Among bloggers, competition for page views and followers can be fierce, and as more people jump in, it feels like we're all picking at the same slice of pie. How do you encourage bloggers in your online space to collaborate instead of compete, and better yet, how do you build an offline community whose members have real-life, meaningful relationships? Learn from Austin food bloggers who have used tweet ups, taco tours, potlucks and blogger events to create an offline community of more than 400 members. By choosing to become friends over foes, the bloggers have been able to give back to their city through fundraisers and awareness campaigns, such as the Hunger Awareness Project where bloggers wrote about living off food stamps and food pantry donations for a week.
Hailing from the Missouri Ozarks, Addie expanded her cooking (and eating) skills on the West Coast and Spain before settling in Austin, where she writes about food for the Austin American-Statesman. In her print columns and Relish Austin blog, she writes about cooking and the culture of food and its changing role in our lives. She covers everything from farmers to food tattoos, blackberry pie to barbecues. In addition to her work at the newspaper, Addie also blogs about women and food on The Feminist Kitchen.
For the past two years, she has been the ringleader of more than 200 Central Texas food bloggers and has presented panels at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival on the intersection of food and technology. In addition to being listed as one of the top food writers on Twitter, Addie was recently named by the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors as the top social media enterprise user among features writers in her division in the country.
Mando is the VP of Engagement at Cultural Strategies in Austin, TX. Mando’s experience is deep rooted in the community and nonprofit sector. He specializes in building capacity & creating change with a focus on Hispanic Engagement, project management, leadership development & social innovation. Mando has over 12 years experience in community engagement, volunteerism & social media, and has developed innovative engagement strategies (grassroots to social media) multicultural programming and trainings for many nonprofits & businesses including, RISE Global, Hahn,TX, Lance Armstrong Foundation, Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, CASA of Travis County, OneStar Foundation, Active Life Movement and Austin Independent School District. He serves on the national Points of Light/Hands On Network’s Neighboring Taskforce, is a board member of TANO - Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations, is a frequent panelist/presenter at local & national conferences (United Way of America, Points of Light Institute/Hands On Network, OneStar Foundation, United Neighborhood Centers of America, Keep Texas Beautiful), and has been recognized in 2010 Texas Social Media Awards, Austin American-Statesman’s Top Blogs & the Austin (Twitter) List, Austin Social Media’s Top 100 List, Republic of Austin Best Food Blog and Austin Under 40 Awards. Armando writes for GivingCity Magazine, blogs at ElMundodeMando.com & TacoJournalism.com and has been featured in the New York Times, Chronicle of Philanthropy, NPR’s MarketPlace, Austin American-Statesman and Austin Monthly. Mando's alter ego, as Austin's resident taco ambassador for TacoJournalism.com, brings flavor and fun to his work. As part of the TacoJournalism team, Mando has been building the taco community in Austin through reviews, taco insights, taco tours and creating taco buzz via social media.
Tapping out her first post in early 2006, Pam Penick had no way of knowing where her blog, Digging, would lead her: to a new career as a landscape and garden designer; to writing gigs with Fine Gardening magazine and other publications; to appearances on KLRU's "Central Texas Gardener"; to a new passion for garden photography; and, not least, to a fascinating community of fellow bloggers. Pam wrangled the first local meet-ups of garden bloggers, and in 2008 she initiated and chaired a planning committee for the first annual Garden Bloggers Fling, a national meet-up that attracted garden bloggers from coast to coast to Austin for a weekend of talks, garden tours, and socializing. She's happy to see her brainchild continue to grow each year as the national Fling has moved to hosting cities around the country, from Chicago to Buffalo to Seattle, and she travels to attend each one.
Tolly Moseley is the voice behind the popular lifestyle blog, AustinEavesdropper.com. She has blogged for the Discovery Channel's eco-sites (TreeHugger.com and PlanetGreen.com), and currently writes for several local, feminist, and foodie outlets.
As much as she likes blogging though, Tolly likes hugging other bloggers more. So in July 2009, she founded the first "Austin Bleet-Up" party: A meet-up for bloggers, designed to get bloggers away from their computer screens, and in each other’s presence for old-school, face-to-face interaction. And so that she could accost them with a hug. She Southern, y'all!
The first Austin Bleet-Up, in July 2009, attracted 150 people; the second, 900. She now throws Bleet-Ups twice a year in Austin.
When Tolly is not blogging or party-planning, is also a book publicist for PR By the Book, a literary media relations firm based in Austin. For reasons that now elude her, she holds a master's degree from the University of California, Davis in Victorian Literature.
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