Last night was the First Annual (?) International Jewish Bloggers Convention.

Some 200 of us showed up to this Nefesh B’Nefesh sponsored event; and according to their communications director, an additional 1230 participated through the Webcast.

Was it successful? The numbers alone certainly make it so. But a careful reading of all the many posts around today gives it mixed reviews. (note to NBN: in evaluating last night’s program, be certain to check them and the public comments out).

Of course, it would be helpful to know what NBN’s goals were for the evening.

To help ‘motivate’ bloggers to deliver an Aliyah or Hasbara message? Quite frankly, even to blogs like eJP who do not generally address Aliyah, NBN was preaching to the choir. A friend told me that out of the 200 in attendance, there were three native-born Hebrew speakers. I doubt the crowd who came does not champion Aliyah.

If the event was a purely social and networking evening it should certainly be deemed a success.

However, the audience was so diverse with how and why they use the blog-o-sphere, the panelists were almost uniformly off-topic and many were clearly unprepared, and we were bogged down with a very basic and tedious marketing presentation by the MFA (where NO Web 2.0 strategies were even mentioned), it was hard to follow the evening flow.

As to all the comments about the make-up of the panel, the agenda being very “right” oriented, I’ll mostly stay away from that. Except to say, I was told by NBN everyone was welcome. I have no doubt. But where this event was promoted here in Israel guaranteed a certain audience and the absence of others (including all the incredible native Hebrew bloggers).

Anyway, just a few suggestions as to missing pieces I would like to see, because after all, professional conferences should also be educational. And as bloggers, we are professionals.

Discuss “tachlis”. Some ideas:

  • how do you increase readership beyond the obvious linking and comments
  • what are the pros and cons of the various blogging platforms
  • are advertisements, Google AdWords, links to Amazon, etc right for your blog
  • should social networks be used to reinforce your blog; with some of the people in attendance last night this alone would have made for an informative and lively evening.

All in all, I think it was truly a great beginning and hope NBN goes forward with this endeavor. I’ll certainly come and support it.