Hey Utah, Where are the Tech Bloggers?

utah silhoutteI’ve discussed before that Utah (the state I live in) has a PR problem when it comes to Technology.  We have some amazing businesses that have come out of Utah, but they all get snatched up, bought, and Utah continues to be a state not seen for its tech contributions.  The truth is there are a ton out here, but no one knows about it.  Today I’m not sure if you were aware, but Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google visited Utah and spoke at an annual Utah Technology Council event.  I came across a video on local station Fox 13 KSTU’s website today where a press event happened with pressing questions towards Eric Schmidt.

What struck me is that the meeting consisted of Schmidt, 2 very conservative Senators from Utah (Hatch and Bennett – we know who he voted for last election – he ended the meeting calling them his “two favorite Senators”), and nothing but very fancily dressed top-notch media organizations.  No tech bloggers.  No one specifically from the tech world to report the event and ask the questions that really matter.  What’s funny is that a lot of the room probably didn’t even understand a word Schmidt said – they were simply there to ask questions.  If this were Silicon Valley that room would have been full of tech bloggers.  They would have been the first to report on the event.

I want to know why I didn’t get an invite, or Matt Asay, or Phil Windley, or other tech bloggers from Utah weren’t invited to this event.  At the same time I’m wondering who the other Tech Bloggers are in Utah.  Utah has a lot of marketing bloggers, a lot of Mommy-bloggers (like Dooce), yet from what I can see there are very few tech bloggers trying to write original, regular, and interesting content for their readers.  I visited Facebook a few weeks ago, and one of the first questions I was asked by those there was, “aren’t you like the only tech blogger in Utah?”  I was a bit embarrassed by this question on behalf of Utah – there should be more people think of.  Immediately I shared the people I knew, but frankly there just aren’t that many here.  I want to change that perception.

I want to issue a challenge to my fellow geeks and technology enthusiasts in Utah.  You don’t have to be a programmer or a developer or know the bits and pieces of architecture surrounding technology.  You simply have to have a love and a passion for technology and learning about technology and learning what is new in the technology world.  If this is you, I want you to start writing about it.  Get out there and write something – spend half an hour a day, or if that’s too much, start by once a week, and build up as you are able to, but most importantly I want you to start writing and keep writing.

Any one of you can build an audience.  This goes for those in and out of Utah.  Specifically for Utah I need you to start writing and sharing with the world things like this.  For Utah technology to be seen by the world we need more tech bloggers.  Are you a Utah-based tech blogger?  I want to know who you are.  I want to help share your content and get other people reading your content.  Of course, the same goes for anyone in any other state that reads this – I believe in those that are passionate about technology, and every one of you deserve to be heard. I’m really sad that no bloggers (that I’m aware of) were invited to this event.

Hopefully if you are in Utah or know someone in Utah that writes a Tech blog or wants to you can share this with your friends. I want to see more people blogging and less people Tweeting out there, especially if you’re in Utah.

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36 thoughts on “Hey Utah, Where are the Tech Bloggers?

  1. Despite not having any inside scoops or breaking any news, I consider myself a tech blogger although my blog isn't completely dedicated to it. I just love writing about it and sharing my views on different tech-related topics.

    And I would have jumped at the chance to be at that Schmidt/Hatch/Bennett event.

    Like

  2. I try to be a tech blogger too. I actually work for Phil Windley at Kynetx, too! There are Utah technology blogs, they're just not really well known. It seems like it's time to start doing some promoting for other people's websites, likely by retweets, etc.

    Like

  3. Jessie what's your blog? I'll make sure I'm subscribed. There's so much
    more you can do with a blog than just promoting other peoples' blogs with
    Retweets, etc. Make sure you're writing interesting and original stuff.
    Share original viewpoints and ideas and I'll share the good stuff in
    various ways (I like to use a combination of Google Reader, FriendFeed,
    Facebook, and Twitter). Keep notes on ideas as you get them so you can
    write about them later when you're out of ideas. I'd love to help promote
    your stuff.

    Like

  4. “I want to know why I didn’t get an invite, or Matt Asay, or Phil Windley, or other tech bloggers from Utah weren’t invited to this event.”

    Everyone was invited to the event – it was an open invitation. All you need to do was *buy* a ticket and show up.

