blog worldI’m not an angry guy. I’m also not a big fan of confrontation nor complaining. But after witnessing the most embarrassing display of ‘blog talk’ in my life today at the final keynote of Blog World New York, I simply cannot hold my tongue on an event that, in many ways, is perfectly symbolic of why the concept of blogging still gets so little respect throughout the world today.

To explain this as succinctly as possible, today’s final keynote (in other words, the icing on top of the cake that is Blog World) was set up in a ‘Talk Show’ format with Chris Brogan as the host and a panel consisting of four people from diverse fields—Chris Pirillo (an ultra successful internet entrepreneur), Andrew Breitbart (developer of the Huffington Post, author, and political thought leader), Shauna Glen (an author and blogger who discusses edgy female ‘topics’), and Sara Benincasa (a comedian with a major political and ‘sexually charged’ slant).

Without going into a long-winded explanation of the entire keynote, let me just point out a few moments that seemed, should we say, out of place…..

-Andrew Breitbart’s segment, although interesting, was almost entirely centered upon politics, not blogging.

-Shauna Glen’s segment was initiated by a ‘spoof’ video she made of her trying to mix cake batter with a woman’s vibrator(yes, you did read that correctly), and references to sex and female organs continued to come up during her time speaking.

-Sara Benincasa started her segment with a stand up ‘comedy’ routine. By creatively re-wording the blogging seminar titles of the week, she managed to drop an F-Bomb in every other sentence, along with another slew of vulgar terms about female organs.

Entering the Twilight Zone

As I sat in the front row, blinking and cringing my teeth over and over again in utter disbelief at what I was seeing and hearing at ‘Blog’ World, I literally felt like I had entered into a twilight zone…

But I was not the only person in the crowd who was in total shock and awe. Two women from my table alone got up and left. Many other people throughout the crowd, with a sheer look of confusion and disappointment on their faces, got up and exited as well.

When I looked down at my Twitter feed so as to ensure that I was not simply going mad and hearing all these voices in my own head, I saw many tweets like this one from Lori Randall Stradtman(referring to what she was watching):

“Horrifying, actually. So much was so wonderful. This is sad.”

To me, Lori summed up my thoughts perfectly—what was a great week of meeting incredible people and participating in some really nice classes was capped off with a sad display of unprofessionalism and out-of-place ‘comedy’.

Although some of you reading this may assume I have a holier-than-thou mentality with regards to this event, the truth is that I greatly care about this industry. 2 years ago, blogging saved my business when the economy took a nose dive. And frankly, I’m sick and tired of ‘bloggers’ not getting their fair share of respect in the ‘real world’. It’s events like these that only hurt the industry and prevent it from reaching the level of success it deserves.

Who is to Blame?

As for who is to blame, I lay all responsibility on the shoulders of those who organized Blog World East. Without question, I do not fault the participants of the panel nor Chris Brogan—they were just doing what they were hired/asked to do. If Sara Benincasa wants to make her living as a ‘shock jockette’, that’s absolutely fine with me. She has that right and no doubt there is an audience out there that loves her work. But asking her to do stand up at the capstone event of a conference of bloggers, professionals, and business owners??? What the heck were they thinking? Who in the world thought this would truly enhance the Blog World experience?

A few weeks ago there was quite a discussion on Gini Dietrich’s blog, Spin Sucks, about the fact that the officials at Blog World had made her and Danny Brown change their seminar’s title from Douchbags and Spin Doctors to something less ‘risqué’. In fact, in explaining why the original title was changed, Rick Calvert of Blog World commented this on Gini’s article:

“…..At the same time I was having several private conversations with old school podcasters and nearly every one of them mentioned your original title as exactly the reason why they thought BlogWorld was a bunch of cool kids and social media douchebags.

The reason I asked you guys to change the title is that people who don’t know you could (and in several cases did) get the wrong impression. Not that you are uncouth crazy bloggers, but that you think you are cool kids with all the answers and anyone who doesn’t do it your way is a suit, not hip, doing it wrong, blah blah blah.”

Sheer Hypocrisy

OK, so let me see if I’ve got this right….The reason a class title with ‘D-bags’ was censored is because of perception from other professionals, yet notwithstanding, at the very same event, (but now with hundreds of people and professionals in the room) we can spend almost all of our focus on politics, sex, female organs, and a bucket full of F-bombs? Can anyone say ‘Hypocrisy’??

Honestly, I was so upset and saddened by what I heard from today’s keynote that for the last 2 hours I’ve been walking around New York City, simply trying to gather my thoughts and as the wonderful Farnoosh reminded us in her seminar today, not allow anger to dictate the words of this post.

The Big Picture

But this post isn’t about anger—it’s about the blogging industry. It’s about what we’re striving to be as a whole, and how we can get there. I have no doubt the directors of Blog World had the best of intentions with everything they planned with this event. But the simple fact is they made a tasteless and highly offensive(to many people) error, and should seriously apologize to the sponsors and bloggers that were in attendance for such garbage.

Your Turn

OK, I’ve said my piece here, and I expect we’ll be hearing opinions from a lot of people on this important subject. Should such ‘events’ as this one be attached to blogging conferences? Also, if you agree with what I’ve said above, please give your thoughts. If you disagree, I certainly hope you’ll feel inclined to share. Just do me a favor and keep it clean and civil, as this is an opportunity to have some powerful discussion that may just in fact make a difference.

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434 thoughts on “The Hypocrisy of Blog World New York: What Were They Thinking?

  1. Dude

    That sounds like utter tosh.

    Have you written to the organizers and formally complained? And see what their response is? (My guess is some kind of pious justification and why it was a ‘good’ panel.’)

    Be intrigued to see what they say if you do formally complain. Or you could tweet your post to the organized…that would be a way to get his attention. (And of course we’d all happily retweet it!)

    Keep us posted.


    • Hey Paul, ‘utter tosh’ sounds pretty accurate in this case my friend.

      I have not yet spoken with the organizers of the event. I anticipate they’ll be by here, as to whether or not they comment, it is up to them, and I’d love to hear their take.

      Either way, I’ll keep you posted mate and hopefully something positive will come out of this.

      Thanks so much for your support.


    • We read the post yesterday morning Paul. Dave and I recorded a podcast response. I am having some technical difficulties getting it posted but everyone was flying home to California yesterday and most of our staff was stranded at JFK all day. Some had to stay the night and are hopefully on flights this morning so we haven’t be able to post the reply yet.

      I did email Marcus late last night after driving all day myself. I have invited him to call my cell at any time to continue this discussion. I do believe it is a valuable one. We do respect his and your opinion and are honored that people care this much about our event.

      We did try to warn people ahead of time several times that this closing keynote was meant to be entertainment and that it would contain adult humor. We realize that is not everyone’s cup of tea and absolutely respect that. Obviously we failed to give sufficient warning and I personally apologize for that.

      Our production was terrible but those were technical problems and we apologize for those. But we do not apologize for the content itself or the very existence of this type of content.

      When Marcus says he cares about “this industry” I have to ask which industry he is referring to? Because Shauna and Sara are absolutely a part of “my industry”. They are examples of very successful entertainers who have enjoyed both new media and traditional media success. They are brilliant, strong, confident women and were in no way exploited themselves or exploiting anyone else.

      They were being themselves and performing the same type of content they do in their careers regularly. This is their job. Shauna was on Good Morning America before she came on the show. Andrew Breitbart left to appear on Shawn Hannity’s show. Sara regularly appears on Comedy Central.

      It seems different people were offended for different reasons. Honestly we were embarrassed by our horrible production of the talk show. The videos were too long, there were format issues, and the rhythm was completely off. (That is our fault and we failed completely). We thought Sara saved the show at the end with her stand up. If you aren’t offended by admittedly “adult only” humor she was very funny and completely relevant to our event. I assure you lots of people were laughing and enjoying her performance as well.

      Lots of women were laughing at Shauna’s video. She didn’t create this for us, it was from her blog. She is a humorist. Shauna is very popular at mommy blogger events and has a huge loyal community who loves her sense of humor.

      We think Marcus is completely wrong in his opinion that adult humor and language have any effect on the success or failure of new media. Did Richard Pryor harm comedy? There are hundreds of thousands of examples of adult content in the traditional media industry. Do they make TV, movies, magazines, books, etc. less credible? Of course not. The Hangover was one of the most successful movies of the year last year. Have you seen it? Have you ever heard Howard Stern?

      Ever read a romance novel, watched a soap opera, Fox or MSNBC, seen FM magazine on the shelf at your local grocery store, or the airport, ever been to a comedy show?

      Of course you have done one if not all of those things because they are all different genres within traditional media. Those genres exist in new media too. Our closing keynote was / is meant to be an example of what can be done with new media and just how broad it can be. New media is not a club of corporate marketers and PR professionals.

      In fact new media is the content that corporate marketers, business owners and PR professionals want to leverage (in many cases exploit) to sell their products. Our event is for, by and about content creators. Not about marketing and PR.

      We have lots of content for them and embrace them as part of our community because every business in the world who learns the value of new media, and learns how to use new media to promote their business, service their customers, improve their products, etc. creates new opportunities for content creators.

      We had three keynote sessions; one was a traditional panel with two very opinionated and well respected “rock stars” in social media marketing circles Jeff Hayzlett, and Gary V. It also included a dear friend and VP of digital and social media for one of the largest PR companies in the world Stephanie Agresta and a best-selling e-publisher who is now also a Random House author HP Mallory. Her books are “paranormal romance”. Think True Blood.

      Our second keynote featured executives from Disney, American Express and Pepsi. We had more than 200 speakers; just under 40% of them were women. More than 100 sessions and one keynote in a “talk show” format as the last session on the last day for people who chose to attend to experience it. We have done this for the last three years. It has been very popular. We never know exactly what is going to happen but we expect adult language and humor and we said that in advance.

      Here is the description:
      “The “New Media LIVE!” Talk Show has become a favorite closing keynote tradition at BlogWorld, one that you won’t want to miss! Chris Brogan (president of Human Business Works, co-founder of the PodCamp new media conference series, co-author of the New York Times bestselling book, Trust Agents, featured columnist at Entrepreneur Magazine); Chris Pirillo (former CPU Magazine columnist, author, producer on Live, Internet entrepreneur and former TV host); Shauna Glenn (hilarious author, columnist, blogger, and mother to four children); Sara Benincasa (VH1, MTV, NBC Today Show, comedian, writer, and political blogger) and Andrew Breitbart (commentator for the Washington Times, author Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World, publisher, commentator, and founder of,, Big Hollywood, Big Government, Big Journalism, and Big Peace) offer an irreverent, humorous, off-beat, entertaining, insightful and edgy panel, in a late night talk show format, to wrap up the conference. Special guests may be announced on-site…stay tuned!”

      We absolutely respect people’s tastes and values and understand this format and this type of content is not for everyone. That is why we tried to warn people ahead of time. We obviously failed to convey that effectively.

      There is absolutely no connection to our request that Danny and Gini change the title of their session to the content of this keynote. I think we explain that much better in the audio clip. I will link it as soon as I can get it posted.

      As for the two decisions being hypocritical; it appears Danny and Gini agree with Marcus’ sentiment. If that’s the case aren’t they the ones being hypocritical here?

      Claiming to be victims and having their creativity stifled when we requested they modify the title of their session (not the actual content), then decrying the fact that we would allow two smart, successful brilliant comedians to perform at our event? Shouldn’t they be defending Shauna and Sara’s right to “be themselves”?

      I’m sorry but calling an educational session “doucheblogs and spin doctors” isn’t edgy. Standing on stage and openly mocking and eviscerating group of people who sometimes take themselves too seriously is edgy. I think the 170 comments on this post support that.

      Having a cordial phone conversation with me and telling me you understand my position and you are absolutely ok with my request then writing blog posts and snarky comments at every opportunity that are completely contrary to that phone conversation might not be hypocritical but there is certainly an unflattering word for it.

      • Hey there Rick,

        I take offence at that. Yes, we had a cordial conversation; yes, I said I understood your reasoning; yes, I said we’d change the title.

        Does that mean we have to like it? Or let’s make that, does it mean I have to like it, as I don’t want to speak out of turn on behalf of Gini, who may have different thoughts.

        No, it doesn’t, and nor does it mean that I have to keep my thoughts to myself either (much like you did on the original Facebook stream, or much like you are here).

        I think the hypocrisy statement is spot on, and for the very points that Marcus (and many others make). You ask us to change a title and then you (or someone within BlogWorld) mentions to Sara that she can be “as wild as she wanted”:

        But we all live and learn.

        • That makes two of us Danny. You can say, or do anything you like. Just don’t tell me one thing in private then something else in public. Does that sound fair mate?

          • From my post, Rick:

            “Part of me understands BlogWorld’s request to change the title. Rick Calvert of BlogWorld kindly called me to explain their decision and, from the audience they’re trying to attract to BlogWorld this year, perhaps our session title wasn’t suitable.”

            I’ve always said I understood your decision. I’ve also been consistent with these views, and I mentioned to you on the call why I was disappointed.

            Not sure where the disconnect on private/public is. Of course, if we were talking views on other events and reasons for the title change… 😉

            • I felt and still feel like you have misrepresented our telephone conversation several times Danny. That could be entirely my fault. Maybe I did not explain myself clearly enough during our phone conversation, but we did not ask you to edit your title because it might offend someone. Certainly not because it offended some “corporate suit” as has been suggested. It was the bloggers and podcasters who told us your session title was making them less likely to attend the event in general and your session in particular. We asked you to change it because part of your intended target audience was telling us they thought you were the very douchebag you were trying to speak against.

              I disagreed with them. I thought and still do think you had a message bloggers and podcasters needed to hear. I was trying to help you and Gini present a session to a diverse audience instead of the preaching to the choir that happens so often at conferences.

              I know I am not saying this well in text. I have just posted a conversation Dave and I had the morning after the show addressing Marcus’ post in total. At 12:20 in we address the alleged hypocrisy.

              Please listen and let me know if you think that is the same conversation you and I had on the phone.

              • Hi Rick,

                I wasn’t a speaker like Danny, nor an organizer like you.

                I was a paying ticket holder for Blog World. Just like Marcus.
                I spoke out about the censorship of the Danny/Gini headlines earlier. It saddened me but as I said I understood, you were tailoring the content to a certain audience.

                Now I’m just confused and word hypocrite does come to mind, just like Marcus.

                We are told this is an event in which language must be kept out of the locker room but then you present a Howard Stern wannabe as your closing act.

                I think you don’t understand what censorship and being hypocrite means Rick.
                It simply means, Do what I say but not as I do.

                • It seems you aren’t reading what I am writing John. I understand what the terms mean. Neither apply in this case.

                  “We are told this is an event in which language must be kept out of the locker room”

                  Can you please point to one post, comment or any evidence that I or ever said such a thing?

                  I have tried to explain this numerous times. I don’t understand the disconnect.

                  • Rick,
                    Yes I agree with you on this point, there is a disconnect. I think as business bloggers we had certain expectations, this was then reinforced by your feedback asking for Gini/Danny to change their title.

                    I think that Marcus said it when he thinks that you tried to please everyone in this conference and ended up upsetting some.
                    This is where the disconnect lies.

                    • How about the simple question, “that’s the best you guys have got? Really?”

                      If then yay! else, boo! And the people responsible all know which it is.

      • Seems to me, that if it’s “not everyone’s cup of tea” than it shouldn’t have any place at a blog conference. These conferences are something that bloggers need…to grow as bloggers and to make social connections. It seems that their need is being taken advantage of and the platform is being used to showcase certain “talents” or opinions, rather than being used as an opportunity to educate and socialize bloggers. If their opinions were “respected” than the hosts and presenters would have been more gracious.

        • Hi Chantilly, and thanks so much for stopping by to add your thoughts.

          Although I don’t know if it’s possible to please everyone, I do clearly believe a stronger emphasis on ‘blogging’ would solve the majority of the issues at hand. But with the ‘New Media’ side to BW, I don’t know if this is going to be something we see in the future. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

          But thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and I hope you have a wonderful Sunday. :-)


        • Hi Chantilly:

          I think one thing that has been lost in this whole thing is that I’m a blogger, too. I blog for Comedy Central’s, which is part of The Daily Show/Colbert Report brand. I also blog for political satire site In the past, I’ve blogged for,, and other places.

          There are a LOT of bloggers out there representing a LOT of different tastes. I primarily work as a writer and as a comedian, but I’m a blogger, as well.


          • I’m sorry Sara. The comment wasn’t aimed at you or any other performers. My point is that the hosts should have known better. They obviously already knew it may not go over well because they changed the title of the program to make the content seem less “edgy”. It would have been better business to let people know what they’re paying for in advance. Some are cool with it, others not. Perhaps it would have been better as an option, but not finale of the event.

            • No worries, Chantilly, and no need to apologize! Just wanted to make sure you knew that everyone up there was a blogger of one kind or another. I think it should be a fancy-dress party next time with a bar, after hours!

  2. Marcus,

    I have been a big fan of Chris Pirillo for a long time. (He’s awesome)

    But did these people feel like they were adding value to the event?

    I live 5 minutes outside of NYC, and I’m by no means conservative…but what I just read sounds crazy…

    What were they thinking?

    Crazy stuff, man…

    • Hey Jason, like you, I’m quite aware of Chris Pirillo’s talent. He has done a ton for the industry and by no means is he at fault for anything here, as he did the best he could and actually was trying hard to talk about ‘blogging’.

      I’m sure the rest of the speakers thought they were adding value, no doubt. As I mentioned, they were doing what they do, but the fact that such an ensemble was put together to cap off the event is where the head-scratching really begins.

      Thanks for voicing your thoughts Jason. Always great to hear from one of the best inbound marketers in the world. 😉


      • :) Thanks for the kind words. I’m on my way up the list.

        It seems like the US Olympic Basketball Team we put together a while back that DIDNT win the gold. Just because there is a lot of great talent on the team…that doesn’t make it a talented team.

        I wish I made in into the city for blog world, but we’re just too busy over here in Jersey right now. Business is great right now.

        Have a great holiday weekend Marcus. (Back to “work” for me)

        • Just like the US Olympic Basketball Team. Too often events put together panels that just don’t fit well with one another.

  3. Marcus,

    First let me say – I’m sitting here absolutely stunned – and I wasn’t even in attendance at Blog World Expo. I simply cannot believe that these people were not vetted more concerning what they would say and how they would be perceived.

    If the organizers vetted Gini and Danny to such a degree, you cannot tell me that they did not know this would happen with these members of this panel.

    Secondly, I am astounded that the likes of Chris Brogan and Chris Pirillo, two people that I have always respected and admired, would allow their names to be associated with such a panel.

    Chris and Chris – WTH?

    Third, my perception (and I fully admit that this is only my perception and not the mark of truth) – this Keynote was put together by the organizers based on “big names” and not on quality content. It’s the Keynote – the summit of the event – let’s rock out some big names.

    Again, only my perception, but extremely sad if true.

    Makes me wonder about my attendance at the next BWE.

    I agree with Paul Wolfe – I’d send this along to the BWE people. You paid good money for the event – your voice/response/complaint should be heard.

    • Hey Frank, and thanks so much for stopping by to address your concerns for an industry I know you very much care about as well.

      As far as Chris and Chris are concerned, I honestly don’t feel they have any blame here. In fact, I was thinking what I would have done if I was in Pirillo’s shoes and forced to have tried to have great ‘conversation’ which such a ‘unique’ group. Furthermore, Brogan didn’t seem all that comfortable either. With the two guys he was fine, but once the ladies commenced, it seemed that he was a little unsure as to where it was all going.

      But in reality, only Chris and Chris know their thoughts on the event. They may have loved it and felt it went great, but honestly I just can’t see how anyone could think it was a positive for the industry.

      You rock Frank, great to see you stop by. Hope you have a wonderful weekend man….I promise to be back to positive stuff next week!!


  4. Hi Marcus, I’m sorry to hear about this experience at BlogWorld. I wasn’t there, but suspect I would have felt the same as you. What a shame. :(

    The reason I stopped by was to voice one thing, that ate me at BlogWorld 2010 (Las Vegas), but I never spoke up. But here, it seems relevant. The same way that your post is about the need for the people on stage to respect the people in the audience, I experienced the reverse at BlogWorld 2010, so I wanted to add that (if the on-stage performance is not vulgar, of course), the audience needs to respect the speakers and their investment of time as well (and no, I was not a speaker there, please read on).

    Last year, after a presentation by some political-related people about using social media for politics in the U.S., the first audience member who took the microphone rudely started his comments by saying “You people know sh** about blogging” (and for the record, it was not a Millenial or a Gen X-er – so no one can argue that this was the younger generation being disrespectful).

    Immediately, I was astounded, because whilst the topic was not for me either, the speakers were not vulgar or openly offensive, so the feedback did not need to be so in-your-face, insulting and embarassing to the speakers. Like you said, maybe they were not entirely to blame.

    Then, what astounded me even more was that many people gave this comment great applause! I couldn’t believe it. It’s hard enough to get up on stage to begin with, but to be so openly struck down. I really didn’t think they deserved it.

    So, my message is: the respect needs to go both ways. My hope the next BlogWorld is full of an audience and speakers who ‘get’ this. :)

    Best wishes, Andrea.

    • You’ve brought up a really, really good point Andrea, and I’m so glad you stopped by to make this observation. Without question, respect needs to go both ways. Even though we’re all a bunch of pretty opinionated people in the blogging industry, it doesn’t give us the right be be rude and disrespectful.

      Personally, I like diversity at these events. I like people of different thought. But the whole concept of ‘professionalism’ is where we really seem to get off-base at times.

      Again, thanks for bringing by your message of ‘mutual respect’ this morning Andrea. Very well said.


    • I agree with your comment about last year’s keynote Andrea. I was cringing when I heard that first comment after I had asked the audience to be respectful to our speakers.

  5. Sad commentary of the world we live in today Marcus. Even sadder is how this reflects on woman bloggers. I can only imagine your dismay and like you, I would have been both baffled and furious. I don’t know why people, especially women these days it seems, choose to degrade themselves and their talents rather than uplift and celebrate them. Few are the Gini’s, Lori’s and Diana’s of the blog world. Speak out and definitely bring it to the attention of those that matter and things will change at the next event I bet! 😉

    Not that you need me to say this at all, but thank you for sharing this information and for being a stand up gentleman that gives a hoot!

    With kindness,


    • Good morning Elena, so glad you stopped by here to give your thoughts.

      Honestly, I felt bad for any female that was in that room yesterday. Now granted, I’m sure there were some that thought it was all fine and dandy, but if I was a woman, and had been there, I’d honestly have been so very humiliated and saddened. (Oh wait, that’s already how I felt…) But you understand I’m sure.

      I’ve got a great wife and three daughters, and there will come a day in the near future when most if not all will be coming with me to events like these, and I’d like to take them there with pride.

      Have wonderful Friday and weekend Elena. I appreciate you stopping by very much.


      • Elena, mwa mwa (kiss on each cheek). You are a love. Thank you.

        I was going to say, Marcus. With your four women at home you have been estrogenized enough to feel a great deal of empathy for exactly how inappropriate the -ahem- presentation was for the women in the group. That sensitivity is gorgeous. Don’t ever lose it. It’s going to help your girls every day of their lives to have a father who understands. Off topic, sorry, but true.

