In a business meeting today, I went through my shpeel on who I am... "Hi, I'm Jeneane Sessum. I worked at Ketchum as the Senior Technology Writer for the last five years, was the voice behind communications at big brands like IBM, Cingular, Nokia, and AMS, and helped launch more companies that I can count during the tech boom. Over the past 20 years in marketing and technology, I've written every type of deliverable for every type of company in ever industry. Before Ketchum blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah..... I also have a passion for the place called the Internet and the people gathered there. I'm a well-known weblogger who started blogging in 2001, blah bl---"
"OOOh. Weblogs" (one voice)
"What's a weblog?" (another voice)
"It's an online diary (first voice to second voice)
"It's kind of where people write what goes on during their day. (third voice)
Me: "Well, not really. Kind of. Sort of. But not just."
"Tell us." (all voices)
"oh fuck." (my voice in my head)
Me: "It's a diary in the sense that it's regularly updated and is date and time stamped, and some bloggers treat weblogs as personal diaries, but they're much more than that. We are people who live out there, connecting with one another through our weblogs, writing not just about technology or marketing or gardening, or porn, or whatever our interests happen to be, but about our life, or loves, our kids, our hurts, our hate, our joy. We connect there. At the bottom. And we talk, not just on our blogs, but many of us talk by phone, meet other bloggers we care about, we know each other, we care about what happens to one another."
I keep going.
"And guess what: Bloggers do other things to earn a living. Get it? So most of us (well, not me) work someplace. And so, you see, I trust Michael O'Connor Clarke who happens to work at Weber Shandwick. I know him through his tremendous writing, I've bounced his ideas inside my head and back out to him over the last six months on many occasions. More than that, I trust him as my blog friend, because I was there when he germinated Blog Sprogs, and I was there when he and Sausage had Ruairi, and we were praying when Ruairi got sick. So who do you think comes to mind when someone asks me for a PR firm, or what I know about Weber? Do you think Ketchum comes to mind? My contacts there? No. Because those are fleeting relationships--one dimensional--even when I was there. These are human connections that exist outside of, and yet among, the construct of corporations. SEE? We are people who happen to live both on and off the net. Some of our lives are connecting both places now. Not up here (me pointing high), down here (me pointing low). That's where it starts."
I keep going.
"That's just one example. Now with Google buying Blogger, and with Google striking a deal with Amazon, do you know what that means?"
heads shake no.
"That means that one day when you're looking on Amazon for a book on kids and strep, or maybe even marketing writing, I think you'll find my blog (or a blogger like me) listed as a resource in some way shape or form along with the results returned for that book/cd/whatever. That's what I think."
Or I said something like that.
And my pal at the meeting says, "I know what it does. When I search up my own name on Google, Jeneane's blog is the second reference because she wrote something for me and uses my name on one of her blog pages."
Yes, there's that too.
I tell them about bottom up versus top down, explain it's not about getting product mentioned on people's blogs (though that sometimes helps, but most usually serves to spark discussion both good and bad, which is what you want ultimately, in other words, don't look for glowing reviews because this isn't mainstream media, it's real). It's about you guys starting to write, to blog, about what interests you--not just about marketing or technology or sales, but about you--you start blogging and you'll connect and you'll see the power of these connections, what it does for your head and heart first.
I tell them why blogs don't work like mainstream media and touch a little bit on sponsorship, but eyes have begun to glaze over and some are wondering why we're talking about this blogging thing at all.
I feel like I said some useful things. I also felt excited that real live adults cared to hear why I care about blogging.