BlogHer DC '08: Reach out and teach someone!

Notice something different about my page? One thing is tangible -- I had to take down the BlogHer DC '08 conference widget. The other is intangible -- I now will write with greater purpose and excitement because I know a terrific blogger community is out there with open arms, ready to bring me in the blogging version of the red tent. And all of this because of today's event, BlogHer '08 Reach Out Tour, DC edition.

Three break-out sessions, 13 speakers, 25 new Twitter followers (hi everyone!), and 3000 calories later (damn you chocolate-covered apple sticks), I'm ready to share some of the highlights from the crash course in women-powered blogging that was my day:

* Who's reading blogs? Gen Y 85%; Gen X 66%; Boomers 41%.

* “Regardless of age, once engaged, blogging is a daily part of life.” This is code for ADDICTIVE AS CRACK.

* Blogging gives us the power to be heard ... to build our own playing field ... to participate ... to change our world.

* Note the evolution of community: We don't trust the institutions in our lives: gov't, media, big biz, health care, etc. But we still trust each other. It's about me and us, not about you.

* Your blog might start out professional, but it's always personal. It has to come from you to work. (Thanks Debbie Weil!)

* Keep going, even if there are pauses. You are building a deep digital trail. (Debbie again!)

* Have you thought about your blog legacy today? If you can develop a niche topic, you're much more likely to create following and maintain focus. Identify your goals. Pick an appropriate name. Do not divulge things that could hurt other people (that's Laurie White's policy). And remember, everything you write is findable and searchable. It is permanent, linkable content. So be mindful of what you're creating.

* Be careful on Twitter. Have distinct thoughts that don't need context. You don't want anything misinterpreted. (Thanks Jory Des Jardins!)

* Don't get really caught up in the metrics. Traffic is influenced by traffic and longevity.

* Jory's #1 tip to building traffic: be a good blog citizen, spread blog love, and move traffic away to bring it back to you.

* Feeling like a whisper in a screaming match? Remember that you're NOT competing with millions of blogs, because only 75,000 or so are updated often enough to be called active.

* Don't judge your blog's success on what is successful for others.

And that's just a drop in the bucket. You can check out lots of other comments and notes from all sessions at the BlogHer liveblogs and the Twitter hashtag #blogherdc. I'll be trying to build on many of the tips and techniques over the coming months, so stay tuned for my trial and error and lessons learned.

FYI: If the blog disappears, it means I accidentally deleted it. If it one day shows up with a new design, it means I didn't blow up the code (per Liz Henry's empowering instructions from today). Pray for the latter. Thanks! ;)