        • Actually, not off topic at all Diana..and couldn’t be even more applicable. And to tell you the truth, it was in thinking about my little ladies that I couldn’t help but write this article…

          And I promise to do my best to keep it Diana. 😉


    • Elena, I can assure you that I did not degrade myself. I’m a comedian and one who chooses to use language and imagery in my act that some find objectionable. It is a cultivated persona that is an amplified version of who I actually am offstage. As Marcus observed, it is my right to earn my living as a “shock jockette” (which puts me in mind of Howard Stern–wish I were making HIS money.) Many folks in the audience laughed uproariously and found me and, I think, Shauna to be a breath of fresh air at an event that was scheduled at the end of the day.

      I uplift and celebrate my own talents all the time. By being onstage and saying what I said fearlessly, I was an example of a woman using her own voice to achieve her own goal–eliciting laughter from the audience. That’s what I was there to do, and I accomplished it. You can object to what I said without even having been there. You can object to it if you were there. You can just plain object to it, period. I’m accustomed to a variety of reactions to my work–that is the nature of art. We put it into the world, and it’s not ours anymore.

      I thank you for your comment and for reflecting on this issue. It is certainly one I have faced many times, and there have been moments when my reaction as an audience member was closer to yours. In this case, I think we disagree.

      • Sara,

        You are correct that I wasn’t there. Marcus’ post was mostly a call on those who arranged the event and how it planned. Yes, this type of “entertainment” is not my cup of tea, but more so, there is a time and place for it. I should have focused more on that in my response and do apologize for that. I strongly agree however, that this type of entertainment especially as a closing event does zero in the way of making bloggers a more respected bunch.

        It’s hard to digest Sara when negative feedback on such an open forum involves women who are at the center and not in a very positive light. We live in interesting times and whether that makes me old fashion or a prude or whatever, I don’t apologize. It comes down to each his own, but let’s better define the time and place. Put yourself in the shoes of others and what they are saying regarding this particular event; seeing it from their perspective. There’s a lot to think of here – on both our sides.

        I respectfully appreciate your comment to my post and your input.

        With kindness,


        • Oh, I don’t think you’re old-fashioned at all, Elena! Your response is echoed here by various women. I think in future this event needs to be advertised more clearly as a very explicit (as it sometimes has been in the past as well, judging on YouTube) or potentially wild event.

          • See … now if only woman ran the world, so much more would get done! 😉 Thanks Sara!

          • Hear, hear Sara. Perfectly said! :-)

      • I just want to give props to all you ladies here, as this is civility in action, and after hearing the full story from Sara, I feel bad she was put in this position.

        Btw Sara, you’ve got to get your avatar girl! 😉

        It’s free, just go to and it takes like 60 seconds.


    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Elena!!

      I don’t want to disrupt Marcus’ comments by opining about related issues, but I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot. Was thunderstruck when I saw my tweet quoted, but it is accurate and in context.

      Guess that’s what happens with social media, eh? You say something in the moment and it’s out there. I stand by it, however. BlogWorld was 99% thoroughly awesome. I’m grateful and proud to have spoken there.

      • Hey Lori, in hindsight I really should have warned you it was coming. Please accept my apology on that one, as this post has kinda been read a few times since Friday. 😉



        • No worries Marcus! I said what I said and I meant what I meant (Hey, that’s kind of catchy! #DrSeuss)

  6. Marcus, maybe starting another blog conference would be a good idea.

    BW has represented the industry thus far, but industries evolve… There needs to be a conference that represents the very best blogging practices and ideals throughout; those with class, credibility and seriousness… Because it is serious business… at least much of it is evolving into serious business.

    Anything less is just not good enough. If people are looking for that kind of entertainment, go to a after conference party… Anywhere other than a conference attended by business owners and professionals who are desirous of learning how to leverage blogging and the power and credibility it provides businesses to reach their customers.

    These snafu’s start at the top of our industry – we can do better.

    • I love this idea. A LOT.

      • Haha, and guess who popped into my head to be such an organizer? And, lo, here you are — doing your popping tricks into my psyche when I least expect you. Dang, girl; you’re freakin’ me out.

        • How can I freak you out when we’re the same person?!

          • I know, right? I’m not lyin’ you pop up right when you’re “supposed to.” (Are we supposed to do this on Marcus’s blog? I’m visiting for the first time.)

            • Oh Marcus doesn’t care like some other bloggers (cough, Mitch Joel, cough).

    • I agree with Mark. Next year, LION WORLD EAST!

      Seriously though, it’s a shame the keynote went like that. Hopefully, it’s just a blemish on Blogworld’s record and they can improve from here.

      • Yes, I agree with Mark. I think the interests of “bloggers” where not particularly well represented at BlogWorld.

        Being that we are at the helm of our own industry it may be time for use to find a way to do that for a conference that accurately represents the industry as a whole.

        Thank you for shining light on this Marcus. This was a brave and much needed article.

        • And thank you Marlee for being even more awesome in person than you are on your site. It was way cool having a chance to have deep discussion with you, and I absolutely loved it.

          As far as Mark’s idea, I think it’s one that deserves a much closer look. The way our community works, and the size of its scope, I think we could do some really special things if we put our minds to it.


          • I”ve been contemplating the idea of an event myself. Rather than have the speakers apply maybe we can hand pick them. I’m sure Mark Harai and I will be discussing this at some point.

            • I think if you do that, you’ll be missing out on quite a few great speakers.

              But if the point is to create an event for yourself and your readers specifically, I guess that would work.

        • Marcus, I want to second Marlee’s words here. It takes guts to write a post like this, and despite your frustrations, you kept it very respectful and civil, and recognized that the issue wasn’t the act itself, but rather the organization that put what might be a good act in another context into an environment and in front of an audience before which it didn’t belong – I don’t think I would have enjoyed it either, but that’s not the point, the point is that it isn’t what people went to BlogWorld for. Thanks for taking such a leadership role on this, Marcus – without brave people like you who are willing to stand up, nothing ever gets better.

          • That’s very, very kind of you Danny. You’re such a support man. I tried very hard to do my best with this post. I proofread it more than any other post I’ve ever done. Notwithstanding, like anything else that deals with taking a stand, I’ve taken a good bit of flack for it, but I’ve also received some amazing comments and support. Either way, it has been an enriching and growing experience.

            Thanks again for being so dang awesome Danny.


      • Double dittos Eric!! Love it man! 😉

    • AGREED! Let’s start the revolution dude! lol

    • Well said Mark, and it’s actually a great idea. I do think the future of the blogosphere is smaller conferences– circles if you will– of like minded spending their energies on a dedicated focus and topic. I’m not inferring here that there’s not a place for BW or the like, but I’m sure time will show us a trend of more ‘tailor’ made conferences and events.

      Regarding your comment of the after conference party, that makes a good bit of sense, and certainly would have been the appropriate thing to do in this case. Hopefully they’ll learn from their mistakes and maybe they’ll also now realize there is an entire other group of folks that take this trade of blogging very, very seriously and respectfully.

      Really appreciate you coming by Mark. Thank you sir.


    • This reminds me of Denzel Washington in Training Day,

      “If you want s#$@ done, get it done yourself!” :-)

    • Hey there mister,

      Funnily enough…. 😉

    • I am shocked that this is the direction that BlogWorld is going. I mean, seriously?! There should absolutely be another conference for people interested in being professional. Like others have said, this is on the organizers, not people like Sara (who should take a great opportunity to increase her influence).

      Hey Rick, if I decide to blog about being a terrorist, will you let me show the audience how to make explosives? I could say I’m a part of the industry and therefore making explosives is relevant to blogging. Thanks and see you next year.

      • Seeing as I can’t edit that, I feel the need to clarify that the last paragraph is not a threat. We live in a world today that is very sensitive to the words I just used and I’d have been better off not using them in case of misinterpretation. I was just trying to make a point.

        My point: Rick said that because Sara was a blogger, her stand-up comedy was relevant. I was simply pointing out the error in that way of thinking. Sara is relevant as a blogger – and so she could have talked about her unique perspective and experience with blogging. Entertainment for its own sake is fine, but don’t try to say it was relevant to bloggers.

  7. Jacqui Chew

    Rude people who choose to behave rudely in public are largely ignored by others and most professional presenters have had their share of hecklers. Not that I condone the behavior, but I think the speakers can take care of themselves.

    The issue here isn’t that the session was a poor reflection of bloggers as a group, it was a poor reflection of the event organizers. They misjudged the audiences’ sensibilities. I have to imagine that Chris and Chris were probably mortified by their fellow panelists (I know Chris B was moderating). @Frank is completely correct in his assumption that the panelists were selected based on their name recognition and not on their ability to deliver value to THIS audience in THIS context.

    Btw, since blogs democratize media, these things will happen. Should the content or the author be disagreeable to you, vote with your feet, virtual or otherwise.

    • Hi Jacqui, I’m so glad you’ve come by this morning as I don’t know if we’ve met, so welcome to TSL. :-)

      Regarding Andrea’s comment and your thoughts, I actually don’t fully agree with you because although there are some experienced speakers at Blog World, there are also many more that have never done something like that before. In fact, most bloggers are not professional speakers— they’re writers. But even I, after hundreds of speeches over my life, would have difficulty with someone making that type of remark in one of my classes, and attendees can’t be lead to believe that such acts are kosher.

      I agree that the focus here should be on the organizers, but the event is symbolic of ‘blog world’, not ‘blog world organizers’. There were people in that room that knew little about blogging. They may have been professionals considering a blog for their business. They might have been sponsors. They may have been media covering the event. But either way you shake it, one cannot escape that it does reflect on the whole– at least in their eyes.

      Either way, it’s so awesome of you to stop by Jacqui and I’m grateful you’ve taken part in this conversation.


  8. Marc Halliburton

    Marcus: You’re right on with y0ur comments. There is an appropriate place for all content and this was not it. WOW, I am surprised someone did not get up and tell her to shut the F-up (since the f bomb was already flying) and let’s get on with the topic at hand, blogging.

    I’m not sure what makes them think this is “cool” for this type of material in this setting, gees, I feel for you guys in the front row. No doubt there will be some changes made. Best of luck, Marc

    P.S. Lions are very cool!

    • Hi Marc!! (love the name btw 😉 )

      Yeah, this whole idea of ‘cool’ needs to be changed up a little in my opinion. Yes, diversity is cool— but division and hypocrisy need to take a hike IMO.

      Oh, and glad we share the same sentiments on lions Marc! 😉


      • Cats are my favorite animals. Of cats, lions are my favorite! :-)

        I also cheer for the Detroit Lions, but I don’t want to talk about that until they have a winning record.

  9. Hey Marcus,

    Wow, what a crazy experience! I can only imagine how disconcerting that “performance” must have been as you were waiting to cap off a great week with something you probably thought would be amazing. That is pretty sad.

    It’s unfortunate that sometimes companies or event organizer feel they have to pander to a certain audience, but because of all the pressure they’re under to get it right, they fail to really take the time to get to know said audience and, ironically often end up getting it wrong.
    I agree with Frank that the intention of the organizers was probably just to nab some big names and that’s about as far as the “strategic” planning for the panel went. I’d hate to think they really did give the embarrassing display you mentioned a lot of forethought and consideration.

    Still scratching my head, though, about why the presenters (Brogan?, Pirillo?!) didn’t give serious second thought to, as you mentioned, not so much what they were putting out there but to the audience they were presenting to.

    I guess, in the end, for many people it will all boil down to a matter of personal taste, but I have a strong feeling that if it was a large conference for another group of professionals (doctors, teachers, real estate brokers, etc.), such a display would never have made it to the FINAL keynote speech of the day.

    Like you said, it’s a matter of respect.

    • You’ve really summed it up perfectly with this Tisha, and I’m so glad you stopped by to share your thoughts.

      Like you said, if this was a conference of doctors and teachers, it would not have even been a consideration. Although I don’t feel that these conferences should be ‘dry’, I do think, exactly like you stated, that they need to be respectful.

      Have a wonderful Friday Tisha, and a great weekend as well.


  10. I’m kind of speechless, Marcus. I was feeling like this was put together much too quickly and not representative of their big event they do each fall. It was one thing after another from no power and non-working WiFi to not being able to find cabs and the weird food situation. But you’re right, this takes the cake. Now I’m glad I didn’t stay last night.

    • Yes, to be honest with you Gini, I could have really pointed out so many things that seemed ‘off’ about this conference, but I didn’t want to make it a ‘bash-blogworld’ post. Also, from the comments and emails I’ve been getting from a few other folks, I think some negative reviews will be popping up around the blogosphere this coming week.

      Regardless of the event though, seeing you Gini was worth it in and of itself.



      • I agree wholeheartedly that it was the trip for the in person connections!

        • The personal connections are absolutely the No. 1 reason to go to a conference like Blogworld. It was awesome getting to meet both of you in person. As well as Danny and several others. As for the keynote, I don’t have an in-person take because I had a client call at the same time :). But I do know some folks that left.

          One thing I want to add here — the Social Media Business Summit sessions were solid. I went to Blogworld in Vegas and had a hit or miss experience with the SMBS sessions. Some were great, some I could have done without. But SMBS really stepped it up here. And I would say that even if I didn’t know Chuck and Arik well. Gini, the panel you and Danny did was a big reason for that. In fact, I went to a ton of sessions that added value and gave me tangible advice and information I can take away and apply in my day job.

          Cheers to you both and hope we get to hang out again soon. Marcus, good luck with your Mountaineers. Gini, your Cubs come to KC in June. Just sayin :).

          • Thanks, mate – I’ve heard great things about the SMB Summit panels, looking forward to seeing the recordings.

            And it was great to meet you finally – now update your avatar!!! 😉

          • And a big cheers to you as well Justin! I’m so glad we got a chance to meet and your positive vibe was great to be around at dinner.

            Regarding the sessions, I think it’s great you had a good time. There’s no question there was value at BW. I got a ton from a few speakers– Johnny B. Truant and Jonathan Fields I thought were excellent, amongst others.

            Anyway, hope we catch up again Justin and thanks for the shout out to me ‘Eers 😉


    • Gini, I was one of the performers/panelists/humans mentioned in the post. And while I think I did a good job, I can agree with you on one point: the wifi. Seriously. Javits Center needs to improve that ish.

      • And not having cell service either? Oy.

    • Hi Gini,

      Even the most organized conferences at the Javits experience WiFi issues. and we did all we could to get that going for everyone. I didn’t know there were power outages, didn’t see any and didn’t hear anyone speak of them, and we did give everyone tickets to buy lunch at any of the Javits restaurants to help defray the cost of food.

      I wish we had something to do with the cab situation, but that’s out of our hands as well – the NYC TLC handles those, but there we provided shuttle busses back and forth from the hotels so there was no reason for anyone to be stranded.

      We’re disappointed your experience wasn’t a positive one. Most of our attendees told us their experience was excellent so I feel bad when I hear that you didn’t have a good time. I’m so sorry it didn’t work out for you.

    • We supplied power in every session room, in the podcast pavilion on the show floor and in the new media lounge. Far more than any blogging event I have attended Gini.

      I am not sure what you are referring to as the “weird food situation”. If you mean the lunch tickets, this is something we started last year at Mandalay Bay and our attendees loved it. It costs about half as much to provide food for full access attendees and speakers this way and they are able to get food they want instead of a plated meal or a buffet which is usually terrible at convention centers.

      We were afraid the WiFi would be an issue. We warned the Javits people about it for months, and during the show. They kept assuring us it would be fine. We knew it wouldn’t. But at the end of the day we have no influence or negotiating capability with them. They provide their own service in house exclusively and we get what they give us. It is maddening to be so powerless but it is what it is.

      You you do know that we have zero control over cabs in New York City right?
      We did provide shuttle bus service for all attendees to and from the event who stayed at official hotels. What else would you suggest we do?

  11. Hey Marcus. Thanks for sharing and sorry about the way the conference ended. First of all, I would suggest focusing on all the Positive things that happened at Blog World. I hope the organizers do respond with an apology and hopefully explain this lack of preperation and THINKING !

    Like they say, (Ghandi maybe?) “Let’s be the Change we want to see in the World” . You, my friend, can and will make a difference. Just by writing your post, changes will occur. So proud of you for speaking out and writing this.

    Now, how about organizing another conference ? “Bloggers Rock” if you will ? Ha ! Remember all the comments about renaming your blog ? What about naming the NEW Blogging conference ? Yeah, Baby !! You are probably saying, Al doesn’t even have a blog, what does he know ? Well, I know that you can do it ! maybe not anytime soon, but I see it happening Marcus. With all the great bloggers you know ?
    You have a great following and respect for what you stand for and write about.

    Go for it !! Continued success and best of luck.

    I promise I will have my “Positive Attitude Solutions” blog up and running for your NEW and improved conference.

    It’s only because I C.A.R.E ; Communicate, Appreciate, Respect, Encourage.


    • This was great Al, and I always value your comments and positive energy.

      And to be honest, I can see a day when I organize some type of event like this….I think it could be very special.

      Like you, I don’t like to focus on the negative. Often times, such words end up nowhere. But there are other times when one must speak up. This was one of those such times.

      There were many positives from the event, and I’m sure you’ll see more from me about that soon.

      Thanks again my friend,


      • I’ll BE there! To love and to comfort you–u-u-y!

        Love your stuff, Marcus, and have so many things I want to say on this topic.

        But the truth is, I don’t have the right or the juice.

        I’m a noob! 😉

        • Oh Paula, don’t sell yourself short lady, you’re way stronger than you know 😉

          But thank you so much for your kind words. Having so much support from people like you is truly an amazing feeling.

          Have a great rest of your weekend.


  12. Isn’t it interesting how the things that make blogging so amazing also hurt the blog community? I’d say it’s a good thing that there is a stigma attached to blogging because it gives those of us that “get it” highly competitive. Sure, selling clients on the value of blogs and social media alike may be tough but there’s really no way to get around the feeling that it’s something for hipsters, rebels, techies, and geeks (feel free to insert other labels for us cool kids LOL).

    I definitely get your frustration. It seems that they got caught up in the hype and self-promotion that brings many of us to the pure medium that is the web log. The organizers definitely come off as hypocrites and this story represents a huge miss in managing expectations.

    I’d say I am glad I am no longer in NYC or I would have wasted my hard-earned money! Still, it seems your time was not completely wasted. You take the good with the bad, I guess…

    • *keeps those of us that “get it” highly competitive

      Sorry about that. Remember to proof-read your comments or suffer author erosion. 😉

      In any case, I stick by that statement. Do we really want everyone to jump on the blogging movement? Sure, it can be a great solution for most but it’d drive people away too. To some extent, I feel like the blogosphere needs to remain as more of an exclusive club or else we risk tainting the authenticity and purity of the experience.

      Let’s face it: most are not cut out for blogging. I refer to the “screamers” in particular here. 8)

      • I think of blogging and new media much more like music Yomar. Anyone can do it, but that doesn’t mean anyone is good at it. Still people who are terrible guitar and piano players do get enjoyment and fulfillment out of that experience. It makes them better people and the world a better place.

        Blogging is a medium like paper. Some create art with it, some create propaganda, some create junk mail and some people change the world.

        • That’s an excellent metaphor, Rick, so thanks for sharing! Using that same metaphor, I think it’s important for all of us to be wary of forcing our personal preferences onto others. There’s not necessarily a right or wrong in this case, as much as that sounds like a cop-put.

          Everyone measures talent and class differently. It’s a matter of perspective, how we frame things and from which vantage point we are looking at things. The arguments seem purely subjective and mostly emotionally-charged.

          I think the difference here is that, for the foreseeable future, blogging is a lot more accessible. As such, we’ll see much more abuse and it will become increasingly crowded in this media space. Fortunately, the nature of the blogosphere allows quality to rise to the top if we remain persistent, passionate, and, sorry to be cliche, authentic. There will be people trying to “fake it to make it” or just scream out for attention but that’s inevitable once something becomes commonplace.

          Truth be told, now that people are slowly but surely seeing the value in having a blog, we’re seeing a lot more junk out there but that should only create more urgency for the rest of us to differentiate ourselves. Again, if you’re comparing blogs to music, we have to think about just how easy it is for us to get noticed here, for good reasons or bad reasons.

          Everyone just needs to take ownership and align themselves with like-minded individuals because it’s not like the entire blogosphere can be united under a single vision. That notion seems rather silly, does it not?

    • Howdy Yomar, thrilled to meet you and so glad you stopped by, because you’ve got quite a perspective that I agree with.

      I do think the organizers got a little ‘caught up’ in the hype with their actions, and yes, it ended up being a huge miss.

      Regarding the money, that a whole entire story within itself. Blog World was not a cheap event for anyone, including speakers, to attend. For the speakers, it was a labor or love. For attendees, it was a matter of networking and learning.

      Again, great to have you here Yomar, make sure you subscribe and come back 😉


  13. Marcus,
    I can imagine your horror and shock and shear anger. I as just as shocked reading your description My mouth was wide open and i was actually gasping.

    I never in a million years would have imagined such a tasteless error. Especially after the organizers vetted Gini and Danny over a simple name.

    What were they thinking? Were they trying to entertain the audience? Give them a slice of the blogosphere and show examples of different blog niches?

    How, or what can bloggers do to voice their opinion as a group, send a tactful (not tasteless) message collectively to the coordinators.

    Coordinated blog postings by as many bloggers as possible.?

    I feel like i should do something. I’ve only been blogging for a couple of months, and i have the utmost respect for bloggers. It’s a hard working bunch of people who deserve respect and some day soon, I plan to attend a Blogworld or two in the future to meet other bloggers, learn and network. I hope that it would be void of such shenanigans…

    • When you say you feel like you should do something Annie, just remember that you are– just by having your blog and your voice and writing about the subjects you’ve been writing about.

      I hope you do make it to BW in the future. I’d like to think I will go again, especially considering I care so very much about a lot of dang people out there, and there’s nothing better than having a chance to meet, chat, and do the whole social thing. And I’d love to meet you!

      Thanks so much for stopping by.


    • Hi Annie,

      Yes we were trying to expose our audience to a diverse group of successful bloggers. Sara is a very successful comedian. She has appeared on Comedy Central numerous times and various other television programs. Shauna Glenn is a successful and respected author with a community that loves her. She appeared on Good Morning America the day of her appearance at BlogWorld. Andrew Breitbart was directly involved in the creation of the Huffington Post which just sold to AOL for $315 million dollars. He was also directly responsible for the cutting off of all government funding (it was millions of dollars) and the eventual liquidation of the ACORN organization. He did this with his blog

      The point being all were tremendously successful and respected in their field. Not that anyone should agree with their politics, or particular style.

      We certainly weren’t trying to offend anyone, but realize that we have.

      • Rick,
        Thanks for taking the time to explain who the keynote speakers were. I actually have seen Sarah on Comedy Central. I’m not a puritan in any way shape or form and i think her content is pretty funny. Not as familiar with Andrew, but i’m sure he has done some great things.
        Having said that, for me it’s not a question of who or what they do. It’s about what i can get out of the event… Let me explain without getting to wordy, Blogworld only happens a few times a year. Nowhere else can i meet other bloggers, learn, network etc on a massive scale. ( i think). I can however, go and see a comedy show or watch a political show anytime i want.

        If i”m going to shell out my hard earned money for an event that only happens a few times a year, i might think twice next time and look more closely because it’s all about what i can takeaway to help me in the blogworld. ( for me at least, i’m selfish that way i guess.)