    Are you saying that you are better than the rest of us with “tech” bloggers and thus should have been handed a free ticket? Are you saying that Richard from the UTC should have made a personal call to you inviting you as an esteemed local blogger to this event? If that's how you feel then, frankly, you are coming off a little childish here.

    Please clarify.

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  5. Chris, no, I never said that. The fact is I could have gotten a bit
    more exposure for Utah from this event. I would have happily bought a
    ticket (even though I don't make anything from this blog). My
    complaint was that no bloggers were even represented in the press
    conference. I wasn't even told about it.

    But fine, if Utah doesn't want me to promote and write about them
    that's fine. I'll keep promoting Silicon Valley companies instead. I
    was trying to offer Utah companies a little exposure, along with Utah
    tech bloggers a little help.

    Like

  6. My blog's at http://www.jessiemorris.com. I just started it up a month or so ago. Also, I am almost always writing new and interesting things, and almost all are original. I usually post an update about once a week, and I have an idea for a jQuery plugin, but I need to finish creating it first. Also, I do use Facebook and Twitter. I've just subscribed to your blog, and you've got some pretty good posts. At this point, I think what really sets me apart is the fact that I'm only 17 years old. It's difficult to have credibility at 17; there's something that I'm sure I could do that would be extremely cool and unique, but until I have a slight… following, if you would, I'm going to be careful about it.

    Thanks again for the tips and I hope to meet you someday,
    Jessie Morris

    Also, I think it's slightly ironic that we share the same name, even if it is spelled differently. 🙂

    Like

  7. Jessie, I'm subscribed – thanks for sharing! I love supporting younger
    audiences, and it's very possible to have credibility even at your age. You
    should talk to Holden Page (http://friendfeed.com/holdenpage and
    http://twitter.com/holdenpage) or Daniel Brusilovsky (
    http://twitter.com/danielbru). Both of them have been very good at gaining
    credibility despite their age. Can't wait to start reading your blog and
    hopefully I can help you gain some credibility. Write good and interesting
    and unique content and people will share it. Happy to help!

    Like

  8. “My complaint was that no bloggers were even represented in the press conference. I wasn't even told about it.”

    So I guess this is my question. Should you have been told about it? What exactly is your reach? Also, don't you have some responsibility to educate people like the UTC or have you already done that and are now complaining that you didn't get a press pass? Perhaps you could have taken the initiative and called and requested a press pass as a prominent blogger? And if you could have bought a ticket and just went then why didn't you?

    “But fine, if Utah doesn't want me to promote and write about them that's fine. I'll keep promoting Silicon Valley companies instead.”

    Wouldn't you naturally want to promote Utah companies regardless of what happened with this UTC event?

    Look, I am really trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here but you are coming off kind of arrogant. Please don't turn into one of those guys like Matt Asay and resort to talking down to the local Utah tech community because they aren't doing something you think they ought to be doing.

    Just my $0.02…

    Like

  9. Maybe there's a reason Matt Asay is talking down to the Utah tech community?
    Your response is starting to make me understand his point of view. I'm
    simply trying to share a problem I'm seeing with the tech community in Utah.
    These articles don't get me much traffic so they're for your benefit, not
    mine. Take it as you may. Regarding reach, if you research you can figure
    it out – I'm not here to brag or show off what my audience size is. I'm
    simply trying to point out a flaw in Utah's tech community and offer to
    help. If anyone wants to take it, my offer stands.

    Like

  10. Hey man, just checked out your blog, you have some good stuff going on and for only having this blog around for a month you have some really good numbers (85 reads on your latest post, when I first started blogging I would have KILLED for that lol).

    As for being 17 and gaining credibility… it is an interesting issue. I have been voicing my opinions on the web since I have been 16 and I have learned that you can use your young age to your advantage. People will be impressed with the fact you are so young and persistently blogging and if you are good your name will get around a lot faster than most.

    One issue I have had though is being taken seriously. There have been numerous amounts of times I have been told, “You are 17, I have been in the tech industry so and so years, you have no idea what you are talking about.” Then someone older than you says the same thing but is actually listened too and taken seriously, it is frustrating and it is a hurdle, but one that can be jumped over quite easily.

