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I’m speaking on a VPTC panel this upcoming Thursday lunchtime at the Omni. It’s $30 for VPTC members, $40 for non-members. Here’s the blurb:

When the Web exploded on the scene in the 1990s, it changed everything. Suddenly, anyone with a computer and modem could disseminate information to a mass audience. Mainstream media conglomerates were put head-to-head with the little guy.

Now, weblogs, or blogs for short, are having the same effect, but with a new twist. Simply put, blogs are websites, but they can connect to each other. So, someone posts an article on their blog. Other bloggers see it, and link to it on their blogs. Or they comment on it, and link to that. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds provide an easy way for people to subscribe to content they want to keep up with.

Now, there’s a whole lot of people and ideas networked together. There’s a name for this new network—the blogosphere—and ideas can travel very, very quickly to a very large audience.

Podcasting is taking audio and video content in new directions, enabling anyone with inexpensive equipment to become a broadcaster. Using RSS, listeners can subscribe to and download content on demand to either a computer or portable device. Users can now access content when it’s convenient for them, rather than having to attempt to catch their favorite shows when they were originally presented.

A recent study by comScore Media Matrix shows these startling statistics:

* 50 million U.S. Internet users visited blog sites in the first quarter of 2005. That is roughly 30% of all U.S. Internet users and 1 in 6 of the total U.S. population.
* Five hosting services for blogs each had more than 5 million unique visitors in that period,and four individual blogs had more than 1 million visitors each.
* Compared to the average Internet user, blog readers are significantly more likely to live in wealthier households, be younger and connect to the Web on high-speed connections.
* Blog readers also visit nearly twice as many web pages as the Internet average, and they are much more likely to shop online.

Blogs are fundamentally changing the way companies are marketing their products and services. Come and learn how your business can benefit by using these new tools.

On November 17, a panel of experts will define and discuss exactly what these new tools are, how they are changing the way companies interact with their customers, and present some fascinating scenarios describing what’s happening in the blogosphere right now.

The panel includes:

Moderator: Jerry MacLean – PERCC Research

Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Podcasting Network
Waldo Jaquith, CVilleBlogs and CVilleNews
Edward Cossette, ExploreLearning
Michael Prichard – Willowtree Interactive

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