        I know you can’t please all of the people all of the time. I’m just voicing my own personal opinion. Thanks for setting up wonderful event. I’m not all piss and vinegar and i hope you take all the opinions expressed throughout the blogosphere and make blogworld into an even bigger better event.
        Annie Andre

        • Thank you Annie. We absolutely do respect and appreciate what you are saying. The intent was to educate through the talk show format. We obviously failed to do that.

      • I’ve just realized why it’s 3:12 a.m. and I’m still cogitating on this batch of comments. Good God. Now it’s suddenly become astoundingly clear.

        Guess I’ll have to write about it. Or maybe not. I don’t want to mess up Marcus’s great thread of comments!

  14. Hi Marcus,
    I was feeling sorry for myself missing the keynote with Brogan. I thought I could gain some value there.
    Boy am I happy I left and didn’t stay another day for THIS!

    I posted what I thought about BW approach before the event and this confirms it.

    You said it hypocrisy. From Gary V speech which was full of cursing BUT had a nice clean title, to this session you relate. I have to say, the only great thing about BW was meeting face to face with you and the gang.

    • Yeah, you would have been pretty dissappointed bud, especially because they really didn’t utilize Brogan as they could have. Personally, I don’t quite understand why they didn’t just have him sit there and field questions from the audience– that would have been awesome. Same with Gary V.

      Thanks a million for making the trip brother. Give the ladies a hug from the Lion.


      • We have done that twice with Chris, and once with Gary V already Marcus 8). I am sure you We can’t do the same thing every show.

  15. It is sad that they fell short.
    From all everyone has said the event has been really great and popular, too bad they screwed up the big finally.

    Hopefully they might learn and do it better nex year (When I plan on attending!).

    • Yeah, they fell short D’, but I don’t want to dismiss the fact that there were some really good parts of the event as well. I met some cool folks. Jonathan Fields, Johnny B Truant, and Farnoosh all gave wonderful classes–and are some awesome people. Plus there were others. I’d still recommend you come as I hope very much to meet you in person soon after all this time.


      • Yeah it is about time we meet.
        I have known you for about 18 months now and still haven’t met you. That is the weird thing about the internet.

        Lets hope they get it right next time, I’ll buy you a lunch 😉

  16. My first time here; been a bit of a lurker, Marcus. As I was reading and dropping my jaw farther and farther I thought of Gini and Danny, and then you addressed that, so good for you to spotlight this and call them out.

    Was so wanting to go and meet everyone; so sorry this topper wasn’t what you expected to close off such a feel good for you.

    • Hey Jayme! Thrilled to have you stop by for the first time. Welcome!

      I’m sure we’ll all get the chance to catch up again. The community is too close not too.

      Oh, and love you jumping in the conversation like you have– that’s what this blog is really all about— the community.



  17. Although I clearly wasn’t in attendance and have been sparsely participating in the blog world recently, I had a wonderful meeting with a, eh… sort of mentor yesterday plotting out my career. A key issue we discussed was the importance that writing, more specifically blogging, has taken in my life. Most of my friends still scoff at it, but I understand they simply don’t understand it. Surely, occurrences such as these do nothing to promote the wonderful image of the blogging community.

    I’m no event planner, but perhaps something that highlighted the fact that no force, barring religion, has ever united such a diverse and wide-reaching group of individuals in a common pursuit of bettering themselves and all of humanity in the history of mankind than blogging and its communities have. Just saying.

    • Hi, Jamey; I’m Jayme.

      I’m probably one of the rare few who tweeted a year before I blogged. Twitter has changed my life and now blogging, too. You’re right; when you jump in and feel it; there’s nothing like it and no one understands until they deep dive, too. Hopefully, you stay the course and keep connections with these wonderful people here and in comments and become part of the community. The support is extremely energizing and mind blowing.

    • Wow Jamey, boy am I glad you stopped by to share this! It appears you and I share very much the same vision for blogging. Heck, if one really looks at it, it already has really changed the world in some incredibly positive ways…and will only do more so as time goes on.

      Keep up with this vision Jayme, and don’t let it go.

      Have a wonderful weekend.


    • Well said my dear friend! WELL SAID!
      Loved this Jimbo and you’re so right!

    • Actually Jamey that is exactly what we were trying to demonstrate. We obviously failed miserably.

  18. Hey Mufasa,

    You know what’s funny – is the whole time I was reading your first few paragraphs, all I could think of was how they asked Gini and Danny to change the title of their presentation – and of course when I got to the part where you touched upon it – my reaction was; “Thank YOU, EXACTLY!!!”

    I’m also curious – had Gini and Danny been Brogan and Pirillo – would the organizers have accepted the original name of Douchebags and Spindoctors?

    Now I wasn’t there so I can’t judge but I do trust your judgement and I’m saddened that part of this experience was disappointing to you and some others (if not many). Besides the lingo and below the belt talk – was there any value to that “talk show”? Did you learn anything? Was it blogging related in any way?

    I’m also surprised at the negative comments in regards to organization that I’ve been reading here and there. You’d think that for something this big – you’d want to make the event worthwhile and memorable for everyone to come back and write about! Could it be that they precipitated themselves to organize this event quickly but less thoroughly.

    Again – I wasn’t there myself so I can’t judge – but my friends were – and it seems they pretty much agree with your take here and I’m sorry to hear all that. The good thing that came out of it is that you got to meet incredible people and of course “the gang” ;).

    As for the “talk show” segment – it sounds like maybe they could have had it as a post-BW entertainment dinner or bar night lol.

    Anyhoo, thanks for sharing all this with us M.
    TTYL t…d


    • I am in the exact same boat as you are! The very first thing I thought of was the title they requested to be changed. Hypocrisy in general pisses me off to no end.

      I wasn’t there either but that doesn’t seem very fitting as a conclusion to BlogWorld. I don’t really get offended or shocked very easily. I love Bob Saget’s standup which is the dirtiest thing north of a sewage system. But when I watch something like that I have an expectation to be seeing something of that sort. I don’t think it’s very appropriate to have as the feature of BlogWorld.

      • With you Eugene. That’s basically my entire point– it’s ‘Blog’ world. The thing is, after talking with Rick Calvert of BW today, the focus seems to be very much New Media, and not just blogging– which is, in my opinion, the core of how much of this started. In other words, they are trying to appeal to all groups of all shapes and sizes. Visionary? Yes. Plausible? I’m not sure.

        • Rusty Speidel

          Isn’t that what SXSW is for? Stick with the topic, that’s what folks came there for!!

    • Ingrid, I agree that this ought to have been a bar night or even something billed as a comedy night. I think that might have mitigated some of the shock and outrage when I said naughty adult words. 😉

    • Hey G, always makes me smile when you stop by :-)

      As far as the final keynote, honestly, I didn’t learn anything. It really wasn’t set up in that light, and I guess the goal was to make people laugh. You’re right though, I think it would have been absolutely fine in a late-night set up.

      As for the rest of the conference, I really think the organizers realize now that you can’t just set up a BW with 3-4 months prep. It just doesn’t work that way. And if they do, they really need more staff to plan it.

      Regardless, I’d do it all again, as meeting some of my virtual friends and having them transform into ‘real-life’ pals was more than special….In fact I’ll be writing quite a bit about it on Monday.

      Glad you were able to relax this week. You were really, really missed in NYC.


      • Other than the closing keynote what else was evidence of the short timeline?
        The reviews of the sessions has been pretty overwhelmingly positive.

    • Hi Ingrid,

      “I’m also curious – had Gini and Danny been Brogan and Pirillo – would the organizers have accepted the original name of Douchebags and Spindoctors?”

      The answer is we would have still requested a title change. To be clear the original title was “doucheblogs”.

  19. Hi mate,

    First, it was really great to meet everyone and hang out together – to me, that’s where the real beauty of events like this come into play. :)

    You know my take on the whole approach to Blog World thing this year, so I won’t bore you again here. 😉

    My biggest takeaway (and I think I’ll be expanding on it in a blog post) is that it was inconsistent.

    How can you have bloggers (and let’s call that blogger “brand”, because their blogging style is their brand, essentially) come to speak at your event, and you don’t allow them to be themselves, basically, and then you have a keynote that (by all accounts) wrecks so much great work in the blogosphere in a crazy hour?

    We, as bloggers, are always complaining (and rightly so) that we don’t get taken seriously enough. But when one of the biggest events in the blogging world “messes up” like this, for want of a better phrase, is it any wonder we’re still looked at as amateurish and quaint?

    Oh well…

    Again great seeing you guys – THAT made the event. :)

    • Inconsistent is a bit of an understatement. Does this change your views about going again?

      After all, you can hang out with all the great bloggers post-talks at the bars :)

      • Hey there Eugene,

        You know, we chatted about this. And not sure – but like you say, the people is what made the trip. 😉

        • For those of us who weren’t there and don’t know your views, I think you should share! :)

          • Loved meeting folks we connect with online, offline. But you don’t need to go to an event to do that. How does that work, miss? 😉

            • Ah, I thought there was some big philosophical chat that I missed out on because I wasn’t at the event. :)

    • Hey DB, like you said man, just hanging out with ‘the group’ was more than worth it– regardless of anything else that happened. Personally, I’d like to see BW take a more ‘social’ approach to their next event and involve more bloggers in the planning process. For example, why not take a poll on which we’d prefer, a panel with just Gary V or a panel of Gary V plus two others? You know what I mean? If there is anything I’ve learned over the past couple of years in blogging is that the community should have a strong say— after all, they’re the customer, and they’re why we do what we do.

      Cheers to you my friend,


      • In fairness, BWE did poll their blog readers this year as to who they’d like to see speak, and I think that’s how Gini and I got invited in the first place.

        I have some ideas for conferences and events – think a post to expand upon might be in order. :)

        • Looking forward to reading that post DB. :

        • It was Deb Ng who suggested we invite you Danny. I found your blog while judging for SME’s top marketing blogs contest and immediately agreed with her suggestion.

        • Yes, the DID ask what we wanted to see. And many of the ones mentioned were there! So that worked out very well, I think. I don’t know how their presentations went, but it was gratifying to know that our recommendations had carried some weight. They did that very well. 😀

  20. PS – Here’s the funny thing. Gini and I’s title was “DoucheBLOGS and Spin Doctors”, but Blog World put the wrong title on our session – it was Blog World who changed the word to douchebags. So, really, they created the hoopla… 😉

    • I would have been So. Out. Of. There. There would have been the rustle of wind behind me, I would have moved so fast. I am a very polite person until someone does something to make other people feel uncomfortable. I don’t even have the words to adequately express what ran through my mind as I read your post here, Marcus. I have to admit I am predisposed to being suspicious of conferences and trade shows, having spent the first half of my professional life doing way too many dog and pony shows (and I have always found that while there might be *some* takeaways, the only real value of those events comes from the personal contacts on might meet). But seriously, what in the world could they have been thinking? That’s horrific.

      I am really trying to juxtapose this against the very long community comment thread on Danny Brown’s blog when the title of their event got changed – about how the event planner was so very concerned not to alienate or offend attendees. And I can’t get my brain around it.

      Well, what can you do. At least you met the people who are really important to you and shared nice moments with them. The rest is (brushing off my shoulder while tisk-tisking and clicking my tongue) not that important. Just goes to show you. Blogging is about connection on a whole different level, and there are so-called experts out there who are still as clueless as can be.

      • Diana, I know I’ve said this again and again, but you simply have a magical way of putting things. You’re as good as any writer on the web, and I absolutely cannot wait until you write your first book and I can promote the living ‘poo’ out of it. :-)

        Thanks for being such an amazing and thoughtful person.


      • I would have been out of there too, but Danny is just too nice. That is why we all love him, his accent and charm.

        But hey, I don’t think they achieved anything, it’s not like we don’t know the original title and what was going on :)

        • Haha, I think my accent caused 12 people to leave our session – they were stumped as to what was being said!!! 😉

    • Danny, that’s what I thought – wait a minute, it was doucheBLOG , wasn’t it? They screwed it up, which is kind of scary since blogging is known to contain things like irony, semantics, nuance. They need to get organizers with a bit more savvy and sense.

  21. phil

    Good job Marcus…you are Blog world dude…and I agree that when humor crosses a line of vulgarity in a public group it shows ignorance, unprofessionalism,and a seriously rude level of consideration in the blog world and the “real” world…Keep the faith!

    • Thanks Pops 😉 That means a lot.

  22. Marcus,
    Here is my question. Why is a play on the word douchebag not offensive to you and using a vibrator in a mixing bowl upsetting to you. I honestly cannot see the difference in offensiveness other than source (friends vs. non friends). I get the inconsistency of censorship and standards being imposed. And I not morally offended (much bigger fish to fry in this world than people using “blue” language to get attention and to promote). For me it’s a little like kids saying poopy to get attention. It’s beyond boring.

    • Hi Riley,

      I can’t speak for Marcus, but here’s my take (being one half of the presenters from the session with the title you’e referring too).

      As I mention in another comment, our title was DoucheBLOG as opposed to douchebag – a fun play on words, and indicative of the blogging voice I have (and I think Gini, but I don’t want to speak for Gini either). Blog World messed up the title and they put up douchebags.

      But that’s by the by.

      The disconnect is that no-one in the audience would have been prepared beforehand for what was about to happen, because Blog World were so keen on making sure all the session titles were PG-rated and “sensible”.

      Our original title would have given a good idea of the fun we had (it seemed to have received a great amount of positive feedback for its interactive qualities, which is always nice).

      It’s allowing your attendees (who have paid a lot of hard-earned money to be there) know what’s in store and allow them to make a choice, as opposed to having a misleading title and then thinking, “What the hell did I just see?”. We all have a choice; it’s easier when it’s made clear to us beforehand.

      I also think your comment on Marcus’s take on it being skewed by “friends/non-friends” is skewed itself. Marcus – much like any good blogger – is the first to call anything out, and that can be friends, peers, colleagues or others (just ask Brankica from Live Your Love, or Dino Dogan from DIY Blogger).

      Of course, the great thing with things being “beyond boring” is you can simply ignore, right? 😉

      • This is exactly what I am referring to in how you are misrepresenting our phone conversation Danny.

        “The disconnect is that no-one in the audience would have been prepared beforehand for what was about to happen, because Blog World were so keen on making sure all the session titles were PG-rated and “sensible”.”

        You know our request was not in an attempt to change your content from R or PG 13 to PG. Why do you continually say otherwise?

        • Perhaps it’s my wording, Rick, and I’ll try clarify. Take away the “PG-rated” quip (although didn’t BlogWorld request a session to change the word “piss” to “p*ss?”). I’ll stick with the other word I used, “sensible”.

          I don’t think I have said anywhere that you tried to change the content. If that had been the case, I would have backed out and let someone else speak.

          But I think the disconnect is in saying bloggers and podcasters complained (which is their absolute prerogative) about our title, and that it would have put them off attending, and then the final keynote.

          I’m curious whether the same podcasters and bloggers would have said anything had the keynote been titled “Of Vibrators And F**king Edgy Comedy”.

          That’s where my sentence about disconnect comes in.

          • Maybe we are getting closer. This is what I was trying to explain in the podcast. The comments I was receiving was not about the words you chose in your title being offensive. It was giving some bloggers a first impression of who you Danny as a person are. Your title told them you were exactly what you were speaking against. They were tuning out the message because of the title. Again not because they were offended, because they thought you were a corporate suit who was trying to be “cool like them” by having an edgy title.

            If the goal of your talk was to reach bloggers and PR professionals, but bloggers are saying they are not going to attend, then you are just reaching a room full of PR folks and you have missed your goal.

            I realize in our keynote we were guilty of exactly the same thing. We completely failed to achieve our goal.

            • Agreed, Rick, although that’s down to the audience, no? There were a lot of bloggers (and not just those that are friends) that said they were looking forward to the session because of the title as they knew they were getting the “unfiltered” option, if you like.

              I don’t take decisions lightly (and I know Gini is the same); I speak as I write, and vice versa. Like I say, I respect you and Deb’s decision (even if I disgree with it, I can still understand it). Calling the session something you’d find on our blogs (maybe my one more than Gini’s) seemed the natural thing to do.

              We were wrong. Fair enough.

        • Actually Rick, I’m the one who said publically that I personally feel uncomfortable with the “doucheblog” title because I thought people would be offended by it. I felt that NYC is a bit more corporate and we were co located with the book crowd and it might not go over well. I also changed Erica Douglass title from “piss off” to p.o. and Jason Falls title from “bullshit” to b.s. I knew from hearing from our attendees (bloggers themselves) that they were uncomfortable with these titles and they didn’t want us to turn into “another SXSW.”

          However, I also stated that you didn’t share my opinion on that at all.

    • Riley, Because DoucheBlog was to be used as a title to implore and provoke. It’s playing on a word that while not ordinary syntax is just not all that offensive in the scheme of things. You might think of it as hipster, or silly, and maybe it touches on an offensive play on words. But it’s innocuous. And is used to make a point about specific blogs, and makes that point clearly. You kind of got what the session might be about from using that word.

      Riley, since the DoucheBLOG title was just that, the title, people had a choice. Go or not go to the session.

      With the vibrator in the cake mix close out, you had a big group of sitting ducks. I can guarantee that there was not a sign outside this event that said “Vibrator Demonstration, the F-Bomb, and the V Word: A Big O Close to Blogworld” because not many people would have bothered. And the ones who did? They would have known what to expect. But instead, the organizers screwed up in exactly the way they had intended not to: they insulted their attendees. And the ironic part? They insulted the ones that were actually ok with a little provocation!

      It shows organizational incompetence. That’s how I see it, anyway.

      Just one more thing. As a woman, I don’t think there could be anything more offensive than another woman pulling out a vibrator to make some kind of business point. But maybe that’s just me.

      • Hi Diana: I’m Sara, one of the performers/whatever we were. Shauna’s bit was a comedy video. She wasn’t there as a business speaker.

      • Rusty Speidel

        This sums it all up perfectly, especially for those of us who were not able to attend. I just don’t think you can decry sexual overtones in one place and exploit them in another and remain credible.

    • Riley, personally, I’d never use D-Bag in a blog title or class title, but that wasn’t my argument. What I stated was the double standard was hypocritical. If you look back, you’ll see that. My moral compass is not about who I’m ‘buds’ with sir.

      Also, thousands of bloggers attend blog world each and every year. Blogging puts food on many tables and feeds many families (as it has done mine).

      Therefore, anything that is relevant to the success of bloggers, and the industry itself, is something that is of great importance to me.

      Plus, had you spent a couple of thousand dollars to go to NYC and gain blogging knowledge, only to see a seminar like that one Riley, I don’t think ‘boring’ would be entering your vernacular on this day.

      Thanks very much for commenting, I do appreciate it.


      • Marcus,
        I have no doubt about your moral compass or integrity. Trust me when I tell you that I have real respect for you (and I don’t say that lightly). Double standards and hypocrisy always push my button, so we are in agreement on that one. Good content never bores me. It’s the repetitive use of “naughty” language to see how close you can come to being really offensive that bugs me. And eventually this replaces true creativity and substance. And leads to what really offends because somebody doesn’t know where the line is or feels compelled to be even more outrageous to get attention. Wish you the best.

  23. Marcus,

    Man that is a tough pill to swallow. People spent thousands to get to this event to meet and network with great and like minded individuals. To hear that something this tasteless and usless was put on as the main event makes a mockery of anyone who calls themself a blogger. I say if the organizers don’t get it together next time around someone with more money than me need to organize an event to compete directly against it. :-) I’m sad to hear that people had to experience that at this huge event. Let’s boycott! lol!

    • Hey Frank, good to hear from you bud, and I hope your week was a great one. I do hope that the end result of this is BW hears their base and realizes they need to ‘tweak’ the current system– and thus make the necessary improvements. If not, then I’m sure we’ll have to consider our options at that point.

      Have a great weekend my friend.


  24. If you want to promote a professional impression to the world. You have to set up a professional format.
    This type of talk uses profanity and will offend certain types.
    This type of talk uses no profanity but may offend certain types.
    This type of talk is business standard acceptable to everyone and has no offensive content.
    segment the types to certain days or locations in the venue.

    What I see and hear from this post is this:
    There is an opportunity to develop something else other than what is on show.
    There appears to be a willingness to examine something else.

    I know that if I spent the time, money and expenses related to something like this I would have done more than just walk out. I would have let them know live and on stage what I thought of it, there and then.

    Those who know me, know that it would have gone down like that.
    Billy Delaney
    New blogger.

    PS from this post alone I can tell you that unblogging, unmarketing, unanything seems like a way to throw off any professionalism and standards of ethics. I will not be going to these events no matter what the chatter about them.

    • Hi Billy and thanks so much for what was a GREAT comment.

      You’ve made a point that is exactly what I’ve been thinking — BW (or any event like this) needs a rating system. If it’s going to be salty, everyone should clearly know that, and it shouldn’t be buried deep within a program.

      Also, the other big mistake of BW was the fact that they didn’t have a rating system for the classes. No ‘beginners’ or ‘advanced’ or anything like that. This meant that bloggers who have years of experience were in with people that are ‘thinking’ about blogging– and again makes it very difficult on the speaker to communicate well with the audience.

      Again, this was great Billy and I wish you the best with your new blog.



      • This looks like an industry that wants to act like a counter culture and not be held to the mainstream standards of putting on an event; while demanding respect from the main stream as a legitimate industry.

        I am not sure that will be reconciled unless the mainstream is slowly following these double standards to get an audience, and their money.

        The determining factor will be money. If the money dries up, so will this type of content at an event; if it does not then more of the same.


  25. I’m glad you posted this. I was afraid that those who had anything remotely negative to say about Blogworld might not speak up about it.

    I didn’t attend the last day so I missed this. I was just as bummed out about the keynote from Day 1 (as you know since we were at the same table).

    Bottom line: Blogging was not the center of attention at this conference in any way, shape, or form. They should maybe change the name if that’s the direction they are going.

    • You’ve made a great point Tia– the focus of ‘blog world’ never really seemed to be ‘blogging’. That’s what is so odd. The second keynote was nothing about blogging, but 4-square. The first night, although highly entertaining whenever Gary spoke, was about book publishing. This lack of clarity and focus seemed to be the underlying theme again and again throughout the week.

      But I tell ya Tia, it was great meeting you, I think you’re an awesome person. :-)



      • Likewise!! Here’s to more opportunities to connect!


    • Tia people say negative things about our event all the time. Some of them them end up speaking 8)

      We welcome it. We listen to it. We admit mistakes when we make them and try to improve.

      • That’s great, Rick (not that ppl say negative things, but that you welcome responses).

  26. It’s such a shame that your key takeaway from Blogworld was spoilt by this one talk. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to control how guests and speakers react. So I am not sure I’d hold the organizers guilty.

    Perhaps the trouble with these events is that they outgrow their use. Smaller, more focussed events might not be so lucrative for the organizers but participants and speakers often get a lot out of it.

    Great post !

    • Hi Jon, and welcome to The Sales Lion. I think you’ve brought up a great point that many others have mentioned today— smaller, more focused shows that won’t suffer from a need to serve every niche and type.

      But the event itself didn’t at all ruin my BW experience. It certainly left a bad taste, but being able to meet with people for the first time that I’ve grown to truly love and appreciate will be my lasting memory.

      Hope to see you again Jon!!


  27. Hey Marcus,

    I starting reading the email about this post half way through some work. I was DYING to finish the work so that I could read this whole post asap! lol

    Really gutted to hear this went down at BlogWorld man, I don’t know what the heck the people that approved it were thinking! There are certainly alot of assumptions made about bloggers that are not true, and having speakers like these people you mentioned just don’t help anything or anyone. With my hand on my heart I can say that the people I have met in the blogging community over the last couple months have been some of the nicest, friendliest and most helpful people I have EVER met!

