Blogathon ATX (as in Austin TX) is in its 4th iteration. It is the brainstorm of Ilene Haddad. And, in addition to all of the obvious blogging experts available, she enlists friends from the area to (gently) arm twist food vendors to provide wonderful items for breakfast, lunch and a late afternoon snack. For example I just had some incredible sushi for the late afternoon snack from Roll On Sushi Diner.
But it's not just about the food. Ok, the food IS a major draw but definitely not the major draw. The real draw for me is the energy flowing throughout the building. So what happens at a "blogathon?"
The obvious answer is that bloggers come to work and to share. There are Q & A sessions, there's tech support, there are classes, and there are people conducting site reviews. Each of these elements varies slightly from blogathon to blogathon but here's what we had at today's event: (1) Q & A on Branding Yourself Online, (2) WordPress 101, (3) Q & A on Long Term Blog Maintenance, (4) Intro to WordPress Premium Themes, and (5) Blogging For Business.
As people sit around and blog and tweet they are talking and discussing. The conversations can be funny. They can be technical in nature. They can even be what I would call "off task" as a teacher - talking about politics, events, concerts, and happy hour specials. But embedded in those conversations are little nuggets about the how and why people blog. You can learn tips and tricks. You can learn what things are frustrating the other bloggers. You can find what obstacles bloggers are running into. And you can find others with your passions, your weaknesses, your strengths, and your subject matter.
In summary, blogathons will help you be a better blogger just be being surrounded by others experiencing the blogging world. For example I learned today that I hadn't been able to make changes to my blog because I had updated my email address and ended up not giving administrative rights to that access point. Thanks to Lydia from Understand Blue.com I was able to see my admin information on my blog again. It just took one click. I hadn't seen my stats in more than a year. I didn't know that, behind the United States, most of my readers come from France! Who'd-a-thunk!
Thank you Ilene and I can't wait for the next version of BlogathonATX.