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Friday, May 13, 2005

Tending the Spirit

Ken McCarthy’s annual System Seminar was definitely worth attending—a needed shot in the arm for yours truly. The technical info was very helpful, as always, but that isn’t what really mattered. I don’t have to fly half-way across the country and shell out for hotel and food to get technical info.

What made the difference was the quality of the attendees and the great atmosphere that Ken puts together to attract such a stimulating audience. Ken assiduously avoids the pitch-fests that so often characterize such events. You know the drill: the presenters are there to pitch their books and tapes. Not at Ken’s events. Not only does this make for a far better experience, it creates the trust which draws the quality audience.

It was just great to meet and hang out with some really sharp people from all across the country—and the planet, for that matter. All sorts of interesting folks doing all sorts of interesting things. Internet marketing is still such a new, dynamic, learn-as-you-go kind of endeavor that being around some of its more effective practitioners makes for a truly stimulating atmosphere.

So it’s the people, far more than the presentations where the true value exists. Actually, the same could be said of the blogosphere. It isn’t so much what’s being said as it is the spirit that exists within and around the whole endeavor. It’s what makes it worth the effort.

I discovered that fact last year, somewhat painfully, when I dropped out of blogging for about nine months. A dry rot of isolation began to eat away at me—even though I was benefiting from the freed-up extra time. In the end, the extra time simply wasn’t worth it.

I’ve been known to make some snide remarks about the “circle jerk-ism” of all these blogging conferences to which some people are always running off—examining such who-gives-a-shit questions a “is blogging journalism?”

After my experience at my conference this past week, I realize that these blogging affairs—while the themes may be of manufactured consequence—serve a legitimate purpose for the attendees—providing community and a bolstering of the spirits in a new and uncharted territory where isolation and doubt are frequent enemies.

So, I’ll retract my previous smart-ass put-downs of these affairs—which is not to say that I won’t continue to savor the roastings that Jeneane and others dish out from time to time.


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