    Also, don't be afraid to be wrong and be bashed for it. I have been wrong PLENTY of times due to my age and I won't lie, my stubbornness you can also attribute to my age as well (as I am sure Jesse has seen a few times on FF :-P). You are still young, trust me, you have plenty of time to make mistakes and redeem yourself. Of course, I am a bit more vocal and more of a spur of the moment kind of person, which probably gets me into a tad bit more trouble 🙂

    Anyways Jessie, feel free to hit me up at anytime if you want to chat.Good luck 🙂

    holdenpage@gmail.com

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  11. I haven't seen you be stubborn before except once, and that was about SocialToo and IE 🙂

    I think we are on opposite ends of the spectrum on that particular matter haha

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  12. I think you're illustrating my point.

    Utah will continue to build a great reputation through the actions of entrepreneurs (Omniture's recent acquisition comes to mind) not by what some prima donna blogger writes or doesn't write.

    Frankly, I think you need to get over yourself.

    Like

  13. Regarding this tweet:

    “There is one Utah entrepreneur who evidently thinks Utah businesses can survive without the media: http://trunc.it/2uzy6

    YOU ARE NOT THE MEDIA. YOU ARE BLOGGER. The real “media” was represented very well at the event.

    Like I said – get over yourself.

    Like

  14. So I've read this thread between chrisdude and Jesse. It's befuddling. First– Jesse: don't stop writing about Utah. chrisdude is simply ignorant. “YOU ARE NOT THE MEDIA. YOU ARE BLOGGER.”? Jeez. chrisdude– that's misinformed. You'd trust a reporter from the Deseret News before you'd trust a subject-matter expert whose chosen media is the web? Wow. Where have you been? I (and most everyone else who knows anything about social media) doesn't see Jesse's lament as arrogant or indicting. It's an absolutely fair observation. The UTC is not “social media”-savvy in the least. Nor is the state govt, or it's federal representatives (notwithstanding the rhetoric from the venerable Hatch and others). Utah as a *state* has done nothing to encourage, cultivate or perpetuate what I'll call “digital media,” inclusive of social media, games, computer animation. Even the relatively newly minted “Digital Media Cluster” fueled by USTAR and centered at the U is focused on games only. An important aspect of digital media, for sure, but a tiny fraction of the digital media landscape. I've said this before– digital media entrepreneurs in Utah can be likened to circa-1850 mountain men– very enterprising, very motivated, very talented… but the overriding impression is that they meet in the wilderness every few months (at best), share a fire and a bit a beef jerky and then they're on their way again… alone. I actually agree with you, chrisdude, that *one* of the best things we can do is speak through performance, but to ignore PR and marketing is pure foolishness. We have 40 years of *disproportionate* contribution to the worldwide digital media revolution (compared to Utah's population). The evidence was right there Friday night if you took a sampling of past Hall of Fame inductees– from Jim Clark (SGI, Netscape) to John Warnock (Adobe) to Ed Catmull (Pixar). More often than not, innovation happens here (alone!) and then leaves the state. That does not fuel a critical mass of digital media business culture. Ironically, the UTC does little to support the digital media space (as opposed to biotech, for example) and their inductees over the last 10 years include a plethora of digital media pioneers. Hmmm… For you, chrisdude, to argue with Jesse over the latter's lament that (my interpretation) the State doesn't *get* digital media as an institution and a culture is… well… kinda lame. The evidence is overwhelming that there is a lack of *cultural and institutional support*, or at least critical mass of cultural support for innovation, funding, publicity, marketing and all other aspects of business development for vibrant social and digital media industries to flourish. With few exceptions (e.g. Josh James' comments Friday night about Greg Butterfield's mentorship in the growth of Omniture) we Utah entrepreneurs in digital media *are* on our own, without the pervasive culturally-ingrained support from which regions like Silicon Valley, Austin, Boulder, New York and others benefit intrinsically. The fact that prominent bloggers weren't invited is a business-culture problem in Utah, certainly as it relates to digital media. Jesse has some 17,000-plus followers on Twitter! And several tens of thousands that go to his blog at least once a month. All focused in some way on technology. He and others should have been invited to the press conference. IMHO.

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  15. Wow. How did I manage to make it into this conversation, Chris? I think I mentioned Utah once…years ago…and you still haven't gotten over it? (Actually, that's not true, as I talk up Utah *all the time.* But perhaps you didn't notice those?)

