For many people the prevailing perception of bloggers are that they are solitary creatures, tap tapping away at their keyboards in a dark basement. This idea could not be further from the truth as evidenced by the first Lehigh Valley Live community blogger conference held Monday January 16th at the ArtsQuest Center at Steelstacks. Over two dozen independent bloggers gathered to meet, greet and mingle with their peers as wells as discuss ideas and share information about the state of blogging in the Lehigh Valley.
The attendees enjoyed light refreshments and friendly conversation. Many bloggers were meeting face to face for the first time, while others were renewing friendly associations with familiar faces. The Lehigh Valley has a wide array of active bloggers who report on diverse topics such as personal reflections, sports, politics, the environment and entertainment to name but a few. It seems like if there is a topic of interest chances are a local blogger is covering the beat.
As we made our way into the fabulous ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, a few of us bellied up to the bar for a refreshing beverage. I knew a handful of people firsthand and others I knew of from reading their blogs or through facebook. My good friend Dan Kehl arrived at the same time as I did. He was there to represent his blog the Noise Nation Horn & Bell, if you have followed my blog on a regular basis you will note that I refer to the Horn and Bell quite often. Dan and his contributors do a bang up job covering the IronPigs, Phillies and Lehigh Valley Steelhawks. If you are fond of the local sports scene I recommend you check it out.
After greeting Dan, the next blogger I came upon was vegan cook extraordinaire, Jaime K from Save the Kales. It is always a pleasure seeing Jaime in the flesh and bending her ear about healthy whole foods. For those of you that may not know; Jaime is also active in the movement to bring a grocery co-op to Bethlehem. Not only is she busy with her food blog, she authors a second blog; Heart of Steel City which focus on all things Bethlehem.
Also at Monday’s event was George Wacker from Lehigh Valley with Love. LVWL takes a satiric look at local news that is truly stranger than fiction. Fortunately the more notorious citizens of our area provide him with plenty of material to work with. He also hosts several fundraisers in conjunction with Wink Magazine throughout the year including the Lehigh Valley with Love Prom which was recently held at Molly’s Irish Pub on Bethlehem’s Southside. Accompanying George was his date, the lovely Crystal Olah who you may know as the manager of the coolest hair salon in the valley; Hair by Eskandalo!
Finally, no blogging soiree would be complete without the infamous Bernie O’Hare. Bernie, for those who are unfamiliar with his work is the mastermind behind Lehigh Valley Ramblings. Often controversial, Bernie’s blog takes to task political shenanigans in the Lehigh Valley with an emphasis on Northampton County. If you are a local official, be careful or you may find yourself in his crosshairs. I finally got to meet Bernie in person and found him to be a very pleasant individual. You may not always agree with his viewpoints, but LV Ramblings is a great read and Bernie strives to keep local officials honest.
Another well known personality on the blogging scene is Michael Molovinsky who made an appearance at the meeting. I didn’t have an opportunity to chat with him on Monday as he made a brief appearance and was on his way. Like Bernie, I have observed that Michael can also generate his fair share of controversy. I enjoy both blogs and especially appreciate the pieces that Mr. Molovinsky writes on the WPA projects around Allentown as well as his vintage photographs from the area. Check out Molovinsky on Allentown. Also be sure to read the comments on LV Ramblings and Molovinsky on Allentown, seems like a feisty bunch chime in on both sites.
I also was able to discover some blogs I hadn’t been aware of until the meeting. Johnny Sized is a newcomer on the scene and is a very visually appealing and well written blog about food and Johnny’s desire to eat healthier and lose weight. It is a perfect complement to Jaime K’s blog. Johnny is on a quest to lose 225lbs and reverse the negative effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. I wish him well on his journey, and if his initial posts are any indication, I have no doubt he will be reporting of his success in no time.
Who can refuse a business card with a pig on it? Certainly not I. Donald Harer II has a foodie blog called No Room For Seconds that had me salivating from the moment I pulled it up on my monitor. Loads of images of meats and tasty content, this will become a regular stop on my daily blog surfing.
The bloggers mentioned above are just a sampling of the many interesting folks blogging in our local community. I suggest you take a look at these and the other attendee’s blogs which I will have linked to at the end of this post. If I have left anyone out, please accept my apologies and provide me with your site information which I will be happy to add.
A special thanks goes out to the Express Times newspaper which is behind Lehigh Valley Live. It is rare that a traditional print media outlet is so eager to encourage bloggers. Often we are looked down upon or ignored by the mainstream media. The Express Times has truly embraced the local blogging community. The evening was a great networking and brainstorming event. I hope this will become a regular function with even more bloggers joining the fold. It was truly a pleasure meeting my peers and the staff of Lehigh Valley Live. Let’s do it again!
- Save the Kales (Click to listen to a Five Questions interview with Jamie Karpovich.)
- Lehigh Valley with Love
- Lehigh Valley Ramblings
- A Writer in a Nurse’s Body
- Johnny Sized
- Laughing at My Nightmare (Read about Shane Burcaw in this report by Dustin Schoof.)
- The Corner Seat
- Neighbors of Easton
- Noise Nation’s The Horn and Bell Blog
- Molovinsky on Allentown
- Inclusion by Michael Donovan
- The Lehigh Valley Political Blog
- No Room for Seconds
- Lehigh Valley Tweetup (Listen in on a Five Questions interview with Michael Andreano.)
- The Tony Rhodin Blog
- Steaming Cup of Joe
- The Parent ‘Hood
- Allentown Area News on lehighvalleylive.com
- Lehigh County News on lehighvalleylive.com
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