraphrased an encounter between John Johnson, Ebony and Jet Magazines founder and Dennis Kimbro, Wealth Choice author. Recounting that story was a reminder to us about our wealth potential and lessons learned from our elders. As a genealogy blogger, Tyler’s anecdote resonated with me. I know that our ancestors left footprints for us to follow. It is up to us to do the work and digging to find the gold.
This was my second time around at #BWB. My first #BWB conference was last year’s event in Phillie! That conference really got me motivated!
I arrived at this year’s #BWBNYC conference with new questions. Like many, I started a blog on my business website. Then, my business changed. I began production on a documentary and it won some awards. Should I re-brand? Start a new blog? Separate my blog from my business website? What about ads? These were some of my burning questions.
I am happy to report that I left #BWBNYC with more clarity, newer questions and a better game plan. So, for me, this was the best blogging conference that I ever attended. I loved the intimacy and affinity that we all shared. I was glad to see more Boomers and a few more guys this year too.
With “Stop Thinking Like a Blogger and Think like a Business!” Tyler outlined several principles that we could take to the bank: “Do What’s Required, Self-Development, Be the Brand, The Gatekeepers are Gone, Focus on Who’s Important—not brands—the Audience, The Power of 1000.” Tyler’s overall message was: You must do this! You can do this!
There was a screening of TV Land’s The Soul Man. Key company executives were panelists: Kristin Roll, General Manager, TV Land Digital; Jennifer Zaldivar-Clark, VP of TV Land Communications; and Sue Funke, Manager, Audience Development. They made a big pitch for attendees to consider strategic partnerships with them. My takeaway? They affirmed a commitment to diversity; re-emphasized the importance of the multi-billion dollar multicultural marketplace; and expressed a serious interest to work with us!
Nicole Moore’s, The Hotness.com and Jodie Patterson’s, GeorgiaNY.com were very aspirational for me. As a relatively new blogger, I admired their polish and passion for individual style and culture. They both exuded pure joy for their missions. Each emphasized personal authenticity and illustrated how one’s online energy can create offline synergy and financial opportunities.
I also loved the mini-breakout sessions on Saturday. Some were 30-minute bite-sized pieces of wisdom and knowledge. I especially liked Arsha Jones,’ BrandBuildSell, “10 Easy Steps to Hack-proof Your WordPress Installation and Backup Your Site.” Arsha was able to de-mystify back-office details that my “techie” friends take for granted. Thank you Arsha!
I was also pleased to see issues addressed in the session called Blogging for Your Organizational Voice featuring NAACP’s Jessica Neal and Nicole Kenney and Shamar Bibbins, Green For All, as moderated by Teresa Holmes, UniWorld Group.
This panel showed how and why #BWB is powerful and meaningful—especially for bringing attention to issues and controlling the conversation about us. Last year, BWB covered Anti-Hazing, Bullying at HBUs (specifically FAMU) and Health/AIDS. I still remember those sessions. This year, we heard about the need for our blogging community to post about the economics, housing and environmental crisis in our communities. As a longtime journalist, after this session, I thought to myself: “Hey, BWB can be the new NABJ!”
Finally, I would tell my friends that you don’t have to be “Brown” to enjoy Blogging While Brown, #BWB conference. The presenters were the best of the best and all kinds of people were there. All the sessions were great, useful, inspiring, fun and aimed at making us happy and successful. Gina McCauley, conference founder, and her team have earned another gold star for their stellar #BWBNYC conference. Thank you, #BYBNYC!