    Reality is that everyone on this thread needs to calm down a bit. Chris, Jesse has a valid point, and you know it. Just leave it at that.

    Jesse, Chris has a valid point, too, and you know it. Just leave it at that.

    Yes, there should have been tech outreach, as there is in more tech-savvy markets. We don't live in such a market. We live in a great place to live that manages to yield a few great companies (like Omniture, as Chris points out). But we don't live in the middle of technology central, and it shows in how events like this reach out to bloggers.

    Chris, it's not a matter of sending out personal invitations to bloggers so much as making the event publicized through channels that anyone outside of the standard media troop hears about. That's all. Had Jesse heard about it, he could have contacted them and then they could have let him in, or not. But for me it's the fact that no one knew about it, except for the old guard media.

    Regardless, I'm not losing sleep over it. I love Utah, and I love technology. Some day the two will come together for me, but it just hasn't happened yet. I'm sure it will get better with time.

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  16. Matt,

    Jesse brought you into the conversation not me and I think you know darn well that you've lectured this state and the tech community about their shortcomings more than “once…years ago”.

    You make a good point about blogger outreach. Yet, if Jesse is such an integral part of the Utah tech community – so much so that he should have received an invite to the event – then perhaps Jesse should simply join the UTC and participate with the group. Maybe he thinks he's above that? He would have certainly received the news of such an event if he were participating with the community in the first place.

    Jesse,

    You need to figure out how it works. Respect is earned not automatically granted by the number of unique visitors your blog has or Twitter followers you have. When you figure that out then you might start to get invites to such events. If you want the UTC's (and frankly a lot of other people in the Utah tech community) respect then engage with the UTC (and other groups) rather than whine about not getting an invite because you're buddies with Robert Scoble and have a following on your blog.

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  17. Matt, I agree – it was never my intention to think I deserved any sort of
    personal invitation. Maybe that didn't get through well enough. My
    intention, as I'm sure is yours is to try to help Utah, raise awareness on
    where I feel the weaknesses are, and help out where I can.

    I love Utah too. I love Technology. I think we can all agree on that. (and
    I'll leave it at that) 🙂 Thanks for chiming in.

    Like

  18. Chris, I don't recall whining the way you're saying I was whining. I said
    “I want to know why I didn't get an invite”, but my intention wasn't to get
    an invite to any of these events at all – it was to point out the lack of
    tech media and blogger presence at the event. As for the UTC I barely even
    know what the UTC is – how am I supposed to learn about it? Yeah, I've done
    my research now, but I'm still not completely sure. I don't have the money
    to join such an organization, but I'm fine with that. Yes, I've talked to
    them and yes I've brought this up with them personally. My intention wasn't
    to criticize just them though – the fact is Utah needs a larger tech blogger
    presence at events. Notice I said “tech blogger” presence and not “me”
    presence. Whether that's through invitation or better awareness, I don't
    care, but I want to let others know. My point here was in raising awareness
    with the rest of Utah.

    Like

  19. Jesse,

    Now this is just getting silly.

    So now you claim that you didn't want a personal invite but that you were just trying to raise awareness. Ah, yeah. OK.

    I agree that there could be better communication here – you are coming off the wrong way if that is truly your intention. As for several other comment:

    “As for the UTC I barely even know what the UTC is – how am I supposed to learn about it?”

    Are you serious? Please. Like I said, if you want respect then earn it. Engage. The UTC could easily turn your own arguments on your head because you haven't taken the time to the learn or engage with them. Think about it. You can join the UTC for $250 a year. If you could convince them of your reach then they may just give you a membership for free.

    “My point here was in raising awareness with the rest of Utah.”

    Yet above you said that you were going to stick with promoting Silicon Valley companies. Which one is it, Jesse?

    I think I've said this a couple of times now and I hope its sinking in but earn respect instead of demand it, engage, stop whining, and don't try to appoint yourself the “what's wrong with Utah” guy. We are more than aware of the issues and don't need preaching to.

    Like

  20. Thanks Jordie! I thought that was just an aggregation. Looks like it
    switched to your own content now – when did that happen? I am subscribed
    now! (and yes, that is definitely tech – I'm not distinguishing between the
    two)

    Like

  21. I've read the thread and thought I would say a few things, take them for what they are worth. I'm with a Utah PR firm that just so happens o chairs the PR committee with UTC. While I wasn't the head person or involved in the event's publicity, I wish I would have been better connect with Jesse to gauge his interest in this event, and for that I apologize sincerely and will make sure we take that into consideration next time.

