Blogging is not dead! We swear! In fact, you’re sort of reading one right now. Hey, welcome to this blog!
In the mid-to-late aughts (say, 2004-2009), blogging became a premier form of communication for online writers, from people keeping personal journals to journalists to major news sites and they varied greatly in content and form.
While some bloggers have slowed down or quit entirely, leaving an ecosystem of neglected online homesteads, there’s a core group of bloggers who continue to forge ahead or start new ones. That has kept an annual Austin workshop event, BlogathonATX going through eight iterations since 2010.
The last BlogathonATX was in October of 2015. The next one happens Saturday, and while registration is closed for the event, those curious can follow along through the website and social media accounts of the event (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, the hashtag #BATX17) and those of people attending.
Ilene Haddad, who founded the event, says it’s been a challenge to find a good weekend to hold the event and to keep it going. “It's hard to stand out in a city like Austin. Pick any weekend on the calendar, and you'll find at least half a dozen events competing for your attention,” she said. “The challenge is to create something unique and relevant year after year. It helps that our audience is so active online. When we need fresh ideas, all we have to do is listen.”
Haddad -- who has a funny comic strip series at Casaweenie.com -- is joined in organizing the event by executive committee chair Amanda Quraishi and operations manager Kay Marley-Dilworth of ATX Food News, whose connections in the food world keep attendees awash in snacks and drinks.
Quraishi said that the state of blogging today is that while the activity is less popular than it was in the heyday of blogging when BlogathonATX started, “I also think the quality of blogs has gone up because of that. Also, while the number of unique stand-alone blogs has gone down, blogging has become ubiquitous for businesses and organizations as an important communications tool.”
Blogging, Quraishi says, has always been of a piece with emerging social media. “We've watched the scene evolve over the past decade, and certainly some people have migrated to different platforms for getting their name/message out. But the online community in Austin itself is as robust as ever, and BlogathonATX sells out every time we do it.”
The event includes roundtable discussions, workshops, hands-on assistance for people who want to start new blogs, a crafting corner, tech support, a Bloggers’ spa featuring Austin Massage Co., food and prizes.
There are sessions on Snapchat, building community on Twitter, influencer marketing, writing career advice and a session on blogging for brands. Art Markman, one half of the popular radio show/podcast “Two Guys on Your Head” will be featured in an interview with former American-Statesman health writer turned entrepreneur Mary Ann Roser.
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