Building Community in a Blogger-Eat-Blogger World: SXSWi panel is today


Today at 3:30 pm I’ll be speaking on a panel at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) called “Building Community in a Blogger-Eat-Blogger World.” The official description dubs us all food bloggers (what gives?), but don’t be fooled! I’m there to represent us under-represented garden bloggers.


Mando, me, Addie, and Tolly

Addie Broyles of Relish Austin organized and heads up the panel. Along with Mando Rayo (Taco Journalism) and Tolly Moseley (Austin Eavesdropper), we’ll discuss community, competition, readership, growing local and national meet-ups, plus whatever else the audience asks about. If you’re at SXSWi this year I hope you’ll attend.

All material © 2006-2011 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

7 Responses

  1. Carol says:

    Good luck, Pam, we know you will represent us well and have a great story to tell!

    Thanks, Carol! —Pam

  2. Laura says:

    Hi Pam,

    I am happy for you that you are on this panel, but one of the topics gives me real pause. I, too, have been blogging since 2006, and I have never once blogged to compete with anyone. I ask the following not to stir up controversy, but just because I don’t get it: Why did we ever need to compete to begin with? Who decided blogging had to be competitive? I enjoy writing SO MUCH, and I never blog to compete. My thoughts are my own. I am also not blogging to gather tons of readers. It’s not that others shouldn’t compete, but rather, some of us–me–just don’t want to. My feeling is blogging is a form of self-expression not a UIL competition. If an old lady runs a marathon and doesn’t win, it doesn’t make her any less accomplished. Thanks, Laura

    Thanks for your thoughts, Laura. It would be boring if we four panelists didn’t have differences of opinion, so it’ll be interesting to see how things shake out on that topic. Personally, I find there’s much more cooperating than competing going on, but there is an element of competitiveness in blogland that can’t be denied. It appears in blogging awards, photography contests, rankings, etc. Those may be superimposed on most of the blogging community, but some actively seek those accolades. I think that’s OK. A big heaping of cooperation with a dash of competitiveness keeps things lively and encourages both those who are in it for personal satisfaction and those who thrive on outside approval. —Pam

  3. Good luck Pam! wish I could go. In response to the competition comment, I have to add that while participating in and enjoying the different competitive elements, one of the tangible values beyond ‘king of the mountain’ is good publicity and exposure. Pam is an amazing landscape designer, and she is not just blogging about her thoughts or a hobby. She’s able to very tastefully show off her skills and talent and possibly drum up new clients. But you never get the feeling that she IS marketing herself, and I love that! It works even better. I know if i had the money to hire out my design problems, Pam would be the first choice simply based on Digging.

    Wow, Suzie, I’m blushing! Thanks for the very kind words. I’m glad that I don’t come across as self-promotional about my design business. Mostly I’m blogging about my personal gardening experiences, just like many other garden bloggers. But my blog has been a great marketing tool just by being out there. —Pam

  4. David C says:

    Once something turns into a competition, I usually back out. I have little use for competitions, beyond pushing my own physical abilities, or some other thing where it is truly a contest – like a motivation between friends to do better. I am shocked at our culture’s obsession with most everything becoming a contest – Food Network, etc. My blog was started to put down my thoughts on some related topics, partly since I had no time to update my website or write, plus to avoid venting elsewhere – that has helped *some*!

    I too am glad there is more collaboration than competition in us plant or design nerds on blogs! You’ll do great on that panel, given your demeanor, and your non-competitive confidence will put us garden bloggers in a good light.

    Thanks, David. I think it went well. We had about 55 people in the audience, and they asked some good questions, and I got some new perspectives from the other panelists. All in all, a great experience. —Pam

  5. I can’t wait to hear your wrap-up on this subject! What a great representative you are of garden blogging as a whole. Hope you had an amazing time!

    Being on a panel was a fun experience, Loree, much less stressful than being a single speaker. It was interesting for me to hear about the offline communities being built by other Austin bloggers in other niches. We had some give-and-take, although our arrangement—sitting in a straight line behind a long table—did make a conversational approach a bit difficult. Luckily, we also had some interesting questions from the audience, and then the one-hour session was over before we knew it. —Pam

  6. katzien says:

    If this panel discussion becomes available as a download or podcast, please let us know. I’d love to see/hear it! How great for you!

    I will indeed mention it at Digging if a podcast becomes available. I haven’t heard anything official in that regard, however. —Pam

  7. Fran Sorin says:

    Hi Pam,

    I can only speak about the origins and intents of Gardening Gone Wild’s Picture This. When Nan Ondra and I were having one of our brainstorming sessions for the blog….which we did 2 or 3 times a year, the conversation turned to photography…one thing led to another and Picture This was born. The intent was to create community, help amateur garden photographers hone their skills and take note of those who do not make their living as professionals. I don’t know how the award idea happened but it did; ….Our first year, David Salman of High Country Gardens gave away plants as the reward for the Gold Medal winner. When we polled participants before we started the second year, they said that an actual rewards was inconsequential….that the opportunity to be involved in Picture This and to receive directions, suggestions, thoughts and feedback from professional landscape photographers was the main reason, along with seeing their gardening friends’ photos, that they threw their hat into the ring.

    When Picture This takes a month’s hiatus, I get notes from fellow bloggers asking when it will be returning. If there is competition for receiving a badge, I’m not aware of it. And if it does happen, all I can say is any of it is about the people who compete….not Gardening Gone Wild. I feel that we offer a worthwhile, challenging and fun vehicle to the garden blogging world.

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