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  • Keyaira Boone

Adventures in Kekeland: D.C.'s Blogger Week

You wanna know what’s scarier than being stranded at Secaucus station at 4 in the morning? Nothing! But I braved the barren concourses and bizarre construction site to catch a Megabus to D.C.’s blogger week this Saturday.

The annual event, is a “multicultural festival of bloggers, journalists, and social media mavens hosted by Black Bloggers Connect.” I was unable to be there for the entire week since I was dealing with my day job but I made my way to the DMV to catch the closing conference at Trinity Washington University.

It was great to have an opportunity to connect with creatives I wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise. It was also great to talk about my experience as a blogger with people who were considering coming into the space.

The speakers each presented workshops on topics relevant to the rapidly changing landscape bloggers are facing. Everything from seeking legal advice to limiting personal liability to partnering with an ad service was discussed including maintaining standards of personal integrity.

I found Sherron Washington’s presentation on marketing simple particularly useful. I can be resistant to adopting new forms of social media (it took me forever to embrace Snapchat) and it was nice to be reminded that authenticity trumps frequency.

As a blogger with a smaller following my monetary compensation comes from people hiring me for my writing skills but social media does help me keep in contact with those seeking those skills so the more I know about how to make the most of it the better. When asked by someone in the workshop about fears of becoming a “spam blogger” Washington replied “If you don’t have a presence you’re not present.

In my experience it’s not about how many followers you have but how connected to them you are so I worry less about being annoying and more about being myself since consistency’s a heck of a lot easier when you’re not making stuff up.

M’Shai S. Dash gave practical advice on how to create memes and veems. I think this is a must for any entrepreneur. Moonshine Modern Supper Club slays me every Sunday with their brunch themed content. It’s a great cost-effective way to remind people of what you have to offer.

To keep my social media looking clean and pretty I snapped some of the fashionable ladies in attendance.

I was happy to run into the woman behind some of the great content created for presenting sponsor Eden BodyWorks' social media on the university's impressive staircase. We struck up a conversation and before long we were belly laughing about secrets that I’ll never tell. It was only twenty minutes later that I thought to ask who she was.

She even shared some of her winnings with me after she dominated a challenge in our workshop!

Traci Otey Blunt talked about the importance of synergy between content creators and distribution services like the Urban Movie Channel. As president of the organization her job is to work hard to execute founder Bob Johnson’s vision and after years of working for some of the biggest names in the business she’s clearly well suited for the job. People flocked to her the moment she left the stage.

Patrice Tartt described some of her “lightly aggressive” methods for getting into national publications despite not having built a personal online platform first. She advised those interested in writing for large digital platforms to research the person they’re pitching to saying “don’t pitch an editor about turtles and they talk about doves.”

Vendors at the conference included authors and nonprofits including Truth Initiative, who gave a compelling presentation about cigarette companies marketing in black communities, and first time author Joi-Marie Mckenzie.

I was so thrilled to meet Mckenzie!

When her book “The Engagement Game” was released she was ALL over every nearly every media outlet follow so I was very familiar with the book. After hearing her in depth conversation on the Bri Books podcast I felt like I was familiar with her as well. I was happy to support her sharing her story by adding another signed copy to my collection.

Thanks to her I also got introduced to the Boonie Breakdown. Its host is hilarious so of course now I'm wondering if we're long lost cousins (Boone, Boone? Get it? No? Ok.)

While I would have loved a long soak in a suite at the Loews Madison sometimes there’s just no place like home so I hightailed it to Union Station the second the conference was over.

I was in such rush to make sure I caught it that I skipped out on the solo dining experience and decided to try Uno’s. I was totally going to take an artfully angled picture of my buffalo mac’ n cheese before I ate it because didn’t have that kind of discipline #sorrynotsorry.

I wasn’t too thrilled with that morning’s Megabus experience (seriously would it kill them to invest in a clear sign at Secaucus?) so I chose Bolt Bus to accommodate my change of plans. I made it home before midnight and even made a new friend so I’d say my trip was a success!

#YoungProfessionals #networking #conference #UrbanMovieChannel #BlackBloggersConnect #EdenBodyWorks #socialmedia #blackauthors #JoiMarieMckenzie #podcast

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