After a six hour drive that stretch into eleven hour due to a classic midwestern snow storm, I arrived home this past weekend from a week in Chicago for the Search Engine Strategies conference. While I didn't get to attend as many sessions as I may have liked due to the amount of time I spent in the wifi lounge doing actual work, it was a great week with plenty of learning going on.
I did get a chance to sit in on the session that covered Online Reputation Management with talks by Nan Dawkins, Andy Beal, Rob Key and Rob Garner. This topic, while relatively new to the SES shows is one that I've always had an interest in. The idea of using search tools to keep tabs on what the public is saying about you, your company and your products is still just starting to catch on with the public relations world but it's bound to become a crucial part of their job description in the coming years.
The best thing I took away from this session was the mention of BlogPulse. While I'd heard of it before, I'd never taken much time to play around with it, relying instead on tools like Feedster and Technorati. BlogPulse is certainly worth a look for anyone tracking blog conversations.
Those of you that made it to Chicago may have stopped in at the Pimp My Site session to catch a glimpse of shirts from The Lactivist and our collection of great pimped out fuzzy hats. Pimp My Site panelists Heather Lloyd-Martin, Elisabeth Osmeloski, Todd Friesen and Dax Herrera and I had a great time bringing folks up to date on the results of our San Jose Pimped candidates Hella Good Bath Products and Albion Armorers and I was thrilled to get to share the steps I'd taken to get The Lactivist project up and running in the past few weeks.
I also had a chance to meet a few Search Engine Guide readers while I was in Chicago. Several stopped by after the Pimp My Site panel to say hello and a few after-hours partyers recognized the "milk jugs" shirt from The Lactivist store that I wore on day three. Mike Chipman, the Google Analytics consultant that now runs Xooni also spotted me just moments after I'd posted the latest Lactivist update and stopped by to say hello.
If you missed the show, Barry Schwartz, Chris Boggs and Ben Pheiffer have posted triple coverage of the sessions over at the Search Engine Watch Forums. There's also plenty of time to get in one the game for the next show. Search Engine Strategies will be heading to New York City at the end of February.
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