I said I'd be back today with my interviews from Blogs With Balls, and here I am. I thought I'd be able to fit them all in one post, but I realized there's just too much stuff for that to work.
So I've split them up. The first interview is with Don Povia of Hugging Harold Reynolds. In addition to being one of the organizers of the conference, Povia is the man behind the mask at HHR's Twitter feed.
If you haven't read my report from the conference yet, click here.
Question: What’s the goal of Blogs with Balls?
Answer: The one thing we’ve been really advocating for - and I think there was a perfect storm this week with the Ibanez story - is just opening up the lines of communication and facilitating that conversation. Not only among bloggers and traditional media outlets, but also advertisers, marketers that are looking to dive into new media.
The one thing that we wanted to do from the beginning is put people in one room. Put some faces on people that are blogging and that are folks you see online, and note the fact that these are real people, these are intelligent people, and they’re influential people as well. So really it was putting people in one room and really opening up conversation that was long overdue, specifically in the sports world.
Q. Is this a means or an end, as such?
A. Well, I think it’s ever-evolving. One thing that we talked about is doing this as a series and using it as a resource, because things are so rapidly changing. There’s been a lot of talk about Twitter today - in a year from now, two years from now, we won’t be using Twitter. It will be so out of date. The same thing in a couple months, a couple weeks: who knows what’s going to happen? It’s ever-evolving. So I really think it’s a maze, and this conference and ones in the future are just a platform.
Q. With the Ibanez story, you guys were involved in it, the Inquirer was involved in it. Any blogger, even the mainstream bloggers in a lot of ways, want to get their stuff read by other bloggers. They want to get it picked up and circulated, they want the attention. Do they really want the kind of attention Midwest Sports Fans got?
A. In the aftermath of all that, people were pointing at Jerod [Morris] and saying, “You’re attention-grabbing, I hope you’re happy.” I really don’t think that was the point. I really think it mushroomed into something bigger than it was. I don’t think that was his purpose. If anybody went back and read the original article, I think it’s been terribly misconstrued. I’ve had conversations with John Gonzalez about this and I don’t think [Morris] was seeking the attention, but I think he handled it well with the attention that’s been brought to it and to himself.
Q. On the flip side, should mainstream news organizations have their reporters reporting on what is being said on the blogs?
A. Well, I talked to John and I hope he doesn’t mind me relaying this. He brought up a great point when he said that whether newspapers or any other media source wants to admit it, when people are talking about it, inherently it’s news and it is relevant. So it’s not reporting on every little thing that’s put out there on the blogosphere, but if there’s a conversation going on, why ignore what people are talking about?
Q. Do you think at that this event, given that you have mainstream journalists and bloggers and PR types together, getting all these people to meet face-to-face instead of via Twitter and such can help change attitudes?
A. I think it’s a start. I’m not saying that attitudes are going to change overnight, but going back to the purpose, it’s opening up doors and making introductions. John Gonzalez articulated that well, that this is the direction that things are heading in. If that’s the case, and I believe it is, it only serves to benefit all the parties. It’s a long-overdue conversation and we’re just trying to catch up the process.