(Interviewing Anji Bee in the .TV studio at Blogworld. Photo by Ryan Lum)
A handful of years ago, in the early days of podcasting, there were a couple of podcasting conventions held in Ontario, California, an industrial hub about 90 miles outside of L.A. that is about as fun to visit as the orthodontist. Those early podcast conventions were really awful. Blogworld L.A. was nothing like that. In fact, Blogworld L.A rocked.
In the old Ontario podcast expo days, it was fun to finally meet some of the friends you’ve made face-to-face and it was nice to share a drink or a meal with colleagues. But honestly, the whole new-media world back then was really made up of indie podcasters, most of whom were doing it as a hobby and the divide over the “haves” and “have nots” certainly brought out a level of obnoxious, petty behavior one would normally associate with children who were never hugged enough. Even the podcasting network Podshow, with whom I was signed, made the biggest douchebaggy move of all by insisting on having a massive stretch Hummer limo shuttling the select few invitees to their hospitality suite off-site a couple miles away. When I look back on those days, the whole thing seemed so unrefined and regrettable.
Fast forward to Blogworld LA 2011. I had avoided these Blog-New Media conventions like the plague for the last couple of years. This year I went as a part of the .TV team (I’m a .TV advocate) playing the part of on-camera host for many hours of live streaming interviews and coverage of the show. I can tell you that not only was it fun, but it was a fantastic time. I promise to write a future post for the blog over at Watch.TV detailing more of my Blogworld experiences, but the point I wanted to make here on Wordsushi was that, to my surprise, Blogworld attendees were predominantly made up of professionals. People who were writing blogs for the companies they work for, brand marketers, etc… No longer was it indie folks bitching about shit, it was pros talking about what was possible and sharing tips for how to make it happen.
Back in the wild west days of podcasting, lots of folks complained that it was the money that was ruining new media, now we see that it’s monetization and the fact that more people are able to make a living doing and consulting about new media that really made this industry finally grow up.
I did see a bunch of friends and folks I’ve known since those olden podcasting days and the common joke we all shared was about being survivors. Every single one of us has parlayed our early indie experiences into career and brand-growing opportunities. All of us have expanded what we were originally doing and continue to thrive in new media… and all those annoying whiners and posers from the days of yore… there wasn’t a single one in sight.