Travel Bloggers and Writers, in a large room, alone, with no coffee.....Saga 4 of 5
27.06.2010 - 27.06.2010 50 °C
Bloggers Disclaimer of Truth - Day Four has really everything to do with the actual conference
Day 4 began just as had days 2 and 3....no bourbon and bad radio (thank you Scott Nolan for your song title). We had expressly asked room service for some bourbon and good radio.......although the radio was indeed a good one, complete with iPod dock. But the bourbon was missing. We needed something more, mostly because we couldn't get the flat screen off the wall and into our luggage. I kid, we didn't really try to steal the TV. Resigning ourselves to not having any bourbon, we settled for the next best thing: a shower. Well, two showers really, one each. Moistened and prepared for another day of exquisite information about places we can't afford to go and things we can't afford to do, we sat quietly and listened: the restaurant had been calling our names, much in the same manner as one might hear, off somewhere in the distance, the dim wail of of a seafarer lost to the deep and yearning to be back on dry land with his loved one who waits patiently on the widow's walk of the lighthouse. OK, it might have been the a/c, but maybe not. This was New York, and stranger things have happened. Thus armed with a calling, we made our way through the maze of tiny corridors, down the tiny staircase, past the tiny public telephone (when was the last time you saw a public telephone?), and into the restaurant, to be seated with grace and a warm greeting. Coffee, yes please, and would you be so kind as to bring us more of your delectable cooked meat products and some over easy eggs? You are too kind. You will receive a generous tip....now please hurry with the coffee.
Once again sated and pleased, a short walk to the Cantor Center found us ready to face the classroom. Timeliness was again a bit slim, but the show soon started with a wrestling death match in a barbed wire cage between Kim Mance of GoGalavanting and Gary Arndt of Everything Everywhere, both resplendent in their finest spandex Mexican Masked Wrestler outfits. Wait, was this all in my mind? Could it be, travel bloggers in death match for supremacy of the blogosphere? Yes, alas I was daydreaming, as Gary's presentation concerned Travel Porn. My mind was now racing....Travel Porn? Throw in some tequila and colorful spandex..... this was my idea of a party. Unfortunately, Travel Porn was just a tease, as Gary admitted right up front. I was dejected, but the pictures displayed on the big screen soon brought my festering mind back to reality. Wow, nice pic......you did that with an old Kodak Brownie? No, not really, but you could have. And that was part of the point: expensive cameras don't necessarily take the best pictures. The best are the ones you have taken that express the essence of what you're trying to convey to your readers. And if you must use someone else's pictures, be kind and give credit where credit is due, after you have received permission for their use of course. Even the worst picture can tell your story and capture someone's imagination.
Ready for the next session, but still saddened at the lack of pictures of wistful travelers wearing nothing but a day pack, I eagerly waited for more blogging tidbits to come my way. Ethics. Hmmm, a far cry from spandex and tequila. Rats. But the chance to hear from a real US Government spokesperson was intriguing. Always be open and honest with any freebies you may have received from the people or places you have visited. Makes sense. Does that include the Mexican Masked Wrestler outfit I got for visiting the Guadalajara Hyatt? Yes, it does, and Uncle Sam will be aware if you haven't disclosed such a fine gift. Well, maybe not completely aware, but the point was that transparency is the higher path to walk, or write, as the case may be. Your readers should know if the resort you write glowingly of actually paid for your room and board and did indeed give you a case of tequila and a box of balloon animals. Where are these resorts, and how come I don't know about them. I love balloon animals. OK, you can write negative reviews about the balloon animals (they looked more like balloon slugs) or that the tequila was barely fit for cleaning the bathroom sink, but you should nonetheless be honest with your readers and the government about how you came to write your Pulitzer Prize winning blog.
Armed with a dose of transparent facts, the next session brought back the true reason behind all blogs: money. Well, maybe not the true reason, but a good one. How do you make money with your blog through search engine optimization and monetizing strategies? I had no idea.....I thought it was all for fun, but no profit. Silly moi (more French - be envious - but yes, you can use that in your next blog). Link exchanges, key words, photo and video links, e-books, affiliate links, Google Adsense, Google Analytics, Feedburner.......remember these terms and learn about them. There be gold in them thar hills. There are quite a few bloggers who are making much more money than me just by writing good stories and taking good pictures. And here I thought making beer was the be-all-and-end-all. I don't get to travel while making beer (13 miles to work ain't traveling - though I do get to see cows). And the money, well.....I do have fringe benefits that travel bloggers don't, namely, free beer. Take that blogger people!!!!
The closing session of the Really Big Shoe, as Ed Sullivan would have said, was about podcasting. Now at first I pictured this as being about fishing for alien pod people on a frozen lake in Northern Minnesota. Ha, was I wrong. It actually involves taking videos of where you have been and posting them. Who knew? The video needn't be of the most professional grade, nor even shot while standing upright and drinking tequila while dressed in your finest Mexican Masked Wrestler finery, but it should still convey something informative to your subscribers. Craig Martin of Indie Travel Podcast and Chris Christiansen of This Week in Travel/Amateur Traveler did a terrific job of explaining how a good podcast can not only bring you a sumptuous meal of alien beef ribs, but also do wonders for your blog's bottom line. People love a good story, and love video just as much, as long as you don't show them the actual butchering of the alien for the ribs. Again, I kid.....no one talked about butchering aliens or how to prepare a sinfully delicious BBQ sauce. Honest.
And thus we were filled with a sense of wonder and potential money-making ideas. Everyone clapped, and there was cheer. The conference was a resounding success, unless you lost your smart phone at one of the after parties. Ha, I kid. We didn't lose one, so we considered all to be well in the world. Ease up on the tequila shooters Kim!!! Great party you put on though. Now if only we could have had the Gay Pride marchers revel through the Cantor Center......
And on that note, it was Gay Pride Week in the City That Never Schlurps. Following the Big Show, we hiked back toward our home-away-from-home, Washington Square Park. The big parade had wrapped up, and many of the revelers were now occupied in, well, reveling. The most unique and colorful costumes were on display, not the least of which were tighty-whities and suspenders with attached fairy wings. Pride knew no bounds at this gathering. It was even more entertaining than watching people at an airport waiting area. You have to love the complete lack of inhibitions. People were having a smashingly good time in the heat and humidity. I can only imagine the massive amounts of sex that took place that evening, or even that day in the odd back alley.
A nice bottle of rum, that would be the ticket. We managed to find the only liquor store open amidst the throngs of openly happy humanity and purchased a small bottle to tide us over for the evening. Even the armed guard at the door seemed happy. Joy was everywhere.
Back in the confines of our hotel abode, we reveled a bit to ourselves (please, keep your sinful thoughts to yourselves.....we just drank and watched the Discovery Channel). We talked at length about that we had learned.....that tighty-whities don't necessarily need suspenders to keep them up, that one can make money from blogging, that a good story will captivate readers. And we drifted off to sleep, filled with the dreams of children amazed by the world around them.
And so came to a close Day 4 of the saga.
More Blogger's Disclaimer of Truth: All photos courtesy on the author and the author's better half