Perspective on Attending Blog Paws

P3JCP_Feb2013aWhere to begin?

From the moment I entered the lobby of the Sheraton
Premiere, on Thursday morning, to the time I finally left to catch my flight home on Sunday afternoon, I had one of the best times of my life.

As a newbie to Blog Paws conferences I admit to being a little nervous but, standing there in the lobby my nervousness soon disappeared as I heard my name called, turned around, & saw Caren Gittleman (Cat Chat); arms open wide, a smile on her face, charging forward to embrace me in a welcoming hug.

Soon I was walking the halls, attending my first speaker
session in the afternoon, and the welcome speech and get together in the
evening, like I’d been coming to the conference since forever.

Blog Paws 8I started my first day with a wonderful, informative, 2 hour
visit with my friend  the Creative Idea Gal, Amanda Socci
(Her adorable little daughter wasn’t exactly sure about me,
though).

The people who attended this conference are bloggers, freelancers, published authors, writers all! They are rescue volunteers, shelter workers, veterinarians, blog readers, major names in our niche of social media, pet related retailers and food manufacturers, and more.

They are male and female, representing all age groups, social/economic status, races and many nations.

Unlike a comic book, or Star Trek convention people were not
the only ones playing dress up; from cats and kittens, chicks, dogs and
ferrets, to cute, but humongous wabbits, many animals were strutting their
stuff, dressed up and not.

Sidebar Badge1 During the day I would wear either my shirt with Nikita and Elvira on the front, or the one with the blog header design, as a way to make it easy for people to find me and learn about the Opinionated Pussycat..

For anyone who writes online as a pet blogger this event is the best hands on introduction to how social media involvement is important.

You will get an ego boost in the most amusing way; imagine a 53-year-old, balding, dude finding himself being approached by a pair of women old enough to be his mother, all smiles as they breathlessly tell him they
are big fans of his blog!

Blog Paws 15

You will get an education on many subjects, at as many as 9 presentations that will help you be better at what you do. You will make new friends, meet old ones only known via online interaction, and connect with various industry types in many ways. Inspiration to be the best will come from attending the awards dinner recognizing some of the best in the world of pet blogging.

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You will take a ton of photos and pass out 100 of your blog cards, collecting just as many from others; buy a few things, including books you will get autographed, and maybe get pep talks about your writing efforts from the most unexpected people. You will gain 3 lbs. eating fabulous free breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and leave your room key in your room at least twice….but, um, let’s not get too much into all of that, hee, hee!

The Blogs of Kiril Kundurazieff:

1. Mad Macedonian

2. The Opinionated Pussycat

3. SMFCB: A 365 Day Project

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Day 72 : Blog Paws Conference Preview

P3JCP_Feb2013

BlogPaws was founded in 2009 by three pet lovers and bloggers – Caroline Golon of Romeothecat.com and Yvonne DiVita and Tom Collins of Scratchings and Sniffings and Windsor Media Enterprises.

The conferences are a great way for pet bloggers to connect with other pet bloggers  They gather to share expertise, tell stories and support one another. The sessions offer educational training and insight from industry experts in all sorts of topics such as SEO, Branding, Publishing, Video, Email Marketing, Photography, Writing, Blog Platforms, and a lot more.

This year I finally get to attend!

There are just a few days before the BlogPaws 2013 Pet Blogging and Social Media Conference and I want to share with you what’s on my agenda for those 3 days and a few other thoughts from discussions, today,  with fellow members of the Blog Paws Community Conference Newbies Group.

On day one there will be a Be the Change presentation on animal rescue at Sandy Hook and a Bloggers vs Vets discussion on how the 2 sides can work together and network.

There will be an evening welcome reception as well.

On day 2 the opening keynote speech is by Steve Dale then I plan to attend these presentations:

1. Facebook: Building fans to your page.

2. WordPress for beginners and converts.

3. Purina will be hosting a pair of presentations and I chose to attend the 2nd one:

A. The Link Between Diet and Domestication: 10,000 Years of Dietary Influences on the Canine Genome presented by Arleigh Reynolds.

B. Pet Welfare in America presented by Brenda Bax and David Meyer (of Adopt A Pet).

4. Using social media to be an effective advocate,

KIRIL-21 On day 3 the opening keynote speech is by Clara Shih, author The Facebook Era.

The presentations I want to attend are:

1. Foundations of reporting for pet bloggers.

2. How to write and print on demand your book in 90 days.

3. Taking Twitter beyond a Tweet.

4.  Standing out in the popular niche of pet blogging.

The evening will be centered on events connected with the BlogPaws 2013 Nose-to-Nose Pet Blogging and Social Media Awards and the “Pawty” afterwards.

Sidebar Badge1

There will be an exhibition hall, and plenty of free swag,

I am looking forward to meeting many of my fellow pet blogging friends and also meeting my friend, the creative idea gal, Amanda Socci.

It was announced today that BlogPaws Sold Out and there would be Livestreaming (Details about the livestreaming included).