    And there I was looking forward to a post about how great BlogWorld was! lol. I’m sure that most of the rest of it was awesome, but that just sounds like it completely spoilt it at the end!

    You summed it up perfectly with the two women that left – ‘confusion and disappointment’ – and that is how I think many of us feel reading this post. In terms of what Andrea wrote, I feel that there should be a mutual respect and empathy between the speakers and the audience, and it seems like there was neither of that with the speeches (if they deserve that title! ) you talk about in this post.

    I LOVE Mark’s idea – make our own event! lol. It’s easier said than done, and would be a major responsibility for the people willing to “step up to the plate” – but it would be AWESOME!

    Thanks for this post and sorry you had to witness this. A horrendous end to an awesome few days by the sounds of it.

    • What a passionate comment Robert, well said man.

      It’s funny just how many people have talked about setting up another event. And although I’d never really considered the idea, it is in every way plausible with the great people of this community. Like you said— they give and give and give, which is what it’s all about.

      Keep doing your thing Robert, and I look forward to meeting you next year at whatever event we end up having 😉


  28. Total admiration for you publishing this post Marcus.
    Great to see you taking a stand and speaking out.

    I’ve not read the other comments, so I have no idea if they are calling you a hero or a heretic but me, I’m with you all the way.

    Heard someone say “I’m beyond being shocked, but I’m not beyond being offended.”
    Sounds about right for this occasion.

    Takes a big guy to speak out.
    Well done big guy.

    • Thanks so much for this Keith. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t really, really nervous when I publish. Truth is, I proofed this post more times than any other I’ve ever written, as I wanted it to be perfect in describing my sentiments. As to how it all shapes up, I don’t know, but I can tell you it smashed every traffic record I’ve ever had up to this point on TSL.

      Thanks for being a rock of support my friend.


  29. Hi Marcus – as I was reading the intro I was thinking to myself about them asking Gini and Danny to change the name of their session. Based on that last keynote as you describe it (with much validation too) it is hypocritical. If you bring in someone known to cuss and talk dirty you can expect more of the same. So if they knew about that, how could they ask G&D to change a SINGLE WORD in their session title.

    That is complete and utter crap.

    Having said that…

    I’m a big fan of people cussing and going off about various subjects on stage. At a conference it should be adding value to the conversation. Case in point: Gary Vaynerchuk. That guy goes off, but it’s because he’s so passionate about what he does and his message. So it totally works.

    Sounds like this was a huge fail.

    • Hey Robert, always great having you come by man, thanks for this.

      Personally, I have no problem with speakers/entertainers at events, but two things really have to happen:

      1. We need a rating system so audience members clearly know what’s up.
      2. If the keynote is going to be really, really salty, then it should not be a keynote, but an ‘after the show/late night/party event’.

      Again, great points bud, as always…Have a great weekend.


  30. Something similar happened at a blogger/sm panel that I was on, but it was driven by the moderator. I think that it was an attempt to seem cool and edgy but it just made the event unprofessional. I was embarrassed and felt like it contributed to blogging (and, in this case, moms) not being taken seriously.

    • Hi Alex, so great of you to stop by here. I’m sorry your panel didn’t go well. That stinks, and there is nothing worse than being embarrassed in that type of situation. Hopefully you’ll let them know or even write an article about it.

      Thanks again,


  31. What you are witnessing are bloggers (used to be in some cases) who transitioned over to media whores and everybody knows a public “schtick” is for media attention, audience outside of written one via blogs. With Chris Pirillo on CNN regularly now as the “Tech Guy” as well as others, you are looking at bloggers who put on flashy shows for the video camera in the hopes of gaining more publicity and attention.

    Gimmicks sell and attract attention but lack of quality in content will cause reader loss if they aren’t entertained, informed or engaged. When I go to blogworld or bloggercon I actually have no intention of actually seeing any of the speakers, I am going strictly to network with other bloggers myself.

    • Interesting points Justin, and I really appreciate you stopping by to chime in with them. I’m sure media can change a blogger, but I really don’t think Pirillo and Brogan did anything ‘wrong’ in this case, they were just trying to play with the cards that were dealt them, and ‘comedy’ is not their thing– nor is it mine.

      As far as the networking thing is concerned, I could not agree more. I just got a taste of that this year but I know my next event like this will be focused on that even more so.

      Cheers Justin, have a great holiday weekend,


      • I agree, and didn’t mean to suggest that Chris B and Chris P were selling out, both are respected in their niches though I think Chris P has a bit of a “media personality” as anyone who wants to be popular in front of a camera needs to have. I agree though that comedy not their shtick from what I have seen and even comes across as more awkward.

        It isn’t just bloggercon, nearly every major convention makes poor choices in the type of entertainment sometimes, it comes as you say at the risk of trying to be edgy, controversial, popular but sometimes it can just do the opposite.

  32. Marcus, I saw your tweet about how upset you were with the final session. Since I didn’t attend BWENY I was hoping you would explain why. Glad you did! Obviously, I wasn’t there, but from your description, the session sounds like a mess.

    Bigger picture, I think the whole issue comes down to a competing balance between authentic voice and professionalism/mass appeal. While professionalism is fairly subjective, I think we can all agree that for a conference speaker a baseline is to deliver quality content that is useful to the audience. Did anyone in the last session do that or were they too worried about maintaining their “edgy” brands? (Again, I wasn’t there.)

    It is the assertion of some bloggers that they must be 100% “on” at all times because that is “who they are” that makes bloggers as a group look amateurish and unprofessional. In developed industries, most people speaking at conferences choose their words carefully and are thoughtful enough to at least think through what their words mean. They might talk straight and might offend some, but they do so because they are making a point, not because they are making a scene.

    Voice does not need to be unrestrained to be “authentic.” There is a time and a place for everything. Take an extreme example: would you constrain yourself and be a little more reserved than you are on your blog if the Governor of your state was presenting you an honor in a public ceremony? Of course you would. Setting matters. So, why would you not at least put some thought into tailoring your speech (not your essence or principles) to your audience and the environment?

    • This is precisely where the disconnect is. Many bloggers are going for shock appeal and titillation hoping to get more attention and appeal to the masses. They will get those masses at the cost of many professionals who choose to tune out of offensive material.

      What amazes me is that Danny thinks that comic is somehow different than his publishing that guest post with the f-bomb in the title and blatant sexual content in the post. Another blogger and I discussed which was more offensive – the title or the post itself.

      What is really funny is that on Danny’s blog almost every commentator supported the need for profanity and sex-laced prose to be “authentic” while here all the comments feel what happened at BlogWorld was offensive. It is exactly the same EXCEPT for all those people around you in person. If it offends you in public it IS offensive (even on screen).

      I’ve heard from other bloggers in the community that there are posts and comments about “Miss G” (meaning me) being high and mighty or prudish or whatever. They aren’t “hearing” what I’m working to convey. We all have a choice in how we present ourselves: professionally with class or by becoming the next shock-jock. What you choose determines your audience so choose carefully.

      I included a warning to businesses in the post I’ll put in CommentLuv in this comment. They need to be VERY clear with anyone who represents them by writing blog posts or using social media because this type of behavior is now so mainstream that you need to make sure your people’s view on using the ‘f’ word and writing about sex, politics and religion is how you want to have your company represented.

      You need written guidelines and to carefully select who is out in public for you because it WILL affect your brand’s reputation.

      We all have a decision to make

      • Hi Gail,

        I won’t go into too much depth here, as I’ve shared my view a few times with you, and it’s clear we disagree.

        The disconnect is clear – when something is upfront in a title (whether that be a blog post or an event session), you know immediately what you’re going to get. It’s then your choice whether you read or not. I think (and correct me if I’m wrong) that part of your issue with Dino’s post is that you automatically share my blog on Twitter, and because it’s automatic, you may have been caught out, and that led to people questioning your reading.

        I can’t be responsible for something that isn’t moderated by the end user.

        With the closing keynote, perhaps people weren’t expecting this because the title was “normal”. If they’re renamed it to include vibrators and F-bombs in the title, at least folks would know what was about to happen.

        Everyone has choices as to what they read and attend. Some of us try and make that choice easier by making it clear what you’re about to read.

        • Okay Danny, your reply came in while I was typing mine. Sorry for not drafting off of yours… :)

        • Hi Danny,

          Just to clarify, I totally agree that you are welcome to publish whatever you wish on your own blog. The point I’ve been trying to make is not really about YOUR blog or Dino’s post – it is about the appropriateness for some types of content in a business blog.

          • Agreed. And that’s down to the blogger. He or she ultimately decides what goes up – it’s then up to the reader whether they read, or leave.

            But it’s still the blogger’s decision, and their perception. As I’ve mentioned, I have more time for bloggers who don’t censor and leave the reading decision to their readers, as opposed to bloggers who moderate based on who they feel they should be writing for.

            But maybe that’s just me. 😉

            Doesn’t mean I don’t respect your point of view, Gail.

            • I’m going to piggyback off DB’s comments here because I agree with him all the way. This is a brave new world and those that are too afraid to take risks will be left behind. Sure, there will always be people subscribing to old-money ways and that’s fine, but is it really worth it taking extra measures to filter yourself just to avoid offending someone? Really, any time your convictions and passions are strong, you’re bound to offend someone. If your truth does not align with another’s, they’re bound to violently oppose, or at least vehemently disagree with, you.

              With that in mind, I think what we’ve seen throughout all these comments is the usual mud-slinging that happens when folks have a strong opinion they believe to be truth. Rather than simply explaining our positions on things, some of us are discrediting and disparaging others. This has happened mainly in the form of assuming what the intentions and integrity of particular people are. Realy, who is anyone to judge another?

              Let’s examine the fallacy of “many bloggers going for shock appeal”. To me, a true shock jock usually does not stand for anything. Their only goal is to get a rise out of people. They may make bold statements and support them but, sooner or later, they’ll go an entire different direction. It’s all about making people go, “Oh no they didn’t!!”

              Comparing more edgy, free-spirited, or just plain raw bloggers and writers to mere shock jocks, to me, seems dismissive and insulting. Sure, there are some folks that DO use vulgar language liberally for no real reason. In those cases, it CAN desensitize their audience BUT that we can’t generalize and say that is the only case.

              I believe in the authenticity “movement”. It’s not a revolution, per se, just due course. All the trends that have developed over the past few years indicate that consumers are looking for real people and real things. This is why social media has been so powerful: it makes people feel connected and it also helps folks relate in a world full of so much hype, soul-less/faceless entities, and marketing noise.

              When I read an article by Dino Dogan or Danny Brown, the swearing does not in any way take away from the message. Sometimes it is the draw, other times it enhances key points. They know what they are doing. Of course, no everyone has to agree with this.

              The beauty of the blogosphere is that it has always been about purity and authenticity. These concepts are nothing new. If anything, stuffy, self-absorbed bloggers have tainted this free spirit and purity but they have their place and only help the real people differentiate themselves further.

              Mind you, this is not really aimed at anyone in particular. This thread just made me think about the underlying themes here and I felt some things had to be said. I will say this directly, however…

              Gail, do you really feel that being a professional and being authentic are mutually exclusive? How about being professional and “edgy”? I think writing in a very raw manner is very different than being a shock jock. There’s a need for all of the above so it’s not like there is a right or wrong here. The people that do not take blogging as a serious business are the same folks that don’t see the value in loyalty programs, social media, and the like.. They may eventually see the value but, by then, it may be too late for them and we’ll see more companies shutting down.

              Please excuse my little diatribe here. I’m not trying to undermine anyone here. Perhaps there is a bit of caustic glibness in what I am trying to convey here but, let’s face it: some of you are being pig-headed about the whole thing. I don’t see the issue as being so black-and-white so we should just embrace the diversity.

              What’s interesting is that TSL has been booming because of this heated debate and now several related blog entries are popping up about F-Bombs, authenticity, professional, and yada, yada, yada.. It’s clear that everyone has their own take on it.

              I agree with Paul Wolfe’s take on it: don’t swear under the pretense that you talk like that offline; after all, do we use filler words when we blog? Of course not. He stresses the point of making sure the words we use are the best fit given the context. He also says that no word is inherently bad (more or less). Again, it’s all about context.

              In conclusion, if you blog in a particular style and you’re following your gut, that’s really all that matters. If you’re forcing yourself somehow, ask yourself why. You can’t make a friend or believer out of everyone but, ultimately, the people you want to focus on will appreciate your honesty and be loyal because of it. That’s not just about authenticity, it’s about integrity and credibility. So, if you’re a prude, self-righteous “purist”, old-money/archaic thinker, or a stuffy suit, GO FOR IT – there’s plenty of market to be shared by everyone (some of us won’t be inviting you to the cocktail parties, of course)! 😉

              P.S. The main problem I saw with Blog World is that there were some inconsistencies, false expectations, and situations where efforts did seem a bit gimmicky.. I don’t necessarily find the “closing acts” offensive or lacking class. That sort of stuff is all subjective and we can’t force our worldviews onto others (that’s where hypocrisy starts, you know).

              • Lucretia Pruitt

                Yes, for some reason I’m still reading these comments as the slide into my inbox…
                I wonder if you appreciate the irony of saying:

                “This has happened mainly in the form of assuming what the intentions and integrity of particular people are. Realy, who is anyone to judge another?”

                Only to write further down:
                “some of you are being pig-headed about the whole thing”
                and a number of other disparaging terms about ‘stuffy self-absorbed bloggers’, ‘prudes’ and ‘self-rigtheousness’, as well as the negative remarks about ‘BlogWorld.’

                You have judged people here as well – the difference being that in your judgement, Danny and Paul Wolfe you have judged positively and those who disagree with them negatively.

                Where I stand on is irrelevant, but I just can’t stand it when someone tells others the should not judge others and then proceeds to do so themselves. That is the height of hypocrisy.

                We all judge. It’s how we know what our own positions are. Imposing the results of our judgment of others upon them may not be the right thing to do, but let’s not pretend that human beings “should not” judge others, it’s inherent in who we are. And the minute you say “should” or “shouldn’t”? You are in the process of judging the behavior of others yourself.

                • You’re absolutely right. I re-read the comments after I had already committed and realized that I could have softened up the response just a tad.. But I believe my disclaimers serve that purpose well. If you like to analyze what I meant to be mostly literal, then it can’t be helped.

                  I’m not judging the people, I’m judging the behaviors so let’s be clear. I also do not pretend to put myself on a pedestal. Believe me, I fall into the trap myself.

                  Yes, we all judge but some of us go about it the wrong way. Being dismissive by grouping people into categories does not help. I generalized for the sake of illustrating the point BUT I was not saying “everyone that thinks this way” is a “blah blah blah”. If I came off that way, again, I do apologize.

                  Like I said, I’m not calling anyone out but I did commend Paul, Sara, for being class acts for how they responded to the entire scenario. This is in spite of my contrasting position on matters thereof, mind you. I agree about the “height of hypocrisy” but I believe you did jump the gun just a tad.

                  Again, this is mostly just friendly advice for whomever wants it. You take it or leave it. I am not by any means saying my way is right or that everyone is wrong.. Just giving some perspective. Don’t let some strong language take away from the message, which you yourself seem to agree with, though I apparently hit a nerve not even knowing you. If you knew me, I believe you would give me the benefit of the doubt for what was otherwise a preemptive and pointless retort.

                  I do appreciate the feedback, though, and I will make sure I measure my words more carefully when responding to these more emotionally-charged topics. Have a great and productive day! 8)

      • Hi Gail, I agree with you on shock value. It is the nature of a crowded media landscape – people feel they have to set their hair on fire to get attention.

        As for Danny, I would have to disagree. In his defense (and to reinforce my own point above), I think context is paramount. While the title of Dino’s guest post did take me aback at first, I had no problem with it. Why? It’s Danny’s blog! If he makes a conscious decision to allow/condone/embrace off color language then more power to him. His blog, his choice. I think there is a world of difference between his blog and BWENY.

        To me it is like the difference between me cursing in my own living room or me doing so after you have taken me to visit your grandmother. The context of the situation is relevant to what is appropriate. Sure, the Internet is public (and I understand your point there), but at some point, the readers have a responsibility to move on to where they are most comfortable. The writers have to take ownership that what they write can offend and might lose them readers. I think Danny has done that.

        As for Titlegate :), I think that may be closer to your point. To begin, Danny and Gini are two of my favorite folks in the blogosphere, and I really wish I could have seen their BWENY talk. They are two of the most insightful and supportive bloggers out there, and frankly, if I was there, I would have attended if the title had been “Gini and Danny Speak.” While I didn’t comment on the topic when the whole thing was blowing up, I think I would have understood that they were asked to change the title if BWENY had given a good reason. The reason I saw was we don’t want you to act “cooler” than everyone else and turn people off, which I thought was pretty weak. I would have understood if BWENY had said; there will be people from outside our industry walking around the show and we don’t want that title on placards and screens around the convention hall. We don’t want people from outside our industry to get the wrong idea about blogging. That explanation would actually have made sense. It’s a shame it became so polarized; I bet Gini and Danny could have come up with a creative title if given the chance. Danny? Gini?

        I do think you make some good points about how companies need to understand whom they are working with and about giving guidelines on how they are represented. It’s a new world, and Corporate folks need to understand it. And for the record Gail, I made a conscious choice when I started to not curse in any serious way on my blog, so others may call you prudish, but I won’t. :)

        • Hi Adam,

          We each have to decide what is appropriate and what is not. THAT is precisely the point I’ve been trying to make. Not that a blogger “should not” do x or y or z – that by allowing or condoning certain things you are changing the audience you can reach.

          I recognize that the world has changed and that even corporations are now condoning what they would NEVER have done twenty or even ten years ago. But that does not mean that everyone is on board with it.

        • Note to self: Title next speaking engagement, “Gini and Danny Speak.”

          • That will be enough and we will know what to expect :) Wait a sec, change the “speak” to “rock”…yay, Gini!

            And additional note, no one said “Miss G’ was “high and mighty or prudish or whatever”, I think there was another point to the “posts and comments”.

            I completely agree with Danny. If you see an F bomb in the title, don’t read it. If the title says “How to grow pink flowers in purple pots” and there is a F bomb in the text, I guess that might be a problem.

            And automatic feeding of other people’s posts is a bit risky, be prepared, be very prepared, MUAHAHAHAH (in Ingrid’s voice).

            • Brankica. Completely agree. When I saw the F-bomb in the title of that post, it sort of took me aback for a sec. Not because I was offended but because I thought “wow, that’s a pretty strong title.” If the title would have offended me, then I certainly would have moved on and it would have been MY responsibility to do so. Of course, knowing the quality level of content on that blog, I immediately dug into the post to see what it was about. It was actually a great post about business imitators and competitive advantage.

              • Adam – EXACTLY, mate! The comments after the post too were excellent, offering a ton of advice for start-ups and how to run a business. It’s a shame the title and some content is being discussed as opposed to the quality information on hand, but hey ho, that’s how things go sometimes.

                • I think that’s one of the consequences of using flagrant language in a business context.

                  Not that it’s wrong or anything. It’s just a consequence. It’s like speaking at a conference and flashing your boobs. Those who don’t mind boobs will like the boobs and whatever else it is you have to say. Those who find the boobs over the top are going to focus on it and ignore the rest.

                  • True. Though I have to say, I go by actions as opposed to words, Tia.

                    Some of the most successful business people I know swear like sailors, but they’re respectful as hell when need to be. And they bring in millions a year for their companies.

                    So their “actions” (sales, marketing, etc) are speaking larger than their “words”.

                    People can spin their words into whatever they want them to be, but generally their actions are a truer reflection of them. I’ll go with that each time. 😉

                    • Hi Danny – Thanks for your response. I hear you. Clearly you are not easily offended. I’m not either, but I know that others are and try to remember that not everyone is like me.

                      My comment above was just to show what happens in reality, and not necessarily the world as I would have it.

          • Maybe more “Gini and Danny Speak Frankly” 😉
            Oooh! Or “Gini & Danny Pull No Punches and Push Some Buttons” yep, that’s pretty solid. :)

        • Is it wrong of me to find comfort in the fact we aren’t the only ones to screw up? =p

          We did allow Danny and Gini to rename their session. We didn’t ask them to rename it because we thought it would offend anyone. We didn’t change the content of their session in anyway.

          Sara, Shauna and Andrew are not business bloggers.
          I don’t curse on my blog either. I try to be as respectful of others as possible

      • Hi Gail, I want to thank you very much for coming by to share your thoughts on all of this. It’s obvious that you’ve thought a lot about it, and your passion is clear and present– and I think that’s awesome.

        Regarding the risk of becoming a shock jock style blogger, I also agree. Although the strategy may gain a little notoriety at first, substance eventually triumphs over all, and besides, I do see my blog as the true reflection of who I am at work and at home. For me, I try to maintain this blog so that if my 10 year old daughter jumps on and starts reading, I’m not going to be embarrassed or ashamed.

        This being said, I respect the style of other bloggers, but with each action, good and bad, there will be consequences.

        Thanks again Gail, and continued success with your blog.


    • Adam, I think this was easily one of the best comments on the entire post. You really nailed it in many ways. When people say that they never change their ‘voice’ or ‘style’, I honestly think they’re just lying. In fact, as communicators, we’re always change our voice, but not (as you stated) our authenticity. Whether it’s with our grandparents, parents, children, co-workers, leaders, etc– we change the way we communicate.

      Again, thanks for taking the time to put this out there Adam. I’m very, very grateful.


      • I agree with you and Adam completely here Marcus. Most of us conduct ourselves appropriately for the environment we are in. I do understand and respect that has been your point all along with your post.

      • I really appreciate that Marcus! We’re on the same page on this one.

        344 comments and still going. Wow! Give it a few more days and do a word count. We might have written an ENTIRE novel this time! :)

  33. Barbara Bellesi

    I was there for Day 1 and Day 2–don’t know how this keynote evolved out of those terrific two days. I admit BWE needs some professional competition. And for Pete’s sake, can we bring it back to Las Vegas?

    • At least Vegas has WiFi and cell service

    • Oh, please, please, please! I’m a tiny bit handicapped, and being able to use the “scooter” and get to everything that was offerend was like a dream come true! I LOVED the Las Vegas connection. I understand why it will never happen again.

      But I will be keeping an eye out for beginning conferences that might match my godforsaken situation! 😉

      I know most people will be thrilled with the LA connection. And I understand it.

      But DAMN! It was great, for once, just once…to be able to attend everything I wanted, to see the friends I have thru Twitter and Facebook…to be an integral part of Blogword in Vegas.

      It was just glorious. I know it can’t happen again. But it made me a very, very, very happy blogger, that one time. 😀

      • I think it’s awesome that you had a wonderful time Paula. Personally, I don’t know why it can’t be there again, but when it comes to all these logistics, I’m completely out of the loop.

      • never say never Paula. I never thought we would leave Las Vegas.

        • Oh, I’ll be around! If anything goes on somewhere that I can maneuver, I’ll definitely try to make it!

  34. Hi Marcus,

    Here is my take for what it may or may not be worth – BlogWolrld probably did not think this all the way through. They thought “Hey, we can get people from all these divergent backgrounds on one stage. Cool right? What could possibly go wrong?”

    A lot can go wrong it seems. It probably would have been better to have one keynote speaker. I saw Chris Brogan was doing the keynote, and felt bad I could not stay.

