BlogPaws 2013! If you're going to be a pet blogger, you need to go to at least one BlogPaws. This was my first, and the excitement was high for this.
|Me and a bunch of friends from our weekly #petchat on Twitter! (Photo courtesy of Schmittytheweatherdog.com)|
Here are some of the things I learned:
1) Cross-pollinate. The pet industry is huge, and the pet presence is huge online. If we work together, we can make a bigger difference in the lives of pets. But instead, there's lots of fighting, lots of animosity, lots of isolation between different groups of pet people -- rescues, bloggers, cats, dogs, etc. We need to break down those barriers.
|Steve Dale delivers a keynote address Friday morning at BlogPaws.|
2) Misinformation is a problem. Steve Dale, a syndicated pet writer, and keynote speaker, says fewer people are taking their pets to the vet -- especially cats. That may be because people feel they can't afford it, but Steven also feels that people are getting misinformation online. I suppose it makes sense.
More people are using WebMD and trying to treat themselves instead of going to the doctor (in a story recently, a woman delayed taking her son to the hospital for a gunshot wound for hours while she looked up info online.). It stands to reason people would do the same for their pets. There is also a lot of fears about vaccinations.
As pet bloggers, it is incumbent upon us to be rational, and provide the best, most accurate info we can, because readers are looking to us for tips for their pets.
3) Diabetes is way up among pets. Diabetes is a big issue in my family. On top of my Dad and other family members living with this disease, we lost two cats to it.
But while there are a lot of people looking at cancer (another growing problem) among pets, I've not seen much about diabetes. I plan on working to raise awareness this summer. What is causing it? How can we prevent? Can our pets live a good life with diabetes?
4) ASPCA has a place in the pet world. There is a lot of resentment toward ASPCA. There is good reason. ASPCA gives very little money to shelters, and has made some questionable actions in the name of helping pets. However, they are the lobby for the pets. And they are up against some stiff, well-moneyed competition. As ASPCA expands its lobbying efforts into more states, it's up to us to work with them in the hopes of bettering the lives of all animals.
5) There's a Congressional animal protection caucus. Did you know that? There's a group of about 80 lawmakers who have the interests of our pets at heart. We need to make sure they know what our priorities are. Find the members of the caucus here. Is you congress person on the list? Let them know you want them to be!
6) Write more. We are often told not to write posts longer than 500 words, and I've been following that -- somewhat. But the more you write, the more people link... especially if it's good and in-depth.
Do you feel I provide good content on my blog? Please let me know if you think I can improve.
7) There are lots of good resources online. I can make slideshows and post video and make infographics. I just don't use a lot of those tools. But I plan to.
|Dexter the cocker spaniel means Charles the monarch.|
8) Network more. I went to BlogPaws to network, and network I did. Good gravy! But I have to network more online too. I need to post more on other people's blogs and share people's posts. It's a reciprocal thing.
9) Become a clearinghouse for what's out there! From pet360.com to HABRI to Petfinder, there's a wealth of information out there and things that can help you get a pet, raise a pet, have a special bond with your pet, and help others too.
10) Being with other people's pets makes me miss Lulu. I couldn't bring her to BlogPaws. She stayed with my parents while I was at the conference. I missed her a lot. And she missed me.
Were you at BlogPaws? What did you come away from the experience with?