Reflections on ConvergeSouth
Greensboro's ConvergeSouth conference this past weekend had such a profound effect on me, I decided to take a day off from work today just to blog. (Well, that and a few other things I had fallen behind on around the house.) First I'd like to thank Ed Cone, Sue Polinsky and the rest of the organizers for inviting me to participate in the program. I had a great time and met a lot of interesting people, some of whom I had previously known only online.
Here are a few ramblings from my experience this weekend: . . .
. . . During lunch and breaks, I heard a lot of "session envy" going on. Since the sessions were scheduled three at a time, you, of course, couldn't be in all three places at once and hear everything that was going on. The sessions I missed that I would've especially liked to have been in on were "Ethics: What Are the Rules?" "Blogging From the Outside" and "Podcasting." Come to think of it, I would've enjoyed being at most all of them. . . .
. . . One of the most enjoyable events, despite the rain, was the Neighborhood Barbecue Friday night hosted by David Hoggard, David Wharton and Mathew Gross. Great conversation and great food. I'm still enjoying the leftovers. . . .
. . . Because I was so busy trying to finally meet many of my fellow local bloggers this weekend, I didn't get much of a chance to talk to the "celebrity" session leaders brought in from across the country. However, I did have an opportunity to talk to a friendly but sleep-deprived Chris Nolan on several occasions, and I was glad to hear that she's open to conservative voices on her Spot On site. I especially enjoyed meeting Michael D.C. Bowen (a.k.a. "Cobb") and discussing spiritual issues with him. I hope our paths will cross again one day. I learned a lot from his session titled "Creative Branding on Blogs," which taught me, among many other things, that in the blogosphere ecosystem, he's a "Large Mammal," while I'm merely a "Slithering Reptile." And I will remember to trackback to your post on Greensboro, Michael, to help increase my hits! . . .
. . . I felt so blessed by those who chose to attend my session on faith blogging Saturday morning. If you were one of the ones there, thank you for your participation. Your contributions were important for many reasons, including keeping me from talking too much! In addition to the people I knew were going to be there (including my supportive brother, Don, and my friend and fellow local blogger Joe Guarino), there were several Christian women in attendance with strong beliefs and apparently a desire to communicate those convictions to the world via blogs. I hope you will all be inspired to start blogs of your own and help spread the Word of God throughout the blogosphere. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance. You can e-mail me at CCCBlog@aol.com. . . .
. . . One comment made after my faith blogging session was that it was so nice to have white and black Christians come together at a conference such as ConvergeSouth, but it would be even more wonderful if we could find ways to worship more together. . . .
. . . Speaking of faith blogging, Ed Cone has said several times that he wanted to include such a session here in Greensboro because of the one he attended earlier this year in Nashville led by conservative Christian blogger La Shawn Barber. Once I accepted the assignment to do the faith blogging session at ConvergeSouth, I e-mailed La Shawn and she was extremely helpful in my preparation, so I'd like to thank her for that. . . .
. . . The organizers need to be congratulated for holding the conference at A&T State University. I had not been on that campus in years, and was impressed with the facilities, the students, faculty and staff. I am encouraged by what I saw of the journalism program there and hope it continues to grow and flourish. . . .
. . . Despite the conference organizers' attempts at "diversity," most of the attendees, presenters and organizers fell to the left of center politically. This didn't surprise me; based on my experience with the local blogosphere, I fully expected that to be true. However, I'd like to see at future Converge conferences more conservative voices in attendance and leading sessions. Hey, maybe you could have young, conservative Sam Wharton lead a session on blogging for teens next year. Although he could probably also teach a lot of us adults a thing or two. . . .
. . . Speaking of conservative bloggers and blogging, I found it interesting that during the "Where Is the Business Model Going?" presentation on Friday (led by Chris Nolan, Phil Meyer, Sybril Bennett and Martin Heimann), a slide popped up on the screen listing the top money-making bloggers in the blogosphere. The list was dominated by conservative bloggers (i.e., Michelle Malkin), so someone in the audience asked "Why?" No one on the panel offered a good answer, other than big-moneyed Republicans were bankrolling them. However, in my opinion, Chris Nolan had answered it earlier when she said, quoting someone else, "Where there's people, there's money." Could it be that these sites make more money than others because more people read them? It couldn't be that, could it? Just as Rush Limbaugh's success has nothing to do with his ratings being so high. . . .
. . . While sitting in on Jimmy "Wikipedia" Wales' Saturday session on "Collaboration" followed by blogging pioneer Dave Winer's one on "Tools and the Future," I haven't felt so geeky since the late 1980s, when I was working for COMPUTE! Publications, a group of home computing magazines (COMPUTE!, COMPUTE!'s Gazette for the Commodore 64 and 128, among others). I have been out of that culture for more than 15 years, and it was nice to step back into it again. . . .
. . . One more thing about ConvergeSouth: Let's do it again.