    That said, I have been trying to get an audience with Jesse since August to at least get to know him and see how we could better work with him after he called out Utah's Tech PR problem. I took that post to heart despite disagreeing on some of his points since I work with a lot of Utah tech companies.

    Also, and I'm in no way trying to be combative or confrontational, but Jesse, I believe you were on a UTC PR panel last December that was co-sponsored with Businesswire.

    I know that some bloggers don't like PR peeps, but I think it is really blown out of proportion but we act as a conduit for information to bloggers and I have a great relationship with many national high-tech bloggers.

    I will personally make sure I develop good relationships with the Utah bloggers.

    Like

  22. Jesse,

    Your prior post on this topic inspired me to create a Utah's Top Blogger contest on my site. You're one of the nominees! I issued a press release and told every group on Facebook related to Utah, small business and social media. I've pinged everybody in the contest and sent emails to everyone I could find an email for. At this point in the contest, the amateur bloggers are winning. I'm still looking for voters – http://seobyswaby.wordpress.com/utahs-top-blogg….

    Like

  23. Clayton I don't recall in any of our conversations you saying you were with
    the UTC and wanted to work to build better relations. You told me you
    wanted to “introduce me to a client or two” and “pick my brain with regards
    to Social Media”. In fact, you wanted to do lunch with me, something I just
    don't have time to do with many people (I even turn down close friends, so
    don't take it personally) – I'd be surprised if any blogger or media person
    has much time to spend an hour or more with PR professionals. My e-mail is
    always open, as is my phone, you're even a friend on Facebook (which is how
    you have been contacting me the 2 times you did) – you are always welcome to
    e-mail or call, any time. That's the way to communicate with me – the
    door's not closed when I say no to lunch. The only contact I've received
    thus far have been requests to go to lunch.

    This post was not about the UTC. It was about the fact that traditional
    media are being invited to these events and bloggers aren't. Heck, it
    wasn't even about me. If you want to bring the UTC into it, that's fine –
    yes, I was on a panel, but I still know very little about the UTC, nor does
    it matter for that matter. What matters is that bloggers aren't being made
    aware of these events, especially pertinent ones like this. That has been
    my experience in the past.

    That said, Cheryl has contacted me and says I'm on her list for future
    events. I hope other bloggers in the area are as well. (again, this isn't
    about me)

    Like

  24. tell it like it is chris! jesse stay is a putz of a blogger who let a few followers on twatter and facehook get to his overinflated head. anyone with half decent reading skills could read his original intent – to get a free invite. cheap. entitled. small. transparently desperate.

    jesse – which utah company has ever benefited from your blogging about it? why wouldn't you keep writing about the companies in our great state of utah regardless of whether or not you got into the event? there are so many different channels for you to meet the utah tech companies you claim to care so passionately for. one critic and you say “fine i'll write about silicon valley instead.” not a lot of conviction and commitment to utah in those words. why don't you just admit you had your ego bruised because you weren't invited?

    grow up.

    Like

  25. Regarding this tweet:

    “There is one Utah entrepreneur who evidently thinks Utah businesses can survive without the media: http://trunc.it/2uzy6

    YOU ARE NOT THE MEDIA. YOU ARE BLOGGER. The real “media” was represented very well at the event.

    Like I said – get over yourself.

    Like

  26. I think you're illustrating my point.

    Utah will continue to build a great reputation through the actions of entrepreneurs (Omniture's recent acquisition comes to mind) not by what some prima donna blogger writes or doesn't write.

    Frankly, I think you need to get over yourself.

    Like

  27. Jessie, I'm subscribed – thanks for sharing! I love supporting younger
    audiences, and it's very possible to have credibility even at your age. You
    should talk to Holden Page (http://friendfeed.com/holdenpage and
    http://twitter.com/holdenpage) or Daniel Brusilovsky (
    http://twitter.com/danielbru). Both of them have been very good at gaining
    credibility despite their age. Can't wait to start reading your blog and
    hopefully I can help you gain some credibility. Write good and interesting
    and unique content and people will share it. Happy to help!

    Like

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