    Now I am glad I did not pay for a babysitter. I would have been pissed if I paid to sit and watch that train wreck. I got to hang with my 8 year old and watch SpongeBob. That was how I spent my Thursday!

    PS- it was very nice to meet you Marcus.

    • You watched Spongebob? Can we have a group invite the next time?? :)

    • Hey Nancy, it was great meeting you too. And this was my point as well to Rick Calvert of BW– If they’re going to do a keynote with Chris Brogan, everyone is naturally going to assume Chris will be delving into blogging. Now that I know (from Rick) the conference isn’t just ‘Blog’ World, but also ‘New Media’, I think there will have to be more of a distinction with the keynotes so this does not happen again.

      Again, great meeting you Nancy.


      • I don’t understand the distinction between blogging and new media that you keep making the the comments Marcus. All of the guests on the keynote that day were very successful bloggers. They were just a diverse group of bloggers.

  35. I did notice on my Twitter feed others, besides you, who were disgusted with the final keynote. Of course I was curious to know why it was so terrible.

    After reading your brief recap, I understand why!! That organizers should be ashamed to have a great week end like that. I hope they get the message when posts like your get spread around.

    • Hey Benny, they’ve certainly gotten the message, and I’ve talked quite a bit with the people at BW since Friday. I’ll be posting more about it Monday. Stay tuned my friend and thanks for stopping in.


  36. Two thoughts that come to mind:

    (1) Keynotes are over-rated. I wasn’t at BlogWorld, but I’d have to come to meet up with, learn from Gini and Danny and all the other awesome bloggers/business owners whom I consider part of my community. I’ve seen far too many conferences try to sell themselves based on the BIG NAME PERSON without that person (or panel) really adding the true value.

    (2) Respect. Beyond the apparent lack of relevance to blogging and bloggers, whatever happened to respecting your audience? It sounds like the organizers were more interested in edgy than in informative.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • Actually I have 3 cents… Several people have suggested that the fault lies with the organizers. Yes — and no. I think the panel moderator and the panelists also have a responsibility to figure out what makes sense in the context of the event at which they are speaking. I was on just such a call this morning, and we spent some time talking about both our format and how we could collectively best provide value to our audience.

      • I agree with you, Daria. I’m embarrassed that our original title has caused such an uproar. I’m also embarrassed that Danny and I didn’t think through the consequences of such a title. It’s really, really important to me that people not perceive me a too big for my britches and I think that title mad us seem so, as well as the ongoing conversation that makes us look disgruntled. If BWE had not accepted our initial proposal and had us resubmit without the d-bag word, this all would have been avoided. But they didn’t so the responsibility falls to us. We thought the audience were other bloggers, not corporate types or mainstream media. We were wrong.

        • Sorry, miss, I’ll have to disagree with you here (what, surely not!?) 😉

          I think we (or anyone else) would be too big for britches had we dug our feet in and said No to Rick and the team’s request for a title change. As I’ve mentioned to Rick, both on our call and in replies to comments, I understood his request (hence the change).

          I still think it distils authenticity and “branding”, if you like. I know of an example at BlogWorld where one of the speakers had a low turnout, and questions were asked if it was because the speaker didn’t have a session title that was more in tune with their blog titles (since there was a big difference).

          For sure, if an event is called Inc. Conference or Entrepreneur Event, then perhaps the original title would never have surfaced.

          But for something that’s called BlogWorld, my perception (perhaps incorrectly) is that it’s for bloggers. Hey ho…

            • Lol, Bill, what the hell do I know mate? :)

    • Hi Daria, nice to see you here, and welcome to the TSL community. :-)

      Personally, I love a good keynote. The reason is because it gives me and the people I’m with a bunch of conversation pieces that we can chew on for that entire week (or at least it should). But in the case of BW, all 3 keynotes had very little to do with blogging at all, which was, frankly, weird.

      I expressed these sentiments to BW and I their stance is that it’s not just BW, but ‘New Media’ as well. In my opinion, this, in many ways, is a branding and imaging issue.

      Either way, I’m grateful you stopped by to chat Daria, and hope we speak again.


  37. Isn’t it disappointing that such an ill-conceived finale was planned? As someone who spent much of my career in event management, I know the downfall of this particular session lies with the conference planners. Putting together a conference program that balances education and entertainment is quite challenging. It’s important to offer a variety of formats, like the “talk show” panel you attended, to keep people engaged.

    Organizers must reach out to every speaker and participant in advance to plan for each session, keynote, and special event. Personally, I like to schedule a 5-10 minute rehearsal for all keynotes. This enables the moderator and panelists to meet, share their topics, and make necessary changes. Additionally, there must be a conference staff member in attendance at every session, ready to step in should problems occur.

    It sounds like this panel was not only poorly-planned, but also poorly executed. A closing conference panel should always be comprised of people who know and respect each other, and will individually support an underlying theme.

    I hope the rest of the conference was valuable Marcus. I’m hoping you’ll share a bit about your favorite sessions in future posts. :-)

    • As a speaker, I wish there had been a phone call or two to help us prep. We didn’t know what to expect until we arrived.

      • That’s a really good point that I hope you’ll pass along to the BlogWorld folks. As a conference grows and changes, it’s more and more important to do prep work up front with the new speakers. Very useful feedback on this. Pretty sure that had that been done, a lot of grief would be avoided by everyone. I really do hope you pass this on to Rick and Deb – because it’s the exact sort of feedback that would make things better for all concerned the next time around.

        • Hey Lucretia (LOVE the name BTW), after talking with Rick from BW today, he does come across to me as the type of guy that is listening. As to whether or not they’ll consider the subjects herein in the future, I guess only time will tell.

    • Very good point Marianne, especially coming from someone with your experience.

      Yes, the final event was a major dud. The people at BW I think realize this and know that it just did fly in general– regardless of the comedic component of the gig.

      But it was certainly valuable as a trip and experience Marianne, and I really hope you have a chance to go to one yourself.



    • Actually Marianne we had several phone conversations and other communication about this keynote. We started rehearsal for this session at noon for a 5 pm session. So much longer than 5 minutes. We typically start rehearsals for the closing keynote on Day 1 of the event, but were not able to do that this year at the Javits.

      Also do to some unique challenges of the organizational structure at the javits we were left with some unknowns going into the keynote which we would have preferred not to have.

      All that being said, no preparation would have actually changed the content we presented. That is what Marcus and many others are objecting to.

      • Hi Rick, It sounds like a lot of circumstances beyond your control in combination with some communication issues caused the unfortunately problems at the final keynote. I apologize if I implied that you didn’t adequately prepare for the keynote. I can attest that you faced so many obstacles just being at the Javits Center–it is a tough location for an experienced event manager. Even with the most careful planning, things always go wrong at the Javits. So I have nothing but the greatest empathy for the challenge you faced. I will tell you that I’ve heard nothing but very positive feedback about the value of the sessions.

  38. Hi Marcus:

    I’m one of the panelist/performer/people, and I responded to your comment on Twitter last night. I’ve also been responding to some of the comments here.

    I think what we have here was a failure to communicate. What the organizers told me was that this event was a chance to let loose and talk about any topic we wanted. They specifically did NOT want us to stick to tech topics. In the past, they’ve talked about all kinds of wild topics and had Penn Gillette, Chad Vader, Kevin Pollak, and Jenny the Bloggess (all outspoken individuals in their own wacky ways) on this “talk show” in Vegas. Here’s a video from a few years ago, with very NSFW jokes about sex and outlandish things. I encourage everyone commenting here to view it (on headphones!) for an example of what I was shown to illustrate what they wanted out of this event:

    In fact, I had written to the organizers to tell them I was concerned my brand of humor was too dirty for this audience. They sent me this to show me that this talk show has worked wonderfully in Vegas with raw, unedited material. They wanted no boundaries, and that’s what I gave them. And I thank them for that freedom! I talk frequently at colleges to young women about body image and mental illness, and in those cases I modify my voice to fit the needs of my host groups. I love those gigs and speaking with those young women, who are so brave and sometimes suffering deeply, but they are more serious events. Events like these, in which I am encouraged to go buck wild, are a nice release for me. I can tell your audience was not so into it (although many folks in the audience were, and several folks came up to me afterwards to thank me for livening it up and entertaining them.)

    Perhaps the issue was a cultural one. The Vegas event is perhaps more freewheeling. The East Coast tech events tend to attract a more buttoned-up, stiff crowd. Or maybe it simply was not advertised correctly.

    As I commented to one of your earlier commenters, this would definitely have worked better as a comedy event at a bar, perhaps at the Marquee after-party.

    I enjoyed myself, and am glad the organizers booked me. As you noticed, along with the people walking out, there were people laughing uproariously and applauding. I’ve performed everywhere from Los Angeles to Oslo, and have experienced a variety of reactions. I’ve also worked for many clients and have modified my voice to fit the occasion. In this case, I made a choice based on a.) what I had been told before the event and b.) what I felt the audience needed in order to lift the energy in a room that was tired, awkward, and stale.

    I think Chris B. did a lot with what he had. It was a poorly-timed event, and I think the organizers realized that afterwards. These are great guys who were trying out their maiden event in NYC, and next year I am sure they will adjust to make allowances for the size of the venue and the scheduling. And maybe the advertising will be more explicit. Again, I was explicitly told NOT to focus on tech, and to be entertaining and as wild as I wanted.

    I appreciate your words and salute you for sitting through an event that made you uncomfortable. I am sorry I was part of making your last event at BlogWorld so unhappy. I don’t usually respond to criticism on the ‘Net, because there is just so much of it (and as a political blogger for Comedy Central and Wonkette as well as a pop culture talking head on VH1 and other places, you can imagine some of the rhetoric I get–anti-Semitic, misogynist, everything from sexual assault comments to death threats and the like) but yours was just so well-written, so measured and so passionate that I felt moved to respond. I would love a chance to have coffee sometime (though I know I grossed you out and that may seem like a creepy idea!) or to sit down at an event that YOU run in order to hear your voice. Perhaps I might come off as a bit more intelligent and thoughtful.

    Incidentally, I’m doing a panel with Michael Ian Black and some others at Internet Week in two weeks, and I really encourage some of your local readers to come and sit down. I think you may find my presence there to be a bit more tuned to what your readers are looking for in this type of event.

    And when I speak at colleges, I do stuff like this. Maybe I need to have this hat on when I speak at tech events in future. Forgive the self-indulgence of these links, but I’d like a chance to show your readers that what you saw was one side of my persona, and I doubt any of them read my own blogs.

    In the end, I had my grown-up, no-holds-barred comedian hat on and behaved as such. I’m not apologizing for my speech, because I’m convinced I was hilaaaarious. I do think some of the comments I’ve gotten have been from people (many, unfortunately, also women) who are frightened or offended by a woman who speaks openly and humorously about sex and politics. I won’t repeat those here, as some have been rather…inelegant. However, I won’t hide behind the “oh, you just didn’t like me BECAUSE I’M A LADY” banner, because it simply isn’t true (I mean, it’s true that I’m a lady! I promise! At least, you know, biologically.) Some of your readers in particular have voiced their concerns eloquently and in a way that helps me to see that this event was perhaps not advertised so well as it should have been.

    At any rate, if you should ever like to talk further (or if any of your readers would) feel free to contact me at I can assure you I will respond with respect and honesty.

    • This comment got caught up in spam yesterday Sara, so my apologies, but I will be linking everyone to it in Monday’s article in case they missed one of the best social media responses I’ve ever read in my life.

      Comedic differences aside Sara, I think you’re incredibly smart and talented, and I can see you’ve got quite a bright future. Thank you for being willing to stand in the midst of all this conversation and making your voice heard.

      I honestly feel you were dealt a very bad hand in this conference, and it’s a shame. I’m sure the people that come to you and generally know what to expect are thrilled with the product.

      Have a great holiday weekend.


    • Sara, I have to agree with Marcus, that was simply one of the most even-handed and professional responses I have ever seen. You are a class act. Haven’t seen your work yet (will head over soon), but you definitely earned a new fan today!

      • Thanks, Adam! Oh jeez, I just realized I still don’t have my avatar. #dork But for reals, I appreciate it. And the reason I respond to so much of this? Besides the reasons stated above? INSOMNIA. 😉 Have a great day.

    • Hi Sara,
      I just want to echo the sentiments shared about your response here. Thank you. I sincerely appreciate your thoughts, your craft, and your ability to have a fair discussion about the events that transpired. This is the essence of the wonderful conversations that we (as differing or agreeing) parties can have online. Bravo!

      • Thanks Marlee! Have a great week!

        • I just want to echo some of the comments that have been made that we live in a free world and your ability to step up and give your take of what happened show true character.

  39. While I am surprised at the inappropriateness, I’m not surprised by the general lack of connection between the keynote and blogging. At last year’s there was a keynote that really ended up being about the new Sarah Palin reality show. And I skipped out on the last keynote because I had to leave, but it had some people in it that I didn’t feel were necessarily blogging related either, but simply celebs. Not to say that it was bad as I didn’t go, but just didn’t feel like the right wrap up to a blogging conference.

    It’s funny that this would come up now, just as there have been a lot of conversations about the “authenticity” factor of being able to say what you want with offensive language and imagery on your blog. I guess it goes to prove that there are still plenty of people out there that don’t take to kindly to being presented inappropriate content in certain environments. I’d wonder how many that are normally all for “authenticity” online were offended by being confronted by it offline.

    Sure, if I went to a comedy club, I’d expect it. Going to Blog World though – absolutely not! I think throughout all of the presentations and keynotes I saw at the last one I heard a few f-bombs fly, but nothing like what you described.

    That said, I will know to watch out for keynotes by people I don’t recognize when it comes to LA. I really plan on going mostly for the networking and sessions that are clearly defined by people I respect. Hopefully the organizers will get enough feedback about this event not to let the same thing happen there!

    • Kristi, you always have a great way of putting things, and this was no different. Philosphically, this is where BW and I really have our differences. The thing is, as they explained to me, it’s not just BW, but the ‘New Media’ expo, which is where they feel shows like these have their place. In my opinion, Blog World should be about one thing– blogging. Although they’re trying to have greater reach, I think it dilutes the product too much, and the brand will therefore suffer.

      Anyway, I do very much appreciate the voice you bring to the table here Kristi, and hope you have a great holiday weekend.


      • Lets leave aside the word “new media” that seems to be a distraction in this discussion. Blogging is much bigger than marketing and PR. The Blogosphere includes politics, comedy, sports, parenting, milblogs, godblogs, and a thousands of other niches. All text based content.

        I know you have another blog post brewing Marcus but why do you think our publishing / broadcasting medium is different in that way from traditional media?

        I would argue the exact opposite if events like NAB were recognizing who their real community was there may have never been a BlogWorld.

  40. Everybody, this was the video I was shown by way of example when I voiced my concerns that I would be too outrageous for this event. This is how the event has apparently often gone in Vegas. Again, I think I did a great job and I think a lot of the audience members agreed, laughing uproariously and applauding. Obviously some didn’t, and that’s okay too. But this may put my performance into context for you. Put those headphones on at work…here’s the same event from Vegas a couple of years ago. Explicit, controversial, not really so much about blogging.

    • I want to note like I did last night via Twitter, you were hilarious. Come to find out, no one really knew the full details on what the keynote was going to be about besides New Media LIVE! and featuring some high profile people.

      Kristi Hines posted what the closing keynote was about in the comments here. Maybe the organizers should have made the description more known:

      • That’s the whole problem Mike– a lack of understanding of what the heck the keynote was about. If someone knows clearly what it’s about, but still complains, then that’s just silly. But a few sentences in a pamphlet ain’t gonna do the trick.

        My guess is this will be fixed by the next BW 😉


    • Have to jump in here real quick to tell Sara that the video from Vegas is hilarious!!!!! So glad you posted the link. Great laugh for a Friday afternoon.

    • Nathan

      The interesting thing about that was right after the 2009 keynote was over, there was a similar outpour of frustration and discontent.

      • Hey Nathan, I didn’t know that man…..and good seeing you btw, it has been a while. Hope you’re well.


    • Hi Sara!

      I think the best part of that video was the person shooting the video saying, “Ohhh myyy goood.. I can’t believe I’m shooting this.” LMAO

      Good job providing some context here. I know some were attacking shock jocks and “lack of class” but you were nothing but classy here. You’ll have to excuse my feelings on shock jocks elsewhere. I based that on other experiences with shock jocks, particularly on radio and podcast formats.

      Anywho, I thought I derailed when talking or blogging but this video deviates soooooooo far from blogging.. I guess they’re trying to show the diversity of the blogging community. Fair enough.

      Looking at the video, I can’t imagine Blog World NYC was THAT much worse. There were some borderline tasteless jokes in there. It almost made me think of Kevin Smith interviews but, hey, the guy is brilliant and you can’t help to laugh at what he has to say (or nod your head secretly). Call it a guilty pleasure.

      I’m going to have to check out your blog now, Sara.. Not to mention Marcus gave you props in his latest blog entry. KUDOS on being authentic and doing some stellar damage control here.

      On that note, Rick has been very responsive and eloquent himself. Talk about a man on a mission.. Maybe I’ll go to the next BW event, after all! 8)

  41. Of course, I guess people were informally warned, as this is on the schedule.

    “After a few energetic days soaking up the latest in innovative content creation, new media technology tips and social media strategies, it’s time to kick back, cut loose and enjoy the irreverent, humorous, off-beat, entertaining, insightful, edgy “New Media LIVE!” Talk Show! This has become a favorite tradition at BlogWorld you won’t want to miss. Note: May contain adult language, cause increased heart rate, sudden outbursts, excessive tweeting, blogging, fb posting, and other unpredictable side effects.”

    • Ahhh, now that makes sense. Too bad a lot of people didn’t know that. Neither did I before watching the live stream.

    • I saw that Kristi….after all was said and done. It’s good that they did mention it there, but I think at least 90% of the audience was quite surprised by the content of the show. In talking with Rick of BW, he said normally they do a much better job of warning the audience as to what to expect, but due to a few logistical things, this was impossible to do on Thursday morning.

    • It was not just in the directory, we talked about it in several newsletters in a blog post and in the online directory too. And we have a history with this keynote. The video archive of they keynotes from the last couple of years are featured on our home page.

      As Marcus has said it obviously still wasn’t enough. If we do this again, we will do a better job of getting the word out.

  42. I would of taken Amtrak down to to kick Andrew Brietbart’s face in (and no i don’t hate republican’s just slimeball weasels. I would beat up Mark Zuckerberg too!) I failed to read the agenda. Sigh. missed my big chance LOL ..uhm…so how was the NY Pizza? LOL

    This is a great well written and thought out post Marcus. It sounds like the networking/connecting was great but the actual reason for being there beyond that fell very short. I bet that it would of cost less just to have a big ass Blogger Meet up with nothing but a dinner/social event that went all night…maybe a one person band who sings a lot of elton john and billy joel?

    • You’re such a trip Howie :-) To answer the question, the Pizza was awesome. In fact, while I was letting off steam in NYC, I was actually going from pizza joint to pizza joint, seeing which one made the best pie. I forget where I ended up, but it was straight from heaven brother. Wow I love NYC pizza!!!

      Have a great weekend man.


  43. Thanks for this post. While I think the BlogWorld organizers worked hard and did many things well, the closing keynote was certainly a disconnect. While I “get” the desire to mix entertainment with information, there’s certainly a way to do that without being disrespectful. And as a woman, this type of panel feels remarkably degrading and insensitive. Just because you CAN stand up and say things about your anatomy, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Especially at a business conference. It’s just unprofessional.

    • Jennifer, Shauna and I were not booked as business speakers. We were booked as outspoken, profane, smart, hilarious individuals. I specifically was booked because I am a comedian. I was explicitly told to go as wild as I wanted, and that I ought to talk about things other than tech. This is the video I was given as a guide when I said I thought my material might be too outrageous for a corporate crowd.

      I’m a fiercely proud female and outspoken feminist. When I was shown the above video and encouraged to go for it, I went for it. I wasn’t disrespectful to anyone. Those who couldn’t handle the use of humor and grown-up words left the room.

      • I respect the hell out of for adding your voice here. I mean, heck.

        • Thanks, Gini. When it’s trolling, I don’t respond. But when the comments are measured and intelligent, I feel it’s okay to engage and chat. It’s rare for me to engage, as you can imagine given the tenor of most comments on YouTube (and hate mail after political TV appearances!) But I feel this is a safe forum and Marcus does an excellent job of setting the right tone here.

      • I do rather wonder if it’s because the traditional BWE audience is a) expecting a Vegas mentality and b) fairly familiar with Jenny (the Bloggess)’s work.
        The tenor in NY was incredibly different. The crowd was substantially more business oriented and definitely not what the Vegas crowds have been.
        If you’ve seen Jenny, then you pretty much have to assume that anything goes. In that case, I think it was more a part of the folks at BWE reading the NY audience a bit wrong and less a case of you doing anything wildly inappropriate. When it comes to things like this? You have to trust whomever books you to know their audience.
        Thanks for the insight Sara.

        • Hey Lucretia, you’ve added wonderful points to the conversation here, and I’m really glad you’ve stopped by. I think the whole key to the Sara experience comes down to your last sentence:

          You have to trust whomever books you to know their audience.

          Or, further stated, you have to trust that whoever books you has clearly defined to the audience expectations/details/etc. Although BW did mention the show in their brochure, most people honestly didn’t look at that, it was simply a matter of, “Chris Brogan is speaking, let’s go.”

          After talking with Rick from BW this morning, he really seems to recognize this and I’m excited to write a follow up post about our conversation.

          I’m also excited to write further about Sara on Monday, because I think she has been splendid thus far in how she has managed herself. When it comes down to it, she did a great job at what she was asked to do, and I don’t feel should be a target whatsoever in this case.



          • Looking forward to your follow ups Marcus.
            I’ve known Rick for a number of years – so I know he and his team have been analyzing this and reanalyzing it since it happened. They try very hard to create a conference that has people walking away with a feeling that they got more than their money’s worth. So they listen to feedback and incorporate it. It’s why the show gets better every year.

        • Lucretia, I am beginning to think I am more suited for the Vegas BlogWorld! And not just because of the unlimited buffets! 😉

    • Hey Jennifer, this all comes down to a matter of ‘the right time and the right place’, and this was not it.

      BTW, I’m really impressed with your blog. Had a chance to look at it today and you’re doing some wonderful things.

      Have a great holiday weekend.


      • Thanks Marcus. Appreciate the kind words about my blog. I’ve enjoyed “discovering” your blog as well through all this.

        Have to say I was a little overwhelmed at all the attention over this. Turned into a bigger discussion than I was anticipating.

        I, too, believe that Sara handled herself quite well. It’s nice to see folks who dive in and engage. That’s great social media at work. (You know, maybe that would be a great topic for a closing keynote…) :)

        Happy Memorial Day!

  44. Marcus

    Thanks for posting and here I was upset I missed a great thing. I agree it is hypocrisy and Gini and Danny’s title was the first thing I thought of as I read the first part of the blog (as did griddy!) and then you hit upon it.

    Maybe the organizers of BWENY will comment on your site and enlighten us? Or maybe they had a fast one pulled on them? Did the keynote speakers change what they were delivering without the organizers knowledge?


    • Hey Rajka, good to hear from you. It was entirely the fault of the organizers in this case. In fact, I’ll be posting a huge follow up on Monday, so I hope you stop by.