I went onto the Blog Paws Community website for the first time since before my eye surgeries to catch-up and hopefully learn a few things to help this newbie survive the experience.

The hotel will have free internet for conference attendees, and many attendees will be bringing their laptops and even using them to take notes during presentations.

Me? I’ll bring my laptop, but will be using good old fashioned notepads and pen for note taking.

While the evening events will require business casual, or fancier, attire, many people will be wearing casual during the day, including t-shirts with their pets on them.

I will be bringing mine and will see about wearing it. It would definitely help people familiar with Nikita and Elvira to pick me out of the crowd.

I will be bringing all my Opinionated Pussycat business cards (around 200) and expect to be exchanging cards with many people.

I expect to learn a lot, make some useful connections and who knows what else. Most important I expect to have fun, loosen up, and relax among friends, people who understand me and my love of this particular niche of the blogosphere.

The Blogs of Kiril Kundurazieff:

1. Mad Macedonian

2. The Opinionated Pussycat

3. SMFCB: A 365 Day Project

Day 43: Photography and the Blogger: How Did You Begin and Why?

Do you use photos on your blog? Have you ever sat down to reflect on when and why this part of your creativity became a part of what you do?

I began seriously taking photographs as a teen, in the 70’s and many of those photos were of family pets. Little did I know that I would still be doing so decades later as part of a blossoming writing career.

Photo_Writer2

In the 80’s and early 90’s my photos tended toward cataloguing trips to visit relatives in Arizona and Colorado. My love of history, reading and even my interest in writing, pretty much dormant in the 90’s, led me to visit Tombstone, tour the town and its historic graveyard, and pose outside the 100+ year old town newspaper. Little did I know that I would become an online journalist writing major exposes on my blogs.

Photo_Writer3

In 1998 I got my first computer and began contributing to an online community. I continued taking photos of places I went on my bike (since the mid-90’s) and my first plane rides, to weekend encounters with groups of online friends, in Phoenix and Chicago, in 2000 and 2001.   A trip with my sister to Las Vegas allowed me to pay tribute to the early creative writing influence of my teens, Star Trek.

I took photos of my original online creative muse, Nikita, and the first kitten he tried to mentor, Maximus. Little did I know that, the next year, I would take up blogging.

Photo_Writer4

When I moved to Orange County I met the gregarious, bearded, hardcore socialist who drew out my talent for poetry.

It was only natural that I began to, almost from the start of my first personal blog and my bike blog, a decade ago, share photos, and take a notebook with me to record my thoughts on adventures to such places as the Getty Museum and the Reagan Library.

Next up:

The process of taking photos to go with blog posts: Which comes first, the writing or the photos?

Day 35: Pet Themed Interests for Stumblers

There you are, a pet blogger looking to see what “Interests” might apply to you.

If your animal companion is a bird, a cat, a dog, an exotic pet of some type, or a fish, there are “interest” categories for you, then
there are ones called “animals”, “pets”, and “zoology”, that seem a catch-all for everything else.

As a writer there are books, poetry, satire, weblogs, and writing “interests” as well and you might come across pet themed sites through “stumbling” those interest. Yes, some of these are pretty broad in their subject, but I don’t think giving an “interest” to every little aspect of each of these subjects makes much sense; the list would be long for each.

As for organizing your pet related stumbles into what are called “Lists” that is simple enough to do and focuses readers attention on
specific themes and interests you might have. For instance, I have a List I call “Cat Blogging” so when I stumble a cat related website that is a blog I can include it in that list.

I will also make several lists directly related to the content categories of my cat blog so I can better share some of my best, most interesting, work on StumbleUpon.

With a little time and effort My SU page will be of good use to me, and to anyone who checks it out, as well.

Day 26: Be Your Own Cheerleader

LagBeach_Dec2011b

I am exhausted. It has been a very long day and tomorrow will be longer.

I went on a 22 mile bike ride, my first long ride in Houston since I moved here, in Sept.

It will lead me to write the first of a series of piecse on one of my other blogs, related to cycling in the city. I wanted to have more material about my new home on my blogs as I reach out to local media to see about being a Stringer or Freelance Writer. Doesn’t hurt to ask, and see what I can learn.

I began the week by making a major change on my cat blog as part of branding and building a platform and end it in a biker bar, this evening, buying something that fits so perfectly with the new look that I had to have been meant to make this journey today.

In a comment, today, on yesterday’s post, my friend Amanda Socci reminded me that I sometimes am too hard on myself: “I think you are doing a great job learning what to do and what not to do in social media, Kiril. Try to give yourself a little more credit for everything you’ve managed to accomplish.”

I want to share a poem I wrote, last June, where I did just that, for maybe the first time in a while:

BEING MY OWN CHEERLEADER

I believe in myself,
I have accomplished a lot, personally, and creatively,
As I’ve developed my writing talent for 14 years.
Leading me to do things
I once would never have considered.

God gave me talents
That He meant for no other,
I must find the strength, & determination, to utilize
My gifts or the world loses
Much the Great Creator meant for its enrichment.

