THERE'S a blog for everything these days, from food to literature and everything in between. Naturally, events have found their way to the blogosphere as well. Easily maintained, blogs — from the term “Web logs” — allow people to post dated entries about whatever topic they like and give them an instant worldwide audience.

To learn more about event-related blogs, Special Events Magazine sent some bloggers a list of questions and asked them to respond as casually as they blog. Participating bloggers include Patti Shock, CPCE, professor and department chair of the Tourism and Convention Department at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, who pens her blog “Stuff from Patti Shock.” Marley Majcher — a Pasadena, Calif.-based caterer, event planner and owner of the Party Goddess — keeps people informed at her “Goddess Dialogue” blog. Sue Pelletier, Web editor of MeetingsNet and executive editor of Medical Meetings magazine, regularly updates her group's “Face2face” blog. And program manager Kate Schuppe works and blogs for Shackman Associates New York, a destination management and special event company. Their blog has no official name, but Schuppe says, “We're considering ‘That Blog With All That Cool Stuff.’ Actually, that's a joke. We're still deciding on an official name.”


SPECIAL EVENTS MAGAZINE: Describe your blog.

Patti Shock: Resources and fun stuff for those interested in food and beverage, hotels, meetings and events, travel and tourism, education and technology. There are differences in blogs. Some are strictly for journaling and for the opinions of the blogger. Others are for RSS {Really Simple Syndication} feeds only. Some are a combination. Mine is mainly RSS feeds. I may add a comment here and there, but it is basically for amalgamating news feeds from a variety of sources.

Marley Majcher: The Party Goddess' blog is a funky compilation of event trends, inspirational ideas, food chat and random business advice based on my many mistakes. Who would find it useful? Anyone thinking of planning a party, in the midst of planning a party, getting into the party-planning business or someone who just wants to get a fresh perspective on food and what's involved in making it fabulous.

Sue Pelletier: Face2face is basically a place where I stash all the interesting stuff I come across that most likely wouldn't make it into the magazine. I daily comb through about 120 news feeds, blogs, e-newsletters and you-name-it to find things I think meeting and event professionals would find interesting.

Kate Schuppe: Our blog is a little bit about New York, a little bit about events and a little bit about us. Each of our staff members contributes ideas and concepts to the blog, although we have one person who writes it as the collective “we.” As for who might find it useful — people who are interested in what we do. They might be interested in what we have to say.


Q: Why did you start blogging?

PS: To consolidate articles of interest from a variety of sources that may or may not be related to our {event} area. As an educator, I love to share resources with my students as well as the industry.

MM: Honestly, I really started it to selfishly increase traffic to my Web site. Now that my company is pretty well established, I don't care about that as much. But I do still like the forum to express my thoughts on an industry that is constantly changing.

SP: Basically because I could. With a bimonthly magazine, there's only so much we can get into print, and often there are interesting tidbits that don't have a long shelf life but still are interesting. I wanted a quick-and-easy place to put all that stuff that otherwise might not come to our readers' notice, and a blog seemed perfect.

KS: We recently re-branded the company and launched a redesign of the Web site. In brainstorming on the re-brand, Shackman Associates New York president Karen Shackman thought it seemed like a logical next step, as well as something current and interesting to add to the Web site.


Q: If someone has a Web site, why would they create a blog as well?

PS: You can import stories on RSS feeds instead of going to all of the sites, finding the ones that are relevant, then cutting and pasting onto a Web site. There is an immediacy to the procedure.

SP: Web sites, even regularly updated ones, tend to be a little static and usually tout the company line. Blogs are dynamic; they're a place where you can let your hair down and get a little opinionated. It's like the difference between a personal letter and a press release: Both have their places.

KS: Basically, it's a more conversational and informal way to connect with our clients and, of course, our potential clients, and keep them in the loop on interesting things that are happening in New York and in the DMC/event world.


Q: Is there anything you do differently now with your blog from when you started it?

PS: I just started it a few weeks ago. I may start adding more commentary soon.

MM: I don't worry so much about waiting for an epiphany to actually post an idea. Sometimes I just write down stream-of-consciousness-type observations, and I think they are some of my best ideas. Now I also write shorter blurbs too. The thought that I had to sit down and write a single-spaced page every time I wanted to add something to my blog just got too daunting.


Q: Has your blog brought you new clients or business?

MM: Yes! I got a call from a client who said she read my blog on wanting a cool Halloween client and that she is that client.

SP: You wouldn't believe it. At conferences, I generally have more people come up and talk about something they saw on the blog than in the magazine.

KS: Happily, yes!


Q: What keeps you blogging?

PS: Fascinated. Easy way to do environmental scanning.

SP: What can I say? I'm an info junkie, and blogging feeds my habit.

KS: New York. Events. All of the amazing things we see and do in a day. Who could resist the chance to comment on everything that goes on in New York City?


Q: How do you know when to stop blogging — does it ever feel like the blog takes over your life or interferes with work?

PS: I have learned to scan headlines to cherry-pick stuff of interest to me.

MM: My blog used to feel like it was taking over my life. Now I don't let it. I don't stress out about writing every day. Now that I don't stress about it, I have a lot more fun, and I think my ideas are a little fresher.

SP: Oh yeah, often. If I don't get through all the feeds in my RSS reader at least once a day, I feel like I'm somehow letting my feed reader down! Everywhere I go, everything I do, I'm always thinking of how I could post about its relation to meeting and event planning. It's a bit ridiculous, really.

KS: We're on the once-a-day kick at the moment, so I think we're in the clear. We'll let you know if we cross the line and need an intervention.


Q: How are blogs useful to the event industry?

PS: They synthesize information that would take an individual hours to consolidate.

MM: Blogs are as unique and personal as the people who create and contribute to them. I think they are a great way for potential clients to get a feel for the company they are about to hire before they turn over their credit card.


Q: What haven't I asked that I should have?

PS: How do you find the blogs you review? {I use} blogsearch.google.com and www.technorati.com. You can search for blogs or individual postings by keyword on areas of interest.

MM: Maybe what makes a good blog? I think a good blog covers a lot of ground. I don't like blogs that are too narrowly focused. What makes it fun is when it's not too contrived. Not too focused on getting business or too sales-y. Then it's not a blog, it's just an ad and it's lame.

SP: Should you start a blog? That's a question I get a lot. I say that unless you're willing to put in the time and energy (a lot of time and energy!), don't do it. Unless you're really passionate about whatever your blogging topic is, don't do it. It's an incredible tool, but it's definitely not for everyone.

KS: What blogs do you read? My answer: Gothamist, Eater, Gawker, Curbed, Grub Street, Gridskipper, Cityrag, Wonkette, Perez Hilton.


RESOURCES: MeetingsNet, blog.meetingsnet.com/face2face; The Party Goddess, www.thepartygoddess.com/blog/; Shackman Associates New York, www.shackmanny.blogspot.com; Patti Shock, www.bloglines.com/blog/PattiShock