It’s the bloggy equivalent of a rave.
Only this party lasts a week, has Twitter and linky lists as its major drugs of choice, and there’s no bouncer.
The Ultimate Blog Party 2011 is in its final bleary-eyed days, and from all accounts, appears to have been another major blowout.
This was the 5th year for the party (or UBP), annually hosted by 5 Minutes For Mom. The 2010 party was a tough act to follow. Over 2300 participating bloggers partied it up last year.
But it appears from the linky lists that blogging, and the desire for bloggers to both make connections and grow traffic, is stronger than ever. At time of print, over 2600 bloggers drafted “party posts” and spent most of the past week scouring the lists, visiting other bloggers and entering giveaways.
UBP has historically been a great way for beginning bloggers to get their name in front of a lot of people at one time, and this year was no exception. Varda, who writes at The Squashed Bologna, participated for the first time this year. Some of her perceptions:
The benefit I have experienced so far is exactly what I was looking for: more connections, people finding me for the first time, me finding more "tribe" members.
Janice and Susan, the founders of 5 Minutes for Mom and the party’s organizers and hostesses, always tweak things from year to year. The biggest change this year was in how blog categories were set up. Last year, the primary categories were “Family Friendly,” ‘”Not So Family Friendly” and “Mompreneur.” This year, there were several more choices: Mom Blogs (heavy on the product reviews), Mom Blogs(hold the product reviews), Christian/Religious, Specialty, Business, Opinion, and of course, Dad blogs.
Ilana Wiles, who writes at Mommy Shorts, was a newcomer to the party also, and felt the blog categories could still use a little refining:
Most blogs I read fall somewhere in-between the product review blogs and the not product review blogs. Bloggers are now incorporating brands and products in a way that doesn’t take away from their focus on writing and I wish the list choices would reflect that. I also think it would be easier to pick through the linky list if there were blog icons instead of just written names.
Two other major components of the UBP were the UBP Twitter party, held on Monday night, and a live webcast in conjunction with Mom TV, which is scheduled for tomorrow night. The #UBP hashtag stream was loaded with chatter and bloggers promoting giveaways.
The live webcast, which will run from 9 to 11 p.m. EST Thursday night, will weave in chatter from several “In Real Life” blog parties being hosted by bloggers across the country. Janice Croze, co-founder of UBP and 5 Minutes for Mom, said the interactive events are always some of the best components of party week:
The Twitter party was a huge success with the stream flying faster than we have ever seen! And we expect the MomTV live web cast to also have a great turnout. We love the web cast format because it allows for quality interaction and dialog. We had a blast last year and are looking forward to this year’s!
But when all of the party posts are archived away, the one thing that will remain are the connections formed or deepened during UBP week. Ilana said this:
Once I tweeted my UBP post, people started asking me what it was and a few of them ended up joining too. Even though I already knew these bloggers somewhat, I honestly think I have become closer with them all in the past couple of days because we participated together.
Varda echoed this feeling:
It’s especially satisfying to hear that reading my blog has made someone feel less isolated in what she is going through. That, for me is the most important connection of all.
Both bloggers plan to do it all again next year, but Varda will do a few things differently:
I’ll be on from the first day, right at the start…Also, frankly, I would make my UBP "Here’s me" post a little shorter. It’s "5 minutes for mom" after all, not "pull up a chair and hang out for a half hour."
As for party hosts Janice and Susan, the top thing on their to-do list? Sleep!