Blogging While Brown

Action Items from Blogging While Brown 2014

The Blogging While Brown conference, now in its 7th year, is a great place for bloggers of color to convene, learn, and have fun.  I attended for the second time, and while it was fun to return home to the New York area, I wanted to leave with some action items to implement.  I'm going to make the list public so that I can be held accountable - feel free to call me out!

  1. Develop a writing schedule
    • Currently aim for weekly content, but I'd to do something more concrete.  I'm going to start writing 30 min on Mon, Wed, and Fri  - even if that means only one blog post goes out a week. The end goal is to have 2-3 posts a week.
  2. Investigate STEM freelancing opportunities
    • Begin pitching article ideas to publications that I'm already reading.  Even if I'm rejected several times, I'll still gain valuable pitch writing skills.
  3. Provide STEM services for local businesses
    • Starting with the local Chamber of Commerce, I'm going to create a list of small businesses that may benefit from someone with a STEM background.  Eventually I'm going to increase the range from Milwaukee to Chicago
  4. Increase Science / Math tutoring opportunities
    • Get list of existing tutoring opportunities in libraries, churches, community centers, etc that fit the hours of 6-8 on weekdays or anytime on the weekends.
    • Consider starting my own tutoring service
  5. Speak at a conference
    • Create a speaker link on the site, which will borrow content from the Press section. The section will include a list of topics I can speak on, and video / photography of me speaking.
    • After the section is created, I can refer to it when apply to science related conferences for speaking.



Send Your Clones to Conferences Far and Wide

Clone troops B&W

During the weekend of June 21st, two conferences occurred - Blogging While Brown in Harlem, NY and Netroots Nation in San Jose, CA. These are both conferences that cover issues that I am interested in, and I wish I could clone myself and go to both!

 I selected Blogging While Brown, but unfortunately I had to cancel due to a business obligation.  So here I was - two conferences going on and I wasn't able to go to either.  I was pretty pissed. The only solution was to use Twitter to follow the conference and essentially clone myself so that I could be in three places at the same time.

Technology to the rescue!  I used Tweetdeck  to watch both hashtags from the conference (#BWBNYC and #NN13). I also made sure to set up a separate filter for each hashtag and the word "question". This enabled me to watch for questions that people asked (so I could ask follow up questions), as well as find when questions were being thrown out to Twitter community to answer.  

I was able to interact with conference attendees so often that some people actually thought I was at the conference! My little Shareef clones attended the conferences and people actually mistook them for me! Check out the following tweets.

Good luck with cloning yourself and attending conferences from afar!

Conference Tech Lessons: Blogging While Brown 2012

Meeting people like the amazing Adria Richards is a plus for conferences. She approved of my C:\ shirt!


I came away from this weekend's Blogging While Brown conference inspired and willing to invest in myself to make this blog the best that it can be.   In the midst of this conference, I came away with several thoughts regarding technology.

Personal Interaction >>>> Virtual Interaction

One of the benefits of a conference is meeting people that you've only corresponded with online. The in person meeting makes a world of difference.   My online persona is a representation of me, but the in-person meeting is just as, if not more important. It must be apparent that your online persona is an extension of your personality, not something totally different.  Otherwise, you can come off as disingenuous and playing a role on the internet that is not real.  Personal connection matters.  You know that excitement when someone like Dr. Goddess, Luvvie Ajayi, or Slim Jackson interacts with you online? Yeah, that's magnified by a thousand when it's in person.

Technology is a Great Conversation Starter

When you're around people that are more successful than you and you're the new face in the room, it can sometimes be hard to approach people.  I was able to start a lot of conversations with talk about gadgets - cell phones, tablets, or my infamous gadget sandwich.   Nearly everyone was on some sort of device - engage people about them.

You NEED an Extended Charging Solution

In this era of social networking, you need access to a cell phone during an entire conference, which can sometimes last 10 hours or more, plus dinner, drinks, etc.  Having an extended battery for your phone is key. Fellow attendee BrothaTech had a several charging solutions for his gadgets. I've been using the uNU Power DX extended battery for my iPhone, and I never had my phone drop out.  Perfect for twitpics of people after they are ... a bit inebriated.

I had a great time at the conference, and I will definitely be attending next year!