      Have a great weekend,


  45. Wow. I hate that you had this experience as your parting gift. It does sound like you had an overall good experience connecting with folks like Gini, Danny and John, but left with a bad taste in your mouth. I also hate the hypocrisy thread – or maybe just a lack of understanding on the part of the organizers – to see how what one hand does should also apply to the other. That’s too bad.

    I agree with Marianne, this panel is an example of poor planning on the part of the event organizers. You can tell when a panel has not been ‘prepped’ or clearly know what their mission is. That always makes me mad and like the money I paid didn’t mean anything to the organizers. It is always important to consider the audience. I just looked at the video link left by Sara (thanks for the link) and again feel like someone along the planning line missed the boat.

    I think you should send this blog post (although I’m sure they’re aware of it by now!) and a letter to the organizers. That’s so important in making sure feedback is taken seriously.

    And I’m all for a new blogging conference! Sign me up!

    • Speaking of blogging conferences Erica, you MUST attend the next one!! :-)

      But yes, the folks at BW have certainly heard and read our thoughts here. I’m crossing my finger that some things are changed. Only time will tell, but it will be something that I’m sure we’ll all be watching very closely.

      Thanks so much for leaving this Erica and hope you have a great evening.


  46. Hi Marcus,

    Sounds like you had an awesome time at Blog World, well, except for the keynote.

    When it comes to a bad experience from a conference, I remember when I arrived at a marketing conference a few months ago and was suppose to be at a 3 hour seminar with Gary Vaynerchuck and then a 3 hour seminar with Mary Smith about Facebook. A few minutes before Gary V was suppose to enter the stage, I was told that his seminar was delayed by four hours. It seemed that they had booked him a little early, since he was still in the plane somewhere far from Norway. What happened was that I didn’t get a chance to attend the Facebook seminar with Mary Smith, because Gary V’s seminar was now going to be at the same time as hers.

    When it comes to your experience at the keynote, I believe that I would feel exactly as you are feeling. We have expectations when it comes to the various seminars and the keynotes, and the most important expectation is that everything is related to the industry and the reason why we’re at the conference. We’re usually not at conferences in order to get entertained.

    To me, it looks like the people in the panel didn’t come prepared as a group. I would have guessed that Chris Brogan had discussed his expectations to the keynote, and that they as a group should have talked and sync everything in order to make the keynote as best as possible. On the other hand, I certainly agree that the people who organized Blog World should be blamed.

    By the way, I hope to attend Blog World next year.


    • Hey Jens, as always, great to hear from you my friend.

      Interesting story about your Norway conference with Gary V. (He was amazing at BW btw). And I see you and I share the same sentiments about conferences– we’re there to be taught and network, not to be entertained.. Besides, entertainment is what they made the after hours for in my opinion.

      Would love to meet you at Blog World next year my friend, that would be awesome.


  47. Hey Marcus,

    I wasn’t able to attend BWENY (did attend Blogworld back in October in Vegas), but did watch the live stream of the closing keynote. Definitely agree that it was far from blogging and new media live that it was supposed to be. Very off topic.

    I for one thought Sara was hilarious (not so much for the woman before her). Honestly, people need to lighten up and laugh, although, at a professional conference, it probably wasn’t the best choice.

    Sara did a great job, she’s a comedian and that is what she does. Maybe Rick or whoever organized should have done a better job researching and figuring out their material or what was going to be said before having them be in it.

    • Hi Mike, thanks for stopping by and it’s a pleasure to ‘meet’ you.

      I thought both of the women did a fine job at what they were ‘asked’ to do, the problem is that what they were asked to do and what most people thought they were getting is two very different things.

      As for lightening up, I think it again comes back to expectations. If someone gets upset because they went to something that was completely different than they thought it would be when they paid for it, then how could we not expect them to get upset? The same principle applies to if the panel had talked religion, politics, etc….or any other off topic not specific to blogging.

      Either way, I wish Sara the absolute best and I hope that Rick and BW are able to work out these issues for future shows.

      Cheers Mike,


    • I don’t want to hide behind ignorance here Mike. We knew what we were getting.

      • Hey Rick,

        I said that in the above comment before I found out thanks to Kristi Hines that the description of the closing keynote, like all other sessions, was posted for everyone to see. Seems many just didn’t read said description.

  48. Oh no, trouble in paradise!

    I don’t usually comment on ‘rant posts’ Marcus, but as it’s you, I’ll make an exception. See, the problem I have with rant posts is that they make the writer sound like they’re airing their dirty laundry in public, and I don’t really need to hear what they say. I know your post isn’t a ‘rant’ in its strict sense, as it’s a discussion of a particular event, and that’s cool. My opinion of you and your blog are never going to lessen 😉

    Now, about the seminar in question. It’s a shame that the whole conference had to end on a sour note; that clearly wasn’t the intention of anyone at all. Obviously, everybody wants these kind of events to go out with a bang, but that hasn’t quite happened here.

    I wonder whether people would have wanted a final seminar with blogging figures rather than those listed? Andrew Breitbart and Chris Brogan are obviously ‘in’ blogging, but maybe have other big bloggers up there? I’m not sure who was there, but I’m sure it could have been arranged to ‘freestyle’ a blogging talk show to close the conference.

    One other point; after reading this, my enthusiasm for BlogWorld lessened slightly. I’m now not so keen on going there as I once was. I may still go, but the main reason I’d go is to meet all my blogging buddies, which I can do that to a certain extent with Skype. The cost and expenses may not be justified if I then attend seminars which I won’t like. Decisions, decisions, but at least there’s plenty of time to decide!

    Take care Marcus, and ‘keep a stiff upper lip’ as the English would say :-)

    • Hey Stu, thanks for chiming in mate. To answer your question, I clearly feel that any speech at blog world should be about blogging. As Jens said above, I’m not there to be ‘entertained’, I’m there to be taught and informed. The entertainment is meant for the night time once the conference is over.

      As to whether or not you should go Stu?? Personally, I’d highly recommend it. I for one would love to meet you, as would others, and you might want to talk to John Falchetto about his experience to get his take on the matter considering he came from France.

      Anyway, I do look forward to meeting at some point bud,and hope you had a great weekend.


      • Hi Stu,

        I don’t regret going. I gave my view earlier in my post. The relationships I developed at BW, including spending some real time talking with a blogging mentor like Marcus, made it all worth it for me.

        Yes it cost a lot of time and money, and I would be fuming if I went to this keynote speech. Just like Marcus, I look at blogging as a serious business, not some big drunken party with locker room language being thrown around. If I want this type of behavior I don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to go to NY, I can just go down to my local bar.

        But as Marcus pointed out, a new event should be created as I was not overly impressed by BWNY. As Gini said in her comments it felt like an afterthought that was added to the much larger Book Expo going on at the same time. The whole Gary V talk about book publishing confirmed this feeling.

        Getting Howard Stern wannabes to give keynote speeches is doing nothing for bloggers, except make them look even less credible than before.

  49. Well said, Marcus. I was so looking forward to hearing Brogan and Brietbart speak, and then was so disappointed that I left before it was over. (Something I usually never do)

    As a woman, the comments being made on stage felt like they were just furthering the stereotype, issues and inappropriateness we have to deal with in male-dominated boardrooms and business everyday. Instead of having women up there who can talk issues, they picked woman who continue to capitalize on sexuality to be successful.

    You didn’t see Brogan come out in a tight black dress and four inch heels.

    • Michelle, as one of those performers, I can only say I wish Brogan had done that.

      Also, I’m a comedian. Entertainment is what I do. And yes, I use my sexuality as a tool…just like women like Margaret Cho, Sarah Silverman, Natasha Leggero, Whitney Cummings, Chelsea Handler, and many other comedians I admire. Heck, I should throw some guys in there too.

      It seems to me that women in particular seem to have been thrown and upset by my being an out and proud, sex-positive feminist onstage. Or maybe it just surprises me more, coming from women.

      Again, I was booked as a comedian, to do comedy. I am not a business speaker. This was supposed to be a live talk show and I feel it ought to have been at a big bar or club with booze after the show. I was told that explicit and outrageous was welcome, wanted, and funny. Had I been told to tone it down or to focus on tech, I would have. I was told the opposite.

    • Hey Michelle, and thanks so much for stopping by to chime in. I’m sad we didn’t get a chance to meet at BW, but we’ll have to make a point the next time.

      Not being a woman, I cannot relate to what your sex has to go through to get respect in business. Notwithstanding, I think your points are very, very valid.

      I also feel quite bad for Sara. She was put in a very awkward position here and tried to do what she was asked to do.

      Anyway, I do hope to meet in person at some point Michelle.

      Have a great rest of your Sunday and holiday tomorrow.


  50. While I am in agreement it is unfortunate that the choices made to represent women as bloggers in the closing keynote was not a good one, what bothers me more is why are people making excuses for their behavior.

    Yes, I realize we all have differing opinions on what is vulgar, I will have to agree with several women that this was a distasteful display that has been described. In a closing keynote to wrapping up a conference there is suppose to be more dialogue on how blogging and the industry has grown-can grow or even where it is heading and why.

    How is that served by showing a cake batter stirred with a vibrator in a video?

    And for my sisters whom I have had private discussions with about this, who tell me to stop being so conventional-baby I am one of the few women who is not conventional when it comes to being open minded and open mouthed. Can name several times I have gotten in trouble for being too verbal. I have never been a prude. Ask Ken Lingad about my risque comments of nutella mochas.

    There is a place and time for letting your hair down and on stage in a keynote for a panel is not one of them unless that panel is about letting your hair down in blogging. Unless it is a panel or keynote about stretching the boundaries in the ways we use blogging to communicate and the participants are warned ahead of time there will be r-rated material.

    We are working so hard to get women to be taken seriously as speakers and now instead of all the wonderful presentations that were given by women there, what will be remembered is the crass display by a couple of women there SIGH.

    • Hi Michele, and thanks so much for stopping by this community to share.

      I think you’ve made a very, very powerful set of points. And what I like about what you’re saying is that you’re a woman that understands both sides to the issue, but you also respect the right time and place to do things. Honestly, I’m a little mystified by people who have stated that there was nothing wrong with the timing/place of this keynote. Even Sara, who’ve I’ve really grown to appreciate through this experience, feels it was the wrong setting. To me, there’s not debate whatsoever on that end….But hey, that’s why they made comment sections, right?? 😉

      But thank you so much for contributing here Michele, and I do hope you stop by again at some point. :-)


    • Michele, I think you’ve missed the point of what Rick and Dave were doing, and what the New Media Live talk show has always been. It’s not a keynote panel about blogging. It’s a talk show with entertainers, and it’s clearly labeled as such in the description. In the past, they’ve welcome such loud-mouthed, hilarious folks as Kevin Pollak, Penn Jillette, Jenny the Bloggess, and others.

      My choice of language is not going to affect anyone’s ability to succeed in her career unless she is a truly delicate little flower (and you, madame, are clearly a tough cookie. I’m guessing most of the women present were tough gals as well.) I’m a comedian. I’m also a political blogger and satirist for Comedy Central and for Wonkette. Blog World and New Media Expo is a big tent kind of organization, and it’s designed for content providers. I’m a content provider. Not everyone LIKES the content I provide, but that’s true for literally every single content provider out there. There are people who object to sales advice, to marketing theory, to golfing tips, to pie recipes–and to everything else under the sun.

      I believe, as Marcus noted in his response, that the event could have been timed better–perhaps at a bar or a large party somewhere. It’s also interesting to note that past New Media Live talk shows have prompted a similar wave of outrage/fear/distaste–and, yes, delight. Rick and Dave push the envelope. I do too. So do many of the folks they’ve booked in the past.

      I like what they’re doing and I hope they continue to do it. But maybe after dinner next time. Although I’m sure some folks would be offended then, too. Just my two cents.

  51. Wow. That is indeed unfortunate about the final keynote. I actually attended a few of the smaller sessions and learned a lot. But overall, I have to agree with your take, Marcus. At first I let the event organizers off the hook about the wifi, thinking Javits needs to get that together. I just found out from my aunt, who is an executive at IBM, that they bring their own wifi to events so they can handle the extra use tech conferences like this consumer.
    But I’m off-topic. I guess I’m glad now that I don’t have to feel like I missed anything when I left right before the keynote. It was great to meet you and spend time with you! and all the people we finally met in real life. Let me know when Sales Lion World is official!

    • Hey Lisa! I’m so glad you stopped by and like you, it was great meeting you in NYC– you and Gini are one heck of a team and you’re literally as focused as anyone I’ve ever been around. Gini is lucky to have you, but she already knows that. :-)

      I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of each other in the future. Have a wonderful holiday and a great week.


    • The Javits is the exclusive provider of WiFi Lisa. You are not allowed to bring in an outside vendor in that building. If your Aunt has been able to do this at the Javits center I would love to talk to her. Buildings are notorious for breaking their rules for some events but not for others.

      Event organizers are always trying to find out who was aloud to break those rules so we can break them too.

      • Hey Rick,
        Ok so I just touched base with her and misunderstood. They have brought wifi into OTHER venues but not Javits. So that was my original thought, that Javits seriously needs to get their act together with that. It couldn’t hurt for event organizers to put the pressure on them to resolve that.
        It’s just unforgiveable.
        My biggest complaint about the event is the venue. Javits could use a serious makeover!
        As I mentioned above. I learned a LOT at the breakout sessions. I’ll be blogging this week on it. Thanks.

  52. I think the issue here is whether a keynote should be a piece of ENTERTAINMENT or further the educational and inspirational aspects of the conference.

    In this case, the organizers chose entertainment. Not entertainment that I would find particularly appropriate ( baking with vibrators would make me feel uncomfortable- but that could be JUST ME. I have issues people.)…and I don’t think that is a bad choice. Plus with all that fabulous known name talent on the stage I think they were on to something….

    Maybe just a few more guardrails and vetting for even the ‘known names’ would be advised. And sprinkle that with the knowledge that it is incredibly hard to please everyone. I hear it is near impossible : )

    • You make great points, Marcy. Maybe if it were later in the day and were very clearly an entertainment/comedy kinda thing (with food and maybe an open bar…anyone? Anyone?) people would know what to expect. I do think Rick and Chris did a really great job…it’s just that this was a new audience, new venue, new city.

      In other words…we ain’t in Vegas anymore. 😉

      • Trying to avoid replying to every comment but must chime in on this one Marcy, Sara (and practically everyone):

        The disconnect and mismanaged expectations are coming from all sides per what the nature of a Keynote w/ “recognizable names” should be. Agree it’s about context and time and place. If this was an evening dinner and mixer, cocktails for all and the description was a little clearer (thanks to @Kristi for posting that) maybe some of this would have seemed less offensive. As it was the one chance to see and hear THE Chris Brogan… this was something else, given that he was possibly the big draw to a number of attendees. I have more thoughts on this.. just not sure how best to word it.

        As an aside Sara, so glad to read all your comments and thoughts, that you shared your side of the story. As you’ve said, Marcus does a good job running the place and he’s got a solid group of readers that rise to the occasion. FWIW.

        • Marcus does a good job running the place and he’s got a solid group of readers that rise to the occasion.

          That ‘solid group of readers’ part would be quite the understatement Davina– with you being as solid as anyone. :-)

          Thanks for being awesome.


        • Thanks Davina! You have a great first name, by the way. Totally random aside!

          • I like random.. and am glad my parents picked a cool name, thanks.

    • I actually agree with you very much here Marcy.

      Personally, when I go to one of these I want to be taught, not be entertained. I take it upon myself for that aspect of the trip.

      But yes, just a few guardrails in place could have prevented 99% of the hoopla here, and I would highly anticipate their presence at BW in the future.

      Thanks so much for commenting though Marcy, and I do hope you’ll stop by again in the future.


  53. OK, Marcus, I should definitely write a post about what we talked about on Twitter the other day.

    I will title it: “While my buddy Mufasa was suffering at Blog World, watching vibrators and listening to dirty language, I was grilling some tasty Southern food, sunbathing and swimming in my (finally cleaned) pool”.

    LOL, sorry you had to go through that Lion, but hey, you met some awesome peeps :)

    • Haha Bran! Write away my friend 😉

      But yes, it was worth it and I would do it again. Nothing like meeting your internet ‘buds’.

      And glad to hear you finally cleaned that pool of yours!


  54. Stacy Davis

    Disagree with content but it isn’t fair to deem it disrespectful or degrading to women or an entire industry. Let us not forget that the sex/porn/Internet dating industries wouldn’t be racking in billions if it weren’t for the Internet and the blogosphere and viceversa.

  55. G’Day Marcus,
    Bloody Hell! I dunno what it cost to attend. But the Blogworld organizers must be delighted with all this free publicity they’re getting here.

    I’ve organized. on an honorary basis I hasten to add, a few major training conferences in my time. A very experienced conference organizer once told me, “Start with a bang and finish with a bang. That’s what delegates remember.” Seems your Blogworld finished with a major explosion.

    No bad jokes this time mate. Just remember to ask for your money back and don’t go next time.

    Hang loose ; as one of my bosses used to always remind me when I leapt onto my high horse to go thundering into battle. Avagoodweegend with your Sheridan clan. Cleanse your spirit.

    Take care


    • You’re so dang funny Leon. :-) All this serious talk around here, it sure is nice that you stop by and give me a smile. Honestly, I did get some value from the show, and I’d like to go again, assuming that make some changes and show they’re willing to really listen and respond to their customers. Time will tell.

      You avagoodweegend as ell mate! 😉


    • I went straight to Google too!

      The bio on Andrew Breitbart’s “Big Government” website says he “was the primary developer of The Huffington Post.”

    • Hey Frank, I had to nuke Patrick’s comment because he doesn’t understand what the word ‘civil’ means. He also doesn’t apparently understand how to use Google search. 😉

  56. Interesting take; good thing you didn’t pay good money for it………..sounds like there is plenty of fodder for many posts to come.

    Not being there the only thing that came to mind was since it was New York maybe they were trying to be edgy, hip and cool; but it doesn’t make any sense if they had Gini and Danny change their title.

    Go figure; good to have you guys back and I would have enjoyed just meeting everybody and we could have had our own tweet-up. I would have gotten more out of that than someone telling me how to blog……….:)

    • Hey Bill, thanks for stopping by. Actually, it was pretty expensive, as I’m sure it has to be to cover the costs for such a production. Personally, I love classes on blogging. I always want to learn more. And in many ways, there is nothing better than taking those classes with people you’ve grown to care about on the web– and then discussing their subject matter after hours.

      Hope you’ll be at the next one bud– wherever such an event may be.


      • Yes, you can always learn more but you could have just as easily been one of the speakers too……………just sayin’………

  57. Hi Marcus.

    If I may jump in here for a moment and comment.

    I was in attendance at the keynote, I was also a speaker at the conference. I am a woman and also know the conference organizers quite well.

    Having had now a little over 24 hours to digest it all, I have come to some conclusions.

    Yes. The keynote was bad. I cannot nor will I defend what actually happened on that stage. My greatest objection is to the sexist nature of the “jokes”. I am not a person that is easily offended, but as a female entrepreneur, the more this type of “humor” is trotted out to people in any industry as OK, the harder it makes my job in attempting to gain legitimacy. OK. So, now that I’m done burning my bra, (see what I did there?), let’s talk about what we learned.

    1) This industry is growing up. It has to. It needs to. The very fact that we are having this discussion is indication enough of that.

    2)Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because one thing goes wrong, does not mean that we have to start over from scratch. I have been very impressed with BlogWorld for the 3 years I have attended. Is it not prudent for this community to pull together and support them rather than tear it down? Make it BETTER? Pursue OPEN and honest discussion about the entity as a WHOLE? I’ve made a mistake or two in my life, haven’t you?

    3) Feedback, good or bad is VITAL to any conference. I actually live in Austin, TX. You know, where they hold that little get-together they call SXSW. For the last, oh, 15 years or so, feedback has been given to the organizers ad nauseum. Have they listened? No, not really. They could give a rip what anyone thinks at this point (trust me, I do a little event during the conference called TechKaraoke, it’s a bloody NIGHTMARE dealing with those people.) I say all of that to say this: The BlogWorld folks REALLY DO CARE. This is hurting them to the core. I know this. They want to make this better not only for the conference itself, but for the community. No, I have not been asked to come here and cheerlead on their behalf. This is how I feel about the whole thing.

    So. Take this for what it’s worth.


    • Melissa

      Is it possible that we are confusing “sexist” and “sex” in this discussion? Just because the jokes had to do with sex doesn’t make them sexist. And labeling something/someone as sexist when it/he/she isn’t can be offensive.

    • Jen, let me just briefly say your comment(s) here have been awesome. Your 3 points above are also spot-on.

      1. Yes, I too believe the industry is moving in the right direction.
      2. I’m not going to give up on BlogWorld either. If they can listen and learn, they’ll be fine.
      3. I spoke with Rick Calvert and my sense was just what you’ve stated– that he cares. But my worry lies in his philosophy, not his desire. In other words, I think he goal to appeal to the masses might actually hurt the group more than it helps it. But then again, I could be dead wrong.

      Guess well see 😉

      Thanks again Jen, hope we talk more down the road.


      • Marcus,

        Excellent. I’m glad you got the opportunity to speak with Rick. He is a super nice guy & does his best to make this a successful event for everyone.

        I’m glad my comments added to the conversation.

        I’m ready to go make some awesomesauce. It’s time. Let’s go!


  58. Sara Benincasa

    Jen, what was sexist about the event? A mother of four doing a comedy video in which she consciously and deliberately chose to take on the typical ditzy blonde role, with a perverse twist? Or was it me speaking frankly about politics, sex, and my travels as a comedian? Was it when I mocked some of the workshop titles? Were you upset at the uproarious laughter some of my jokes provoked? Was it my appearance? Was it Shauna’s? Was it how the men onstage responded to us? I understand that my comedy or Shauna’s jokes may not have been to your liking. Hell, I don’t laugh at the Three Stooges or my uncle, and reliable authorities report that they are genius. I don’t understand what on earth I may have done that struck you as sexist or anti-woman. I have spoken extensively in print, online, on TV and on radio about my support for women’s issues. I hosted Planned Parenthood NYC’s hugely successful annual benefit gala last month at the Bowery Ballroom. I tell you this in order to put my reaction to your allegations of sexism in the context of who I am and what I stand for. I take accusations of sexism very seriously. And I can say with confidence that I did or said nothing anti-woman during my comedy gig Thursday night. So what exactly were you talking about? I hope you don’t conflate open, bawdy, proud sexuality with sexism.

    • Sara – We all get it – you were just doing your job. Okay – we get it.

      If several women here have seen you or viewed you or reacted to you as sexist – touting what you have done at Columbia and for women issues is obviously not the way to reach them.

      It seems to me – the truth of the matter is simple – they (and others) just didn’t dig you.

      I understand – some people hate the way i write my blog because I cuss and talk openly about stupid shit that goes on in the blogging community.

      It’s okay – I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.

      Obviously neither are you.

      • Quite.

        Not everybody digs me either. I’m cool with that. But it’s all about perceptions, isn’t it?


