BlogPaws 2011 – Lessons Learned, Day 2

Wiener Dog Dachshund Hot Dog Vendor Costume by Ben Murray on Flickr.comI just finished reading Elizabeth’s humorous account of Day 1 at BlogPaws 2011 over at The Chronicles of Cardigan and I’m feeling bad for not being as funny. So I’ll borrow a joke:

Two nuns from another country are just off the boat in New York when they see a hot dog stand. The first nun says to the second, “I didn’t know people over here eat dogs.”

They walk over to the cart and say, “Two, please.”

The vendor puts both hot dogs in foil and hands them to the nuns. Excitedly, they hurry to a bench, sit down and unwrap them.

The second nun looks at hers for a moment. Then, beginning to blush, she leans over to the first and whispers, “What part did you get?”

And now for my post. A successful day of learning, some wonderful cheesecake at lunch, and meeting great new friends made the second day at BlogPaws even better for me.

Camp BowWow Keynote

Breakfast was again accompanied by an excellent keynote talk by Heidi Ganahl, “Top Dog” at pet care business, Camp BowWow. Ganahl shared her personal story of loss and reclamation while describing the evolution of her business and work of their BowWow Buddies foundation which helps shelters make pets more adoptable.

Workshop: Authentic Influence: How to Use Social Media to Expand Your Influence and Grow Your Blog or Business

Lena West of Influence Expansion is the real deal. Some speakers provide useful information. Others give a stimulating presentation. Lena did both. And she was sick with a cold. And her assistant had booked her into the wrong hotel which is why she missed her presentation yesterday. For me, this was the best workshop of the conference.

What it covered: Influence is the ability to convince people to do what you want them to do when you want them to do it (an important topic for anyone with a cause-related blog). Lena talked about how to increase yours.

The most important thing I learned: If people don’t like you, f*ck ’em (my term, not hers). Don’t waste your time trying to please complainers who aren’t going to support you no matter how you try to win them over. Use your limited resources to attract and keep the interest of people who want to orbit your planet.

What’s probably more interesting/useful to you: 5 Things You Can Do in the Next 3 Days to Increase Your Influence

  • Be helpful to someone online in real time. Her example was a twitter chat late one night.
  • Make a connection to collaborate with someone you admire but scares you.
  • Write for someone else.
  • Offer to interview someone.
  • Don’t take influence too seriously.

Hot Dog@ by Steve White on Flickr.Workshop: Grow Your Audience with Guest Blogging

For me, also a strong favorite workshop presented by Jane Harrell of Petfinder and Laura Bennett of Embrace Pet Insurance.

What it covered: Exactly what it promised–how to write guest posts for other blogs.

The most important thing I learned: I get really excited about writing articles for other blogs–and really scared. I have several ideas I just need to get working on.

What’s probably more interesting/useful to you: The internet has a voracious appetite for new (or repurposed) content. Websites that need to have fresh content every day are looking for good writers that know how to write the kind of articles they need.

Lunch Presentation: Start the Change and Okey’s Promise – Using Creativity to Inspire Passion for a Cause

At lunch we were treated to a slide show by visual artist BZTAT (AKA Vicki Boatright) and a dance performance by Miah Thornton that told the story of Okey, a rescued cat. The presentation was in support of BZTATs public art project to bring attention to the need to protect all vulnerable animals, both human and otherwise. You can learn more about the project, Okey’s Promise, and support it financially here.

Hurricane Irene – A Long Drive Home

By lunchtime, nearly half of the conference had emptied out. People who lived near the shore, areas expecting flash floods, and those from the south hurried home to do whatever they needed to prevent their home from looking like ratty underwear after two days of chewing by a Golden Retriever puppy. The hotel sent a letter to each room telling us what to do in case of a power outage (basically, sit in the dark).

Although we still had another workshop and a closing keynote speech that looked quite interesting, we decided we’re rather head north and inland to avoid the worst of the storm instead of sticking it out in the hotel.

What’s the Best Thing About BlogPaws?

The same thing that’s best about blogging–the community, the puppies, the learning, the puppies, the friendships, the puppies, and, of course, let’s not forget the puppies (and ferrets and kitties and guinea pigs).

And Don’t Forget the Swag

Come back tomorrow for my Something Swagging This Way giveaway.


Credits: Thank you to my husband Mike for rewriting the joke. The hot dog vendor photo is by Ben Murray at Flickr. And the fabulous photo of the human hot dog and his mustard dachshund is by Steve White at Flickr. And to you, faithful readers, for forgiving me for posting one photo to illustrate a bad joke and another because it was such a great visual joke.

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  1. Nice wrap-up. Sorry you were one of the many who had to leave early. One good thing about Salt Lake City for next year: Threat of natural disaster = almost zero.

  2. I love the hot dog pictures!

    I am glad you went and you know, one of the things you said you learned is a lesson for me. I do worry too much about people liking or not liking me and what I have to say. There are a handful of people who used to read the blog who don’t so much anymore, and I realize that maybe I’ve outgrown them. I hate upsetting or alienating people, and so I tend to keep my strong opinions to myself on most issues. I guess I just need a thicker skin about some things, but in most ways, I’m still writing the blog mostly for myself. I’m not writing it to make money or become famous, and it’s a good thing, since that’s highly unlikely!

