3 things I learned at Latism

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Just awesome.

What a difference a year makes!

This week, the group Latism (Latinos in Technology and Social Media) will have its annual conference in New York. I am filled with unspeakable rage sadness that I couldn’t attend the festivities this year.

I attended last year’s event in Houston and let me tell you, this was an eye opener. I’d been to journalism conferences all my adult life but this was different. This wasn’t about how to cover a story but about blogs.

Not just one type of blog but all kinds of blogs. Blogs I’ve read and others I’d never heard about. My eyes were opened to a whole other world and in the time since that conference, I’ve trying to keep these three lessons in mind.

1.) A blog is a business. 

Nely Galan said don’t buy shoes, buy buildings. Get your own chips to play in the game. Been gaining my own chips ever since. The building? You’re reading it.

This was the first time I realized that this blogging game isn’t really about writing your thoughts and having them float out in the interwebs. No, my friends. This was about business and your blog can be your business. You can easily become an entrepreneur with a domain and a credit card.

Granted this is an easier concept if, say, you’re a food, travel, and/or fashion blogger. What about blogging writers? Yes, this is a business as well because one day we’ll be selling books and we can easily do that from our blogs. That doesn’t happen over night, you have to put the work into your blog just like you put it into your writing. So there. Blogs = your business.

This was the lounge we could lounge in. Why isn’t anyone there? Everyone was too busy learning.

2.) Blogs are a responsibility

Because blogs = business, it’s also a responsibility. Not blogging for a long while without a reason is like not going to work and expecting the pay check to still be deposited in your account. A blog can be your platform to something else or the platform from where things can happen.

What does that mean? Let’s take my friend Sujeiry Gonzalez for example. She sought to be a relationship expert.

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Sujeiry Gonzalez is the one in yellow.

She has an amazing blog from which she has written posts and given out advice. From there she wrote a book (which I reviewed). From the book and the blog, she’s written on other sites and publications including Babble.com. Shine on Yahoo, and Latina Magazine. Now she’s giving out her advice on the radio in Los Angeles and has become a media personality. All that came from blogging. It was her platform, the first step on her journey. (And all that since I met her last year. She’s been a busy girl.)

3.) Community is important.

If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again — community is important. Latism gave me a community to tap into, especially when it came to creating a new blog and then learning how to run it. It’s more than just content — it’s quality content, knowing the audience, and getting it to them through social media. Those concepts all came home to me during that conference in Houston.

Latism is also a group that is filled with tons of examples, or what I like to call tons of Sujeirys. Each person in Latism has their own journey through blogger land. When they reach out, there are helpers ready and willing.

Me at last year’s event

Of course there are the obvious things I learned/took advantage of last year — networking, training, business coaching — but these three things are the things I continue to work on a year later.

It was an amazing time at the conference. I really wished I were going this year. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been planning for next year.

Question: Have you been to a blogging conference or event? Which one was it and what did you learn?

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