I have, however, for the past two years, gone to SOBcon. It’s a small conference for bloggers in Chicago.
It’s a funny thing for me to attend, this conference designed to help people become successful and outstanding bloggers. Many of the presentations talk about strategy and building business platforms and figuring out return on investment from blogging. And I’m not a business. I’m not building a business. I have no plans to move from being a pastor to being a professional blogger.
So why do I keep going back?
Because the people keep changing my life.
- Last year, for example, Glenda Watson Hyatt talked about making websites more accessible. When she talked about how many people need help to hear blogs, or to see contrast on the screen or to process complexity, I realized that if I don’t pay attention, a huge number of people may not be able to read what I’m saying. And if I believe that what I talk about matters, that matters. (Making me cry – Glenda Watson Hyatt)
- As I was preparing for SOBcon last year, I came up with the idea of being a social media chaplain. Like there are police chaplains and business chaplains and hospital chaplains, I realized that what I do for a handful of people is provide a spiritual stopping point. And Liz Strauss even let me tell people about it.
- While I was driving home last year, I even wrote an imaginary presentation for this year called 8 ways social media can learn from church. I wrote it because the people of SOBcon have made me feel like I have something to contribute to social media.
- I have watched many of my friends from SOBcon do wonderful writing and thinking. During the year, they challenge my thinking about audience, about writing, about community, about accountability. Even though I’m not a business, these are issues that are pretty core to what I am about.
This year, Terry and Liz have made the theme, “Where the virtual meets concrete.” It feels like what we’ve been doing for the past couple of years, but I know that we will be stretched by the theme, and even more stretched by the relationships.
I’ll be in Chicago from April 30-May 1. (The conference goes through Sunday, but I have other standing appointments that day). If you have questions about how it could help you as a non-business blogger, I’d be glad to answer from my experience. And you can register for SOBcon 2010 here. (affiliate link).