    • Besides learning to appreciate the people who “get you,” we also need to be careful not to interpret facts in the worst possible way. (Something I do all the time.)

      I’m someone who’s probably coming up in your reading stats less because I’ve been reading your posts on my feed reader instead of clicking through. Others may be doing the same thing. It saves me time and I still get to enjoy the beautiful photos.

      You’ve attracted so much attention to your blog because you write beautifully, take great pictures, and don’t just entertain but educate. I think people will continue to love you even if you do something controversial.

      You’ve made me really curious about what you might want to say that you’re holding back on. :)

      • I’ve been asked quite a bit about Greyhound racing, which might not be controversial among other dog breeds, but within the Greyhound community, it’s a powder keg. I think it would leave a lot of people feeling very uncomfortable. I quit following one blog after the writer told me about how terribly abused my dogs were and spouted propaganda from a group I distrust and don’t respect, and this person has never had a Greyhound. If my dogs were as abused as this person told me they were, I can’t see them being the social butterflies that they are. Seriously, there’s nobody that Bunny is not determined to win over and elicit a pet (and perhaps a bite of food) from. It just sets my teeth on edge when people tell me things about my dogs that I know not to be true.

        Ha! Well, some days are better writing days than others! I just hope, at the end of the day, that nobody thought it sucked!

      • Just wanted to add to this conversation. Carrie – I don’t think you need to worry about what people think. You write beautifully and I always know I will learn something new, see things from a new perspective and always, always laugh. I don’t always comment because my old and useless Blackberry sucks, but I do read many of your posts, and Pamela’s and Kristine’s on the train. It’s just that by the time I get home I am in dog walking mode and often forget to go back and comment. (I miss my old life and schedule.)
        I am also surprised someone would even accuse your dogs of abuse. Seriously??? I mean Bunny has practically got you thinking she IS the Queen! :) What a joke.
        I am so sorry someone said that to you. Not worth your time for sure. I love your blog.

  3. Sounds interesting. Love the joke! I don’t know if I would be interested in attending or not, but a few of the topics you have mentioned got my attention. Thanks for sharing the run down. Too bad it was cut short.

    • I was wondering if people would hate me for including that bad joke. At least you liked it.

      If you check out the BlogPaws community ( you might be able to pick up some of the same lessons without leaving home — which, with six dogs, sounds like it would be a major undertaking! :)

  4. Pamela –
    I was so nice of you to drop by Zee & Zoey’s site to say hello! Clearly you love dogs, so taking the time to show some kitty love was very sweet of you! Your BlogPaws write up was fantastic – I love how you bullet pointed all the important aspects of each seminar. And I really LOVED that joke – OMG – so funny!!!

  5. Whoever coined the phrases “hot dog” and “wiener dog” anyway? So funny! I understand now why bully sticks are called bully sticks. :)

    It’s hard not to want to please everyone (in my case, read: not offend anyone). Sounds like you had a productive Saturday morning – makes me more sorry that I had to leave. But then again, there are awesome bloggers like you who are sharing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  6. Day 2 sounds interesting Pamela. The joke was hilarious! (I’ll be sharing that one with my mother, who went to parochial school.)
    I would have loved to have attended Lena West’s presentation. I think that would have been beneficial to me.
    I also would have wanted to have attended the one on guest blogging. To be honest, I suck at it. I’ve been asked before, but often I struggle with what to write that will be interesting and that won’t offend the blog’s readers. I’m always worried it either 1) won’t be good enough or interesting enough, or 2) will offend someone who will take it out on the blogger. The last thing I want to do is hurt someone’s business or blog. At least when I write on my own blog people know whet they’re getting. Ya know?

    Just out of curiosity, do you think “the puppies” was the best part of BlogPaws? :)

  7. I read this post yesterday, followed the link to Elizabeth’s blog, followed another link from her blog and so on and so forth and I’m finally back after traipsing around the blog world for hours!

    Another great summary of Blog Paws. One thing that has struck me from the posts I’ve been reading at various blogs is how predominant the cat bloggers were:)

    And I loved the joke:) Off to check out some more links!

  8. Oh, Pamela, you anti-nunnite you. 😉

    I welcome anyone who wants to guest-post on my blog! Criteria: has to be about the social interaction of people and dogs. Is that vague enough? :) Posts about trips to one’s own dog park especially welcome!

    I totally relate to what Carrie says of being afraid of offending people. And I have very strong opinions about a lot of things. I try to not be fake or hypocritical, so sometimes I will simply not comment. You know, if can’t say something nice… And sometimes I read a post so late, everything I might have said has already been said, so I just leave it.

  9. It’s unfortunate that Irene cut BlogPaws short for so many :( It still sounds like you got a lot out of the seminars you attended (& seeing all of the puppies!)

  10. I know a few of you went to BlogPaws, and it looks like it was a worthy event…I wonder if you meet up with anyone I know?!