      • Sara – I wasn’t there, but following this from Portland where I had to move on to another speaking engagement after BWENY.
        I think there’s a part where you’re confusing some folks equating “the appropriateness level of your style of comedy for the particular crowd” with “people criticizing your comedy.” I can honestly say that knowing the women you’ve quoted above, there are times where I would love to see your routines, and times where I think they aren’t exactly the fare I’m expecting.
        This disconnect with tone? It caused Sarah Silverman to suffer a great deal of criticism and grief after doing her TED talk. My first thought was “if you didn’t want Sarah Silverman? You shouldn’t have booked Sarah Silverman.” My first thought here was similar.
        There’s a lot of posts trying to lay blame – it was the organizers fault, your fault, Chris’s fault as moderator – but that’s an exercise in futility. The better course would be to say “how can we, as an audience, give feedback to the folks at BWE that will give them a better understanding of the mental disconnect so many folks seem to have had with this, and so that they can find a way to make sure that it’s avoided at future events (those where it isn’t hitting the mark rather than is.) ?”

        It’s hard not to be defensive when everyone is commenting on this and you seem to be in the role of “bad guy” – but try. See these comments in the light they are intended – not as bashing, but as reflection.

        Honestly? As Jen said, I’m afraid many of us women in the tech field often get reduced to ‘fine if their good to look at or don’t mind sexual harassment – but otherwise useless.’ It’s heartbreaking when that happens after you’ve spent years proving yourself. But it’s not because *you* perpetuate any stereotypes Sara, rather that those perpetuating them will use this performance to solidify them. Does that make sense?

        • Jen Wojcik


          Thank you. You put it WAY better than I did. That is EXACTLY what I meant. :)

        • Let’s be clear; it is my fault and Dave’s no one else’s.

          I completely agree with Sara. There was simply nothing sexist about her content or Shauna’s. Lucretia you know first hand about a certain gift contained in a certain gift bag at a certain woman’s blogging conference a couple of years ago. Was that sexist?
          No. A little weird definitely. Particularly for me being one of the few men to attend.

          I do however understand why so many women are so sensitive about this in general and in technology in particular.

          What I have to continually say is we are not a technology event. We are a content event. That certainly overlaps technology.

          If there is anything else we can to do reach out more and support women more we are all ears.

          I have been to every BlogHer event except the first one. We are sending our entire team to San Diego. We attend numerous other mommy blogger events. We aggressively recruit female speakers and attendees to our event to make sure they are represented.

          However we also try to make sure our event is diverse in other ways. We invite political bloggers from the left and the right. We invite podcasters, Youtubers, internet radio and video creators from every genre we can imagine. Starting last year we began an official effort to recruit non-white speakers to the show. We still have a very long way to go but we want out event to be as representative and diverse as the blogosphere is as a whole.

          That is the only way we can be a truly industry wide event.

      • Hey Frank, I do want to say here that Sara is not at fault for what happened on that stage at BW. She was given money and asked to do comedy– and even shown what type as she has mentioned above– I really don’t think we’d be having this conversation if the people would have strongly been given a good idea as to what they were getting ready to watch.

        I spoke with Rick from BW this morning and it was a very good conversation. I told him the biggest problem with the keynote had nothing to do with the content (as ‘New Media’ is everything under the sun), but simply that it should not have been done in a keynote setting on the final day and that there really needs to be some type of ‘rating’ system so people have a very clear idea as to what they’re getting into.

        Although Sara Benincasa’s comedic style and choices may not be my cup of tea, Sara the person– passionate and caring and also bothered by what happened there– truly is.

        Cheers mate and have a wonderful holiday weekend.


        • Co-signed Marcus. Although I haven’t investigated her comedy as yet (have watched the YT of Jenny Bloggess) I really like your comment about while you didn’t care for her brand of comedy, you certainly like her as a blogger and person. I’ve enjoyed what she and everyone’s had to say and am glad you’ve let everyone have their say.

      • Frank, I don’t think I’ll change their minds. But it’s my right to respond when I see my name used in a particular way. For me, this is an interesting social media experiment. I’m enjoying myself.

    • Sara,

      I wanted to let the fever-pitch die down a bit before responding to you. FTR, I was not offended by you. In fact, I found most of your material quite funny. You did your job well. Thanks for your response. :)

      • Thanks, Jen. I kind of lost it a little bit at the “sexist” thing. I apologize for being so hard on you. It hit a button at the end of a looooong day.

        And on a fully unrelated note, your hair is effing rad as hell, FYI.

        • No worries, Sara. We all have our “thing”. I knew you were pretty ragged out, which is why I waited. :). Thanks for the hair comment! It’s my “thing”. Haha.

          Rock on gal.


  59. Stacy Davis

    Frank – I find it hard to believe that you would make the statements you are making if Sara were a man. Your misconstruing the qualifications these women are trying to defend with repetitive cockiness. I’m sure you know that doing so makes you the obvious sexist. But what do I know? I’m just a dumb girl.

    • LOL – Stacey – I simply pointed out that some of the women did not dig Sara and that she is trying to reach them with things that obviously do not matter to them.

      I struggle to figure out how that makes me sexist.

      Sara is a big girl – I’m sure she has heard that before and will hear it again.

  60. Stacy Davis

    Ms. Jen – It is best to not be such a prudish lady and passing such judgement on someone that has different taste than you. Your buttoned up, suit wearing business nature and Sara’s ballsy sexually and unabashed nature can BOTH have a legitimate place in the world regardless of industry. How is that possible, you say? They guys do it. Why can’t us ladies do it too?

    • Stacy,

      While I appreciate your point of view, I happen to be FAR from prudish. My hair is pink, I am inked and those that know me well understand that I routinely both laugh at and make bawdy jokes. It comes down to the appropriate time and place. This was not it. I am certain that she does her job well and I celebrate that. I am happy for her. I am not attacking her. It was simply not the correct audience. I didn’t go to a comedy show. I went to a blogging conference.

      • Jen, i’ve been reading all this banter. I must say, well said. well said.

        • *curtsies* ;P

      • I literally boggled at the line “Your buttoned up, suit wearing business nature” here Jen. Made me wonder what in the world Stacy read into what you said that gave her that impression. Then it made me wonder if you were being trolled. Then I laughed at the irony given that your BWENY session was about trolls. Wouldn’t it be much more fun if that were the case rather than simply misconstruing your “not the right environment” with “not approving due to sensibility”?

        I’m so going to give you grief with that phrase for years to come. Heh.

        • Lucretia,

          You are now going to laugh incredibly hard. I actually took screenshots of the conversation prior to additional comments coming in. I asked Marcus’ permission to use it in my own post about deconstructing a troll. That’s EXACTLY what just happened. LOL. I will be writing it tonight.

          I sold / gave away all my suits about 7 years ago. Haven’t owned one since. Yes, give me grief. LMAO. I’m a big girl. ;-P


    • Tom Myer

      If you’re calling Jen Wojcik “prudish” then you obviously don’t know her. Professional, yes, but prudish, no way.

  61. Stacy Davis

    Frank – Us being such “big girls” makes it easier to point out a guy like you. First, women/ladies don’t like being called girls. Just like I’m sure you prefer to be called a “man” and not a boy. Insult the qualifications of the men that were on tue panel if you want to be equal opportunity badger. It is only fair right?

    • Stacy – You are more than welcome to call me anything you like – I’m a big boy and can take it.

      Since this is not my blog and I respect Marcus way too much – I’m done with this banter with you.

      You are more than welcome to drop by my blog anytime you like. It’s a free and open place.

      Please enjoy the holiday weekend.

  62. Stacy Davis

    Jen – Perception is just as subjective. Your personal perception of an outspoken, unabashed woman is based on your personal taste. Classifying her or any woman as sexist just because you don’t like what they think is funny is narrow-minded and irresponsible.

    • Missing the point is just as irresponsible. You know I speak on the subject of trolls, correct?

  63. Stacy Davis

    You do know there are millions of blogs out there that cover every topic known to man, right? Do you want to know about the 12 Craziest Urinals? There’s a blog. Do you want to see pictures of extreme bridges? There’s a blog. Anorexia ads gone wrong? The coolest chairs? Extreme haircuts? Dirtiest cars? How to eat like a caveman? Support groups on impotence, surviving plastic surgery, a love for Bravo’s Houeswives franchise, Surviving a bad economy, Extreme Couponing, Pipe fitting (as in plumbing).

    You weren’t at a confernence on Best Practices in Tax Law. Blogging is a pretty broad and diverse medium that you are trying to dump into a bucket only large enough to suit your tastes.

    • So where is yours?
      I assume you were there?
      I assume that you do business with all of these people? I do.
      I would be happy to discuss this further anytime. My avatar and name are linked to all my properties here on this great Internet of ours. My email is freely published. In fact, just for your convenience here it is again:

      Feel free.

      • Can’t we all just get along?

        Seriously my biggest disappointment and obvious failure here is the inability to bring a diverse group of individuals together via the common passion we share for new media.
        I wish people could respectfully disagree and try to see each other’s point of view. /sigh.

  64. And there it is.

    • LOL.. You got that right!

      I like trolls because, quite often, they do reveal some reasonable feedback amidst all their caustic glibness and ignorance. I’ve had trouble with vague comments that seem to be attempts to spam up my web sites. This applies to positive and negative feedback alike.. Now, back to the topic at hand: this has been a great conversation!

      I’m actually compelled to go to the next Blog World East and maybe even West.. In fact, my fellows in the Triberr group “Birds of a Feather” have been discussing it. Quite a few of us would like to go, in spite of all the drama. ;o)

      • BlogWorld is a GREAT conference. They always make sure to have quality content. I would encourage you to go. :)

  65. That’s probably an appropriate topic in *lots* of business setting.

  66. Although I’m planning on e-mailing Rick & Dave privately, I think everyone commenting on this thus far has completely missed the point. (and the only one who’s come the closest to it was Sara)

    As a precursor, my general beliefs about events like this are simple: If you don’t like it, don’t go. Make your own conference then. If you’re a speaker, you don’t own BlogWorld and should absolutely no entitlement to it whatsoever. If the organizers want you to wear a puffy shirt, bring a parrot and a peg leg, then either accept that or decline the opportunity. In addition, we’re all adults so if you happen to hear a four-letter word, don’t throw a hissy fit. Just leave. Don’t come back. Go to the other 99% of the sessions that fit your narrow perspective of supposed “professionalism”.

    Now that that’s off my chest, here’s the ultimate point…

    The closing keynote wasn’t funny. It was set up as a failure from the moment it was planned. Not because of the swear words. Not because of the technical issues. Not because of the jerky rhythm of the panel. While I was sitting there, not even 5 mins into the ordeal, I actually said this to someone next to me “If you don’t do comedy… don’t do comedy!”

    Chris Brogan isn’t a comedian. Sure, he may add a bit a humor in his *business* speeches, but that is remarkably and wholly different than performing in the auspices in which the *expectation* is to be funny. Throwing a few jokes into a serious discussion about social media is awesome and gets laughs. Attempting to do “stand-up comedy” as the primary function of your talk *without* being an experienced professional is a nightmare waiting to happen.

    The fact that it can easily take an amateur stand-up comic doing it & writing regularly for 3+ years to get to the point of receiving consistent laughs shows that any schmuck who thinks he’s funny can’t get up on stage and come off with a Comedy Central special. I’ve been doing stand-up for 15 years and teach beginner’s comedy classes – and 95%+ of people I see at the open-mikes bomb without having the requisite talent and experience. So why is Chris Brogan coming out to do a monologue like Jay Leno? He’s a marketer. A damn good one. One that I respect. But he’s not a comedian.

    Chris Pirillo isn’t a comedian. Andrew Breitbart isn’t a comedian. Shauna Glenn isn’t a comedian. Why do you have people who don’t do comedy perform in an environment where it’s billed and planned as a comedic endeavor? That’s why it was no surprise that Sara Benincasa dug the train wreck out of its hole. She’s actually a comedian!!!

    Marc Maron. Eugene Mirman. Paul F. Tompkins. Bill Burr. Chris Hardwick. Michael Showalter. Pat Dixon. I can go on and on naming comedians (most of whom are based conveniently in NYC) who podcast, blog and utilize social media. Let *them* handle the comedy. Bring guys like Brogan & Pirrillo on to be the “experts” where they’re not required to handle the load of humor on their shoulders. We saw what happens when they do. It’s not funny.

    And I can’t necessarily blame anyone for that – from Rick/Dave to Chris to whomever. Everybody involved is at fault, but I know it’s because really just don’t know any better. If you want to have moments like Jersey Shore’s The Situation’s awkward and horrible 5 minute attempt roasting Donald Trump on Comedy Central, so be it. If you don’t… and want to have something that entertains a packed room full of people laughing in the aisles, get an actual comedian. We know what we’re doing.

    • Hey there mate,

      Completely agree with everything you say except this:

      “As a precursor, my general beliefs about events like this are simple: If you don’t like it, don’t go.”

      If only from the point that you don’t know what you’re going to get unless a session (or book, movie, etc) makes it crystal clear. Going by the reaction of a few folks, I’m guessing this wasn’t the case.

      And some folks only “go” because of respect for certain individuals, and that trumps the bigger picture every time. 😉

    • “If you don’t do comedy… don’t do comedy!” was some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten Jordan. Incidental humor is probably easier if you *aren’t* a comedian, because you aren’t analyzing what you said and trying to adjust it over and over so that it becomes real comedy. But your average “he’s a funny guy” is completely unaware of the work process behind solid comedy.
      I was actually quoting you out in Portland because a dear friend gave me honest feedback on my session there and said ‘Two things, one – don’t apologize, and two – don’t try to be funny. These people had 3 days of ‘clever’ and ‘witty’ slide decks before they got to your session. Straight forward information would’ve been refreshing by that point. You were funny by accident a couple of times, but those were unplanned.” I told her that jibed completely with what I knew from you and that yes, I had still fallen prey to that desire not to be the boring speaker.
      It’s a lesson that pretty much everyone engaged as speakers at an event should probably learn. But it’s also a hard lesson that some of us have to keep relearning, apparently.

      That said tho? I don’t think the only problem with this particular issue is the lack of professional comedians, so much as the question of “is comedy, particularly R-rated comedy, appropriate as a closing keynote of an event of this nature?” In that regard? The feedback above is something Rick & co. will have to take into account for next year.

    • Hi Jordan, and thanks for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment here. You’ve made some great points, some of which I agree, others of which I differ.

      I fully agree that asking non-comedians to be comedians is a dumb idea. Chris Brogan should talk about what he does best, not try to be someone he is not.

      But here is the statement of yours I don’t agree with:

      Just walk out……Go to the other 99% of the sessions that fit your narrow perspective of supposed “professionalism”.

      Here is the thing Jordan– If someone pays for a product or service and then doesn’t receive what they thought they were getting, how can we fault that person for complaining? I’m sure you’ve done the same thing with something you’ve spent money on in the past.

      The people at BW did a very poor job at helping audience members understand the context of the final show. Rick at BW has admitted this.

      To me, it would be no different if someone came to see you do a stand up comedy routine and instead of your doing your thing, you instead started talking about something completely unrelated— that wasn’t funny(politics, religion, etc). As your paying customers, would you expect them to just get up and leave or would you expect them to voice their concern to the manager? And if they did, would this mean they have a ‘narrow perspective’?

      That’s exactly what I’ve done in this case– Voiced my concern to the manager, as I feel the keynote was done at the most wrong time and setting possible.

      And if someone doesn’t like that humor, I won’t judge them to be narrow-minded. I also don’t judge Sara for being willing to give said performances. She is very good at her trade, but it ain’t for everybody– and this doesn’t mean a bunch of people are suffering from a ‘narrow perspective’.

      Hopefully you understand what I’m saying here.

      Regardless, good luck with your career and blog Jordan, and congrats at being a speaker at BW.


    • This is the type of critique I was expecting Jordan and you were the perfect one to make it. I’m looking forward to getting your email.

    • Thanks, Jordan! I hope I get to catch your set someday!

  67. Wow. Couldn’t resist comment bombing at the end there Marcus, but really I’d be hear all day if I let myself. As is I’m going to try to keep this short as possible. Disclosure: I was NOT there so this is all hearsay and conjecture on my part.

    1. It seems Sara and others did the job for which they were contracted. I hold not one of them at fault for their part of this, so no attacks personal or professional are intended. (Thanks again to Kristi for posting the description.)
    2. I caught other tweets about the Keynote the other day from those also disappointed. Being disappointed is also different from being offended; that’s a more personal thing, taste specific on which mileage will always vary.
    3. Hat tip to Sara, to Rick from BlogWorld and others for all making such good comments on their side. Also have to single out Frank D, Tisha, Diana, Lucretia, Gail, Jen, Riley just to name a few: WOW. I wanted to give a LIKE and WHAT HE SAID and ITA to many of these as I’m the kind who sits the fence a little, sees and respects both sides of arguments.

    I really want to reply to everyone but I just can’t as yes, there are a few times I’d be going off on some tangents. So me, just me in no specific order:

    It’s all about time, place, context as to whether or not I’m offended by douches, vibrators, profanity or dresses of any color. That said, keynote or open bar with open mike ‘social’ night, IMHO I do find it hypocritical to edit “DoucheBlog” but let this other stuff fly, disclaimer or not. (Not sure how anemic his title, but curious, was there some warning/rating for Gary V’s presentation?)

    This is why I rarely spend the money for events like this, there’s not enough return. Conference organizers maybe thought that mixing BUSINESS and BLOGGING with some HUMOR would keep it from being a boring event, make it more “memorable.” They got that but I don’t think in the ways they may have wanted. Keynotes are usually a let down. Others have commented and my thoughts go like this: It’s the sell of BWE to bring in recognizable names; credibility vs. popularity vs. marketability. Lumping all these names that may be “big” and recognizable in certain media, giving them their 20 minutes will not satisfy my “face time with Brogan” wants but that’d be a much more expensive buy-in now wouldn’t it?

    From reading comments, it sounds like those disappointed were there to learn about new media, blogging and The Business of Blogging. I keep circling back to mismanaged expectations, organizers wanting to end it on a big ‘FUNNY’ high note, but misjudged their audience per their invited speakers and what they ASKED them to deliver. As to the speakers not being relevant, well… agree w/ all the comments that blogging covers the gamut. It’s all relevant: politics, comedy, wine, sex, sports, food, ETC x 1,000 – provided it’s somehow is brought back to blogging and the ‘blogging business.’

    Hmm.. really trying to avoid the random. Agreeing that the central benefit of these events seems to be the smaller, more personal meetings and connections… so maybe organizers should consider that. Totally think more disclosure is needed upfront, even if it makes such an event less marketable. IDK Silly as it sounds, when you click that ORDER NOW button for you event pass, maybe there should be a secondary step to confirm that you’re above the age of consent, that some material may not be for you, so choose wisely.

    I want to say more, add some quip or clever wit but can’t as I’ve passed my time limit for a Saturday and I need step away from the WORK already. Saving the ComLuv links for later (looks like I know what I’ll be reading next week). FWIW.

    • Wow Davina, this was awesome, and I’m grateful you took a moment out of your busy day to add your thoughts.

      I think your key phrase in all of this was “mismanaged expectations”— because that’s exactly what this was, and had the cards been played right, we really wouldn’t be having this conversation.

      Looking forward to meeting soon when I fly down 😉


  68. Marcus, thank you so much for posting this.

    It’s been needing to be said by more people every single time this dumb event takes place. I’m not bashing the event in the least, alot of awesome connections and information has come out of it, but the lack of professionalism at least is what is dragging this industry down. I get it, some people have to resort to some profanity of some kind because for some unknown reason they can’t get an audience any other way, which is basically so explain the word “lazy”. I also agree with Jordan’s take on things as well, cause I can see his reasoning as to why the ending keynote bombed.

    Ironically I wrote a bit on this regarding the podcasting industry a couple years back, but it applies to social media/blogging/online video as well, if you’re up for a read:

    • Hi Taylor, and welcome sir, I really appreciate you stopping by and your added thoughts here as well.

      You mentioned ‘professionalism’ in your comment. It’s interesting to me just how much this one word seems to spark so much debate. But in my opinion, if the people at BW simply focused on education, and stopped worrying about the entertainment, we’d all be focusing on the positives versus the negatives.

      Again, thanks Taylor for making the trip on over. :-)


    • Taylor, here is an interesting alternative point of view. The language is NSFW, as it is an interview with the great Stephen Fry on the topic of swearing. You see, many of us do not “resort” to swearing because we “can’t get an audience any other way.” We choose to use it for a specific reason, or rather a few reasons: to illustrate a point, to provoke, to intrigue, to amuse, to shock, to delight.

      • I get that point, but for me I have taken a moral stance that I will not swear to illustrate a point, provoke, intrigue, amuse, shock, or delight. Don’t really want that mark on my name period, nor is that descriptive of who I am and who I want to be viewed as. :)

  69. Wow Marcus, this was a big one. I mean this one is huge…on many levels, as you and I know.

    I read many of the 198 (thus far) comments but not all, and it’s amazing how much passion is rolling through this thread. I can’t even believe it to tell you the truth. I can’t believe that the hypocrisy isn’t clear.

    Sara wasn’t in the wrong – as she stated, she was specifically booked as entertainment. I respect that. But what makes it hard for me to respect is the fact that she can do her thing, but Danny and Gini can’t do theres. Again, I understand that they had two separate functions, but I guess I’m just so surprised that they wanted “more taste” in one place, but not in the other.

    It’s situations like these where Coke gets side stepped and Pepsi is created. Dr. Pepper gets spun off and Mr. Pibb is formed. It’s events like this that create competition for Sprite and 7up; Allah Sierra Mist. When A&W couldn’t hold the Root Beer crown, Bargs came in and swooped up the lips. And who would have though Squirt would ever get a grapefruit competitor…well, here comes Sun Drop!

    What I mean by this is that this is that new events must be created. For Bloggers by Bloggers. Anyone can get sponsors…most of us are business people!!!

    Not sure if this came up in the discussion…but I think this is something that should be considered. Considering much of the reviews that I’ve read states that the conference didn’t really seem to be very Blogger related – I’m sure that thousands of people are willing to attend a show for bloggers by bloggers.

    Okay, enough here. We’ll chat more over the phone or email.


    (this was HUGE)

    • Hey there Jk,

      It’s funny (in a good way) you mentioned an event For Bloggers By Bloggers. Funny in that talks have been initiated along these lines, with a conference set up by these folks:

      You might recognize some. Stay tuned. 😉

      • Niiiiice Danny! That would be excellent! I have to start following this blog as well. I love it. You Bonsai guys do it big!

        • Hehe, cheers mate – and get your speaking tones ready :)

    • I’m supposed to be scrolling down to finally add my own comment (rather than commenting to everyone else’s interesting points in Marcus’s comments section) but I can’t bypass this without saying something.

      As someone who grew up with a Mom who created and managed events like this for a living, who has helped more than one person past their ‘first year conference’ woes, and who knows how much work goes into these events (far more than you can imagine) – you couldn’t pay me enough money to do it. Nor is it something anyone can just do and do well. Not unlike Jordan’s comment above about people trying to do comedy who aren’t comedians, putting on a conference about something without having any event planning experience just because you know the *topic* well is a surefire way to do it poorly.

      The catch-22 of conference & event planning is that if you do it well, everyone thinks “this is easy, I could do this” and if you do it poorly, everyone thinks “it must be that guy’s fault, anyone could do better, I could!” The only people who will give you any respect are the ones who have done it themselves and know what a Herculean task it is to do it well.

