5 reasons the Minnesota blogging community rocks



As those in Minnesota probably know, we held the second annual Minnesota Blogger Conference last Saturday at the Allina Commons in Minneapolis. More than 150 (not an official count yet) bloggers descended on the wonderful Allina campus for 7 hours of blogging, learning and networking.

It was a blast. And, by most accounts, people came away happy they took a Saturday to hang with and learn from their fellow bloggers.

Mission accomplished.

But the best part about Saturday wasn’t the event itself–it was all about the community around us.

Yes, in Minnesota we have one of the most vibrant, creative and underrated blogging communities in the country. And, I’m damn proud to be a part of that mix.

Here are five reasons I think our Minnesota blogging community kicks some serious ass:

We’re givers

Mandy Dwyer was one of our presenters. She talked about using photos in your blogs. Didn’t sit in the session, but heard great things. Mandy also volunteered her time–in something she gets paid real money to do every day–to help the MN Blogger Conference support our charity of choice for our event. So, that’s 7 hours total of Mandy’s time she basically donated to the Conference–and a good cause. And she was hardly alone. The conference committee (co-founder, Missy BerggrenBeth Gabor, Bridget Monroe, Suzi Magill and Josh Braaten–see photo above) also donated their valuable time. And lots of it. I could go on. We’re givers. And I love that.

We have superstars. Everywhere.

I have to admit–the list of speakers we had this year was pretty darn impressive. From our keynote Lee Odden to folks like Erica MayerKate Hopper, Patrick Rhone, Jen Emmert, Meghan Wilker and Julio Ojeda-Zapata. It was a diverse list of folks who have expertise in all the areas that make blogging so interesting. I mean, these folks have serious talent. Erica’s a four-time Promax award winner and a Emmy-award winning director. Kate’s writing has appeared in the New York Times. And Patrick Rhone’s Minimal Mac is one of the most well-read Tumblr Mac blogs in the country. And, Julio, well the guy has a handful of blogs he keeps up–not to mention writing a popular tech column for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. What about Jen Emmert? She’s started a thriving community around weight loss. Meghan Wilker? One of founders of the popular #summerofdresses blog. I could go on and on…

We’re not too big for our own britches

This year’s keynote Lee Odden. If you don’t know Lee, he’s a pretty successful businessman–and blogger. And, he speaks across the world. And gets paid hansomely to do it (I’m guessing). But, when we asked him to keynote the Conference, for free, he didn’t bat and eye. He was in. And, as usual, he brought the heat. His keynote was fantastic. I heard people raving afterward–especially about the rhyme 😉 My point? Lee’s one of the most well-respected and in-demand speakers on the PR/marketing circuit. He gets paid to speak professionally. Yet he donated his time–without so much as a pause. He could have snubbed us. He could have pulled the “Don’t you know I get paid to speak?” card. But he didn’t. Because he’s from Minnesota. And that’s just how we roll here 🙂

We’re uber geeky

I mean, any time you walk in a session and their are multiple figurines on the lectern, you know you’re at a blogger conference. But, that’s exactly what you saw when you entered the room for Julio Ojeda-Zapata’s mobile blogging session. Mykl Roventine’s session on WordPress plug-ins was full of language like “php files”, “themes” and “configurations.” Yet, it was completely normal. And people were asking all sorts of questions. Geek is the new chic, right?

We’re willing to share

I worked on the corporate side for half my career before going the solo route. One thing you tend to see in that environment is this “information hoarding” mentality. Nothing is worse than working in a team where people hoard information. So, when I started blogging four years ago and realized there are people that aspire and want to SHARE information and give freely, I embraced it with open arms. And, that’s a big reason I put my time into the Blogger Conference (as well as HAPPO, for that matter). And, it’s a big reason I love the local blogging scene–it’s FULL of people who give back and share religiously. Just look at the lineup: Lee’s blog routinely shares tips and best practices–he’s basically educating his competition. Mykl spent a ton of time the last few year’s helping organize our local Social Media Breakfast. And Mandy gave up essentially her entire Saturday to take pics at the event.