My talent is an asset
Which should not be squandered in
A meaningless way.
Through my writing I have opportunity
To make a lasting impact on the world around me, and beyond.

I will let no one tell me
That I lack any merit,
For they cannot judge
What great contributions I
Present to humanity.

I will continue to
Be my own Cheerleader,
Letting my heart engage
Totally in all of life,
With as much creativity as I can muster.

Back then the new things I’ve recently done, in the social media realm, were the furthest things from my mind; Guest blogging, submitting a speaker proposal to a conference (not accepted), creating my own Facebook writer’s page, collaborating on a Facebook Group, making plans to attend a social media conference for pet bloggers, joining a pet blogger community, learning about chapbooks and eBooks, attending online presentations, changing the appearance and name of, my cat blog, and getting a new business card made in the bargain.

Look at all that. If I can find this much that I “managed to accomplish” in social media related ways, in less than a year, how about yourself?

If you don’t think your efforts make a difference, or are touching someone, someplace, consider this…

Sparkle_Nikita_1

Meow Mingle Meeting of the Feline Bloggers Humans Purrfectly Delightful!

http://www.opinionatedpussycat.com/2011/07/meow-mingle-meeting-of-the-feline-bloggers-humans-purrfectly-delightful.html

A while back I read and reviewed a pair of books by a cat blogging friend and in 2011 we met at a “Meow Mingle” at a popular LA pet store. Janiss Garza and her cat, Sparkle the Designer Cat, are well known and extremely popular bloggers and I discovered further proof of that this evening.

I was on a bus, on the way home from my bike ride, when I found myself chatting with the lady driving the bus. She not only was familiar with cat blogs, but asked me if I had heard of Sparkle. When I told her she was a friend and we had once met, it made her day. She was very interested in my own blog, and I gave her a card, inviting her to pay it a visit. I also invited her to email me and I’d send her the link to my story about meeting Sparkle’s human.

Take pride in what you have done and do your best to expand your knowledge, experiences, and accomplishments.

Day 20: Change is in the Wind – Starting with a Blog Paws Follow-up

A few days ago I announced I was attending the Blog Paws Social Media Conference, in May.

http://tinyurl.com/d5d7lok

As part of my attending, and getting more involved, social media -wise, I joined the Blog Paws Community today.

Well, re-joined, actually. When the community was born, in spring 2011, I was the 54th member to join….

Then I broke my ankle, and so much more happened in the following months and participation went by the wayside. Last October I ended my membership. I little realized that all that has been happening with me creatively, since, would lead me to decide to sign on again.

http://community.blogpaws.com/profile/KirilKundurazieff585

The community has over 2000 members. Discussions and sharing of news and information are wide-ranging as critter bloggers make new friends and network, and learn ways to become better at what they do.

As for other changes…I am about to take a huge step platform-wise, and brand-wise, with my cat blog, How these changes will help me as I get more involved in various social media, is yet to be seen, but I have great hopes. Stay tuned!

Day 8: The Social Media Menagerie – A Poem

In the world of social media for animal lovers…it’s a zoo out there.

The internet and blogosphere have been taking notice since at least 2008.

The Social Media Menagerie – A Poem

When Google yahooed about the Cat Blogosphere and Dogster barked at Catster,
LinkedIn’s eyes flickered pinterestedly @Twitter, while Facebook befriended everybody.
BlogPaws petizens said, “Love my pets, my looney pets!” and YapStar said “date my pet!”
As an animal attraction took pets places where pet passions
Led to much pet boogaloo among my pet friends in Pet Lovers Paradise.

Meanwhile, at the Carnival of the Cats, weekend cat bloggers disembarked from the Friday Ark
Ready to engage in some bird boarding, and fun at the Aquaria,
Leading some to meet-up with the pet doc at Pet St. on Paw Mountain,
Who advised them, “Take an instagram of aspirin and call me in the morning”.

My Horse and I shared his thoughts on this in the pet’s area of YouTube, and ZoogleTube,
Where people n pets are amused by the cuteness on display
And the scuttlebutt and paw talk is that all of this will lead someone
To encourage his compatriots in pet blogging to
Share their thoughts on Social Media for Critter Bloggers for the entire world to see.

Articles referenced for this post: (39 social media sites made it into the poem!)

1. 16 Social Networks for Pet Lovers

http://socialtimes.com/16-social-networks-for-pet-lovers_b6456

2. 23 social networking sites for pet lovers

http://www.examiner.com/article/23-social-networking-sites-for-pet-lovers

3. 25 Awesome Social Networking Sites for Animal Lovers

http://onlineveterinarytechnicianschools.com/2010/25-awesome-social-networking-sites-for-animal-lovers/

4. Pet Friendly Social Media and Internet Marketing

http://www.verticalmeasures.com/social-media/pet-friendly-social-media-and-internet-marketing/

5. 18 Social Networks for Pet Lovers, Owners & Pets

http://socialmediapearls.com/18-social-networks-for-petlovers-owners-pets/

6. Pet Lovers Social Networks on Listly

http://list.ly/list/1Kk-pet-lovers-social-networks