Home > Uncategorized > Media 2010: How Blogs Shape the New Conversation

Media 2010: How Blogs Shape the New Conversation

Last night I attended an interesting panel discussion “Media 2010: How Blogs Shape the New Conversation” organized by The Times Union and The College of St. Rose.  From the event page:

How have blogs changed the way we communicate? How do bloggers interact with their readers? What can bloggers do to foster a sense of community with their readers?

This is your opportunity to participate in a discussion with some of the Capital Region’s most prolific bloggers, both on the panel and as invited guests.

I’m not quite sure it achieved its stated objective. There was a lot of blather in the beginning, and a lot of it came across as “Blogging for Dummies.” That’s not entirely a bad thing, especially considering that you have to start something like this – an introductory event – on the assumption that there are people in the audience who might need an introduction into exactly what blogging entails and who (or what) your potential audience is. One gentleman at our table, Jay, was a perfect example – he was older and never blogged before and took a lot from the panel.

Our table. That's me (barely) on the right.

Another problem was that there was such a wide variety of questions that could (and did) come up that it was impossible to fully address them. Future installments that focus on specific aspects would be beneficial. For example, you could have one panel devoted entirely to blogging as a business model and revenue source, such as what they do at All Over Albany, a panel devoted specifically to the role of blogging in journalism and how to enhance rather than displace traditional hard news, and so on and so forth.

Regardless of a lot of talk that I paid attention to but couldn’t care less about, I loved the atmosphere, discussion, and seeing all the people there that I communicate with on a regular basis. I have to admit, though, that the whole concept of blogging as most of the people in the room understand it isn’t really my bag.

A lot of people blog and that’s their thing. They set out on this venture and use Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms to draw attention to it. They hope it will in turn get them attention, a job, a book deal, establish themselves as an expert, etcetera. In short, the blog is the current endpoint for them.

I, on the other hand, have always used a blog for two things: as one of a number of creative outlets and, unlike most, as a means to an end. I use it to promote other projects I and/or my friends are involved with, work out ideas, and get the word out about my acting gigs.

Most importantly, I don’t have a singular focus. This originally started as a way for people to keep up with what was going on in my life, and I’ve always used it as more of a personal online diary rather than a blog focused on a specific area like food, news, film or politics.

I was having a discussion with a group of folks after the panel, and they were talking about their blogs and what sort of audience they receive. Someone turned to me and said “what do you blog about?” I pointed to my nametag that read “KevinMarshallOnline.com” and simply responded “…me.”

Because, really, isn’t that what we’re doing anyway? Some of us have a more singular focus when it comes to their passions. Myself, I love film. I also love acting. I obviously enjoy writing, and my enthusiasm for Mixed Martial Arts wholly overwhelms my interest in all other sports. The end result is that you’re really only going to enjoy my blog if you know me or if you happen to stumble across the occasional post you find interesting. But I’m fine with that. If I wanted to write a focused blog on one area, I’d do it. In fact, I most likely will (Mixed Marshall Arts – coming soon!).

Some folks want to be known for their blog. Me, that ain’t my bag. I fought the word “blog” for the longest time simply because I hate the phonetics of the word (there are fewer terms in the mainstream vernacular that sound less organic) and the connotations behind it. That said, I do appreciate the power of the medium and provide encouragement and support those that DO want to be known primarily for their blog. I especially look forward to interacting with those people and seeing how they interact with each other.

And for that, I thank Mike Huber for putting this together. I can’t wait for the next one.


More important than these or any other “new media” or “social media” gatherings? The people I meet with and/or meet for the first time. They include, but certainly are not limited to:

– Greg Dahlmann & Mary Darcy of All Over Albany. These two have put together a fantastic local blog that has become something of a community in and of itself. Their readers are noted for their unusual civility and likability, to which I can say that Greg and Mary in a very real sense that when it comes to blogs, you are the audience that you attract.

– Amy Mengel, who has a blog called Mengel Musings. It’s a blog about communication, social media, public relations, and marketing. The fact that I have absolutely no interest in those fields and yet find her blog to be not only accessible but a fascinating read should speak volumes.

– Daniel B., aka “The Profussor.” His Fussy Little Blog is one of the few foodie blogs I even glance at (the others being Albany Eats and Under the Copper Tree).

Daniel Nester, who is every bit as hilarious in person as he comes across online. Perhaps even moreso. He has a book called How to Be Inappropriate, which is a collection of non-fiction short stories chronicling his mis-adventures in life. I’m told it’s quite engaging. Haven’t read it myself, because reading books is for pussies. How was that, Dan?

– Rob Madeo, who writes the Man of a Certain Age blog for The Times Union. Rob’s a funny guy, and his latest post is an interesting look at what a fantastic diva Wilford Brimley is.

Please don’t take exception if you feel like I’ve left you out. I still love you, baby, and those other bloggers don’t mean nothing to me. I mean, you’re the mother of my ba—sorry, wrong conversation.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. March 5, 2010 at 12:03 am

    So if there was another one of these, say, next year… do you think it’s worth attending? I was pretty jealous while reading the tweets from the event, but overall it seems like the afterglow is a bit fuzzy.

    • March 5, 2010 at 9:07 am

      I think a lot of people (including myself) were expecting an event geared towards us specifically, which really wasn’t fair to the organizers or especially to the newcomers. For a first event, it had to have sort of a broader and more general message.

      Again, I think future installments will be more specific and definitely worth your time. There were some fascinating people there (including Libby Post, whom I unfortunately did not get to meet and congratulate on being an awesome and courageous person).

  2. Erin Morelli
    March 5, 2010 at 12:46 am

    I’ve been tossing around the idea of starting up my blog again. I had one a number of years ago that focused mostly on me ranting about stupid or cool things on the internet. I kind of miss have a space to just talk about things that are interesting me and see if other are interested in them too, and maybe have a conversation about it. Looking through some of the blogs you posted that I hadn’t really looked at before is giving me even more ideas. I should just do it.

    PS. Mixed Marshall Arts may be the best title idea for a blog ever.

    • March 5, 2010 at 9:08 am

      You really should! Just judging by your Tweets and our conversations, it’d be pretty entertaining.

      And thanks! I like it myself. 🙂

  3. Rob
    March 5, 2010 at 2:17 am

    Thanks… for the mention. I enjoyed the Wednesday event, but agree we could have focused the content better. There were several topics that we could have spent all night on. And I’m not talking about dog poop.

    I might have been unfair to Wilford Brimley. I suspect that he’s just a guy who’s uncomfortable around people. Or just an asshole. One or the other.

    • March 5, 2010 at 9:13 am

      No problem! It was great meeting you. Like I said to James, in hindsight there was really no other way to do it that would’ve been appropriate.

      Wilford Brimley came to the Capital District to kick ass and eat Quaker Oatmeal…AND HE’S ALL OUT OF QUAKER OATMEAL!

  4. March 8, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Thanks for the shoutout – glad to know that a non-PR person can enjoy my blog every now and then! Good to see you at the event. Interested to see what the next one is like.


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