What about you? If you attended Saturday’s MN Blogger Conference, what impressed you the most about our local blogging community?

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21 comments on “5 reasons the Minnesota blogging community rocks

  1. MinnesotaJoY says:

    You forgot to mention that Minnesota’s youngest blogger was in attendance and was LITERALLY welcomed with open arms. I’m so glad that Harper and I came to the conference.

  2. MinnesotaJoY says:

    You forgot to mention that Minnesota’s youngest blogger was in attendance and was LITERALLY welcomed with open arms. I’m so glad that Harper and I came to the conference.

  3. lryanis says:

    Took away some great pointers for blogging but also came away with new friends. Started the morning having coffee with @RecoveringFoody and @ErinObvious. They had such great positive energy and ideas. Then took the advice of @MNheadhunter in his session about how to network and sat down for lunch with another table of folks I had never met. And that’s where I had the chance to get to know @suziMN @FranticMommy @MaryFitthisGirl @MindfulMomma @LAThisweek @BridgetMonroe. Then right before the closing speech I met @Kristin_OPC (A mom with two kids the same age as my kids) What I took away from this day is we all have a lot to offer each other. We all have so many different experiences and ideas and it’s so great to get away from behind the computer and meet people face to face. It’s amazing what seeing a warm smile can do.

  4. glimpsesofsoul says:

    I was so honored to be asked to participate in this conference and then so nervous once I saw who else was speaking! I’m thankful to everyone who made me feel at ease, to everyone who was so excited to have their headshot taken, to those were dreaded having their photo taken but were patient while I joked with them and especially for those impromptu quiet conversations on the side where I was lucky enough to meet some amazing people. And, of course, for the fun baby times with harpermoo !

  5. arikhanson says:

    @bradspy is that the phrase you kids are using now? 🙂 I need to update my lexicon…

  6. bradspy says:

    @arikhanson I was going to run with “bomb-tastic,” but I thought that was little too millennial 🙂

  7. MinnesotaJoY says:

    @MissHarperMoo loved you too. 🙂

  8. debbiemc18 says:

    I had such a great time!! Thanks for all the help, thanks for putting it together, thanks to the sponsors!!! I am new to this ‘world’……..and I am glad to have made so many connections, even if I was super quiet and kept to myself 🙂

  9. arikhanson says:

    Thanks for coming Saturday, Debbie. Did you sit in on Paul’s networking session? I didn’t sit in but Paul always has great networking tips.

  10. arikhanson says:

    @glimpsesofsoul Excited to see my head shot, as well as others, as they start popping up on Twitter. I haven’t had a new professional head shot in 3 years, so it was long overdue! Thanks again for your time, Mandy!

  11. arikhanson says:

    @lryanis@recoveringfoody@MNHeadhunter@suziMN@kristin_opc So glad you had a good day. The networking piece is always the most valuable at events like this.

  12. arikhanson says:

    @MinnesotaJoY I did forget that–how could I make such an omission! 😉

  13. debbiemc18 says:

    @arikhanson I didn’t but haven’t had much luck in overcoming my shyness even with prior networking training etc….something I need to work more at I know!!! 🙂

  14. ToysInTheDryer says:

    We think it was great that there was never a moment where we didn’t “feel connected” to each blogger there. Everyone seemed to have a “share and share alike” attitude. We learned from each other and taught what we knew. The best part of the whole conference was the networking. Don’t get us wrong, we learned a ton from the speakers, but it was great to be in a crowd full of strangers who all thought alike.

    @ToysInTheDryer (Jamie and Lindsi)

  15. Nikki_Little says:

    Sounds like it was a success, so congrats to you and the rest of your team! Hard work pays off.

  16. meghanwilker says:

    Arik! Thanks for including me in the conferencel; sorry we didn’t connect that day. Congrats to you and @marketingmama on organizing a great event. We have such an amazing community here in MSP, thanks for being such a positive force in it!

  17. meghanwilker says:

    Arik! Thanks for including me in the conference; sorry we didn’t connect that day. Congrats to you and marketingmama on organizing a great event. We have such an amazing community here in MSP, thanks for being such a positive force in it!