Log on and learn at region’s only blogging conference
Williamsport Sun-Gazette | September 18, 2014
By ERICA MOTTER
Are you looking for a way to spice up your blog? Want to improve and expand your online presence? Or would you just like to meet other local bloggers and get to know people who share your passion?
If so, the 2014 NEPA Blog Conference might be something you want to check out.
NEPA BlogCon, a day-long conference for bloggers, tech-savvy entrepreneurs, and social networking aficionados, will be held on Saturday, October 11, at the Misericordia University Insalaco Hall for Career Development, located in the Lemmond Theater building.
Two years ago, the conference was started by three women, Mandy Boyle, Karla Porter and Michelle Davies. The three had met each other online through Twitter, and later in person through various meetups and networking events.
“Karla, Michelle, and I have been bloggers for several years now, but one thing we also have in common is a passion for new technology and new ways of communicating,” Boyle said.
At one blogging networking event they attended, the women noticed that most of the activities focused solely on connecting political bloggers to politicians.
They began talking about how nice it would be to have a more general blogging conference for bloggers in their area–and immediately got down to business to plan just that kind of conference.
“This conference was born out of the idea that we can enrich our community by bringing together people who use new media successfully so that we can learn from each other,” Boyle said.
Now in its third year, the blogging conference draws students, educators, small business owners and other web-oriented individuals, and consists of several educational sessions with some noteworthy speakers, a lunch and plenty of networking opportunities.
Attendees are encouraged to bring tablets, smartphones and laptops to access information and network while at the conference.
“I think the one thing we always walk into every NEPA BlogCon knowing is that our attendees are going to have a great experience with us,” Boyle said. “All of our feedback has been so positive, and there’s no greater joy than hearing from our attendees how our event gave them confidence or inspiration, or how it allowed for them to connect with someone, or how it benefited their business.”
The first year, the women had 100 attendees at their conference, filling up Luzerne County Community College’s computer building. They learned a lot from the first conference, and in the second year they booked a bigger space and also tried to tailor sessions to the interests of the attendees.
Each year, the conference has sold out its tickets, and it has also managed to raise over $5000 to benefit several non-profits.
This year, the ladies have lowered the cost of admission to $15, and all proceeds from ticket sales will go to benefit TecBRIDGE, an organization that plans to launch a technology and programming camp for girls in grades 4-6 in summer 2015.
“It’s going to be an awesome project that is just so in line with our mission,” Boyle said. “There is such a need for STEM education in our community, especially for girls.”
The 2014 conference will feature speakers Brian Coe, the VP of Operations for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Jim Cheney of UncoveringPA.com, Frances Croke Page of PureFoodsProject and a two-time Emmy nominee, Danielle Fleming of NOTE Fragrances, and Shane Burcaw, an inspirational blogger who has appeared on national media for his non-profit, Laughing at My Nightmare, Inc.
The women expect the conference to continue to grow in the future, and look forward to the event for years to come.
“NEPA BlogCon is more than just a conference. For us, it’s an entire movement within our community to embrace new ideas, new means of communication, and new ways of connecting,” Boyle said.
Tickets are on sale now. For more info or to register for the conference, visit nepablogcon.com.