I've been trying to get this post up for a while, but real life seems to get in the way. How would I describe Izeafest? Awesome comes to mind. The best one yet does too (and I've been to every single one of these). It was one of the best conferences I've ever attended. Nothing irritates me more when I know more than the speakers on panels (which is one of my beefs about BlogHer). I pay a lot of money to go to conferences, and I want to learn — not just be told what I already know (or be given bad information). *off soap box*
Izeafest started off with a trip to Busch Gardens for Howl-O-Scream. Interesting is the best word I can use for it. We got to go through some haunted houses and ride some awesome roller coasters. I even got to do my souvenir shopping (which is so much better than airport shopping). We got back pretty late and went to bed.
Day one of Izeafest started off with me handing out Crocs and T-shirts and helping out the Izea crew. I missed the beginning of Ted's keynote speech, but what I caught was good. It was about personal branding, and how you need to carefully pick your image. Next, there was 5 minutes of fame with Murray Newlands. This was about how he has gotten where he is. I'll be honest — I could listen to him talk all day long (I'm a sucker for an accent. Also, on a sidenote, I got to hang out with Murray quite a bit and he's one of the nicest people I've met). Brian Clark was our next speaker. His talk was about how design and content really do matter. Next, we had lunch. I have to admit that this was some of the best conference food too. Granted you don't pick a conference based on what they serve for food, but the food was yummy. The afternoon started with Sarah Austin and Julia Roy for a session called Screen Gems. If you watched Twitter during this session, it was brutal. I basically got out of this session that you need to be 23, have perky boobs, and be cute if you want to do video. It was so bad that I actually walked out early and got a cookie. The sad thing is that I've heard how smart these two women are, and they just did a terrible job (Though I think Julia did see the twitter stream, because she started to try and answer things towards the end). I actually dubbed this session “2 (aff) girls and a video” and sadly everyone knew which session I was referring to. Next, another 5 minutes of fame with Xshot which is a product I love. The next session was on SEO and I loved it. Michael Gray and Rae Hoffman were the speakers, and they took sites from the audience to dissect. I was a chicken. There was no way I was submitting my site. Rae gave us ladies a good show of how a woman can give a great presentation. My only complaint is that they did a ton of business sites and no personal blogs. As a mom blogger, am I even shooting for SEO? Sarah Evans was next with Twitter and businesses, and why they need to be on Twitter. We closed out the first day with Lucretia Pruitt, David Binkowski, Chris Heuer, Wendy Piersall, and Warren Whitlock. This, by far, was one of the best panels I've ever seen. I could have listened to them all day. They really brought everything down to where most bloggers are right now and gave us some concrete ways to get better.
After the first day, we were able to all meet up at the IceBar and hang. It was very cool. Pun intended. LOL
Some karaoke took place too (no, I didn't do it). This is Ted Murphy and Jeremy Wright singing the Backstreet Boys. The sad thing is that they knew most of the words without watching the screen:
We closed out the night in my friend Heather's room with a little afterparty: