Thursday, February 1, 2007

Shel Israel and Jangl on Blogging

Since mid-fall, Shel Israel and Jangl have been talking blogging, thanks to Pat Phelan, who made the introduction late last summer. Shel, as most of the blogosphere already knows, is a prolific, insightful blogger and co-author with Robert Scoble of one of the pre-eminent books on business blogging, Naked Conversations.

The initial idea of sitting with Shel was to take Michael's blog to the next level, though we all knew that I was going to have to get off my ass, too. So Shel gave Michael a ton of good tips and I listened intently. Michael took the tips to heart and made it happen on his blog, and all the while, Shel provided him great feedback, sometimes in meetings, sometimes via late-night email on which I was sometimes copied.

I listened intently.

It wasn't long before Shel swept his gaze my way. I can't remember exactly, but I'll be damned if he wasn't peering over his glasses in utter paternal disapproval.

"What about you?" he asked.

I -- ahem -- listened intently. Beyond that, I'll spare you the details, and spare myself the reliving of a much-deserved ass-kicking.

But the ultimate goal of Jangl and Shel was (and is) to share with everyone at Jangl the power and promise of blogging, to expose a whole variety of folks to how they might express and share themselves and join a much bigger conversation.

So a few minutes after my ass-kicking, I was prepping Shel for what was to follow: a pre-arranged, open discussion between Shel and anyone at Jangl who wanted to talk blogs.

"How many are going to be there?" he asked.

I'd received 7 replies via email.

"Somewhere between 5 and 8," I said.

Fourteen showed up. What a fool am I.

So we spent several minutes slowly and awkwardly squeezing chair after chair into the suddenly-small room. The edges of the table were occupied, so others were pushed to the fringes, swiveling in the corners. Others perched atop a table in the corner. The fire marshal would've objected.

And finally, there we all sat, beancounters, marketers, engineers, administrators, execs. The fluorescents buzzed dimly. The room temperature was already soaring. I had my usual brief terror that the meeting would be stilted and horrible: who knew what would happen?


People happened.

More next time.

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