      There *are* already conferences that bloggers have put on about blogging. Mostly, they are niche oriented. Mom bloggers, Tech bloggers, Real Estate bloggers – they have events put on by those who have said what you just did. Ironically Chris Pirillo, a member of this keynote panel, used to organize GnomeDex every year for the past 10. He’s not doing it this year (much to our loss) because it turns out it’s too much freaking work to do well and the profit margin (if any) is pretty slim. Trust me when I say Rick & Co. at BWE are not scamming their attendees and rolling in dough. They all work unbelievably long hours for less pay than you’d imagine because they believe in BWE.

      As a matter of fact? Rick started BlogWorld *because* he wanted a good conference about blogging and didn’t find one. ( scroll down to “08 Live Blog World Expo – How Blogworld got started”)

      I should leave Marcus’s comment section alone – but the misconception that putting on a good conference is easy? Yeah, that’s got to go. It’s no more easy than pitching in an MLB game would be just because you love baseball and play on your company’s softball team.

      • I for one am glad you couldn’t skip the comments Lucretia, as I’ve enjoyed you adding your money’s worth and then some. (Very hard to leave comments alone, when they’re this good.) I’ve also done a little event planning, and it is very hard work and impossible to please everyone, all the time; don’t think anyone is saying otherwise.

        To Marcus’ earlier point about focusing on ‘just professional’ I think a lot of folks (like me) would not like an event if it was TOO stuffy, formal, too many lectures and not enough time or even ‘structure’ built in to allow for networking, connections and yes, fun. Not everyone will have the same ideas on professionalism or fun or humor; reading some of the reactions, some of this tipped to extremes. Not everyone has been to BW before, so they may not know the tone and tenor of the closing keynote. There’s balance, then pushing the envelope, then delivering something so far from what was ‘advertised’ – which circles back to the blog titles giving the audience a little warning about what they thought they were signing up to hear ala ‘doucheblogs.’ More of the disconnect you mentioned. FWIW.

      • Thanks for the great breakdown here Lucretia! Seriously, you helped give me a fresh understanding! Take care

      • Hey there Lucretia,

        No-one’s saying organizing an event is easy (trust me, as someone who’s organized huge non-profit ones with NO budget, it’s not!). Having said that, perhaps it is time for some smaller, more focused events around the country/globe, as opposed to one large one every year?

        That way people know *exactly* what they’re turning up for.

    • JK, so glad you’ve stopped in my friend and hope your vacations were awesome. Oh, and I hope the new job goes GREAT this week.

      Lucretia made a very good point about how difficult an event like this is to pull off, but I do wonder if BlogWorld’s business model will be a right fit for many people moving forward. After speaking with then (we’ve chatted since this article came out), it appears there is a big focus on the ‘New Media’ part of this, and not as much in the ‘blogging’ part that I previously imagined. This means they have a larger reach but could also mean a way more diluted product. Honestly, I’m curious to see how it goes, and I think everyone will be watching the next one very, very closely.

      Yes, we’ve got A LOT to discus on the phone my friend. I’ll be calling you soon I’m sure.

      Later bud,


      • Yes, Lucretia did make a good point. I’m a lofty thinker..sometimes overzealous! But that’s what keeps my hustle burning strong!

        This was a great discussion. The best I’ve ever seen on a blog – PERIOD. Passion is flowing big time.

  70. Indeed! Thanks for having me!

    With regards to the missed opportunities, I can see the frustration with what seemed like a gimmick or ploy. Really, you have to temper expectations with massive conferences because we all can’t share the same worldview. The blogosphere, by nature, is about diversity and pure, unadulterated communication so maybe it’s not a matter of misrepresentation but, rather, managing expectations (as I mentioned before).

    Don’t mind me: I’m playing devil’s advocate. 😉

  71. hey hey Marcus

    Who’s Lady Gaga? and why does she have more followers on Twitter than Oprah?


  72. So I guess the bottom line is: Was Blogworld #2011 NY worth it?

    Was it, @Sales Lion?

    Just want to know. I almost sold my soul be there. But live selected me as something that should survive. :)


    • Yes Paula, it was worth it, and I would do it again. :-)

  73. Marcus:

    I’ve been trying to get to my own comment since I read this on Friday in Portland. I’m home now and I think I’m at a point where I can give this the attention it deserves.

    I love that this conversation has taken place here. I’ve been a fan of your blog since I stumbled across it (I think it was a comment you made on some post of Danny’s that got me here the first time.) I love that you have managed to give this topic the forum it clearly needed. So many people have added to the conversation here!

    I flew out Wednesday afternoon to go speak at a conference I had booked prior to the announcement of BWE in New York. I think it says something about how I feel about the event in general that I was willing to detour from Miami to New York instead of going home in between. I have been a supporter of BWE since I first heard of it (shortly after the first one, sadly) and have watched it grow over the past 4 years into something amazing. So it was a no-brainer for me to head to NY for 4 days to speak when asked to be on a panel about something I’m very passionate about.

    I am so sorry I missed meeting you! I knew you’d be in Gini & Danny’s session next door while ours was going on – so would I if it had been at a different time. But we’ll have to figure it out next time.

    But that highlights what I felt about BWENY this year – every time I looked at the sessions, there was not the usual ‘one I want to see, one with friends I could support’ reaction, but instead “dang… there are 4-5 sessions going on right now that I want to be at and there’s only one of me!” Which is kind of my yardstick for a really well programmed event. Keynotes? I tend to skip. Mostly, they tend to be either motivational, or comedic, or interviewing the celeb types and it’s just not why I’m there. And I’m not saying that just about BWE, but about all of the conferences I attend. You say “keynote” and the first thing that pops to mind for me is “don’t have to pay close attention.” Granted, there are exceptions. David Armano did one at the event I went to Portland for that was highly informational so I was happy to be there not just because I know him, but because he had a lot I needed to hear.

    So the BWE closing keynote? Has been pretty much the same nature every time. I know it’s not my cup of tea, so I usually miss it in favor of connecting with someone in the hallway. I wouldn’t have been at the one discussed here even had I still been in NY. Only reason being that I know the nature of it and it didn’t seem any different than in past years.

    But there is something that is different than in past years and I think it’s germane to the discussion: I don’t expect the same sort of atmosphere in NYC that I do in Las Vegas. I knew we’d be next to BEA and that made the request for the name-change of Danny & Gini’s panel make sense. But I’m rather surprised that the same sensibility that applied to that didn’t apply to the keynotes. Yes, Gary V. is cleaning up his act somewhat, but he’s still going to drop the random F-bomb when he gets passionate – that’s who he is. Yes, Chris Brogan will too. And if you read the description of the keynote in question? The subject matter was in context with the experience.

    But the big disconnect you pointed out Marcus? That’s the issue. If the audience is such that the keynote is in context, then so was the word “doucheblogs” – if it isn’t? Then neither flies. Pretty simple equation.

    p.s. Thanks again for giving this a good platform!

    • Thank you for your comments here Lucretia.

      This was my fourth BlogWorld and I too have become familiar with the final keynote.

      Perhaps because I worked as a female executive in Japan for 20 years, I have pretty thick skin when it comes to being politically correct. I was not in the least offended by Sara or Shauna. I sensed more people were offended by Andrew (there was a woman behind me loudly booing his introduction). But I am also in the let’s be rational and tone down the hate rhetoric on reaction to political commentary as well.

      Two members of the band were standing in front of one of the video screens which I found annoying but I was happy that the wifi was working in that room.

      I would much prefer an informational closing keynote – like the one Aliza Sherman did at SheCon a few days earlier.

      It might be worth reconsidering going for humor for humor’s sake on the closing keynote. At least it should be possible to combine tech with humor – I think that there was actually some information in the closing keynote panel at The Mandalay BWE 2010 with Adam Corolla explaining some things about radio.

      Linda –

    • Lucretia, I feel like I should write you a 10 page reply here to express how grateful I am to you for all the amazing comments you’ve left here, and your keen ability to further the conversation and put it into words that people clearly understand.

      I think you and I very much agree on this topic Lucretia. The people at BW are working very hard. They care about bloggers like you and me. They’re imperfect, but such is the case with all of us. Personally, I’m more than happy to give them more of my business in the future, I just hope they listen well to some of the inspired feedback that has been on this post.

      And thanks too for the words about my blog Lucretia. That’s awfully kind of you. :-)


  74. I am still uncertain about how the keynote had a negative affect upon bloggers. Maybe I am focused on the wrong thing, but I don’t see it. In part I guess it is because I don’t feel like there is some sort of negative impression of bloggers that is holding me back or preventing me from succeeding.

    • I understand what you’re saying Jack, but let me say 2 things:

      1. Anytime someone pays a lot of money and takes time out of their life (most of the people there) to attend an educational conference, they typically expect to be educated. In this case, this keynote had zero educational value, and had a very salty approach, thus it was a negative experience. And in this keynote, there were sponsors, members of the press, etc. So what type of image does this portray? In my opinion, a bad one.

      2. Have you ever told someone Jack that you’re a ‘professional blogger’? If you haven’t, then try it sometime. Some of the looks I get are quite telling. (granted, I further explain what I do after but the initial look is always one of perplexity or even a half-cracked smile)

      • Marcus,

        I understand your first point and don’t take issue with it. I understand how it can be disappointing to feel like you didn’t get what you paid for. That makes perfect sense to me.

        And after seven years of blogging I have had many conversations about what I do but I can’t remember a time where it truly prevented me from being successful. It takes all of thirty seconds for me to tell them that through blogging I have worked with Nissan, Nintendo, Frigidaire, Intel, IBM and HP.

        I don’t let their reaction define me. I am not saying that you do either, just explaining that it has probably been five years since I felt any significant push back.

        It reminds me a bit of the arguments that go on in the parent blogosphere. I don’t care if people call me a dad blogger or a daddy blogger because I am one. But I am also an executive who has helped to generate millions of dollars in revenue, increase brand awareness, build market share etc…

        I suppose that it is also fair to say that I have no fear of a bad conference killing blogging. That might be short sighted on my part but…

      • I have to disagree Marcus. There was educational value there.

        Funny enough I get the exact same reaction when I tell people I organize tradeshows for a living. It is a multi-billion dollar industry. Blogging will be much bigger than that in the near future.

  75. That is hilarious? Someone actually made a vid of using a vibrator to make cake batter? OMG! John told me about some of the spectacular death by PowerPoints at Blog World too …!

    I didn’t attend but I had the fortune of meeting you IRL and being able to glean some blogging gems :) I feel with any event there is always the risk, or should I say tendency, to fall victim to stuffy, hierarchal, watered down, censored type of content to please the perceived idea of the audience … phew .. that was a convoluted sentence!

    The fact that you were overlooked, by the sounds of things, was possibly a blessing … now … will you help me figure out how to Vlog about cooking and baby toys? Is there really a niche there? (Hahaha)!

    • Oh Ameena, it’s so nice to hear from you and I was just bragging to my wife at how awesome of a sport you were to fly across the world with your husband and let him have his time w/ the bloggers while you watched the babe. You’re one heck of a mother and lady, and I’m just thrilled to have met….and your husband rocks too I might add!!

      I’d love to help you in any way possible, anytime!! 😉



      • Thanks Marcus! To be fair I did get my fair time at Saks Fifth Ave and Macy’s as payment :)

        So, you reckon there is a future in Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore meeting Dora to slap up a great Burrito for a Vlog on how to grow your online biz?? LOL

        Hope you had a good weekend … wish your lovely wife a Happy Mother’s Day from France (It’s French Mother’s Day)

  76. i totally agree with your opinion, so i don’t have other thing to add, but i think that to every thought can be a different opinion (as said from the friends above me) and i think there is not only “black” or “white” – so i’m happy you ask from us to write ours ideas about it… keep on the open mind!

  77. Hey Marcus,

    When you said this was record day of traffic and comments you weren’t kidding. I was just reading through the comments. As a speaker and a Blogworld media partner I obviously have plenty to say about this. I’m actually glad that you have been willing to speak out on many of the issues with Blogworld NYC. I think that one of the challenges the organizers faced is they decided to do this on such short notice and I think that was clear in terms of the content. Blogworld Vegas last year was fantastic in terms of organization and content. Needless to say i definitely felt that NYC didn’t quite have that energy.

    That being said I agree with you on the keynotes. Many people had said that the stage should have just been given to Gary V on the first day and I agree with that. I think the biggest downfall of the keynotes was ultimately relevance. I didn’t feel that the second two keynotes provided us with any takeaways as bloggers/content creators. That was a bit frustrating and considering I’m a big supporter of the guys at Blogworld an what they’re doing trying to do I couldn’t help but feel for them. I actually think Sara saved that keynote because Chris Brogan didnt’ seem to do his reputation justice. Last year at Vegas that talk show format was spectacular. Farnoosh even has an entire ebook for free on her site about just how awesome Vegas was.

    In my opinion what this all came down to was a scrambling with a short time frame to do something that has traditionally taken over 1 year to plan. I’m glad to see that Rick has been involved in the discussion here. Hopefully your post will help to create a better experience for everybody involved.

    • Srini, I’m so glad you jumped here man, especially considering you were a speaker this year, but have been to the one in Vegas and the one this year as well– which gives you a look from both ends.

      Regarding the rush job that was BWNY 2011, I wrote about this in today’s article. I understand why they did it after talking with Rick, and hopefully it will work out for them in the long run because of it– but again, time will tell.

      They do have the best of intentions, I’m just not sure those intentions match up with what so many feel the ideal blog world should be.

      Cheers my friend, and hope to have those videos to you within a couple of days.

      And hope you’re not too sore after your first day of surfing. 😉


  78. You know Marcus I’d be bothered too as it sounds like plenty of people always want to hijack a noble endeavour to peddle their form of shock and jaw, rudeness and swearing, sex and degradation. I’m no prude but it takes democracy too far. If this was a shop window for a blog world what does it say about where we are going? The gutter! If you want to display the very best about what blogging offers some people need to take a hard look inside about what their best is. Sure, I wasn’t there, but it’s not the first time that reasonable and rational has been bypassed by politics and porn in todays world. We don”t all want sensationalism. Perhaps some of us DO have a life!! Good man you are for taking a stand – I’m with you brother!!!

  79. Hey Marcus, I love the feedback from this post and hope all parties consider it. I have a few things to add:

    The situation with BlogWorld is one of VALUES vs. VALUE

    People are spending thousands of dollars to attend and want to feel confident they are getting something comparable in return. There are plenty of other tech related conferences all competing for our time and resources.

    The problem I saw was with the team’s values. Hiring someone morally bankrupt like Andrew Breitbart to represent (what I don’t know) a successful online venture may have gone over the heads of most, but I’m acutely aware of how he doctored video footage to make political canon fodder of a grandmother (Shirley Sherrod) for kicks. Which is why he was sued for defamation.

    Whether it’s him, R Kelly, Woody Allen or Roman Polanski there are many males who’ve been given a pass for their atrocious (and criminal) behavior by people who dismiss such behavior because it isn’t happening to them directly. Ethics and a strong moral code has long left the building and I am neither puritanical or judgmental or without many faults of my own. Where do we as a society draw the line?

    In my opinion that told me all I needed to know about whether attending such an event would ADD value. This is despite the stellar attendees. I do agree meeting online compatriots is key, but I also have to consider where I’m putting my money and who I’m inadvertently supporting in the process. I found Rick’s defense of those his team hired/gave the floor to for BWENY also very telling.

    The other issue was the use of women who engage in vulgar behavior. I know some of the other posters commented on why it offended them and I also read the follow-up post where you defended Sara. What a gentleman! The point is that sometimes women don’t value being a lady — hence the rough responses and other detracting scenarios she described. Yet, that’s her choice and if she decides the benefits from potty mouth behavior is worth it for her career she can hardly be thought of as a damsel in distress. After a certain point we are complicit in our denigration.

    The issue is when vulgarity is used as entertainment. Since I run an online social justice forum that discusses the differences in protected classes of women (by race and class) in this country, situations like this are cause for concern. Women and children are to be cherished and protected. If an org or an event is going to violate my core beliefs they won’t be getting any of my money because I don’t support being cursed at or denigrated. I can touch on “controvesial” and challenging discussions without debasing myself.

    Press and Profits are not bad goals to set. BlogWorld usually has these types of ribald keynotes, so this was nothing new. Perhaps it was a new low, but not an unfamiliar path.

    Putting together a conference isn’t that difficult. If a team decides to stop promoting “name” people which then necessitates huge ticket prices, they can offer value at a premium. You have to make it scalable and not try to be everything to everyone with thousands of attendees over multiple days. Shorten it, keep it lean and pick a less expensive city.

    Peopl can debate about the content (as I’ve done as well) but the perception and take-away from the audience is what remains. From all accounts it was a big FAIL, but the value in the critique may or may not be considered.

    • I was going to let this comment go Faith but after reading it a second time I just couldn’t. Comparing Andrew Breitbart to rapists and pedophiles is shameful. Shame on you.

      I assume you have never met the man. If you had you would know he is a kind decent person. Obviously you disagree with his politics. That is fine. But the kind of rhetoric you are using is exactly what poisons the political discourse.

      You also probably have no idea that I originally started BlogWorld in part to introduce all of my political blogging friends to each other and hopefully see them be nice to each other for a couple of days. You see I was a political blogger. But much like Marcus I did everything I could to keep a civil discourse on my blog and encourage discussion between disagreeing parties. Since you appear to be a political activist yourself I am sure you know the discourse here even at it’s harshest is like a tea party (pun intended) compared to the level of discourse and pure hatred in the political blogosphere.

      We have had several of the top left leaning bloggers at our event as well, including ThinkProgress, Americablog, Jane Hamsher, Markos Moulitsas and many others.

      And you know what? It worked. I saw people who treat each other horribly on a daily basis via their blogs laughing and enjoying each others company at BlogWorld. I think that is a good thing.

      But this is something I have always done in my blogging career. When I had my own political blog I interviewed several milbloggers (we have a track for them at BlogWorld now and all military personal get in the show for free). I also interviewed Iraqi bloggers. This was during the height of the Iraq war. Then I thought, why don’t I introduce them to each other. So via my blog, the Iraqi bloggers and American Soldiers interviewed each other.

      It is very easy to hate a person you don’t know. It is much harder to hate someone you do know.

      I hope you take the time to get to know people you disagree with some time. You might find your attitude softening a bit.

  80. Marcus,

    I’ve attended 3 Blogworld events, but I missed this one.

    I would have supported Gini in her forum, for sure. That’s because she rocks, and is good people.

    If I HAD been in attendance, I would have been pissed about the last event, and quite frankly, I would have felt bad for Chris.

    Knowing Chris, he probably handled the “panel” skillfully.

    Hey, everybody’s human. However, if I was running the event, and I saw people leaving etc. I would have simply walked on stage (After all, it’s my event) and taken over…including asking the ladies to leave for sure, and maybe Breitbart, too.

    SOMEONE should have stepped up..and stepped in.

    Thanks for the post, Marcus!

    The Franchise King®
    Joel Libava

    • I’m sorry Joel I have to ask, why would you have asked Andrew Breitbart to leave?
      I don’t think he said anything offensive at all. The day after his talk he broke the biggest political scandal of the year on his blog. Seems notable and relevant to the blogging industry to me.

      For the record, yes some people were walking out but no more than usual. And during Sarah’s segment the crowd was laughing louder than any other time during the talk.

      • Hi Rick!

        Great to meet you at #SOBcon.

        I’ll give you Breitbart back. You’re right; he was talking politics, and you had him there because he’s a political blogger. No prob.

        As for the couple of ladies who were spewing out lots of vulgarity etc., I just don’t feel that’s it’s a real classy way to end a program.

        I don’t care what TV programs they’ve been on; before, or after their appearances. What matters is the perception of what happended at the end of Blogworld NY. Reading the comments here suggest to me that these ladies were not the best choice for this venue. It obviously turned off a lot of people, and quite frankly, I’m really turned off by some of your responses, Rick.

        Although you seem to be less defensive about most of the things that went on during your event, it’s not enough for me; I admit when I’m wrong, and try to make-up for it, and just try to do a better job. (Sometimes it takes a few tries!)

        I’m not feeling that from you. As a matter of fact, I’m so turned off that I don’t see myself attending a Blogworld event ever again.

        for a venue like this.

        • Appreciate the response on Breitbart.

          I am sorry to hear this discussion has made you feel that way Joel. One of the things that turns me on about the blogosphere is our ability to agree to disagree; agreeably.

          My point has been and remains the blogosphere is enormous and diverse. The opinions expressed on this post are not representative of the blogosphere as a whole or even the 600 or so people who attended this particular keynote.

          If you read through the exhaustive comments you will notice people have issues a laundry list of items with the keynote, our show, we are hypocrites, Breitbart’s political views, the format of the keynote, my morality, waiting for taxis and numerous other things.

          I admit when I am wrong as well. I have admitted to some wrongs in this situation and in this thread. I absolutely accept the possibility I may be wrong now. But I also defend myself, my team, our speakers, and that enormous diversity in the blogosphere when I believe I am right. I respect your opinions Joel, I respect Marcus’ and everyone who contributed to the discussion. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with everyone or apologize for every perceived wrong.

  81. Hi Marcus,

    The comment and backchannel on this is very interesting. I didn’t attend Blog World nor have I although I am/was considering. I’m a niche blogger who writes in the HR and Recruiting focusing on social media and until SXSW a couple years ago, didn’t have any experience outside of the blogger circle other than my state and industry. I also find it interesting how closely Blog World has followed this post.

    As someone who has spent my entire professional career on the outside of things in HR, I wanted to tell you I like your honest, openness and willingness to put it out there. If more people were like you and I, we wouldn’t be very special. :)


    • Hi Jessica :-) I’m so glad you stopped in and shared your thoughts here. The whole discussion has been quite profound in many ways, and I’ve learned many things–but overall I do think it will lead to an even better blog world product for people like you and me.

      Thanks so much for your kind words. :-)


  82. The very hate group that has gone to federal court over and over to cloak the identity of their donors is now telling clueless New Hampshire voters that mysterious gay billionaires secretly bribed gay marriage into existence. They are beyond shameless.

  83. Shame for those guys.

    Very well informative post. It will be helpful for anyone who utilizes it, including myself .Keep up the good work. Looking forward to-more posts.

  84. Bradlee TheDawg

    I’ve organized , worked, and presented at dozens of conferences – mostly construction industry. Frankly, it’s rare that the “keynote” is anything more than a waste of time. Organizers think that throwing a couple of D-grade celebs or sports heroes or celebs or whatever onstage will drive attendance. Right after 911, IBS (NAHB) had Rudy Guilliani (sp)…… we waited for an hour to get scanned and our bags searched.. opening act were a couple of past-Olympic skaters, a marching band, and some other flag-waving BS. Finally – after over an hour of that pablum, Rudy came out and spoke for 15-20 minutes. He worked in “New Homes” a couple of times into his otherwise totally canned talk. It was a total waste of everyone’s time and did NOTHING to promote or advance the new home industry. And sadly, neither have any of the other keynotes I’ve ever attended over the past 30+ years. As you get more of these things under your belt you will be thankful for the very rare time that the keynote is anything better than a waste of time. Organizers will pay $50,000 for Colin Powell or Lance Armstrong (or whomever) but will not require them to do any research about the group or issues he is addressing. So they don’t. And it sucks. My advice -don’t go to the keynotes. Instead – find the little gems that are always scheduled at the same time. There will always be a really interesting but very niche conference session or two that get the worst time slot on the schedule – but may be the best thing you attend.

    • Bradlee, awesome advice man. I really do appreciate it.

      Furthermore, I hope I’m never “that guy”–the one that just yaps for 15 minutes and collects a check.

      Thanks again,


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