Seek to dis-confirm, to prove yourself wrong, to ask tougher questions. Themes of three presentations from BlogWorld LA that really made us think.


We just returned from our first BlogWorld Expo in LA.

It was a great event. Few Social Media conferences can build a program that brings together value, networking, and fun. Most completely miss the mark, and just focus on the fun. Nothing wrong with that, but as professionals in this space, we like to roll up our sleeves and get to work. The following are highlights from three presentations that really made us think.

Drowning In Numbers: Turning Social Media Data Into Insight

presented by Tom Webster

Tom reinforced that as practitioners and professionals we need to stop drowning ourselves in the vast amount of available Social Media data, and start asking better questions. He broke down four distinct pillars that helps build a skeptic mentality that is needed to digest social media data successfully:

  • Know what you don’t know
  • Ask better questions
  • Prove yourself wrong
  • Do your own work

Social Media isn’t good at quantitative analysis unless you know what you don’t know.

The takeaway here was that in order to know how to use Social Media, you need to make it your own. Reading blogs, collecting case studies, and obtaining quantitative data isn’t enough. You have to get into the trenches and get dirty. You have to do your own work, ask your own questions, and find the answers that fit for your clients.

Social Media isn’t good at quantitative analysis unless you know what you don’t know.

Worrying about when the right time to tweet is pointless. People don’t want insights, they want context within content. So it is up to all of us to ask better questions when we look at this landscape. Matt stressed that we should be seeking to dis-confirm, to prove ourselves wrong, to be curious, and to learn.

Matt just posted a recap of his presentation. We highly recommend giving it a read.

Giving Substance to Online Influence

presented by Chuck Hemann and Matt Ridings

Tough questions about quantitative analysis vs. qualitative assessment were asked during this session.

The old discussion of Social Media ROI was batted around. The problem being companies want metrics for metrics sake. Ultimately they want qualitative assessment and how it relates to the bottom line. The tricky thing is that Social Media doesn’t necessarily fit into traditional finance models. It needs to be collected over time and monitored for changes, and not just at the end of a campaign.

Shifting through all this data can be cumbersome, but it is time to connect that Social Media data to business results.

Again, the discussion came down to relevance. Knowing what to measure and when is more important than just collecting data. The balance between human assessment and robot data collecting must be found.

Like Tom’s presentation, we heard content isn’t king, context is. Contextual relevance is everything especially on things we think are similar. This is why we need more focus on creating advocates for our brands, rather than just targeting influencers. As marketers we need to start thinking and caring about the long haul.

SmartBlog on Social Media has a great post of this session.

Blog From the Heart, But Smart

presented by Darren Rowse

Darren (Problogger) has simple and effective advice when it comes to getting the most out of your content and blogging efforts.

His presentation focused on defining the core motivation of every blogger. In order to this effectively, a checklist of questions need to be answered:

  • What is your overall objective of your blog/content?
  • What is your passion?
  • What will your stories be?
  • How do you define success for your Blog?

Blogging from the heart is great, but there has to be some smart business and practical applications to your efforts. If you want your blog to be a business, then you need to treat it as just that. Aim to inspire first, then inform. People like to connect with resources who help them.

This requires you to take the time to know your readers. Assuming you know your audience leaves you fishing in the dark. The objective should be to hook people and get them to stick with your blog and content.

Darren has been speaking on this subject for awhile, and you may want to check out Successful Blogging’s live post of his presentation given earlier this year.

There was no shortage of quality content at BlogWorld LA.

With over 200 speakers, and sometimes 17 sessions happening at the same time, it was difficult to choose what to attend. This is a sign of a good conference. Congratulations to all the BlogWorld organizers and volunteers! We here at Moncur thank you for having us as part of your program, and we hope to be back next year! If you aren’t already, be sure to follow the above presenters: Tom Webster, Chuck Hemann, Matt Ridings, and Darren Rowse.

You can also check out some of the pictures we took of BlogWorld LA on our Facebook and Flickr Page. We will also be uploading our BlogWorld presentation, Breaking Down Your Content for the Social Web, on SlideShare soon.